Two Scenarios for the Development of the Eurasian Economic Union

Scenario 1: The Eurasian Economic Union - old wine in new wineskins

According to the first scenario, moderate regional integration within the Eurasian Economic Union will further develop, but it will not have great implications for Russia’s geopolitical role in the former Soviet space. The first scenario assumes that the Eurasian Economic Union will be launched, but will not manage to gain greater economic weight in the years to come, meaning that Russia would not achieve greater geopolitical leadership in the former Soviet space through regional economic integration in the long-term perspective.

In this context, drawing parallels between the Eurasian Union as a new successor of the Soviet Union belongs more or less to the political rhetoric than to the political reality, since the first successor organisation of the Soviet Union-the CIS-has not fulfilled these expectations so far. According to scenario 1, Russia would particularly face difficulties in speeding up the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union, because this regional integration project would remain “uneven and vague.”[1] Moreover, the Eurasian Union lacks the necessary attractiveness and realistic incentives compared to other regional integration projects, such as the Eastern Partnership initiative of the European Union. Thus, scenario 1 implies the possibility of having concurrent integration projects in the former Soviet space focusing on the CIS countries. In the short-run perspective, countries such as Ukraine, Moldova, or Georgia seem to prefer signing association agreements as well as deep and comprehensive free trade area agreements with the European Union, rather than joining the Eurasian Union, for the same above-mentioned reasons. The Eurasian Economic Union is expected to have “particularly strong vertical politics and oligarchic business trends,”[2] in which the link between policy decision-making and business would be too strong. Furthermore, the Eurasian Economic Union is not capable of introducing economic and political modernisation as derived from the integration incentives of the European Union. In this respect, the Eurasian integration project does not leave room for promoting political transformation in terms of good governance, rule of law, or administrative and sectorial reforms. To conclude, scenario 1 assumes that Eurasian regional integration could not introduce or promote greater economic development potential among the CIS states and thus would not bring about greater convergence of economic performance after the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union. If the Eurasian Economic Union does not manage to achieve convincing economic results in the coming years, Russia will consequently not profit from the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union, because merely acheiving mild to moderate effects would not be enough to bring about Russian geopolitical leadership in the former Soviet space.

  • [1] Lukyanov, 30 May 2013.
  • [2] Kasciunas and Sukyte, “Creation of the Eurasian Union and its Implications forthe European Neighborhood Policy”, 79.
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