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EU: does its policy in the post-Soviet space?
Material posted: Publication date: 07-03-2014

New dynamics in global geopolitics, can not influence the policies of the European Union towards the post-Soviet countries. Here are the points that attract the attention and financial crisis experienced by the organization, and in terms of difficulties on the way to political integration. Against this background, experts are fascinated by the contents of the policy and strategy of the European Union towards Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, South Caucasus and Central Asia. Particularly pay attention to new undertones in the framework of the program "Eastern partnership".

Relations with Russia: cooperation or confrontation?

Amid increasing political tension in Ukraine in focus is the EU policy towards the former Soviet republics. In this respect, the interest and cause more aggressive action of Russia in this space, which in many important geopolitical issues do not correspond to the interests of the West. Figuratively speaking, the post-Soviet space was between the two great powers of the world. For this reason, there is a need to reflect on the fact of changing geopolitical dynamics in the vast territory spanning Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia.

First consider the situation that has arisen between the EU and Russia. The most serious problem between them is neodvisnosti basic agreement that regulates the relationship. After a preliminary framework agreement, the validity of which expired in 2007, the parties cannot agree on common principles. The main reason for this is the different approach between the EU and Russia closer to its strategic goal of cooperation.

Europe does not want to include Russia into their ranks. In Europe it want to see how the state conducting a policy corresponding to the geopolitical interests of the EU and designed to protect from the effects of the "Asian tigers". Only against the background of such a policy, the EU would like to see Russia as a strategic partner. But since 2004, no major project could not be realized. But Europeans accuse Russia of non-implementation of provisions of the basic agreement. In this regard, Turkish analytical center of international strategic studies (USAK), said: "Brussels has accused Russia of incomplete execution of the agreements signed with the EU, in particular, the requirements of basic agreement" (see: Galym Zhussipbek. Avrupa Birliği Ile Rusya Federasyonu Arasındaki "Stratejik Ortaklığın" Analizi / "Uluslararası Hukuk ve Politika", 2011, 7, No. 25, p.63).

Furthermore, the EU would like to see Moscow did not have the same absolute influence on the former Soviet republics, as was the case in the era of the USSR. The Kremlin considers this aspect as one of the priorities of its foreign policy. So, in the era of Vladimir Putin in Russia's foreign policy course towards integration with Europe was considered in close connection with the restructuring of relations with the former Soviet republics in favor of Moscow (see: the previous source, p. 60). In relation to this issue between the parties there are contradictions in various fields, including in energy, transport, trade, law, etc.

But it would be wrong to link the problems in relations between the EU and Russia only with the political course of the Kremlin. Analysts believe that Russia is afraid of the geopolitical choice of the West course, called "soft imperialism". Thus, according to this strategy, every country outside the borders of the USA and the EU, including developing countries, should play a secondary role.

More specifically, without any military intervention all natural resources, intellectual potential, economic development must serve the needs of the West. This is also called "new colonialism". Therefore, Russia and the European Union have different approaches to the notion of "strategic partnership". As a consequence, "if the EU perceives the "strategic partnership" with Russia as a model of cooperation based on such values as democracy, human rights, legal state, Moscow is considering a strategic partnership, based not so much on shared values as on requirements of international relations" (see: previous reference, p. 74).

About the same position is shared by Russian experts. The analytical service of the MFA of Russia links the complexity of relations with the EU with two factors. First, the formation of the basic principles of relations coincided with the transformation of the USSR. Secondly, the EU itself arose new political, social and economic institutions that differ from the broader system of international relations (see: Irina Busygina, Alexander derjaguin. The European Union strategy towards Russia and cross-border cooperation in the North-West / "Analytical notes" Institute of international studies MGIMO (University) of the MFA of Russia. 2007, issue 7 (27), p. 27).

Therefore, the issue of harmonization of the main provisions of the basic agreement with the EU have become more complicated. According to Russian analysts, the subsequent misunderstanding was the root of it. And we can conclude that these contradictions are still not resolved. In short, Russia still continues its Imperial ambitions, the European Union itself continues, on the one hand, to put forward the same ambitions, on the other, does not recognize similar desires of Moscow. As can be seen, in this matter the position of the Turkish and Russian analysts close to each other.

