Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), CIS, and post-Soviet Eurasia

  • Vinokurov E. (2018) Introduction to the Eurasian Economic Union. London and Basingtoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

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    The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which includes Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia, is a new but substantial regional organization. It has already incorporated a common external customs tariff (since 2010), a customs union (since 2011), a common labor market (since 2015), etc. An institutional environment has emerged to support and advance these processes, ranging from the Eurasian Economic Commission and the EAEU Court to the Eurasian Development Bank and the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development. This major integration achievement also has several drawbacks and ‘stumbling stones’—some due to Russia’s dominant position, some due to the authoritarian nature of political regimes, and some due to dependence on oil and gas exports. Hence, there is an objective need for a detailed qualitative and quantitative assessment of the Eurasian Economic Union. 
    The monograph aims to provide the reader with just such a detailed description and analysis of the EAEU. It has been written with the explicit goal of producing a Eurasian Economic Union primer for students and a general audience. Indeed, such a primer is sorely missed in the literature. In the seven years since the Customs Union was implemented and in the almost three years of the EAEU’s legal existence, not a single such book has been produced, perhaps due to the sheer scope of issues to be covered. This book features very comprehensive coverage, including the history of Eurasian integration, the macroeconomy of EAEU member states, an assessment of trade and investment links, a descriptive analysis of the EAEU Treaty, an analysis of Eurasian institutions, the sociology of integration, the EAEU’s emerging foreign economic policy, relations with the EU and China, the EAEU’s position on One Belt One Road policies, its mid-term policy agenda, etc. This breadth and level of analysis let us suggest that the book would serve as a reference on the Eurasian Union for a wide audience.

    Chapter 1. The History of Eurasian Integration: 1991–2016 
    Chapter 2. Economic and Social Ties
    Chapter 3. EAEU Governance and Institutions
    Chapter 4. EAEU Common Markets: Movement of Goods, Services, Labour, and Capital
    Chapter 5. EAEU External Cooperation 
    Chapter 6. A “Normal” Regional Integration Organization: Explaining Eurasian Integration
    ConclusionAnnex: Main Events of Eurasian integration, 1991-2017.
  • Libman A., Vinokurov E. (2018) Autocracies and Regional Integration: the Eurasian Case. Post-Communist Economies.

    The attention to the international cooperation of autocratic regimes has increased substantially in the scholarly literature in the recent years. Most of the studies, however, seem to concentrate on the activism of large 'centers of gravity' of authoritarian rule like China or Russia. This paper's goal is, on the contrary, to look at small autocratic states and their choices with respect to cooperation with large autocratic states; we investigate the cooperation in the area of economic policies, in particular within the framework of economic regional integration agreements.
  • Vinokurov E., Demidenko M., Korshunov D., Kovacs, M. (2017) Customs Unions, Currency Crises, and Monetary Policy Coordination: the Case of the Eurasian Economic Union. Russian Journal of Economics, (3)3.

    After achieving substantial progress in establishing a common customs territory and regulations, customs unions face potential disruptions due to a lack of monetary policy coordination. These disruptions might appear in the form of currency shocks and the ensuing trade conflicts. We approach this issue by looking at the case of the Eurasian Economic Union. The volatility of national currencies in 2014–2015 resulted in sizable shifts in competitiveness, culminating in a currency crisis in some member states. This raises the questions of how to gradually achieve a more coordinated monetary policy, what monetary policy options are available, and what would be their relative impact on macroeconomic stability. Using a set of modeling tools and econometric models, we review three monetary regimes, which represent moves from fully independent exchange rate policy through increased policy coordination to joint exchange rate setting.
  • Vinokurov E. (2017) The Art of Survival: Kyrgyz Labor Migration, Human Capital, and Social Networks. In: Laruelle, M. (ed.) Kyrgyzstan: Political Pluralism and Economic Challenges. The George Washington University: Washington D.C. P. 49-57.

  • Libman A., Vinokurov E. (2017) The System of Indicators of Eurasian Integration. In: De Lombaerde, Philippe, Saucedo, Edgar (Eds.) Indicator-Based Monitoring of Regional Economic Integration. Fourth World Report on Regional Integration. Springer: Berlin.

