The Russian Challenge to the European Union
After a decade of sporadic cooperation between newly emergent Russia and the countries of the West, differences have mounted to the point where the two sides now confront one another with alternative visions of a future Europe – especially Central and Eastern Europe – and relations that mirror some of the worst days of the Soviet-Western cold war. The central issues in the dispute include Moscow’s commitment to rebuilding ‘Greater Russia,’ the European Union (EU)’s goal of surrounding itself with stable democratic states, and the fact that these goals conflict in post-Soviet Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. The revival of the Russian economy and political system under Vladimir Putin has enabled Moscow to use various forms of coercive diplomacy, including outright military intervention, to pursue its goals. The EU’s support for democratic governances in the region is viewed in Moscow as a direct challenge to Russia’s interests and to the Russian state itself. The result has been a confrontation between the two sides, as Russia challenges the very nature of the liberal international system put into place by the EU and its U.S. allies in the post-World War II period. It is important to note that the US-Russian relationship overlaps with and contributes to the standoff in Europe.
Russia, European Union, United States, ‘Greater Russia’, liberal international system, confrontation
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