Геополітичне суперництво Європейського Союзу і Росії у Східній Європі
Współzawodnictwo geopolityczne Unii Europejskiej i Rosji w odniesieniu do Europy Wschodniej
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A comparative analysis of geopolitical projects, objectives and instruments of “soft” and “hard” power of the European Union and Russia in Eastern Europe was made. The article argues that Moscow implements an active policy to hold Eastern Europe within its own sphere of influence, while the EU continues to pursue technocratic strategy towards the region’s states, based upon their gradual political and economic alignment with the EU without aspirations for the accession. The main “weak link” of the EU strategy is that EU, unlike Russia, follows more technocratic/bureaucratic approach and gives less attention to the political dimension. Furthermore, the EU wills less to provide benefits, privileges or use coercion, than Russia. Implementing the European Neighbourhood Policy / Eastern Partnership, the EU does not take into account the alternative bias in the region and the “pain points” that make the Eastern European countries open to Russian influence. Thus Russia still possesses considerable “soft” and “hard” levers that limit the EU impact on the transformation processes in the region’s countries. The historical and cultural proximity of Eastern European countries and Russia, the large Russian minorities in those states, Russian language, post-Soviet nostalgia, the Russian Orthodox Church, the interests of the political and business elite (Russia’s ”soft power”) and energy wars, economic blockades, existence of demarcated borders and the presence of Russian military bases (Russia’s “hard power”) in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood do not only ensure the safety of Russian influence in the region, but also create problems for European security. That is why the European Union is directly interested in minimising the Russian influence on Eastern Europe. The author believes that helping them to “increase” their independence and to realise vital internal reforms will be the best way.
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