TELOSscope: The Telos Press Blog

Europeanizing Russia?

Telos Editorial Associate Adrian Pabst comments on the standing of relations between the EU and Russia in the Moscow Times:

EU-Russia relations are at a crossroads. The current outlook that pits an eastward-looking Russia against an Atlanticist EU must be abandoned in favor of a new, shared vision. Moscow must end unilateral support for autocrats throughout the post-Soviet space and accept that Russia’s future lies in the wider Europe. For its part, Brussels needs a new Ostpolitik, in which relations with Russia, its biggest and most important neighbor, assume geopolitical priority. What Russia and the EU require is a clear commitment to a strategic alliance.

No doubt Russia is a force to be reckoned with, but largely for non-democratic reasons: natural resources (gas) and the power of the Putinist State. Pabst envisions a possible development in which Europe acts as a modernizing and moderating force on Russia, pulling it, so to speak, westward. Unless of course Russia—perhaps playing its energy-politics card—is able to pull the West eastward, to accommodate its own vision of values. It’s worth recalling the character of a recent US call by Senator Schumer to accommodate Russia by conceding its claim on leadership in Eastern Europe. If I lived in Tbilisi, I’d be worried.

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