In the political language of Russia and some other post-Soviet states, the near abroad (Russian: ближнее зарубежье, blizhneye zarubezhye) refers to the newly independent republics (other than Russia itself) which emerged after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Some sources claim that the term was popularised by Russian foreign minister Andrey Kozyrev in the early 1990s, referring to central and eastern Europe, however the usage of the expression is attested before Kozyrev became minister, giving translators hard time. Early attempts to translate the Russian term include "the concept of 'abroad close at hand,'" "nearby foreign lands," and "countries not far abroad." As a result of the acceptance of the term "near abroad," the word "abroad" has acquired the function of a noun in English.
"Near abroad" became more widely used in English, usually to assert Russia's right to have major influence in the region, but also for marketing purposes by various companies. Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared the region Russia's "sphere of influence", and strategically vital for Russia. The concept has been compared to the Monroe Doctrine.
The term is usually used to refer to several countries in Central Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Notably, the Baltic states, which chose not to join any of the post-Soviet political organizations, are still referred to by this term at times.
Countries in the "near abroad"
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- "The Russian-Belarusian Union and the Near Abroad" (PDF). 2002-11-29. Retrieved 2011-05-09.
- William Safire (1994-05-22). "ON LANGUAGE; The Near Abroad". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
- Robert Kagan (2008-02-06). "New Europe, Old Russia". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
- Steven Erlanger (2001-02-25). "The World; Learning to Fear Putin's Gaze". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
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