Time to Start Thinking about Russia in the EU!

Editorial |Author: Ivan Dikov | August 13, 2011, Saturday // 22:57|  views

This might seem a bit out there in a time when the global news buzz is all about the euro zone and sovereign debt crises. But a nice little footnote to international news in the past week has come from Russia. Namely, the declaration by Russian oligarch and aspiring political leader Mikhail Prokhorov that Russia's place is in the Schengen Area and the euro zone, and that he plans to get it there (!).

Now, Mr. Prokhorov and his Pravoe Delo ("Right Cause") probably don't stand a chance of making too much of a headway in Russia's parliamentary elections in December 2011, or in Russian politics in general. But his remarks do sound intriguing. And probably not entirely unrealistic. Because in many ways Russia will probably be a less controversial candidate for the EU than Turkey is today, for example.

Going a bit further, Prokhorov's statement smacks of the good old dubiously unrealistic "From-Vancouver-to-Vladivostok" motif.

Of course, Putin and Medvedev are far from excited about becoming the Russian Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman;

in the messed-up EU itself, the bailing-out-indebted-nations-from-Cork-to-Rhodes German taxpayers will squeak at the prospect of any new enlargement – let alone all the way to Asia-Pacific;

and in the (other) (major) pillar of Western civilization whose blessing is generally a good idea for anything, the United States of America, you've got revived Kennanesque fears that Russia and Germany/EU will unite to squeeze it out of the World No. 1 Superpower spot – check out "The Next Decade" by Stratfor's chief, George Friedman.

It remains a question for the world's brightest political science minds if a real democratic Russia as part of a surviving EU (read: in combination with Germany) – of course, if the EU is still breathing after its current crises – could pose a threat to anyone, let alone to the cradle of Western democracy, the USA. My modest opinion is that this would not be the case.

Indeed, it's hard to imagine Moscow abiding by regulations (i.e. taking orders) from Brussels the way Sofia does. (To be fair, Paris, Berlin, and London don't really do that, either.) But maybe this could be conceivable in 20, 15, or even 10 years...

All I am saying is this: Russia in the EU - it seems worth starting to think about it all the way from Vancouver to Vladivostok. In the mean time, let's hope that the FSB won't find something wrong with Mr. Prokhorov's taxes.

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Tags: Russia, Mikhail Prokhorov, Russian, Vladimir Putin, Right Cause party, Pravoe Delo, United Russia Party, Schengen Area, EU, euro zone, ruble, oligarch, tycoon, Polyus Gold, Onexim Group, NATO, USA, George Kennan, Germany, bailout, bailout loan, debt crisis, debt crises


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