In Russia it is accepted to argue about whether our country to Europe or not. Discussion on this topic is already about two centuries, and no end in sight. However, as usually happens in such cases, the truth lies “somewhere in between”, and a clear answer to a complex question cannot be found and is unlikely. This is especially noticeable in recent years when the question of belonging to Europe (or desire it) becomes crucial (geo)political watershed.
I think that as Euro-optimists and Euro-skeptics is to recognize a number of circumstances, without which it is difficult to form an adequate understanding of many ongoing processes.
First of all, it should be noted that today Europe is politically represented by the European Union, and no other of subjectivity “Europe” now has. It is obvious that the European Union is the only active and growing force on the European continent (just look at the dynamics of its borders since the 1960-ies on the dynamics and boundaries of the Pro-Soviet block). All other players (including Russia, Turkey, Ukraine etc.) only react to his actions (ever encountered in the rhetoric of our leaders of phrases like “in response to the enlargement of the European Union…” well prove it). However, we should recognize the fact that Europe has its own vision of itself, formed for a long time including during the comprehension of its relations with its neighbours.
Russia could call themselves part of Europe, but for European peoples and States, she remained a completely separate world, even when I was more involved in European politics — in 1814, 1915 or 1945. This “specialness” of Russia — first of Muscovy (Tartary), then the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union leaves an indelible imprint, if not on all sides of interaction between two elements of geographical Europe, at least on the understanding of belonging to Europe of certain countries or people.
In modern political Europe, there is quite a clear idea of Europeanness. Of the country, for centuries involved in the European civilization process are considered to be European “by definition”. For a long time the former capital of the Holy Roman Empire Prague or founded in 1201 by the Germans Riga — Europe this civilization process, whereas Kiev is where Christianity was established earlier than in Finland, or Novgorod, which was ruled by the Vikings, is not. “Fault” occurred in the XIII century, when the first remnants of the Byzantine Empire became even more hostile to the West after the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, and the Russian land in the middle of the century was a province of the Horde.
In the twentieth century in Europe there was a certain code of values — but following it can open the door to the European Union only in the case that “European” of any country is not questioned. So it was in the early 1980s, when the return to democracy of Spain, Portugal and Greece immediately embodied in their admission to the EEC; it was in the mid-1990s, when the enlargement to Austria, Sweden and Finland have passed almost unnoticed, and even in the early 2000-ies, when Eastern European countries were admitted to the EU fifteen years after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. The same thing will happen with the Balkan countries, who will all be in a United Europe in 5-7 years. However, further East there are spaces to which Europe has a very special relationship.
For many years in Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine is dominated by the idea that these countries should be part of political Europe. In the squares of the capitals of these countries are waving EU flags as a reflection of their dreams of Europeanness. With the hope of realizing the European vector Georgians undertook an unprecedented pace and effectiveness of reforms of the state apparatus, and the Ukrainians twice in the famous Maidan. But nothing like the decision-making process in the EU of Poland and Estonia in these countries is not running and is apparently not expected.
Why? And what should I do?
In my opinion, the reason is simple. As in Tbilisi and Kiev have talked about their European, for Europe these countries are “non-European”. They are part of Russia, just like Turkey, it is a fragment of the Ottoman Empire, not the country, of which the main town in the VI century was ruled by Italy. In such a situation there is no “automaticity” in the adoption of new countries in the European Union is not expected — although the authorities in post-Soviet capitals, it seems, are still counted and are counting on it.
In the case of Poland, Latvia and Bulgaria even the basis for accession to the EU has been evident: for adoption was necessary to meet certain conditions (or even — as in Bulgaria — to pretend that the country corresponds to them). In the case of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia is the Foundation needed to find — and those, in my opinion, can only be of practical benefit that these countries can bring to the current Europeans.
In other words, the entry into Europe for European economic aid and military-political support is not an option for post-Soviet States. All they could bargain for, talking about the historical sense of belonging to Europe or about the ongoing acts of Russian aggression, they have already received. Need to shift to a new agenda — and as soon as possible.
Half a century ago South Korea or Taiwan, essentially losing the war with the Communist regimes were protected by the United States in military terms, but were then developed and prosperous economies of the States through their own efforts, a coherent economic policy able to attract investors to integrate into the world economic system. China has become a global player not because waving a nuclear bomb, but because it made America economically dependent from itself. Actually, that is exactly what you need to build the policy “of the European post-Soviet States.
They ought to cease to present themselves as victims of “Russian bear”, to fix its actual borders, a radical economic reform — and become a kind of “offshore industry” in Europe, which will create ideal conditions for relocation of production from European countries. In fact, the same strategy of Ukraine should not be placing itself at the forefront of the struggle against Russian imperialism, and turn the country into a “European China” — an indispensable industrial partner for the European Union, developing the European and developing corporations. Georgia needs to become a new Greece, only more responsible in financial matters and open to European capital. Moldova — find another function, for example, to develop the country as the largest transport-logistical center in South-Eastern Europe, etc.
“Second Europe”, which is not yet perceived by Europeans as part of the “first” (and to which, with all the conventions, concerns and Russia), must, if it wants to strengthen its Western vector, to prove to the European Union is not that she has the right to be part of it, and the fact that the EU exists a serious motive to look for oncoming convergence. In my opinion, all the other paths the “Europeanization” of post-Soviet space is doomed to failure.Related posts: