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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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Nicholas R. Smith


When the three specific layers of the analysis presented in this book – that is, the historical, the empirical and the theoretical – are compiled together, a final judgement on the competitiveness of both the EU and Russia’s foreign policies towards Ukraine can be made.

Historically, it was demonstrated that since the formation of a shared neighbourhood in 2004 – where the spheres of influence of the EU and Russia clearly overlapped for the first time – EU–Russian relations gradually became strained and increasingly competitive and acrimonious. It was argued that this development could be partly explained by the changes in both the international and regional systems. Internationally, the glacial transition of the international system, from the perceived pacifying effect of unipolarity to the perceived instability of multipolarity, made competition between large powers more likely. Regionally, the bipolar power distribution in Eastern Europe between the EU and Russia encouraged competition in areas where their spheres of influence overlapped. Concurrently, the EU’s and Russia’s foreign policies underwent significant changes with both the EU (through its ENP and EaP policies) and Russia (through its Eurasian integration projects) coveting Ukraine’s participation in their flagship initiatives. Thus, it was clear that by 2010 the relationship between Russian and the EU was severely strained with few obvious avenues for growing cooperation, although, at that time, trade and energy relations did remain highly interdependent and subsequently potentially positive-sum.

Empirically, it was evident in the three examined research areas that the EU’s and Russia’s foreign policies...

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