The Political Demography of the Eurasian Economic Union

By Sakaev, Vasil T. | Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research, January 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

The Political Demography of the Eurasian Economic Union


Sakaev, Vasil T., Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research


INTRODUCTION

New integration project, known as the Eurasian Economic Union (the EAEU) has been implemented since 2014 in the former post-Soviet Eurasia. The basis for its creation were the institutions of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) with the participation of Russia, Kazakhstan and the Republic of Belarus. At present, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan have joined it as well.

Although, on Russia's initiative at the time the various integration associations (CIS, SCO etc.) have been created, but the most important for it is the integration initiative within the framework of the EAEU. The relevance of this association increased after the attempts of the European Union to form associations with a number of post-Soviet states. Therefore, from the beginning the EAEU has positioned itself as an alternative to the EU in the "Eurasian space". At the same time the EAEU is declared, first and foremost, as a form of regional economic integration, intended to promote all-round modernization of the Member States (Access mode: www.eaeunion.org/#about, 20.05.2016).

What is the potential of this association in the world, its prospects and, finally, is it an alternative to other integration projects?

It becomes urgent to consider these aspects from the point of view of political demography, which is based on the study of the demographic characteristics of the population that have a significant impact on the development of the integration association.

METHODS

To evaluate the demographic characteristics, we used statistical data of the UN, the EAEU and the Offices for National Statistics, in particular, the indicators such as Average population, Total fertility rate, Rate of natural increase, Net Migration rate, Age-structure, GDP and GNI per capita, etc.

The basis of the study was the comparative method, which revealed the tendencies of demographic development of the countries and the balance between economic developments, compared the economic and demographic characteristics of the EAEU with other integration associations.

RESULTS

Demographic forecasts suggest a decrease in Russia's geopolitical potential in the first half of the 21st century, because it will be only 1.2% of the world population by 2050 (instead of 2.4% in 2005) (Demeny P., McNicoll G., 2000).

Compensating geopolitical costs of demographic processes is possible through the creating of integration associations, the most important of which is the EAEU. Its advantages can be ascertained through the definition of the most important demographic challenges of Russia, among which are the following:

* Decrease in country 's population;

* Fast aging of the population;

* A significant decrease in the labor resources;

* Depopulation in the regions of Siberia and Far East;

* Increase in the proportion of ethnic Muslims in the ethnic and religious structure of the population.

Is it possible to overcome these challenges by implementing a new integration project, and what is the EAEU in the Political demography's point of view?

Currently, the population of the countries participating in the EAEU is slightly more than 182.3 million people (Table 1).

* Population Reference Bureau. 2015 World Population Data Sheet. - Access mode: www.prb.org

Russia is the undisputed core of association in terms of population size. The second, union kernel but much smaller in size is Kazakhstan.

According to the type of fertility and mortality (Table 2), two groups of countries can be divided into: "European type" (Russia, Belarus, Armenia), characterized by low Rate of natural increase, and "Central Asian type" (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan), characterized by high Rate of natural increase. The countries of "Central Asian type" demonstrate high Rate of infant mortality and Total fertility rate, which are the characteristics for traditional society.

In the age structure of population one can trace back the "European type" with a low proportion of population under age 15 years and a significant proportion of the elderly population (Russia, Belarus, Armenia) and "Asian type" with a high proportion of juveniles and a small proportion of the elderly population (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan). …

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