Russia–EU Relations and the Common Neighborhood: Coercion vs. Authority

1st Edition

Irina Busygina

Published July 27, 2017
Reference - 242 Pages
ISBN 9781138215467 - CAT# Y290969
Series: Post-Soviet Politics


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There is no current or forthcoming publication which systematically examines EU-Russia relations through the prism of forms and types of power.

Examines not so much what Russia and the EU want to do but what is feasible – what authority/coercion tools they have at their disposal and the benefits and constraints of using these tools.

Explains the sources of differences between the EU and Russia and their strategies towards third parties.

There is a recurring assertion within the literature that Russia’s strength is growing and the EU’s is declining, the author’s perspective is different, aimed not at determining who is ‘stronger’; rather, to analyse how authority and coercion in international politics interact, and how the study of Russia-EU relations can give us new insights.


Examining Russia–EU relations in terms of the forms and types of power tools they use, this book argues that the deteriorating relations between Russia and the EU lie in the deep differences in their preferences for the international status quo. These different approaches, combined with economic interdependence and geographic proximity, means both parties experience significant difficulties in shaping strategy and formulating agendas with regards to each other.

The Russian leadership is well aware of the EU’s "authority orientation" but fails to reliably predict foreign policy at the EU level, whilst the EU realizes Russia’s "coercive orientation" in general, but cannot predict when and where coercive tools will be used next. Russia is gradually realizing the importance of authority, while the EU sees the necessity of coercion tools for coping with certain challenges. The learning process is ongoing but the basic distinction remains unchanged and so their approaches cannot be reconciled as long as both actors exist in their current form.

Using a theoretical framework and case studies including Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine, Busygina examines the possibilities and constraints that arise when the "power of authority" and the "power of coercion" interact with each other, and how this interaction affects third parties.

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