Greater Eurasia: The Emperor’s New Clothes or an Idea whose Time Has Come? Russie.Nei.Reports, No. 27, Ifri, July 2019
The Greater Eurasia project has emerged as the poster-child of Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy, symbolic of a resurgent and self-confident Russia.
It is at once a geopolitical enterprise, political slogan, economic aspiration, and ideological construct. It is an attempt to impart dynamism to the Eurasian Economic Union. Most important of all, it seeks to establish a new, post-American order in which Russia plays a pivotal role. Greater Eurasia is a work in progress. Many of its goals are speculative and the challenges are formidable. To have any chance of success, Moscow must be able to manage the competing interests of other state-actors, in particular China; transcend the limitations of Russian power; and demonstrate sustained political will. There is little evidence so far that it is up to the task. Today, Greater Eurasia is more anti-project than project, an expression of Russian animus toward the liberal international order rather than a serious blueprint for global governance. Yet nothing is fixed. There is still scope for a positive vision to emerge out of the current confusion. Equally, though, the Greater Eurasia project could suffer the fate of previous major Kremlin undertakings, drifting along with little purpose and diminishing conviction.
Bobo Lo is an Associate Research Fellow with the Russia/NIS Center at the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri).