Europeanization of Russia’s Neighbourhood. The Example of Belarus
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This paper deals with bilateral relations, geopolitical strategies and normative approaches within a triangle consisting of the ‘West’, the ‘East’ and Belarus. The main focus is laid on the European Union and the Russian Federation as the key actors of the West, respectively the East. Further analysis of other Western and Eastern players’ stakes in Belarus provides a more global scope in this context. The analytical use of two models dealing with international socialisation – the rationalistinstitutionalist ‘External Incentives Model’ and the constructivist ‘Social Learning Model’ – are compared and contrasted on the basis of the European, respectively Russian Belarus- policy. Each of the following three chapters deals with one part of the triangle mentioned above. In order to give information necessary for an evaluation by the rationalist- institutionalist approach, every chapter defines strategic interests, bargaining powers and degree of influences of the actors. Societal issues, self-perception and informal relations to the other players are presented to allow a constructivist analysis. Finally, it is outlined if and how far the two models serve as an appropriate theoretical tool for a comprehensive evaluation. Furthermore, it will be asked whether these two models offer practical solutions for rapprochement within the triangle. In the context of this thesis the primary objective is to provide to recommendations and expertise for the ‘Europeanization’ of Belarus. This does however not mean that Russian interests are perceived as unjustified.
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