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Russia and eastern neighbours

Although the EU’s eastern neighbourhood is of strategic importance, the Union’s relations with the states of the region vary significantly.That said, there are high levels of interdependence between the EU and (virtually all of) its eastern neighbours in a number of different spheres - from trade and energy flows, to the joint management of security challenges and migration. The EU develops its policies in the region along two major strands - a strategic relationship with Russia, and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and Eastern Partnership (EaP) Policy in its relations with Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Russia is the EU’s biggest neighbour – and one of its most important, but also challenging partners. Over the past 15 years, the EU and Russia have developed a deep and complex network of political ties and diplomatic contacts. Yet, Moscow’s actions in Ukraine have greatly strained EU-Russia relations in recent years: tensions around Ukraine now dominate a relationship which once was mostly built on fostering trade and energy cooperation, a security dialogue, and a process that aims at liberalising visas. Elsewhere in the eastern neighbourhood, the cornerstones of the EU policy are the Association Agreements, which contain provisions on the establishment of deep and comprehensive free trade areas. Such Agreements have been signed and are implemented by Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Relations with the other neighbours – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus – are also advancing, but on a more modest scale than the frontrunners.

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    17 June 2015

    The Arctic region is currently undergoing major and rapid transformation, both environmentally and economically. This report, the outcome of a EUISS Task Force, examines how these changes carry significant political implications, and highlights the new security challenges that are emerging in the region.

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    12 June 2015

    This Chaillot Paper looks at CSDP operations and missions, and explores how they fit into the broader crisis management environment and multilateral efforts towards international peace. It highlights the inherent constraints facing CSDP and how these inevitably limit its overall impact or degree of success. The paper also examines the EU’s added value and the extent to which CSDP is moving forward at various levels.

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    10 June 2015

    Although President Putin enjoys a remarkably free hand abroad, he still operates within constraints. Over the last nine months, Russians have become increasingly hostile to ‘foreign adventures’ as economic problems have mounted. What effect, if any, will this have on Russian foreign policy?

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    05 June 2015

    With the five BRICS countries continuing to expand and institutionalise their cooperation on key international issues in an attempt to further increase their global clout, this Brief takes a look at the EU’s response to their rise. Should the BRICS be treated individually or as a group by the Union?

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    13 May 2015

    Putin’s inner circle have tried to evade the US and EU sanctions imposed on them and have been amply compensated for their losses by the state. But with intra-elite tensions on the rise and sanctions depressing Western lending across the board, their effect on Russia’s strategic calculations should not be underestimated.

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    24 April 2015

    This Brief seeks to draw out the lessons learnt from the sanctions imposed on the Soviet Union during the Cold War. What parallels are there with Putin’s Russia? Are they effective foreign policy tools or simply blunt instruments which harm the West as much as the Kremlin?

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    10 April 2015

    Russia’s information war in Ukraine is rooted in military theory. Drawing on a Hobbesian vision of the world as an arena of incessant inter-state conflict, this theory sets out techniques that aggressors can use to subvert the information space of its adversaries. In Ukraine, Russia turned theory into practice.

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    18 March 2015

    President Putin has scored a decisive victory on the home front of Russia’s information war: official media have convinced the people that Putin alone stands between Russia and a return to chaos. But with the economic outlook deteriorating, for how long can appearances continue to diverge from reality?

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    17 February 2015

    The decline in military cooperation with Ukraine, defects in the Russian defence industry and a contracting economy have blown Moscow's rearmament plans off course. With a reallocation of resources no longer feasible, the Kremlin now risks compounding its economic problems and deepening its isolation.

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    13 February 2015

    This Alert takes a look at the EU restrictive measures imposed on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. What were the alternative solutions? And would they have been more effective?

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    13 February 2015

    This Alert takes a look at the EU restrictive measures imposed on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. What were the alternative solutions? And would they have been more effective?

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    30 January 2015

    This Alert looks at the hybrid tactics used by Russia in Ukraine prior to its annexation of Crimea and dispels the notion that this type of warfare is a new phenomenon. Are EU or NATO member states also under threat?

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    16 January 2015

    The first in a series of publications focusing on Central Asia, this Alert takes a glance at the region from the perspective of decision-makers in the Kremlin.

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    19 December 2014

    A collaborative project by the entire EUISS research team, this Chaillot Paper analyses changes in the contemporary global environment according to eight distinct but interconnected perspectives. The publication aims to offer a comprehensive background analysis to the policy debates that will inform the drafting of the Report on the international geopolitical environment that the High Representative is due to present in 2015.

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    12 December 2014

    The Brief examines the debate surrounding the restrictive measures imposed by the West on Russia: What impact are they having, both politically and economically? And are they effective enough to change Moscow’s behaviour in Ukraine?

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    08 December 2014

    Following the narrow victory of the pro-EU coalition in Chisinau, this Alert takes a look at the reasons why voters deserted the previous government, as well as the challenges facing the country in the near future. Can Moldova still become a success story?

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    07 November 2014

    This Brief takes a closer look at Russia’s claims that it stands to lose so much as a result of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. What are the economic realities? And why is greater attention not being paid to the impacts of the Moscow-backed Eurasian Economic Union?

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    10 October 2014

    This Alert outlines some initial lessons which can already be drawn from the crisis in Ukraine. Dispelling certain commonly held assumptions about the origins of the current conflict, it also outlines how the EU could move forward with crafting policies towards its eastern neighbours.

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    19 September 2014

    This Alert examines the outcome of the BRICS summit that took place in July, as well as the reluctance of individual BRICS to criticise Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. Does the establishment of the New Development Bank herald an age of opposition to Western-dominated institutions and policies?

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    09 September 2014

    This Chaillot Paper examines Russia’s Eurasian project. Is this a new twenty-first century version of the Soviet Union? Does the project make economic sense, or is it simply a ploy by Putin to restore Russia’s great power status? It also looks at how the crisis in Ukraine will affect Moscow’s plans, as well as how the EU could interact with this potential rival.

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