Showing posts with label Eurasian Union. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eurasian Union. Show all posts

The Ukraine Conflict And The Eurasian Union


Prior to the 2012 Russian presidential election, then-prime minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin laid out his new foreign policy program, which was now focused on "preserving Russia's distinct identity in a highly competitive global environment" in a series of articles published prior to the election (Putin 2011; Putin 2012). 

Putin emphasized the uniqueness and distinctiveness of Russian civilization and how it represents the core of a unique Russian world composed of people (such as the Eastern Slavs of Belarus and Ukraine) who associate themselves with traditional Russian values, abandoning the remnants of earlier efforts to integrate into the West-dominated international system. 

He also said that Europe had veered away from its historical model prior to the 1960s, and now constituted a "post-Christian" identity that valued moral relativism, a hazy sense of self, and excessive political correctness (Gessen 2014). 

According to Putin, European nations have began "renouncing their foundations, including Christian principles, an identity based on moral relativism, a hazy sense of identity, and excessive political correctness" (Gessen 2014). 

Instead, he emphasized ancient European principles while simultaneously emphasizing Russia's distinctive values, which are steeped in the Orthodox Christian past. 

Marriage as a union between a man and a woman, the sanctity of family, religion, the primacy of the state, and patriotism are among these values (Trenin 2014). 

Instead, he emphasized ancient European principles while simultaneously emphasizing Russia's distinctive values, which are steeped in the Orthodox Christian past. 

These values include marriage as a union between a man and a woman, the sanctity of the family, religion, the centrality of the state, and patriotism (Trenin 2014). 

Putin's so-called "civilizational turn" is relevant to Russia's changing security culture and potential merger with post-Soviet states into a Eurasian political and economic union, as it laid the ideological groundwork for Russia's changing security culture and potential merger with post-Soviet states into Putin believed that Russia should be at the heart of a huge geo-economic entity known as the Eurasian Union, which would include governments that had formed from the former Soviet republics and would have political, cultural, economic, and security links. 

In a rapidly globalized world, he stressed the significance of maintaining indigenous values, emphasizing how this union favored that approach. 

This union competes directly with the European Union's European Neighborhood Policy and the integration of Eastern European and Caucasus nations into a broader EU-centered political-economic structure. 

Putin's arguments further support the perception that the West is endangering Russian identity and security at practically every level of contact. 

By the 2012 presidential election campaign, policymakers in Moscow saw the emergence of a special relationship between the European Union and other post-Soviet states – such as Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia – as a direct threat to long-term Russian interests in the region, and, by extension, a threat to the goal of re-establishing Russia's role as a major player in international politics. 

Part of the conflict between Moscow and Brussels, as noted by Mikhail Molchanov (2016, 2017), stems from the latter's decision that countries opting for participation in the EU's Neighborhood Policy must forego any special economic ties with other international institutions, such as the proposed Eurasian Union. 

In other words, since the EU required "all or nothing" responses from those who were granted "neighborhood status," they were compelled to choose between a westward or eastward inclination. 

As a result, when Russia started to push for Eurasian integration, the geopolitical conflict with the EU intensified. 

This is crucial for our understanding of Russia's explanation of its strategy in the Ukraine conflict, as well as its implications for general ties with the European Union. 

The EU Eastern Partnership initiative was also aimed to extend the West-controlled geopolitical area to the east, according to Foreign Minister Lavrov (2014).... 

There is a strategy of forcing CIS nations to make a hard, manufactured, and artificial choice: either join the EU or join Russia. 

It was the use of this strategy in Ukraine that plunged the nation into a deep internal political crisis. 

As part of his aim to re-establish Russia's supremacy in Eurasia, Vladimir Putin consolidated the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) after resuming the Russian presidency in 2012. 

This meant that Russia and the European Union were actively wooing six republics in the western part of former Soviet territory: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. 

To "urge" these nations to join the EEU, Russia launched a significant pressure campaign. 

For example, Moscow threatened Armenia with economic and security sanctions, while it offered Ukraine large sums as part of a membership package (Blank 2013). 

By the summer of 2013, it was evident that Georgia and Moldova were willing to defy Moscow's push and enhance their connections with the European Union, that Belarus and Armenia would join Russia's Eurasian Union, and that Azerbaijan would stay outside of both organizations. 

Ukraine's administration, headed by President Yanukovych, tried to deflect attention away from the EU and the EEU for as long as possible, finally agreeing to a signing ceremony with the European Union in the autumn of 2013. 

Massive protests against Yanukovych's administration erupted in Kiev in November 2013 after he declared that Ukraine will instead join the Eurasian Union (Grytsenko 2013). 

As is generally known, Yanukovych was forced to quit the nation as a consequence of these demonstrations. 

In Kiev, a new Western-oriented administration took power, prompting a Russian military involvement in Ukraine. 

This involvement includes the annexation of Crimea and assistance for Russian and Russophone separatist organizations in southern Ukraine (see Götz 2016; Tsygankov 2015; Malayarenko and Wolff 2018 for more on Russia's Ukraine strategy). 

As retaliation for Russia's military participation in Ukraine, the European Union and the United States imposed sanctions. 

Furthermore, the EU no longer considers Russia to be a strategic partner after Russia's annexation of Crimea and assistance for anti-government insurgents in eastern Ukraine. 

The Kremlin, for its part, has been more combative in its rhetoric against the West. 

Russia is now depicted in official Russian security and foreign policy materials as a country under siege by the US and its Western allies. 

The deployment of strategic missiles and the deployment of strategic conventional precision weapons by the West, for example, are both classified as important military threats to Russia in the 2014 Military Doctrine. 

In a time of increased global competition, this doctrine and the 2016 Foreign Policy Concept both identify the United States and NATO as potential adversaries, concluding that Russia must focus on the credibility of its nuclear deterrent as well as conventional and non-conventional warfare elements (The Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation 2015; Russian Foreign Policy Concept 2016).

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

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