Evgeny Vinokurov, Ph.D (Economics), is Director of the Center for Integration Studies of the Eurasian Development Bank.
EEU is a young integration association, that was formed to help participating countries unlock their economic potential, boost economic ties within the region, and create conditions for improving the countries’ global competitiveness.
Today even raising the question of an economic integration agreement between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union seems a non-starter. Recent economic sanctions have severely hurt economic cooperation between the two political entities. Yet the foundations of any new institution are frequently set out in times of crisis.
Skepticism is normal in any project development and it will naturally continue to accompany the Eurasian integration project. Regular monitoring of public opinion will help uncover sore points. To curb skepticism, systemic preventive measures are needed, such as an earnest and well-balanced dialogue with the public and business community.
Eurasia is not the same as the post-Soviet space, and its borders cannot be regarded as fixed once and for all by the Soviet past. Whereas the post-Soviet space can indeed be the best region for integration in certain aspects, other options might envision a different combination of countries.
In the medium term, the Common Economic Space will face the dilemma of either “enlargement” or “intensification,” which is well known to Europeans. One of the main reasons behind the Customs Union’s success is that it has focused on a clear and rather narrow objective.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
The April 16 referendum will focus on power distribution rather than institution building. In other words, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to expand the President’s powers and allow him to rule longer. In their turn, Turks perceived it as an institutional choice to contribute to the development of the state.
If the larger picture defies prediction, the immediate future is scarcely more transparent. In the U.S. case, the known unknowns are numerous. They begin with the question of how much deck furniture Trump is willing to overturn in order to pursue an “America First” strategy.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.