Quantifying Competition for Regional Integration: the EU and Russia in the Post-Soviet Space

Esther Ademmer

The EU's and Russia's competition over regional integration projects in the post-Soviet space has culminated over the last years. Following Russia's annexation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine, the contestation of the region has come increasingly into focus of the academic community and the wider public. However, the analyses of this rivalry all too often have to rely on single case studies and qualitative accounts of how the EU and Russia interact in their 'shared' neighbourhood, limiting comparative conclusions about whether, how and to what extent the EU's and Russia's competition impact domestic developments in the region. One reason for this is the absence of comparative data on external influence-seeking; especially by Russia that pursues a less formalized foreign policy than the EU. In order to overcome this gap in the literature, this article presents the results of a data generating project that systematically codes different forms of reported external influence-seeking in the Post-Soviet space from the early 2000s to 2015 in different policy sectors. Based on these data, the article first presents novel insights into sectoral trends and changes in external influence-seeking. They are subsequently combined with information on the domestic power dispersion and sectoral reform developments in selected post-Soviet states to answer whether and to what extent different forms of external influence-seeking impact domestic change in the post-Soviet space.

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