Russia-led union risks new divisions

An editorial in The Financial Times writes that President Vladimir Putin has switched to restoring Russia’s great-power status by making it once again the centre of a regional bloc. But the Russian-backed Eurasian Union differs from the EU in important respects. The EU is a normative project, based on freedom and respect for basic rights, and market democracy, whereas the Eurasian Union has no such aspirations. Its membership looks more like a club of dictatorships, or at least of the kind of cronyist, soft authoritarian regimes that now dominate the former Soviet space. As such, the Eurasian Union could bolster a new division in Europe: between established and aspiring democracies to the west, and “sham” democracies, or worse, to the east.

Thursday, January 2, 2014