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Analysis Of Russian Changing Approach Towards Institution Building Through The Prism Of Its Great Power Identity:the Case Of Eurasian Economic Union

Posted on:2017-04-26Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:Idirissova AigerimFull Text:PDF
GTID:1226330482488916Subject:International relations
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Economic integration in the post-Soviet region have been a quite interesting issue, because this region until now lacked a strong economic institutions aimed to deal with the economic problems which most of the post-Soviet states have been repeatedly facing. Indeed given fact has been provoking a large number of questions, especially now, when given lack of a regional economic institutional architecture is being filled up and we can observe creation of a very ambitious and fast-moving integrative project, which is called Eurasian Economic Union.It should be noted that first and one of the broadly known organizations which was established in order to keep the mission of integration core was the Commonwealth of Independent States(CIS). Newly independent republics faced various challenges of setting up new type of relations among themselves, while engaging in state-building and trying to overcome the negative effects of the Soviet Union’s dissolution. Economic integration agenda was one of the top-discussed directions within the CIS. Continuation of the economic interdependencies between the newly independent states, which was the heritage of the Soviet Union’s single economic system, was one of the factors which were driving states towards closer economic integration. Countries even signed a free trade agreement in 1994. However, the CIS was characterized by weak and ineffective institutional framework, generated high volumes of international agreements and a multitude of high-profile political meetings, but couldn’t make much impact. Most of the observes of CIS integration efforts pointed out that most of the post-Soviet states do not participate in CIS projects, institutional mechanism of the CIS is very weak and it is rather a declarative organization without any substantial achievements. Given experience have resulted in a skepticism among not only IR scholars, but also among the politicians and leaders of the post-Soviet states, who many times stated that CIS was not able to bring regional cooperative efforts to the new functional level.The establishment of EAEU seems to be a promising break from the past experiences. What is the new Eurasian Economic Union? It is a market of 170 million people with a combined GDP near 3 trillion US dollars. It is a very fast- moving project, which started from the creation of Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in 2010, continued with the creation of a Single Economic Space(SES) and Eurasian Economic commission in 2012 and least but not the last it has transformed to Eurasian Economic Union and added two more member states in 2015. Given institution is being positioned not on the past- oriented rhetoric but proposes a future-oriented formula which is intended to facilitate four economic freedoms – free movement of goods, people, services and capital. The union does not seem to be limited by the given number of states, enlargement is also seen as a top –priority, and given agenda is also being worked out and discussed by the member states.There have existed several main developments which were admitted by the scholars. The main activity in this path was the acceptance of legal documents in July of 2010 and setting up the common customs rates. The document is the main managing tool in the whole Customs Union territory which clears out the customs payments among the member countries. The Customs Code was used a basis for the Customs union. The Customs Union is much more efficient institution that shall operate as a unified mechanism with all of its members having benefits out of the union. Unlike previous frameworks, the EAEU must operate in harmony with the commitments which are associated with the Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization. The main framework and legal issues are handled rigorously by setting up an international committee with members from all EAEU countries. The goal of setting up such a kind of committee is to have a complex and efficient basis for each country considering its all interests, plans, and avoiding mistakes based on the historic experience. It should be a future oriented modern institution that will be able to play its role in the whole global arena. The union is looking forward to set up its new beneficial environment that seeks reliable partners internationally.Recent developments and changes in the patterns of regional integration processes raise a lot of questions. Despite the fact that the idea of creating Eurasian Economic Union was first proposed in 1994 by the president of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev, it becomes quite interesting why, it took more than fifteen years to finally create a fully-fledged regional institution. While analyzing foreign policy preferences of the EAEU member states, the study found out, that Russian attitude towards the regional integration has underwent the most visible change.First, the institutions which Russia previously created ensured a predominant Russian position within those frameworks. But now with newer institutions like EAEU Russian approach can be observed as becoming more inclined towards economic liberalism which is evident in the structure and functioning of these institutions. Second, Russia this time becomes determined and committed to the establishment of the given economic institution and the implementation of all necessary rules, norms and regulations. As it was noted above, there have existed various institutional mechanisms in the post-Soviet region since the end of Cold war but the recently established EAEU presents a break from most such precedents in the sense that with EAEU’s emergence, apparently Russia’s policy course seems to be taking a new path previously not followed. The observation points towards a changing aspect of Russian foreign policy which contrasts completely with the otherwise foreign policy course of Russia which makes it puzzling and confusing.It is very interesting, what are the main reasons which are guiding this transformation, how we can explain and understand re-activation of this particular integrative process, how is this institution comparing to the ones previously existed, is it going to repeat the examples of previous predecessors or it is going to be new, future oriented international economic institution which in the long-term will enhance regional integration and eventually unify the region under its basis, does given institution point out a path towards long- term liberal institution building of the post-Soviet area, who are the main actors and most importantly what kind of implications will this organization have for the given region.Given dissertation is designed to answer the crucial question: why Russian attitude toward institution-building underwent a change? And how is it connected to the Russian great power identity?The dissertation argues that EAEU was established as an outcome of Russia’s specific state characteristic and driving force of its foreign policy – The Great Power identity. In other words, Russian self-identification as a the great power is a major source of the ultimate goal of Russian foreign policy – rebuilding of greater Russia and the establishment of multi-polar world system, which is governed by the number of equal great powers and Russia has its own and legitimate place within.It is based on rules, norms and regulations because the issues and understanding of global economy is the field of great accommodation of the new thinking i.e. acceptance of the liberal economic views and the ideas of the integration to the world economy. A move towards economic liberalism actually feeds into the ultimate goal of Russian foreign policy. Provided explanations connected to the development and modification of Russia’s state identity, which are guiding the foreign policy course of Russia.The thesis