Vinokurov E., Libman A. (2022) Regionalism in Eurasia: Four Research Puzzles. In: Rueland J. and Carrapatoso A. (eds) Handbook on Global Governance and Regionalism. Edward Elgar Publishing. Pp. 248–262.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Eurasian regionalism emerged as a tool of reducing the psychological resistance against the dissolution of the USSR and the loss of great power status and economic costs of disintegration. However, what started as a tool of ‘civilized divorce’, turned out to be a sui generis phenomenon. The bottom-up regionalization of the 2000s confirmed the importance of non-state actors (corporations and ethnic networks of migrants) as factors of region-building, even in an environment of the defunct state-led regionalism. Moreover, the establishment of the CU and the EAEU in 2010 and 2015 showed that even regions with the history of two decades of predominantly rhetorical regional integration initiatives can create functioning economic regional organizations. At the same time, the EAEU also shows limits of regionalism under conditions like those existing in Eurasia – in particular, the existence of a sort of ‘celling’ constraining development of economic integration after certain point when its countries become overly concerned about external dependence.
Eurasian regionalism has a substantial potential to inform the comparative regionalism research. First, there are several features of Eurasian regionalism, which have received limited attention in the comparative regionalism scholarship. Studying Eurasia could shed light on regional organizations, which emerge out of collapse of integrated political entities rather than are an outcome of “coming together” of independent nations. Second, the research on Eurasian regionalism shows the importance of crossing the boundaries between IR and comparative politics scholarship: most interesting and promising explanations for the research puzzles of Eurasian regionalism came from analyzing the domestic politics of Eurasian countries.
Keywords: Eurasia; Eurasian Economic Union; Post-Soviet space; Regionalism; Regional integration
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