The EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood and Russia

Introduction

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

  • Russian political and economic developments and 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. 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 in Russia’s foreign policy and compares these with the practice of Russian foreign policy.

Furthermore, the programme takes stock of the regional dynamics within the shared neighbourhood of Russia and the EU. The region remains abound with strategic contingencies that increase the uncertainty of its future development. For instance, questions related to energy, governance models, political orientation, interpretations of history, and security strategies remain highly sensitive – and potentially volatile – issues in the region. Belarus is one of the programme’s primary areas of study.

The research programme also scrutinises the development of the EU’s Eastern Partnership with Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the EU’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.