What could be the consequences of Myanmar-Russia strategic relations?

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – February 17 Scenes

MoeMaKa, February 18 2023

What could be the consequences of Myanmar-Russia strategic relations?

After the military coup, the Myanmar military council, which has been shunned by international diplomacy, is trying to become closer to one of the world’s most powerful countries, Russia.

Yesterday, the friendship forum celebrating the 75th anniversary of Russia-Myanmar diplomatic relations was held in Nay Pyi Taw, and the military council leader Min Aung Hlaing himself attended and gave a speech, according to reports. According to news reports, in Min Aung Hlaing’s speech, he talked not only about the diplomatic relations between Russia and Myanmar, but also about the fact that the two armies have been able to cooperate more than before and that they will be treated as permanent allies. Since the early 2000s, when the previous military regime was in power, there has been a relationship between the two armies. At that time, military officers were sent to Russia for IT and other military education, but unlike now, it was not seen that they had been treated with the intention of purchasing weapons or getting support in international diplomacy.

Before February 24, 2022 last year, Russia was treated internationally and after the invasion of Ukraine, economic and diplomatic sanctions against the Russian Federation, led by Putin, have been implemented in the world, and Russia has become a military enemy of Western Europe.

After the invasion of Ukraine, when there are fewer supporters of Russia openly in the world, it is seen that Myanmar military leaders are turning a blind eye to this fact and trying to get closer to Russia. It was remarkably revealed in the military council media that Min Aung Hlaing attended the Eastern Economic Forum hosted by the Russian Federation and had the opportunity to meet Putin last year.

As the military leaders who came to power in Myanmar after the coup, they have avoided getting entangled in the competition among the world’s powerful countries and in attempts to gain regional influence. In the past, we did not see any custom to participate in the game of the world’s powers to be used as a pawn only to purchase military weapons. Now, after the military coup, the military council has breached such historical precedents and when it is infamous in the world as an aggressor of a neighboring country, dealing with the levels of strategic relations and issuing statements in support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a risky diplomatic move.

In other words, when Russia is now becoming a common enemy in Western Europe, when it is seen by many as a villain country, it is an action without taking into account the dangerous consequences that may come to Myanmar by forming an alliance of loyalty to Russia, which can use veto power in the United Nations in order to buy military weapons.

Before the 2010 election, even the former SLORC and SPDC military regimes, which ruled for more than 2 decades, relied on China, but it was true that they did not take sides in global issues and did not support them, instead they lived free from competition among big countries. In other words, the previous 2 military regimes in the country only showed diplomatic support which had a less negative impact on Myanmar.

However, it must be concluded that officially supporting the Russian-Ukrainian war during the time of the military council would be stupid or not understandinternational relations enough to understand the possible consequences.