Eurasian Project in the Era of Global Interregnum – Megatrends and Risks


Written by Dmitry Yevstafiev; Originally appeared at, tranlsated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront

Any political, and even more so, geo-economic process is historical. It develops in specific conditions and, as these conditions change so it must adapt itself. In such a situation, all integration projects are now in such a situation – there are profound changes in world politics and the economy. Those that cannot change will be pushed out to the side. Those who can recognise the essence of change in time will have a chance to take the lead. The countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) are facing such a dilemma today. Professor Dmitry Yevstafiev of the National Research University, Higher School of Economics, Key trends rebuilding modern politics and economies in Eurasia.

Eurasian Project in New Conditions

The EEU project began to be formed in significantly different political and economic conditions than it exists today. At the time, it was focused at achieving obvious goals:

Promoting the integration of the key industrial sectors of the post-Soviet countries into the world economy with minimal loss of industrial potential created in Soviet times and maintaining a free trade regime.

Other goals, such as establishing a common social standard, relative financial transparency and maintaining a preferential migration regime for the EEU member states were subordinated to the main priority. The creators of the EEU did not imagine their countries outside the globalisation process in the form in which it existed in the first half of the “zeros” [Translator’s note: first decade of the 21st century], and expected that this process would remain at its core. Reality has proven to be much more complex.

Today it is necessary to develop an understanding of the key adaptation directions of the institutions and systems created within the EEU and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) (and the “integration ideology” itself), taking into account new global trends. And only after this attempt to rebuild the EEU and other integration associations, improving their efficiency.

De-Industrialisation is Cancelled

The key factor determining the modern world is the transition of the world economy and, consequently, politics. The main point, which needs to be made now, is developing approaches to improving the efficiency of integration institutions as follows.

The impending historical and economic ear will be the ear of a new industriality, that is, multi-level and multi-directional. The world as a whole is entering an era of industrialisation at different speeds.

If we manage to avoid a global force majeure (global economic crisis or financial default), we will soon see the processes of commodity industrialisation in Africa, catching up with industrial modernisation in the Middle East and, probably, in a number of East Asian countries. Attempts will be made to realise the potential of the third industrial modernisation (China, perhaps some Eastern European countries). Not to mention the isolated manifestations of the fourth industrial revolution in China and possibly in India. The latter is waiting an almost inevitable powerful wave of social modernisation, which will give impetus to the development of specific industries.

Against this backdrop, the formation of a long-term asymmetry in the economic development of key regions becomes a natural process.

Political Mega-Trends

The following circumstances should be noted in other significant trends in the development of the world economy:

The growing importance of military-security risks. Military-security risks are now much more important for economic policy and investment processes than 10-15 years ago.

This is not yet due to force majeure changes. If they start to happen, the situation will get even more difficult. For example, economic growth in recent years has relied primarily on positive trends in China and, to a much lesser extent, South-East Asia. They will be broken if the geopolitical and geo-economic dangers surrounding the Korean Peninsula erupt. After that, the issue of global economic growth will acquire quite a different meaning, affecting practically all countries of Eurasia. To an even greater extent, the negative impact on the development of the Russian economy can have an increase in tension in the Baltic region, which will put an end to Russia’s key hydrocarbon project, and indeed will undermine Russia’s key presence in the foreign market.

The collapse of regional and interregional economic blocks and alliances created over the decades. Such blocks and unions, the most famous of which were the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the North-American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the ASEAN were not just a means of approval of free trade. They were an instrument of absolute transparency of investment activities and the ability to organise the seizure of trade “rent” through financial and marketing mechanisms at any point.

Slowdown of social globalisation. The issue of narrowing the consumption gap and social standards between the conditionally “developed” and “developing” countries was a key ideological condition for universal support for globalisation as a non-alternative development model. Now this thesis is gradually replaced with the concept of “socially advanced enclaves “ (“world cities”), which significantly reduces the “area” of growth of social welfare in the world.

The processes of the “catching-up social development” have slowed even within the European Union, where the division between the conditionally “social dynamic” (German, Northern Europe, the Benelux, Czech Republic, Slovakia), the “socially stagnant” (most of Eastern Europe, Spain, Italy) and the “socially degrading” (Greece, Portugal, the Baltic States, Bulgaria and Romania) states is increasingly evident. This is one of the most striking signs of the slowdown in globalisation.

Toughening of global financial and investment activity regime. The US policy on globalisation of the American fiscal legislation and its use for the seizure of a significant part of financial resources for their own needs in one form or another will continue. The importance of purely administrative forms of regulation will most likely increase.

Fragmentation of economic macro-regions. There is a separation from the global economy, including from the previously formed economic macro-regions, groups of countries, usually united around political, logistics or investment projects that begin to operate under laws that are somewhat modified compared to the global economy, in fact violating the principle of universality of globalisation. It is not only that integration into regional and inter-regional economic trends becomes more important than the participation in global processes. The fact is that the structure of economic “regions” is changing significantly.

The manifestation of this trend is the formation by China of the Belt system of prosperity, the “Great Silk Road”, which virtually breaks all previously discussed and created integration projects and fundamentally changes the structure of the two macro-regions (Eurasia and the Middle East) and several economic regions.

