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Post-Soviet Integration : The Absence of a Union of Law II

The central problem, which continues to prevent progress in Russia and the former Soviet republics, is the societal model. Great hopes were born from the collapse of the USSR. Many expected that Democracy, liberal values ​​and human rights would now be established and respected. In 1991, the most popular terms in political discourse were 'rule of law' and 'civil society'.

But 30 years later, very little of that remains in the post-Soviet space. Admittedly, one can hear terms close to liberal ideology practically everywhere, but these terms are only appearances and false propaganda. And all this began with the collapse. Yeltsin, President of the Russian Federation, freed from the tutelage of Gorbachev and the USSR, implemented economic reforms, with the stated aim of liberalizing Russia at a forced march. These reforms resulted in the creation of an oligarchy and criminality that infiltrated all levels of society. If KGB agents were to defend socialist ideology, new FSB agents were there to protect their clients from lawsuits or other competing groups. The democratic dream ended with the Chechen Wars, used as an excuse to justify the hardening of power in the face of the terrorist threat. The other Soviet Republics met more or less the same fate. The result of the opening of borders to globalization, coupled with unparalleled corruption, has led to the spectacular collapse of national economies. Only Russia and Azerbaijan managed to weather the storm by taking advantage of oil and gas prices.

Not surprisingly, the EEU's integration project seems ineffective. The European Union was certainly not born in a day, but it did so under favorable institutional conditions. One could also say that the foundation of the member-states of the European Communities were already stable and those states were functional liberal democracies before seeking to create a common market. Basically, European states have only raised their common liberal values ​​on a continental scale. It therefore seems obvious that the Member States of the EU have wanted to leave considerable room for maneuver to the European institutions so that it can achieve its objectives. Having nothing to fear from the Union for their internal political development, European states submitted to the integration project they wanted.

The EEU is trapped by its paradoxes. Wanting trade liberalization across the Union but refusing to carry out liberal political reforms within, the member states of the EEU are preventing it from progressing. Refusing to give the integrated organs of the Union the capacity to act, they think they can control it directly, in an intergovernmental manner. Yet this attitude is detrimental to the development of the EEU and only exacerbates mistrust within the whole. One power dominates the others, Russia. It uses the EEU for its own geopolitical purposes, while refusing to play the game of integration to maintain its dominance over its near abroad. Through its foreign policy, it has succeeded in repelling the best candidates for Eurasian integration. She worries her neighbors with her reunionist speech, while wanting to fight the influence of other actors in the region. Finally, it seeks to keep kleptocratic regimes in place while crushing any form of opposition within its own borders.

All of course is not perfect in the European Union either. This can be seen by the challenges launched by the nationalist attitudes of the Visegard states (composed of illiberal democracies and also heirs of the socialist past). But European states understand the unavoidable need to have liberal values ​​enshrined in the treaties and constitutions of member states. It is not surprising, for example, to see that the European acquis, which any potential candidate must transpose into its domestic law before entering the Union, focuses a lot on reforms of a liberal nature. The European institutions also pay great attention to the internal reforms of States, as we have seen with the cases concerning the reforms of the Polish Supreme Court.

It therefore seems important to conclude the comparison between the EU and the EEU by emphasizing that all the differences between the two groups are ultimately only symptoms of a fundamental difference: the EU is liberal, the EEU is not. This state of affairs should make us reveal a key element of the theory of integration: the coherence between the internal political and economic model, with the chosen regional integration model. The EEU can claim to take the European example, but it does so only halfway, and reaps mediocre results.

Thus, it is not enough to transpose an integration model to any space to obtain a similar result. The practice of integration, which has therefore been theorized by the doctrine, is not unique, it is absolute. Comparing the regional integration of two sets depends a lot on their economic structure, their history, their culture, their internal policies. The EEU is essentially an international intergovernmental organization due to the unwillingness of its member states.

We will now conclude by globally comparing the two integrations, European and Soviet and post-Soviet in order to identify the main lines of thought. Based on the elements commented on throughout this thesis, we can also speculate on the future of the two groups as well as the future of their mutual relations.


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