Voices From Central Asia No. 17, April 2014
By Farhad Aliyev, Ph.D.
Fulbright Visiting Scholar Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, Johns Hopkins University
The integration initiatives that Vladimir Putin has promoted in recent years have become one of the most important trends in post-Soviet Eurasia. Unlike other major regional powers, such as Turkey and Iran, during the last two centuries Russia has understood Azerbaijan (together with the entire South Caucasus and Central Asia) to be its exclusive domain. As such, the activities of any third party there could directly or indirectly threaten Russia’s national interests. Moscow has been promoting relatively deliberate integration concepts, namely the Customs Union, the Eurasian Economic Community, and the Eurasian Union. The concepts share a long-term presumption of the re-subjugation of Russia’s post-Soviet neighbors. This paper briefly discusses the main weaknesses and strengths of Russia’s integration project.