Are the Commonwealth of Independent States and Eurasian Union Able to Enhance Economic and Political Cooperation in the Post-Soviet Space?

Are the Commonwealth of Independent States and Eurasian Union Able to Enhance Economic and Political Cooperation in the Post-Soviet Space?

Aijarkyn Kojobekova (UNUM, Kyrgyzstan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3264-4.ch005

Abstract

This chapter aims to analyze the efficiency of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Eurasian Union from Kyrgyzstan's perspective. Two main concepts of the relations of the CIS countries are applied initially. One of them proceeds from the expediency of the formation of close integration ties, creating favorable partnerships, taking into account changes of a geopolitical nature, and the need for a coordinated restructuring of the regional economy. The second concept focuses on the economic restructuring and isolation of Russia. This is contrasted with the much more pressing impact of the EEU on the economy of one member of the CIS, Kyrgyzstan. The arguments in favor of closer union hinge on such economic considerations. However, currently in some CIS/EEU countries there are opponents of such a close interaction with Russia, which is seen as seeking to impose its conditions on export, extending its market as well as its political influence. The latest is reflected in so called nationalistic discourse in Kyrgyzstan.
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Background

One cannot find an unambiguous opinion about the prospects of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), either among politicians, or among scientists. For example, while a large portion of analysts and the political class in Moldova, Turkmenistan and Ukraine accepted the CIS as a facilitation of a ‘civilized divorce’ only, their counterparts in Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan consider the CIS as an effective format to solve serious problems in the post-soviet space (Larin O., 2015).

Some experts consider it as the only remedy to the crises have arisen in different spheres among the member states. Others believe that the CIS can only promote the reconstruction of the political and economic mechanisms that led to the crash of the Soviet Union, or alternatively that it can become an informal political league for discussions on issues of mutual interests (Kux, 1992). The third group questions whether the CIS is more of a Presidents’ Club than an organization which is able to solve complex problems for its members (Kembayev Zh., 2009). Some keep optimistic about the potential of the organization. It is important to keep in mind that speaking about CIS, some scholars emphasize the Russian ambition to rebuild ‘Greater Russia’. In this context, as Bertil Nygren said, (Nygren B., 2008)

Russia’s major ‘hard power’ instrument is its military strength, whether in the form of border guards, peacekeepers, or regular armed forces. Russia’s major ‘soft power’ instrument towards the other CIS states includes state-owned or state-controlled oil, gas and electricity production entities and energy transit capacities, the indebtedness to Russia and the need for Russian investments and know-how. Russia’s major social and cultural instrument involves the Russian citizens in the CIS countries, which most often have both Russian citizenship and citizenship in the country of living, the state and local language requirements, schools, press and radio/TV broadcasts in the Russian language.

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