  • Vinokurov E. (2017) Eurasian Economic Union: Current State and Preliminary Results. Russian Journal of Economics, (3)1: 54-70.

    This paper assesses the current results of the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). On the one hand, the EAEU has not been an impeccable ‘success story’. The EAEU’s progress has slowed after initial rapid progress. On the other hand, it has achieved much. The EAEU is best viewed not as an exception to general rules of regional economic integration, but rather as a functioning customs union with its own successes and stumbling blocks, enriched by several additional quite developed areas of economic integration. This paper reviews the state of Eurasian institutions, the single market for goods and services, the state of mutual trade and investment flows among member states, ongoing work to eliminate non-tariff barriers, problems pertaining to the efficient coordination of macroeconomic policies, progress toward establishing an EAEU network of free trade areas, the state of the common labor market, and the dynamics of public opinion relative to Eurasian integration in the five member states.
  • EDB Centre for Integration Studies (2017): Monetary Policy of EAEU Member States: Current Status and Coordination Prospects. Joint Report by the Eurasian Economic Commission and the Eurasian Development Bank. Moscow: EEC; Saint Petersburg: EDB Centre for Integration Studies.

  • Vinokurov, E., Demidenko, M. and Korshunov, D. (2017) Potential Costs and Benefits of Monetary Integration in the Eurasian Economic Union. Voprosy Ekonomiki, 2, pp. 75–96. In Russian.

  • Vinokurov, E. (2016) Eurasian Economic Union: A Sober Look. Voprosy Ekonomiki, 12, pp. 43–60. In Russian.

  • Vinokurov E. et al. (2015) Measuring the Impact of Non-Tariff Barriers in the Eurasian Economic Union: Results of Enterprise Survey. EDB Centre for Integration Studies Report no. 30, EDB: Saint-Petersburg.

  • Vinokurov E. et al. (2015) Abolishment of Non-Tariff Barriers in the Eurasian Economic Union: Assessment of Economic Impact, EDB Centre for Integration Studies Report no. 29. EDB: Saint-Petersburg.

  • Vinokurov E., Libman A. (2014) Does an Economic Crisis Impede or Advance Regional Integration?  Evidence from the Belarus-Kazakhstan-Russia Customs Union. Post-Communist Economies, Vol. 26 (3): 341–358. 

    The effects that economic crises could have on the development of regional integration have been a topic of debate in integration studies. This issue became particularly acute in the last years with the sovereign debt crisis in the EU. The aim of this paper is to study a previously unexplored case of how economic crisis actually strengthened a regional integration project, looking at the case of the post-Soviet countries.
  • Vinokurov E. (2013) The Art of Survival: Kyrgyzstan’s Labor Migration, Human Capital, and Social Networks. Central Asian Papers no.7. George Washington University: Washington D.C. 

  • Vinokurov E. (2013) Pragmatic Eurasianism. Russia in Global Politics, 11(2):87-96.

    This article offers a systematic and pragmatic approach to Eurasian integration. It assumes that integration is not an objective in itself, but an essential means to resolve the pressing problems of all countries involved, with economic modernization as the key challenge. Pragmatic Eurasianism is aimed at securing bottom-up integration since the free movement of goods, services, labor, and capital is crucial for the long-term success of integration. We also argue for open regionalism which targets both the EU and Asia. Download the paper.
  • Evgeny Vinokurov and Alexander Libman (2012) The Post-Soviet Integration Breakthrough. Why the Customs Union has more chances than its predecessors. Russia in Global Politics, May-June. 154-163.

    The former Soviet republics have signed a great number of agreements, treaties and initiatives within a span of two decades since the breakup of the USSR. However, none of the “post-Soviet integration” bids proved capable of ensuring real cooperation among the states in the region. The fact was fairly obvious to everyone, above all to the states directly involved in the integration projects. Against this background, a fundamental change in the situation that occurred in the past three years came unexpected to analysts. The Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, launched in 2010, has become the first integration alliance where the partners meet their commitments notwithstanding the high costs it involves. The intention to set up a Eurasian Economic Union by 2015, announced last November, looks far more realistic than a majority of similar past resolutions. What changes have taken place in the post-Soviet space to make such projects realistic? Can we expect these initiatives to feature a steady growth? Are the objectives ambitious enough to meet the challenges facing the post-Soviet countries? And will their implementation help these countries take advantage of the opening economic development opportunities? Download the paper
  • Libman A., Vinokurov E.  (2012) Holding Together Regionalism and Interaction of Functional Bureaucracies. Review of International Political Economy. 19:5, pp. 867-894.

