After the collapse of the Soviet Union, there were high hopes of Russia’s "modernisation" and rapid political and economic integration with the EU. But now, given its own policies of national development, Russia appears to have ‘limits to integration’. Today, much European political discourse again evokes East/West civilisational divides and antagonistic geopolitical interests in EU-Russia relations. This book provides a carefully researched and timely analysis of this complex relationship and examines whether this turn in public debate corresponds to local-level experience – particularly in border areas where the European Union and Russian Federation meet.
This multidisciplinary book - covering geopolitics, international relations, political economy and human geography - argues that the concept ‘limits to integration’ has its roots in geopolitical reasoning; it examines how Russian regional actors have adapted to the challenges of simultaneous internal and external integration, and what kind of strategies they have developed in order to meet the pressures coming across the border and from the federal centre. It analyses the reconstitution of Northwest Russia as an economic, social and political space, and the role cross-border interaction has had in this process. The book illustrates how a comparative regional perspective offers insights into the EU-Russia relationship: even if geopolitics sets certain constraints to co-operation, and market processes have led to conflict in cross-border interaction, several actors have been able to take initiative and create space for increasing cross-border integration in the conditions of Russia’s internal reconstitution.
1. On the Edge of Neighbourhood: Regional Dimensions of the EU–Russia Interface Heikki Eskelinen, Ilkka Liikanen, and James Wesley Scott Part 1. Northwest Russia: Regional Contexts of Political Integration 2. Federal Reforms, Interregional Relations, and Political Integration in Northwest Russia Elena Belokurova and Maria Nozhenko 3. Regional Community-Building and Cross-Border Interaction Elena Belokurova and Maria Nozhenko Part 2: Processes and Actors of Cross-Border Interaction 4. Geopolitics and the Market: Borderland Economies in the Making Heikki Eskelinen 5. The West and Co-operation with the West in Late and Post-Soviet Ethnic Mobilization in Russian Karelia Ilkka Liikanen 6. Crossing the Borders of Finnish and Northwest Russian Labour Markets Pertti Koistinen and Oxana Krutova 7. Re-connecting Territorialities? – Spatial Planning Co-operation Between Eastern Finnish and Russian Subnational Governments Matti Fritsch 8. Russia’s Oil and Gas Infrastructure: New Routes, New Actors Dmitry Zimin 9. Civil Society Organizations as Drivers of Cross-Border Interaction: On Whose Terms, For Which Purpose? Jussi Laine and Andrey Demidov Part 3: Northwest Russia: An Arena of Socio-Cultural Transformation 10. Company Towns on the Border: The Post-Soviet Transformation of Svetogorsk and Kostomuksha Dmitry Zimin, Juha Kotilainen, and Evgenia Prokhorova 11. Repositioning a Border Town: Sortavala Alexander Izotov 12. Informal Transitions: Northwest Russian Youth Between ‘Westernization’ and Soviet Legacies Pirjo Jukarainen 13. Karelia: A Finnish–Russian Borderland on the Edge of Neighbourhood Vladimir Kolossov and James Wesley Scott