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Tatiana Romanova

Doctor in Political Studies, Associate Professor at European Studies Department, Saint Petersburg State University, Head of Jean Monnet Chair

There are more issues that divide Russia and the EU than that unite them. Although both sides support the fundamentals of the current world-order, Russia believes that the current arrangement does not grant equality and is asymmetrically patterned after the West. While civil societies on both sides believe that sanctions should be ended and relations strengthened, and while both have incurred losses as a result of restrictive measures, they diverge on the conditions of relaunching economic relations, on the feasibility of technical cooperation in the absence of political convergence, and on what EU – EEU cooperation could look like.

There are more issues that divide Russia and the EU than that unite them. Although both sides support the fundamentals of the current world-order (especially when confronted with a challenge like IS), Russia believes that the current arrangement does not grant equality and is asymmetrically patterned after the West. While civil societies on both sides believe that sanctions should be ended and relations strengthened, and while both have incurred losses as a result of restrictive measures, they diverge on the conditions of relaunching economic relations, on the feasibility of technical cooperation in the absence of political convergence, and on what EU – Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) cooperation could look like. While the EU and Russia feel the need to cooperate on a settlement in Ukraine, on stabilisation in the Middle East, on the fight against terrorism, they diverge over what should be done, over whether human rights / democracy or security / stability should prevail, and over how international organisations should be used.

In this context two parallel tracks should be promoted. The first one is ad hoc cooperation on burning common threats (the settlement in Ukraine and the fi ght against IS and terrorism), or economic issues of immediate mutual benefi t (aviation, the space, medicine, and gas). Various international fora as well as bilateral EU-Russia arrangements should be open for this cooperation. At the same time, sustainable long-term cooperation depends on conceptual discussions over the future set-up, which would guarantee that the preferences of both sides are taken into consideration and neither feels discriminated or betrayed. Mutual understanding is essential for these discussions, it can be cultivated through wider civil society dialogue, more balanced media coverage, the preservation of existing economic links and expert discussions. Only this conceptual settlement will reverse the current ‘divide-unite’ split in favour of more unity.

Russia and Europe: Somewhat Different, Somewhat the Same?, 143 Kb

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Poll conducted

  1. In your opinion, what are the US long-term goals for Russia?
    U.S. wants to establish partnership relations with Russia on condition that it meets the U.S. requirements  
     33 (31%)
    U.S. wants to deter Russia’s military and political activity  
     30 (28%)
    U.S. wants to dissolve Russia  
     24 (22%)
    U.S. wants to establish alliance relations with Russia under the US conditions to rival China  
     21 (19%)
 
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