Eurasian Economic Union: Russia’s New Foreign Policy in the South Caucasus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

Abstract

Russian President Putin is seeking political and especially economic alliances to reduce and counterbalance the influence of the European Union and the United States in the postSoviet space. He is therefore determined to cement Moscow’s hegemonic status in the near abroad, particularly in the South Caucasus. In order to achieve that strategic purpose, he has created the Eurasian Economic Union, as an alternative to the EU, since the EEU is under Russia’s domination. As a result of this initiative, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed an agreement to create the EEU in 2011. Then, on 29 May 2014, they assembled again in Moscow and signed a new treaty to form the EEU. This agreement became fully operational on 1 January 2015. Moscow has been pressurising Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, as well as other CIS members, to join the EEU. Russia’s main interests in the South Caucasus are to control the region strategically and to inhibit or dominate the export of oil and gas from the Caspian Sea basin to the West along the Transcaucasian energy corridor to counteract the increase in recent years in relations between the South Caucasus countries and the West. Therefore, this new alliance is progressively playing an important role in Russian foreign economic policy towards Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Whilst Armenia – which has been extremely dependent economically on Russia – joined the EEU, Azerbaijan declined to do so once in the past. In Georgia, especially during Saakashvili’s period since he was a keen proponent of NATO enlargement and EU membership, the EEU has declined in popularity. Moreover, joining the EEU would undermine economic independence and prosperity in the South Caucasian countries and could also prevent the West from having access to the region.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorking Paper No. 2016/1
PublisherMaastricht School of Management
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016

Keywords

  • Eurasian Economic Union
  • Hegemonic Stability Theory
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Georgia
  • Energy

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