In the meantime, there is another factor which draws the attention of analysts. There is a perception that integration potential is on the verge of exhaustion. In the current format, Europe is not able to perform some knowledge transfer integration in the economic sphere, on foreign policy. Therefore, it is risky to perceive the EU as an exemplary model of the Union. This fact increased the chances of Russia to offer its own model of integration (see: Irina Busygina, Alexander derjaguin. The decree. production, p. 27). Moreover, Moscow expected from the EU special unlike other post-Soviet countries approach. Europe did not pay attention to this side of the question, and so it remains today. For example, the Kremlin cannot accept that Russia and Tajikistan were placed on one side of the scale. Thus, Russian experts wonder what political dividends can bring a special relationship with the EU? Their answer is pessimistic: "question remains open" (see: previous reference, p.28).

The above analysis of the relations between the EU and Russia shows that over the past period in fact real strategic partnership between the parties, nothing was done. On the contrary, contradictions in the geopolitical plane, deepened. In accordance with this Brussels and Moscow on many aspects of policy towards Ukraine, Moldova, South Caucasus and Central Asia have confronted. Currently this is more evident in the Ukrainian question.

Ukraine: between two geopolitical powers

This country truly is subjected to political, economic, military and geopolitical pressure from the West and Russia. Khreschatyk (the Central street of Kiev), once attracted people with its beauty, now turned into ruins. Ongoing for several months, the internal political conflict had put Ukraine in front of the threat of secession. Analysts and experts believe that the main reason for this is that the forces leading geopolitical struggle for this country, don't go each other on concessions (see: Habibe Özdal. AB Ukrayna ve Rusya Arasında: Hayaller ve Gerçekler / Uluslararası Stratejik Araştırmalar Kurumu, Analiz, No. 26, November, 2013; Svetlana Gamova. "Eastern partnership" is adjusted / Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 17, 2014).

Official Kyiv, starting from the 90s of the last century, constantly hampered in its foreign policy one the dilemma of balancing the interests of the West and Russia. Ukraine actually torn between three scenarios: integration in the geopolitical space, the center of which is Russia; economic integration in Eastern Europe; integration into the common European space, including Russia. Official Kiev still does not take concrete decision over these scenarios, actually needs to make a choice according to his historical perspective.

So, "the first two scenarios represents the major fluctuations in economic and foreign policy. The third choice in the aspect of interests of Kiev, perhaps, the most desirable, but unrealistic idea" (see: Habibe Özdal. The decree. production, p. 8). These uncertainties originating in the question of the choice of geopolitical course, now put Ukraine in a very difficult position. Country entered in a prolonged domestic political turmoil. In terms of the future state here we should note a few important points.

First of all, one of the two conditions set by the European Union before the official Kyiv – Yulia Tymoshenko is released. Elicit opinions about which tones will give political environment of Ukraine Mrs. Tymoshenko, differ in their radical political views. This can easily take advantage of both the West and Russia. This is already implied by the leader of the political party "Udar" Vitali Klitschko.

During one of the rallies he expressed his concern over the appeals of the extreme right "to armed struggle". It is known that A. Turchynov, one of the supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko, the Verkhovna Rada temporarily assigned to execute presidential powers. On 22 February the Ukrainian Parliament's decision the powers of the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych dismissed. According to information distributed by the Agency "Interfax", the Yanukovych – former President of the Ukrainian border guards were not allowed to leave the country. He wanted to fly from Donetsk to Moscow (see: the border Guards did not let the plane with Yanukovych fly out of Donetsk / "", February 23, 2014). On the eve of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has scheduled new presidential elections for may this year.

It should be noted that the American analysts and experts are not happy with the current events in Ukraine. U.S. analysts believe that by the events involved, Vladimir Putin, who, according to them, maneuvering. Thus, according to the statement, the opposition in Ukraine have been provoked by the extra-legal situation, to have a basis for the military intervention. Experts consider such things a threat to the integrity of Ukraine (see: Alex Grigoriev. The situation in Ukraine: expert assessment / "Voice of America", February 20, 2014).

