The EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood and Russia

Introduction

The EU’S Eastern Neighbourhood and Russia research programme looks into the processes east of the EU with a special emphasis on Russia. The main research themes are:

  • Russia’s political and economic developments as well as its foreign and security policies
  • Regional dynamics in the post-Soviet space
  • The EU’s Eastern Partnership and EU policies towards Russia
The way in which Russian domestic and foreign and security policies develop is crucially important to Finland and to the EU as a whole. It is a key task for the programme to provide analytical knowledge on these interlinked issues, which is gaining in importance in times of the current conflictual relationship between Russia and the West. The programme analyses the dynamics of policy-making: actors, networks and shifts in interests and power. The programme also examines the strategic thinking and ideas that drive Russia’s foreign policy and compares these with the Moscow’s political practice.

 

The programme takes stock of the regional dynamics within the shared neighbourhood of Russia and the EU. The uncertainty of region’s future development, its potentially insufficient resilience in front of economic and social problems and security threats constitute a major challenge for the whole Europe. Questions related to energy, governance models, political orientation, interpretations of history, as well as security strategies remain highly sensitive issues in the region. Conflict in and over Ukraine and political evolution of Belarus are programme’s primary areas of study.

Consequently, the programme scrutinises the development of the EU’s Eastern Partnership with Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the Europe’s policies towards Russia. In addition to studying the debate in Brussels and other European capitals, the programme analyses how the EU policies are perceived by the Eastern neighbours and what practical implications the policies have on the ground.