O. V. Bakhlova. Integration Policy of Russia in the Region of the Commonwealth of Independent States: Opportunities, Estimates, Prospects

O. V. Bakhlova. Integration Policy of Russia in the Region of the Commonwealth of Independent States: Opportunities, Estimates, Prospects

Acknowledgements: the study was performed with financial support from Russian Foundation for Basic Research, research project “Integration policy of Russia as a factor of formation and implementation of the Strategy of national development”, No. 16-03-00603.

Key words: region; Eurasian Economic Union; integration; integration policy; integration processes; Collective Security Treaty Organization; post-Soviet space; Commonwealth of Independent States; Union State; scenario

Introduction: Russia’s integration policy, as part of the national policy, is focused on the promotion of integration processes in the CIS region. The multi-layered transnational nature of current problems and challenges urges countries not only to expand cooperation based on shared and common interests, but also to enrich the instruments for achieving integration goals and objectives. An effective integration policy requires pairing domestic and foreign policy priorities, factors and resources; it should be balanced and take account of the needs and opportunities of the integrating states, population, regions, socio-political and other entities.
Materials and Methods: the study primarily used the materials of the expert survey on the issues of post-Soviet and Eurasian integration and the data from the Eurasian Economic Commission. The methods of political diagnosis and political expertise were the basic ones; the method of determining the parameters of difficulty in the CIS sub-regional associations with the participation of Russia was also used. Using the method of scenario planning on the basis of the “situation-based” approach, short analytical search scenarios of evolution of the integration policy of Russia were developed, as well as those of the dynamics of integration processes in the region. In the framework of the expert poll, a survey of members of the scientific community of Russia and Belarus was conducted.
Results: different parameters of the integration policy of Russia are ambiguously interpreted by experts. On the one hand, their views largely coincided in such areas as the status and role characteristics of Russia and its integration partners in the CIS, the nature of the relationship in the integration associations, the level of involvement of non-governmental institutions, social support for integration policy. On the other hand, there is a range of opinions on quantitative indicators. Belarusian experts have shown greater restraint in their estimates in comparison with their Russian counterparts. With the help of an expert poll and other methods, the main problems of the integration policy were identified and practical recommendations were produced.
Discussion and Conclusions: Russia’s balanced integration policy should be aimed at strengthening the optimistic scenarios, the main sub-regional formats and at preservation of the CIS as an important dialogue platform. Expectations of a higher level can be embodied under the condition of reliance on the sources of domestic growth and on the positive motivation of the integrating states. In the short and medium terms, one should consider the existing vulnerabilities, mitigating their most negative manifestations and consequences. What is needed is intensification of integration of branding, increased verifiability of the results of the integration activities, emphasized pro-integration instruments, de-bureaucratization of processes and procedures of interaction, updated scientific and educational support of the integration policy and integration processes.


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About the author:
Olga V. Bakhlova, Doctor of Political Sciences, Professor at the Department of World History, Political Science and Regional Studies, National Research Mordovia State University (68 Bolshevistskaya St., Saransk, 430005, Russia) (е-mail: olga.bahlova@gmail.com). ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3849-8321

For citation: Bakhlova O.V. Integration Policy of Russia in the Region of the Commonwealth of independent States: Opportunities, Estimates, Prospects. REGIONOLOGIYA = REGIONOLOGY. 2017; 4(25):482—511.

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