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EU–Russian Relations and the Ukraine Crisis

Nicholas R. Smith

This book assesses the competitive and contentious EU–Russia relationship in relation to Ukraine from 2010 to 2013, focusing on the important areas of trade, energy and security. The key issue explored is whether this relationship played any meaningful role in the deterioration of the situation in Ukraine since late 2013.
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Chapter 2: The geopolitical setting in Europe before the Ukraine crisis: crude regional bipolarity in an emerging multipolar international system

Nicholas R. Smith

Extract

This chapter represents a bridge chapter between the theoretical framework and the three ensuing empirical chapters on the sectors of trade, energy and security. The aim of the chapter is to undertake an assessment of the international and regional geopolitical environments in which the EU, Russia and Ukraine currently reside. First, the concept of power in International Relations is engaged with, with five key power dimensions in Eastern Europe identified: military, economic, energy, diplomatic and soft power. Second, a deeper examination of the altering international and regional European setting is undertaken, with a particular focus on what a multipolar international system with a bipolar Eastern Europe might entail. Third, a crude power calculation for both the international and European regional systems is presented with a strong focus on auditing the power of the EU and Russia. After that, the changing geopolitical setting is connected with an examination of the changing foreign policies of the EU and Russia over the past two decades. Last, it is argued that the impact of the international and regional systems on Ukraine, particularly its position between two larger powers in the EU and Russia, makes pursuing its long-held multi-vector foreign policy logic much more challenging.

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