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External factors of post-soviet regionalism: current developments

Vladimir Sherov-Ignatyev
St Petersburg State University
Vladimir Sherov-Ignatyev
St Petersburg State University
Open Panel

Abstract

Post-soviet regionalism has common features with other ones. Along with internal factors, “positive or negative external cogency” (H.Hänggi, 2000) influenced emerging of sub-regional initiatives among the countries of the former USSR. EU played visible role in post-soviet regionalism - as an example to follow (for all), an attractor (for Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia) and as a competitor for influence (for Russia). The treaty for economic cooperation of CIS countries, signed in 1993, was written with the Rome and Maastricht treaties in in mind. EU expansion eastwards and its New partnership strategy was perceived in Moscow as a negative stimulus. The competition for influence in Ukraine and Belarus provoked the Single economic space of four countries project (2003); now substituted to much more successful initiative of a customs union (CU) of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia (EurAsEC-3Surprisingly, while Russia exploits CU as a tool for isolating Belarus from Europe, Kazakhstan regards the CU as a step on it’s “Way to Europe” (the title of an official country strategy). By now, the CU of three countries is still preoccupied by arranging its own functioning. Each member-country conducts international negotiations unilaterally. Signals from outside might ignite the process of the transformation of EurAsEC-3 into a new international actor: leaders of New Zealand, Vietnam and Syria expressed their interest in signing free trade agreements with EurAsEC-3. EU-Russia negotiations about the new treaty to substitute the current Partnership and Cooperation agreement (PCA) might deserve reformatting into EU–EurAsEC negotiations after the EurAsEC-3 Single Economic Space expected start in 2012.