A very quasi-European Christmas

VLADIMIR RODIONOV/AFP/Getty Images Sometimes, a tree is not just a tree. In the Moldovan capital of Chisinau, the pro-Russia communist President Vladimir Voronin (shown at left with Russian President Vladimir Putin) removed a Christmas tree put up by pro-Europe Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca, an advocate for strong ties with neighbor and new EU member Romania. Voronin said ...

597423_071221_moldova5.jpg
597423_071221_moldova5.jpg

VLADIMIR RODIONOV/AFP/Getty Images

Sometimes, a tree is not just a tree.

In the Moldovan capital of Chisinau, the pro-Russia communist President Vladimir Voronin (shown at left with Russian President Vladimir Putin) removed a Christmas tree put up by pro-Europe Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca, an advocate for strong ties with neighbor and new EU member Romania. Voronin said the tree should not be displayed until after the New Year, the traditional time for Russian Orthodox. But Chirtoaca fought to display the tree at a traditionally European time.

VLADIMIR RODIONOV/AFP/Getty Images

Sometimes, a tree is not just a tree.

In the Moldovan capital of Chisinau, the pro-Russia communist President Vladimir Voronin (shown at left with Russian President Vladimir Putin) removed a Christmas tree put up by pro-Europe Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca, an advocate for strong ties with neighbor and new EU member Romania. Voronin said the tree should not be displayed until after the New Year, the traditional time for Russian Orthodox. But Chirtoaca fought to display the tree at a traditionally European time.

In a victory for the pro-European mayor, a Christmas tree now stands in Chisinau, about 300 meters from government buildings. But it raises the larger question encountered by members of the Commonwealth of Independent States during this holiday season: Are they to be Russian and abandon the freedoms of the EU, or tilt toward Europe and risk falling victim to the wrath of Putin?

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.