Eurosian Economic Union as a Power Centre Under the Leadership of Russia

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Alım E., Aksu F.

International journal of political science & urban studies (online), vol.7, pp.1-22, 2019 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


Russia has been the driving force behind integration projects in the geographical area known as the exSoviet space in Eurasia. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, steps taken to promote integration under Russian leadership have been aimed at achieving regional unity, but integration initiatives have also served as a means for Russia to institutionalize its influence. The sharp asymmetry between Russia and other countries in the region indicates that the potential of the post-Soviet republics to contribute to Russia is limited and therefore the question arises as to what motivates Russia to achieve integration with its neighbours through the creation regional organizations. In addressing this question, one needs to dwell upon geopolitical factors and Russia’s need to consolidate its position in its region which is necessary for it to become an influential actor internationally. A recent development that provides a basis for this assessment is the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) which came into existence in 2015. Although economic factors are said to be behind the creation of this project, several factors render the EEU a questionable enterprise from Russia’s point of view, such as limited economic potential of regional actors, static economic models and the fact that developed (rather than regional) economies take up an overwhelming share of Russia’s exports. But if one moves beyond economic dimension, focuses on Russia’s geopolitical vision and looks at the way in which Russia conceives of international political dynamics, then it becomes possible to make sense of the EEU project. If viewed closely, one would notice that the EEU’s creation coincides with Russia’s rigorous attempts to present itself as one of the influential players of a multipolar international order. In this respect, one could see strong signs that the EEU project was launched as an initiative to help Russia control the vast space between the West and China. Although, through a new Eurasian regime, Russia sought to create a supranational project which was also intended to comprise political integration, it remains unlikely for the EEU to extend beyond its current form due to the fear of Russia’s neighbours of falling under Russian influence. Nevertheless, Russia, in a relatively strong position after having experienced economic growth during the first decade of 2000s through the rise in energy prices, has managed to spearhead the creation of a strong integration project known as the EEU