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Research Report


Nicu Popescu
Copyright Date: Sep. 1, 2014
Pages: 48
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 5-6)
    Antonio Missiroli

    The situation east of the EU border started becoming a source of serious concern exactly one year ago when Armenia announced that it would not sign the proposed trade agreement with the EU. In the intervening twelve months, a number of events have substantially altered the status quo in the region that lies between the EU and Russia. Ukraine has been both the catalyst and the epicentre of such events, but their repercussions have been much wider – and the situation is still far from settled.

    The political debate in and around Europe has mostly centred on the ‘strategic surprise’...

  2. (pp. 7-8)

    The recent history of attempts to reintegrate the post-Soviet space is littered with failed political and economic initiatives. Such initiatives have included the creation of the Union State of Russia and Belarus in the 1990s, the Eurasian Economic Community launched in 2000, and the GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova) grouping launched in 1997. So far the only project which seems likely to come to fruition is the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan which is scheduled to become the Eurasian Economic Union as of 1 January 2015.

    The Eurasian Union exists already. Its physical headquarters – the...

  3. (pp. 9-18)

    The term ‘Eurasian Union’, often used in political parlance, refers to several entities. It designates a Customs Union, initiated in 2006 and launched in 2010, that includes Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and which mutated in 2012 into a Common Economic Space of the three countries. The term is also often used to refer to the Eurasian Economic Commission (formerly the Customs Union Commission) which is the executive of the Customs Union. And it also refers to the Eurasian Economic Union, a new institution which will be launched on 1 January 2015.

    The organisation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) is...

  4. (pp. 19-26)

    ‘Eurasianists’ in the Kremlin’s corridors of power nurture the hope that the small technocratic exercise in economic integration represented by the Eurasian Economic Union in its current format could evolve into something bigger – an integrated, Russian-led and globally relevant Eurasia. Many in Russia have a deep sense of entitlement to the post-Soviet states – as revealed once by Putin’s casual remark that the Soviet Union was in essence ‘Russia, but just under a different name’.12 Some in Russia have even higher stakes, as they hope that Eurasian integration ‘could destroy the global dominance of the West and put an...

  5. (pp. 27-34)

    On 27 July 2013 Vladimir Putin visited Kiev to celebrate the 1025th anniversary of the ‘Christening of Russia’ in Crimea by Vladimir the Great, Grand Prince of Kiev, nicknamed ‘the Fair Sun’ (Krasno Solnyshko). Putin made an impromptu appearance at a conference on ‘Orthodox-Slavic values – the foundation of Ukraine’s civilisational choice’ organised by Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian politician to whose daughter Putin is godfather. There, Putin announced that Russians and Ukrainians are ‘one nation’ and that throughout the vagaries of history the ‘idea of unity between the western and eastern Rus [i.e. Ukraine and Russia] always lived on both...

  6. (pp. 35-42)

    The crisis in Ukraine was sparked by Yanukovich’s refusal to sign the Association Agreement with the EU in November 2013. But a spark is nothing without a powder keg nearby. Ukraine itself is hardly a successful model of state building. However it is neither the first, nor the last, European state afflicted by severe corruption, democracy and governance problems to have undergone an internal revolution. Plenty of other states – inside and outside Europe – have gone through such experiences without provoking geopolitical crises of such proportions.

    What really made Ukraine a powder keg was the geopolitical context of a...

  7. (pp. 43-44)

    Russia’s Eurasian Union project was launched to reverse the divorce of much of the post-Soviet space but, paradoxically, it accelerated the process. Ukraine was supposed to be the crown jewel of a newly emerged, Russia-led Eurasia, but instead it turned into the graveyard of Moscow’s ambitions to build a geopolitical Eurasia. Russia might have a lot of disruptive power in Ukraine and other post-Soviet states, but it lacks the power to create a positive unifying project.

    What is left following the failure of the grand geopolitical project for a greater Eurasia is the real Eurasia – a Customs Union of...