uses constructivist perspective to explain the change in Russian foreign policy with the reference to the end of the Cold War period and formation of Russian identity in early 1990 s. According to this constructivist logic, state identities, that is the systems of cognitive, emotional and evaluative orientation towards Self and Other affects states assessments of threats and opportunities and guides their international behavior. A state’s identity is the mirror reflection of how it is viewed by other international actors. Interactions with other states and international organizations and inter-subjective meanings created through these interactions establish a meaningful context for defining the state’s identity. In this way the international environment in which states operate exerts a decisive influence on their actions. It points out that after the Soviet Union collapse Russia was undergoing the identity crisis where the most of the political elite understood that the status of newly established Russian Federation was not equal to one of Soviet Union, however Russia still was considering itself as a world’s great power which is being observed through the early foreign policy concept of Russia which was published in 1993. The concept of great powerness(derzhavnost) has historically been an embedded part of Russian identity since 1815. According to the constructivist conception, Russia’s foreign policy is shaped through interactions with other nations and affected by the Western states treatment of Russia and by their references to Russia. Constructivist emphasizes the impact of socialization, the weight of social recognition and the self-image of states in accounting for their foreign policy actions and relations with other states. Given thesis explores the nature and development of the Russian great power identity with its reference to the historical past and pointing out the patterns of continuity and change within given identity. The dissertation explores given concept throughout the Soviet Union collapse and links it to the development of regional integrative institutions. The research is based on new analytical framework on identity research which is being categorized into two main dimensions of identity- the content and contestation- and explains the relation between identity and action. The paper contributes to the existing literature by addressing the academic gap which is caused by the lack of incorporating identity as a variable to the exploratory model in the mainstream of political science. Additionally it contributes to the study of the institutional design on the post Soviet region, which has not been fully analyzed so far.The dissertation consists of eight chapters. First chapter is introduction where researcher indicates a research question, main argument, theoretical framework, previous explanations to the research question(literature review), methodology which was employed in the given dissertation as well as data collection. Second Chapter is devoted to the detailed explanation of the dissertation theoretical framework and application of mentioned framework while explaining Russia’s changing approach towards institution building. Third Chapter presents a brief historical overview of the post-Soviet regional integration, with the reference to the CIS experience and the introduction of the new mainstream of post-Soviet integration processes, which is the case of EAEU. Fourth Chapter presents the Russian foreign policy approach towards multilateral institutions during the first decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union, with the main understanding of the world by Russia and of itself and its connection to the Russian minimum engagement with the post- Soviet region. Chapter five is aimed to showcase the change in Russian attitude towards institution building, the attempts for re-engagement with the given region and overall creation of EurAsEC. Chapter six focuses on the continuation of Russian involvement course and overall creation of Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan and its further transformation to the Eurasian Economic Union and inclusion to it two more member states. Chapter seven seeks to explore how the EAEU is viewed by member states, what is the main discourse on the given topic in the member countries, what are the main rationale of joining and what are the main dangers. Chapter eight is presenting main dissertation conclusions together with potential regional implication which were drawn up based on these conclusions. All chapters complement each other and designed to provide comprehensive answers to the main research question.The establishment of EAEU has surely revived the interest in the region by being a fast-moving and dynamic project which can potentially bring real changes to the member states as well as to the states outside the union. The main focus of this study is to explore the development and transformation of the post-Soviet economic integration, to find the reasons for the current active process of regional integration and to outline the leading role of Russia.The study explores the concept of Russian great power identity and relies on the methods which are guided by the constructivist theoretical framework, such as textual and discourse analysis, survey and interview methods. It explores given concept throughout the official documents, statements of political leaders, edited book chapters regarding the issues of Russian foreign policy, scientific papers and articles, it also incorporates the view of the citizens of Russian Federation to the concept of great powerness(derzhavnost).The dissertation presents a comprehensive study on the Russian foreign policy which is based on the exploration of the Russian self-identification as a great power, the development of the given concept with the passage of time, the notion and understanding of the world system by Russia and establishment of the given identity as an independent variable. The study finds out that the way how Russia sees the world and itself has a strong correlation with the Russian national interests which in return affects Russian foreign policy behavior.Given study provides an outlook which is having certain implications for the region because it potentially influences to the regional institutional architecture and provide insights for the future development. It shows that a move towards economic liberalism actually connected to the desire of rebuilding greater Russia. It also discloses the connection of the notion of the establishment of the multi-polar world system and its connection to the Russian state identity. In general, dissertation tries to explain and analyze the process of institution building on the post- Soviet area, with the detailed examination of the motivations of the driving force and core, which is Russia. The observation points out that it becomes difficult to understand given motivations without a deeper look to the historical narrative and events which was taking place after the Cold War. The paper draws an important conclusion that given institution indeed is showing a break from its predecessor in a sense, that it provides more legalized and binding institutional architecture, which is able to deliver certain and most important visible economic benefits for the member states. There is certain problem connected to the complication of the geopolitical situation on the post Soviet region which slows downs the integration. Given circumstance make it difficult to deliver the results which most of the states desire and can potentially bring this integration back to the old conditions. However, the states are trying to find the solutions to the existing problems. At the same time Russia is showing its clear intention towards transformation of the given institution up to the one of the global dimension by enlargement of the union and adding more members, which is observed from the foreign policy objectives of Russia. Given goal cannot be achieved without certain joint concessions among the member states.
Keywords/Search Tags:Eurasian Economic Union, post-Soviet economic integration, Russian foreign policy, Great power identity
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