Russia proposes an integration project that envisages the strengthening of external economic borders to stimulate re-industrialization. Central Asian states are interested in the Customs Union and Common Economic Space, but they do not want to impose tighter control on their external economic borders.
A majority of Russians do not welcome rapprochement with Central Asian states and strongly object to having equal employment rights with citizens of those countries. Any moves which might lead to a real increase in the number of migrants in Russia will further plunge the authorities’ popularity ratings.
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.