Another striking manifestation of this trend can be the reformation of the EU into a “Europe of different speeds” with the allocation of several sub-regions with different economic models, but united by common political objectives and ideology (“values”). That is, united not on an economic but ideological basis.

Negative expectations in the global financial market. The world economic elite has developed an understanding of, at least the pre-crisis state, the model of financial and investment capitalism with which we have connected the global economy in the last three decades.

The majority of serious players on the world economic arena admit that the world is on the doorstep of major changes, linked primarily with the changing financial and investment components of the global economy.

Attempts to “overbuild” the global financial system through new, innovative financial instruments, crypto-currencies and lending using the mechanism of syndicating “blockchain” finances, only confirm the pre-crisis state of global finances.

A deep financial crisis can start at any moment, provoked even by a relatively minor negative event, on the same scale as previous similar events. These expectations do not always reflect the current global macro-economic reality.

In general, there is a poorly controlled process in the world economy waiting for the “Black Swan” event. This makes almost all long-term non-speculative investments de facto risky. This significantly changes the requirements for profitability and guarantees (both insurance and reservations) of such investments.

When discussing the strategy of the Eurasian project, it is important to take into consideration these trends, which form a fundamentally new context in contrast to what developed in the “zero years”.

Dmitri Evstafiev, professor NRU “Higher School of Economics”



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  • Manuel Flores Escobar

    What is being played in Syria is to stop Russia as the main supplier of gas to Europe..once the Qatar/saudi gas pipeline through Syria has failed…Israel and Turkey play their cards ( Haifa-Cyprus-EU and Turkstream)…we are seeing how they are taking position in the post war…beside I dont rule out that USA( pushed by pressures) will attack directly to Syrian military and presidential assets with the excuse of save “east Goutta” and aimed to topple Al Assad!..Russia will have no choice but to use air defense system( S-400) vs B2 and F-22!……..

    • Graeme Rymill

      “What is being played in Syria is to stop Russia as the main supplier of gas to Europe”

      As most gas pipelines from Russia to Europe go nowhere near Syria it is hard to see how this could be remotely true. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline expansion via the Baltic is due in 2019.

      • Manuel Flores Escobar

        USA= Want To supply GNL by ship.
        Israel= Haifa-Cyprus-Greece/Turkey
        Saudi Arabia&Qatar= Saudi-Jordan-Syria-Turkey ( Failed)
        Saudi Arabia&Qatar= Saudi-Jordan( to link with Egipt arab line)-Israel-EU
        Azerbajan= Iran-Azerbajan-Turkey-EU.
        These are projects but notice that all are players in the Syrian war!

        • Graeme Rymill

          If this is the plan, to stop Russia as the main supplier of gas to Europe, it seems to be failing and failing badly.

          Rather than being part of a plan these projects are simply attempts to sell gas to the largest market – Europe. Many European countries are shutting down coal powered and/or nuclear powered electricity stations. The demand for gas in Europe can only rise in response to this.

      • Alex

        LOL, you are missing the point, US and some other countries like Qatar and Saudies want to export their gas to Europe from ME, in Europe they are trying to stop Russia from building Nord Stream 2 through their proxies, just look at how much Poland the US’s proxy is complaining about the Nord Stream 2, US wants to export own LNG through Poland to the rest of Europe it also wants to build pipelines like Nabucco from ME, everything to make Russian earnings lower, everything to exterminate their opponents and keep their hegemony.

        • Graeme Rymill

          On the contrary, it is you that is missing the point. European demand for natural gas is growing. Europe’s own sources of supply are falling. The Nord Stream 2 is going ahead regardless of complaints from Poland and the Ukraine because Europe needs Russian gas and Germany wants Nord Stream 2. [ See for example ]. The US is exporting LNG because of increased gas production from fracking. Why would it not want to sell to Europe if it can do so profitably? The Nabucco pipeline is dead in the water. Ironically the latest proposal wants to build it to supply Russian gas!

          Is Europe concerned about energy security and over reliance on Russian gas? Yes.

          Are they actually reducing imports of Russian gas? No, they are increasing them because they need Russian gas to meet demand.

          Is “what is being played in Syria is to stop Russia as the main supplier of gas to Europe”? The willingness of Germany and the EU to permit Nor Stream 2 to go ahead and increase Russian imports of gas shows if there ever was such a plan it has failed miserably. The evidence that there ever was such a plan actively being implemented is zero.

          • Alex

            Their plan might be failing now but they (US) have been trying to and still are trying to steal some of the Russian market share in Europe and it’s not just gas or oil, nuclear energy too, i remember them bragging about how they would replace Russia in Europe and how Russia would suffer and be at their mercy etc etc,that was years ago, now they even want to go as far as sanctioning countries who do business with Russian companies, like i said it is all about keeping the opponents down by any means with those pipes and LNG tankers being one of them.

          • velociraptor

            to and still are trying to steal some of the Russian

            not steal, not crime.

            simply busiess word, competition.

            you can offer lower pices, and yanks will have no chance.

            the EU is not russian puppet. look at nato. the EU is pissing on yankee demands of 2% GDP as military budget.

