The Ukrainian Crisis and Its Effect on the Project to Establish a Eurasian Economic Union

By Lapenko, Marina | Connections : The Quarterly Journal, Winter 2014 | Go to article overview

The Ukrainian Crisis and Its Effect on the Project to Establish a Eurasian Economic Union


Lapenko, Marina, Connections : The Quarterly Journal


Foreword

A continuing transformation of the post-Soviet space is presently underway as it sheds the last elements of its common Soviet past. New geopolitical and spatial configurations and integration associations are being created, with a new set of players and development priorities appropriate to today's international situation and the new challenges.

The ideological dogma of "fraternal allied republics" is being replaced by the pragmatism of national interests and a desire to take a rightful place in the system of world economic ties. The topic of integration and choosing an integration vector is a central theme in the foreign policy of each new independent state.

The project to establish the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) is one of the most important Russian integration initiatives since the breakup of the Soviet Union. The objectives and tasks of a new integration group, as well as the makeup of the integration core and potential participants, have now been determined.

However, until recently the question of Ukraine's participation has remained unresolved. The strategic choice between European and Eurasian integration was to a large extent the main cause of the crisis in Ukraine, and although the crisis has not yet been resolved, several diametrically opposed viewpoints on the influence of the Ukrainian crisis on the course of Eurasian integration have already formed among the community of experts. Here are a few of them:

* the Ukrainian crisis is not currently affecting the process of Eurasian integration at all;

* the Ukrainian crisis and the worsening of relations with the West may provide a new impetus and incentive to develop Eurasian integration, as well as accelerate the creation of the EEU;

* the Ukrainian crisis is exerting serious influence on Eurasian integration, but Ukraine is already lost for integration into the EEU;

* the collapse of the government in Ukraine is regarded as a challenge to Eurasian integration.

In our opinion, any given point of view on the degree of influence the Ukrainian crisis has had depends on what level is taken as the basis of analysis - the geopolitical or the intra-regional.

The present article provides an analysis of the process of developing Eurasian integration in a geopolitical context. The Ukrainian crisis is examined as an integral part of geopolitical rivalry and competition between two integration projects - European and Eurasian.

The Background and Contours of Creating the Eurasian Economic Union

Over the years of their independence allied republics have created several integration associations both in the economic and military and political spheres. The most effective of them is the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), which may ultimately become the Eurasian Union.

The term "Eurasianism" and "Eurasia" are becoming dominant in political and intellectual discourse of the late 20th and early 21st century. However, these concepts are not new for purposes of defining the geographical and cultural space of the former USSR. Classic eurasianism was created in the 1920s in works by scholars and philosophers of the Russian migration, and its roots lie in the philosophical and cultural tradition of 19th century Russian thought.

The first Eurasianists-N.S. Trubetskoy, G.V. Vernadsky, P.P. Suvhinsky, G.V. Florovsky, and especially P.N. Savitsky-made a substantial contribution to understanding the role and place of Eurasia as a middle continent. After the end of the Second World War the idea of Eurasia continued to be developed, and particularly richly in the works ofL.N. Gumilev.

In the 1990s after the breakup of the USSR, a process of rethinking classic Eurasianism or the establishment of neo-Eurasianism began in the works of Russian scholars and political leaders. The neo-Eurasianist project appeared in the works of A.G. Dugin as a widescale geopolitical doctrine that went beyond conventional geographic boundaries. …

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