Why the interdependence of the EU and Russia doesn’t lead to regional stability

Estonian Foreign Policy Institute published the book “Post-Crimea Shift in EU-Russia Relations: From Fostering Interdependence to Managing Vulnerabilities”. The liberal theory supposes that the interdependence had to contribute to regional stability and possibly even the democratization of Russia. Why the expected positive effects of interdependence have not materialized is the main question raised up in the book.

The book is the outcome of a research project of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute, carried out during 2018-2019.

Highlights:

  • The EU and Russia depend on each other in a number of fields, including energy, trade, the financial sector and security. These connections are asymmetric and create different vulnerabilities for both sides.
  • At best, economic interdependence between states may contribute to security and stability. However, in EU-Russia relations, the preconditions for positive interdependence were always weak and have further weakened since 2014.
  • The EU needs to pay more attention to reducing its vulnerabilities, caused for example by the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.
  • Russia has been keen to reduce its dependence on Europe, for instance in the financial sector and in respect of food imports. The Ukraine crisis has proved that Russia is willing to pay an economic price in order to pursue its geopolitical interests.
  • The EU and Russia need to develop a new conceptual basis for a more sober and functional relationship. There is no way back to “business as usual”.

Read the full book here