Reality of the Eurasian Economic Space

By Daniil Rozanov

Formally Russian Eurasian idea occurred in 1921 when there was issued an assembly of articles “Exodus to the West” and united emigrants-intellectuals (N.S. Trubetskoj, G.V. Frolovski, P.P.Suvchinski). In this assembly the thinkers suggested the concept of Eurasia.

In the middle of 90-s of the past century they started observing Eurasian concept as an alternative to the so-called “global geopolitical atlantism” (A. Dugin, B.Yerasov, A.S.Panarin).

The main theory of Eurasians – geographic identification of the continent Eurasia.  The “Continent-Ocean” is special geographic and cultural space with poly-ethnic population. And Russia-Eurasia – single civilization, within the territory of which the Ural Mountains join its European and Asian parts.

By studying the history of Russia the Eurasians used the idea of historic rhythms. This means that formation of the state within the territory of Eurasia went through gradual stages of unification and collapse (the Scythians, the Huns, the Mongol-Tatar Empire, Moscow Rus, the Soviet Union).
Cultural part of the concept is based on that West culture shouldn’t act in the role of universum, as all cultures are equal. This is revealed in the originality of each culture. In this aspect, the apologists to the current project suggest, that Russian culture is a special formation, into which historically fits Tura as well as Byzantium influence.
Interpreting historic process the Eurasians used a system approach close to Western traditions. In accordance with it Eurasian concept acts as one of the variants of development of geopolitical interrelations West – East, Europe – Asia.

To the common mind of creators and ideologists of the project, the Eurasian Economic Community due to its geographic, natural, strategic and economic situation has all chances to become a potential center of world geopolitical system.

The main modern ideological thesis is about that formation of the area should ground on the idea of reconstruction of Eurasian civilization, established in the course of historic interactions of the peoples of Europe and Asia.
In this context, as apologists to the project consider, they may talk about evolution within the direction of new union – Eurasian union, the unbiased grounds for which together with economic fundament now according to V. Putin include:
- common geographic space;
- common history;
- common geopolitical interests;
- synthesis of variety of cultures of peoples, inhabiting Europe and Asia by preservation of their national identity and originality;
- interconfessional and international tolerance of peoples inhabiting the territory

In ideological aspect the modern project also demands the search, formation of new Eurasian identity, conducting a policy directed towards reconstruction and development of common cultural values, which would not disagree with national peculiarities of each country and assure synthesis of national identity of each individual people of Eurasia with common Eurasian identity.

The case is about the so-called double identity – own national and common Eurasian – which is the most significant precondition for vitality of Eurasian idea.
But most critics in the most famous publications is directed at this mythical idea. Many people call it an absolute illusion in the conditions, when the key trend is strengthening of national sovereignties and extremely cautious attitude towards any unification projects and “harmonic co-existence”.

Political part and international security are defined in the following way:
- the issues of sovereignty of states and establishment of supranational interstate bodies;
- the issues of integration in the sphere of defense and security;
- conditions for boundaries crossing.

Another element – regional and non-conventional challenges in security. The question is about that in terms of strategic instability, absence of really acting mechanisms of regional and global balance threats has grown rapidly for national states, participating in the project, as well as their industrial, transport, energy and informational infrastructure.

The main elements of economic basis are:
- peculiarities and depth of economy liberalization;
- main directions and peculiarities in the issues of property of lands and natural resources;
- optimization of tax policy;
- innovation within economic transformation;
- the so-called “moral part” of economic reforms.

Unique geographic location of the states of the project also makes urgent the establishment of transport infrastructure for servicing of goods-material flows, connecting two rapidly developing regions – West Europe and the states of Pacific region.

Humanitarian vector of the project concerns the issues:
- formation of common educational space;
- mutual penetration and complementarity of national cultures and traditions;
- use and development of languages of the member-states of the union;
- common migration policy.

Many experts ground their estimations of the current project on that the processes of integration and re-integration within post-Soviet space are led with great difficulties and mainly are fated to political and conjuncture projecting. From unbiased point of view, the difficulties are explained with that these or that integration configurations are formed under the influence of multilateral complex of various factors (integrational and disintegrational). And by development of effective concepts and strategies of promotion of integrational unions the whole complex of factors should be considered fairly and objectively. However, on practice it turns out that it is quite complicated to do, as the factors themselves, representing the phenomenon of political and social reality, are dynamic and variable.

Despite that at the moment, economists and politologists reveal great interest towards the phenomenon of economic and political integration of post-soviet states, many theoretical and practical issues still remain uncovered and unclear. Which itself proves that the idea is illusive.

The number of fundamental researches, devoted to this project is insufficient. Some people explain this with that all economic blocks within the territory of the former USSR currently are at their initial stage. Most part of post-soviet organizations in fact doesn’t develop further than institutional formalization and program statements. And the reason for this is covered in objective unreadiness of the states to the processes of economic integration, as well as in political engagement of the leadership of the number of states, formed under the influence of outside factors. In particular, foreign political course of the USA and West in general within post-soviet area.

Another circumstance is about that the key role in the current dynamics belongs to Russia, oriented on extension of its influence and political stability in the area covered with the project. First of all this concerns to the most explosive region of post-soviet area – Central Asia, characterized with the existence of outside threat (nearness to Afghanistan), as well as “focals” of internal destabilization (religious and territorial conflicts of peoples, inhabiting Fergana Valley – Uzbeks, Kyrgyz and Tajiks). There is its serious specificity on the line China-Russia and Iran-Russia.

According to many analysts, for Eurasian project it is peculiar the absence of finalized theoretical concept, as well as clear understanding of the ways of accomplishment of adopted programs and projects. And western specialists reveal specific interest with the project. They don’t deal with forecasting of processes development within post-soviet area grounding on local concepts, but promote their own concepts of engagement of the CIS states into the world economic system. By this the logic of their analysis is involving to some extent.

Disintegrational factors within the economic space of the CIS by their nature are pretty controversial and complex. These are disintegrational and also anti-intergrational factors.

Desintegrational factors objectively developed in course of actual development of events and phenomena of post-soviet reality, which led and keep on assisting disintegration of new independent states.

As anti-integrational ones – we may observe the whole of subjective factors, evidently directed against integration of post-soviet states.  These factors include – counteraction of the ruling circles of former soviet republics, worries to lose the “famillyship” and “clanship”, dissatisfaction of certain circles from the leadership of the republic with its specialization within the CIS, which has preserved since the USSR times. Outside impulse of these factors is about influence of West, and first of all the USA, within Eurasian area.

Efficiency of the process of project development depends on the balance of various trends, factors and prerequisites, usually characterized with the opposite direction. This proves also the controversy of the established at the moment configuration of inter-state unions of post-soviet states (the CIS, the Union State of Belarus and Russia, GUAM, Single Economic Space, Eurasian Economic Community).

Establishment of these unions, from the one hand is the prove of the intention of post-soviet states to certain integration. From the other hand, the unions carry quasi-integrational character or are at the first the lowest level of integration of the states.

At this level the states, participating in this or that integrational union, use the dependence of each other to gain unilateral benefits. The character of cooperation of post-soviet structures is extremely unstable and illusive, by this we may observe the domination of individual treaties on cooperation on definite issues over the treaties of fundamental basic character.