          • Douglas Houck

            Yes, the US thought they could control Russia through sanctions and bring it to it’s knees. The US plan has failed miserably.

            First, the US thought that without western technology, Russian oil/gas production would decline. Didn’t happen as Russia either developed the technology needed or bought it on the open market.

            Second, the US thought that sanctions would cripple the Russian economy and instigated the Ukrainian coup and reduced price on oil. While, the sanctions and reduced price on oil did hurt the Russian economy for a couple of years, the Russian where able to rise above it and get their economy going again by working together on multiple fronts. There is a reason that Elvira Nabiullina has been twice named european central banker of the year.

            And yes, the US is still trying to crush Russia or at least diminish their economic strength. Other than get its own citizens to hate/fear Russia, it has failed on almost all counts.

        • Douglas Houck

          As Graeme Rymill has said, “If this is the plan, to stop Russia as the main supplier of gas to Europe, it seems to be failing and failing badly.” Regardless of what America wants, Germany, Austria, Italy, even England, have stated numerous times, Gazprom has proven to be a reliable natural gas provider at the lowest cost.

          Yes, Poland hates Russia, and would love to make some transit fees selling gas to other European countries. Not going to happen. If Poland and other eastern European countries want to buy expensive US LNG, let them. Both Nordstream 2 and Turkish Stream will be built as none of the European countries with long term contracts for natural gas with Gazprom wants to pay Ukraine’s transit fees.

          The Syrian war is not about natural gas pipelines. Even President Assad has stated that pipelines have not been what this war is about.

          • velociraptor


    • as

      They might as well do that when they hit North Koreans. Do note that lately UNSC no longer functional as some players never keep themselves to the resolution as well a blatant violation without any serious condemnation and repercussions for it.

    • Merijn
    • Spanker Dane

      U.S. can do whatever it wants in Syria because U.S. can project a lot of power very quickly, Russia cannot. Russia does not even dare enter U.S. air exclusion zones in Syria anymore. Besides, Russia’s air defense system is basically useless against F-22 and B-2.

      • Manuel Flores Escobar

        Thats why USA did not attack Shayrat base with just a single or a pair of B2..instead of deploy two warship with cruise missile which failed to destroy that airbase….knowing that B2 is most powerful and “stealth” that those tomahawk….USAF used B2 to attack Libyan air bases..but in Syria they fear S-400!….”Russia does even dare enter US air exclusion zones..” well Su 25 attacked east of Eufrates and F-22 just only flew near them until Su 35 went near them!…RUAF airstrike killed dozens of FSA member near Al Tanf which were moving to Damascus…RUAF also escorted SAA/Shia forces in its way to Irak border…in spite of USA warns!

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      • LR captain

        Russia has far more caution than the USA and their own limits.

        If the USA deploys 35,000 troops on the ground. Russia will leave Syria because the risks would be too great. But for the Americans 10,000 body bags are that much to worry about.

        Sure if US starts flying 100 planes over Syria. They would get shot down regardless of what damage they could do. Syria has over 200 active air defense sites. Not something the US wants try when they ll hocked to Russian E warfare and tracking.

        Cruise missile though will suffer from E war. the tomahawks had 95% accuracy rating in when they first came out. well that missile strike the accuracy was 35-40%. so either the Russian E ware fare took down those missiles, or Syrian air defenses shot them down, but if you don’t believe either of those you could just think that the american captains don’t know how aim.

        Take those factors for this likely scenario. the US want to destroy all 200 air defense systems plus 150 command and control sites. so to destroy mobile air defense systems 10 cruises could be required. (example panser S-1 has 12 launch tubes for interception missiles. How many missile would be need to make up for the accuracy loss. then divide that by 90 (that how many missile a US guided missile destroyer can fire.) then picture those getting rekt by t-60 bombers. Now picture the cost of replacing those ships.

        so in all honestly I don’t see why the USA does not send 35,000 guys through Jordan and attack the Syrian capital. Sure they lose 10,000 of those and will having call in another 20,000 by wars end to (keep the peace) bu they would kick the Russians out of Syria remove Assad from power and gain all the Syria’s natural resources.

        do you have a reason?

      • alejoeisabel

        Some Europeans want nothing to do with the Eurasia Project (EP). As the economies of EP show clear growth and prosperity, and the EU shows clear decline in their economies. Their mistake will be incontrovertible. Choosing the declining US and its infinite wars over a China dedicated to infrastructure mega projects seems to me a clear choice. Its best not to argue with imbeciles.

  • Анрэс Суарэс

    This buddy comes from the “capitalist neoliberal” trend of thinking, as usual, lives in an alternate planet. Reminds me of the paid pens and journalists here in Mexico.

    Nevertheless, it’s interesting how they keep repeating the false statement that “globalization was made for the narrowing the consumption gap and social standards between countries”. For example, for that to happen the workforce of every country should be able to go all around the world where the demand existed, yet they conveniently hide that fundamental deliberate flaw of the “free market globalization”.

  • Joao Alfaiate