    The paper focuses on post-Soviet regional integration as a special case where integration projects are established by countries that originally comprised a single political entity after its collapse. It shows that in this framework the existing economic ties between countries are likely to adversely affect the interest of functional bureaucracy to support regional integration given that cutting existing connections is often more promising from the point of view of the budget expansion. Hence, the interaction of national and supranational bureaucracies is unlikely to generate impetus for increasing regional cooperation, which, surprisingly, can, however, be supported by adverse economic shocks. The results are validated using the experience of two «low level politics» sectors of interaction in the post-Soviet space: electricity and transportation.
  • Vinokurov E., Libman A. (2012) Regional Integration and Economic Convergence in the Post-Soviet Space: Experience of the Decade of Growth. Journal of Common Market Studies, 1(50), pp. 112-128.

    The paper examines the dynamics of regional integration and economic convergence in the post-Soviet world during the period 1999–2008, both considered as a whole and on the level of individual country groups. 
  • Libman A., Vinokurov E. (2011)  Is it really different? Patterns of regionalisation in post-Soviet Central Asia. Post-Communist Economies, 23:4, pp. 469-492

    This paper examines the prospects of regional economic integration in Central Asia from the point of view of the extent of actual economic interdependencies in the region, using a new and unique dataset.
  • Kurmanalieva E., Vinokurov E. (2011) Trends in Post-Crisis Capital Flows in the CIS. Euromoney Emerging Markets Handbook 2011-2012.

    The 2008—2009 crisis showed how strongly the world’s economies depend on each other. Back in 1998, capital flows were an issue of concern mainly for Asian countries; now they are a global issue. Regional supranational institutions develop «safety nets» to protect themselves against sharp flows of «hot money» This short essay analyses capital flows to and from CIS countries and discusses government measures to prevent balance-of-payments crises.
  • Vinokurov E. (2010) International Financial Centre in Moscow: What Would It Take? World Finance Review, December

    The idea of Moscow becoming one of the global financial centres reflects a concentrated vision of a broad set of goals for the development of the financial system of the country and more active participation by Russia in the global financial infrastructure. It also reflects the country's intention to become the designated financial centre for the post-Soviet space. For this vision to become a reality, Kazakh, Ukrainian and Belorussian companies would need to change their listing preferences from London, Hong Kong, New York or Warsaw to Moscow. The CIS-based companies would turn to Moscow stock market only if they can successfully raise more capital on more favourable terms. That fact implies two questions. First, whether Russia' neighbours currently need Moscow as a regional financial centre to satisfy their needs. Second, under which conditions this might be the case. This short article is linked to the EDB Report no. 10 on Russian and Kazakh Stock Markets.
  • Vinokurov, Evgeny (2010) The Evolution of Kazakhstan’s Position on Relations with Russia in 1991-2010. MPRA Working Paper 22187.

    The current phase of Kazakhstan's foreign policy, marked by the establishment of the Customs Union and intensive work on the Single Economic Space with Russia and Belarus, is different from and similar with the previous phases at the same time. It is different in regard to the fact that, for the first time in 20 years, the integration breakthrough is real. At once, it is similar to the previous phases since Kazakhstan continues to aim at balancing interests of major players in the region and avoiding Russia’s economic and political dominance.
  • Vinokurov E. (2010) Knitting Europe and Asia into Eurasia: Kazakhstan's Foreign Economic Policy. World Finance Review, September

    Russian-Kazakh relations are shaping positive trends for regional cooperation in the post-Soviet space. At the same time, Kazakhstan continues – consciously and consistently – to aim at balancing the interests of major players in the region and avoiding economic and political dominance by Russia or China. In doing so, the country aims to knit Europe and Asia into Eurasia – and capitalise on that.
  • Vinokurov E., Libman A. (2010) Trendy regionalnoy integracii na postsovetskom prostranstve: rezultaty kolichestvennogo analiza [Post-Soviet Regional Integration Trends: Results of Quantitative Analysis], Voprosy Economiki, 7.