All this shows that the issue of Ukraine relations between the West, Russia is quite complicated. This country actually faces a fateful choice.

Most experts are of the opinion that Ukraine may split. Crimea and Eastern Ukraine may be in the sphere of influence of Russia, while the Western provinces of Europe. Against this background, it is difficult to say what it means for Ukraine the "Eastern partnership". In our view, while on the policy side of the issue don't think. Note also that according to some sources, Russian military experts are engaged in serious activity in Ukraine (see: previous source).

Although the Ukrainian events have somewhat obscured the question of Ukraine's neighbouring Moldova, it has not lost its strategic importance. We are talking about the threat of schism even Moldova. The head of the Moldovan delegation to the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe G. Petrenko said that even if Moldova will sign the Association agreement in summer, in the event the advantages in the parliamentary elections of other forces, the situation of the country will be heavy (see: Svetlana Gamova. The decree. article). It is noteworthy that Washington has been given a serious response to the complaint of the Gagauz people in Chisinau. From across the ocean had sent a warning to the Moldovan authorities.

However, the remains of the Transnistrian question. With this in mind, experts say that the situation in Ukraine will depend on how will develop the events in Moldova. This means that the processes are already moving on a completely different plane. However, while the details of this assertion are not yet clear, but if you already now about it, the unexpected can happen. In this case, from the point of view of relations between Russia and the West will be possible to give a more accurate prediction on the political future of Ukraine and Moldova. In this light, it is important and the dynamics of the South Caucasus policy of the European Union.

New dynamics in global geopolitics, can not influence the policies of the European Union towards the post-Soviet countries. Here are the points that attract the attention and financial crisis experienced by the organization, and in terms of difficulties on the way to political integration. Against this background, experts are fascinated by the contents of the policy and strategy of the European Union towards Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, South Caucasus and Central Asia. Particularly pay attention to new undertones in the framework of the program "Eastern partnership".

EU-South Caucasus: promises and actual steps

That, the West has serious plans in this region, according to the 90s of the last century. But the past period has shown that we are dealing here not with rather specific political steps, but with words. This is manifested in the political, economic and geopolitical aspects. First of all it should be noted that in the settlement of South Caucasus conflicts the EU's lack of engagement and objectivity. Experts analyze the dynamics of the relationship between the parties, noted several of its shortcomings (see: Konstantin Yumatov. The evolution of EU policy in the South Caucasus / "Vesti Tomsk State University", 2012, №1 (17), p. 127-131).

According to K. jumatov, although, since 2008, the influence of the EU on the South Caucasus has grown, nevertheless, took place and a number of controversial moments. First, it's scarce financial and military resources allocated by the EU in the region. Secondly, it is the discrepancy between the economic interests of this organization in the South Caucasus and its democratic standards (see: previous source). Here the author is referring to the policy of "double standards" in respect of the States of the region. So, still the EU does not conduct a differentiated policy towards the States of the region, adhering to a common approach. For example, he does not refer to Armenia as the aggressor country, but, on the contrary, speaks of "democracy", "human rights", "right to self-determination", etc. to cover up these realities.

Here the biggest obstacles Western experts point to the fact that Europe and Russia are unable to agree on a region. The fact that the EU has failed to effectively assist Georgia in 2008, and in this sense played a crucial role (see: Sergey Markedonov. The EU in the South Caucasus / "", November 17, 2011). This situation is the continued geopolitical tensions in the region. There is no information about the kind of steps taken by the EU. But this does not mean that the organization is completely inactive in the region.

The fact that in the framework of the program "Eastern partnership" the EU still has some hopes with respect to Georgia and Azerbaijan. This summer, Georgia to sign Association agreement with EU. Azerbaijan is conducting a more balanced policy, extending in this plane the cooperation with the EU. The parties are developing ties in the sphere of energy. This was said numerous times on the official level. The receive pipeline projects TANAP (Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline) and TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) permits the life seen as a serious step. With confidence we can say that official Baku will develop relations with the EU in a promising direction based on their own interests.

Unlike Georgia and Azerbaijan, Armenia has deceived the EU. September 3 last year, in Moscow, Serzh Sargsyan announced his country's decision to join the Customs Union, than put an end to the issue of associate membership. Europeans described it as a "shock". Since that time, between the EU and Armenia of any serious agreement is not signed.

This country seemed to have forgotten about Brussels. But it is surprising that European analysts are trying to protect Yerevan in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and blaming this on the basis of Azerbaijan in carrying out the aggressive policy (see: Sergey Markedonov. The decree. article). No doubt, at the root of this confusion lies with the policy of "double standards" pursued by Brussels.

From the above it follows that the intensification of the EU mainly in the energy sector does not mean the efficiency of its geopolitics in the southern Caucasus. To ensure that the program "Eastern partnership" had the full support, must change the attitude of the EU toward the countries of the region. Until this happens, the contradiction between economic interests and democratic demands remains. Therefore, it is not clear that in recent years in the region of Brussels has achieved any concrete results. This situation has a negative impact on the Central Asian policy of the organization.

The Central Asian direction: the EU face to face with a difficult situation

Analysts say there are major problems in the European Union in Central Asian politics. Here highlights the fact that "the foreign policy of the EU as a whole is not based on values" (see: Hakan Samur. Birliği'Avrupa'nin Orta Asya Politikası: Idealist Söylemlerin Yetersiz Eylemlerle Yürütülme Çabası / "Uluslararası Hukuk ve Politika", 2012, Cild: 7, Sayı: 13, p. 25). This political course called "idealistic rhetoric". So far, Europe has failed to operate effectively in Central Asia.

Of course, you can not agree with this statement analysts. But they reflect the real situation. In 2007 the EU prepared a document on strategic cooperation with the region. Since 2008 he started to become more active in this direction. In this context, much has been said about the transition of the EU "new strategy" in the region (see: Esra Hatipoğlu. Avrupa Birliği-Orta Asya Ilişkilerinde Yeni Bir Stratejiye Doğru (mu?) / "Uluslararası Hukuk ve Politika", 2008, Cild: 3, Sayı: 5, pp. 1-2). Over the past same period, effective steps were not taken.

Despite this, the Central Asian policy of the EU applies. However, now in this region, except Russia, there is another rival – China. For a short period, Beijing intends to invest in Central Asia investments worth 50 billion USD. Furthermore, China tries to establish the energy routes in a profitable direction. On the other hand, intensified in this direction and Russia. In addition to this, Russia expands its military cooperation with States in the region. Against the background of these processes, and project delivery of oil to Azerbaijan through the wire passing under the Caspian sea, the other major successes of the EU are not evident. And here the role played by the strong position of Baku. It should be noted one moment. We are talking about a situation which may emerge in Central Asia after the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan. According to experts, the region could increase terrorism and illegal turnover of narcotic drugs. As a result, may disrupt the peace of the States in the region that will turn all of the EU plans upside down. Note that the current financial crisis has already exacerbated the situation. We can say that in this case, the EU will be expected in Central Asia a new "unpleasant surprises" (see: Hakan Samur. The decree. production, p. 26).

The fate of EU policy in the region as serious is the impact of success that can be achieved by the organization in the South Caucasus. Yet on the accession of the Central Asian States to the program "Eastern partnership" may not be speech. Even on a General level it is risky to talk about the development of relations between the parties. According to information, in recent years the most bitter rivalry in this region are Russia, China and the USA. But this does not mean that Europe can not take into account. It is possible that in the future this organization will really enhance your credibility in Central Asia. But until any facts that would please Brussels, no.

Thus, the policies pursued by the EU towards former Soviet republics contains number of controversial aspects. In some regions, the activities of this organization has not given the expected results. Currently the most significant for him the place of trials is Ukraine. But this does not mean that the South Caucasus and Central Asia are dropped into the background. On the contrary, if the EU fails to become active in these regions, we can predict that in the post-Soviet space dramatic failures.



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