  • Libman A., Vinokurov E. (2010) Is It Really Different? Patterns of Regionalization in the Post-Soviet Asia. Frankfurt School Working Paper 155.

    While the regional economic integration encompassing the whole of the former Soviet Union (FSU) transpires to be inefficient, there appears to be a stronger interest in regionalism in smaller groups of more homogenous and geographically connected countries of the region, specifically, Central Asia. Using a new dataset, we find that although the economic links between the Central Asian countries are more pronounced than between that of the CIS in several key areas, this advantage has been disappearing fast over the last decade. In addition, the trend of economic integration of Central Asia strongly correlates to that of the CIS in general. Currently Central Asia should be treated as a sub-region of the post-Soviet world rather than a definite integration region.On the other hand, however, we find that Kazakhstan emerges as a new centre for regional integration, which can bear some potential for regionalism in Central Asia, and that there is an increasing trend towards greater economic interconnections with China in Central Asia.


System of Indicators of Eurasian Integration

By publishing this first EDB Report on the System of Indicators of Eurasian Integration (SIEI), we hope to lay the foundations of a new long-term project. It is expected that from now on the EDB will collect data and calculate the indicators on an annual basis. The data presented in this first edition of the SIEI illustrates the dynamics of regional integration between 1999 and 2008. This period is used as a benchmark in studying the development of post-Soviet countries after the “Big Bang” of the 1990s. Another important challenge that we have set ourselves is to trace and demonstrate the main trends of integration of the rapidly evolving post-Soviet economies and societies, the activities of integration institutions, and the effect of integration initiatives and decisions. We hope that the comprehensive picture of the EDB’s SIEI based on an elaborate measurement and evaluation method will be well received and prove instrumental, not only as an academic exercise, but also as a tool for formulating internal and external policies, thus assisting integration in Eurasia.

System of Indicators of Eurasian Integration II.

This report presents the results of the study performed in 2014 as part of the EDB project “System of Indicators of Eurasian Integration” (SIEI). The study concerns the measurement and analysis of the long-term dynamics of integration processes in the post-Soviet space. It covers eleven CIS countries plus Georgia from 2009 to 2012 and it continues the 1999–2008 analysis that was carried out in 2009. 

The SIEI includes the analysis of two main aspects of regional economic integration, namely market integration and economic convergence. The first aspect is evaluated on the basis of six indices that measure integration in the fields of: trade, labour migration, electrical power engineering, agriculture, education and investments. The second aspect is evaluated on the basis of four indices of regional integration in the fields of: macroeconomics, monetary policy, fiscal policy and financial policy.

One of the main conclusions reached by the authors team is that integration in the post-Soviet space progresses at an uneven pace in its different areas, but the level of integration in the framework of main subregional groups in the CIS space has generally remained virtually unchanged for the last four years. That means that the permanent disintegration trend observed over two decades might have been reversed, but the qualitative breakthrough point has not been reached.

By the way, the findings of the research show that, judging by the overall level of integration with all the post-Soviet countries, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and Tajikistan have been the three leaders since 2008. Tajikistan, however, although the country was in the lead over the period of 2002-2008, demonstrated a lower level of integration in 2009-2012. At the same time, Georgia and Azerbaijan have improved their level of integration with the CIS region over the last four years. 

Based on indicators relative to the countries’ GDP and population size, the leaders in certain aspects of integration with the CIS region include Belarus (trade), Kyrgyzstan (power exchange), Tajikistan (labour migration and agriculture), and Turkmenistan (education).All the information about methodology and results of the research is available in analytical summary and full version of the report.

Download Analytical summary (Eng), Full version of the report (Rus), Presentation (Eng).

Libman A., Vinokurov E. (2010) The EDB System of Indicators of Eurasian Integration: General Findings. UNU-CRIS Working Paper W-2010/6.