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Holding-Together Regionalism: 20 Years of Post-Soviet Integration

Libman, Alexander and Vinokurov, Evgeny (2012): Holding-Together Regionalism: 20 Years of Post-Soviet Integration. Published in: (2012)


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Within a single generation, the post-Soviet political, economic, and social landscape has changed immensely. The new structures — ranging from national power structures to a completely new economic reality based on the market instead of centralized planning — have come into existence. As 20 years have passed since the break-up of the Soviet Union, it seems timely to provide an overview, analysis and explanation of one of the most important and complex issues of the post-Soviet era, namely the (re-)integration of this highly interconnected region. Offering a purely descriptive analysis of post-Soviet integration would, we feel, be too restrictive. Although we provide an overview here of political and economic developments over the last 20 years, the developments in the post-Soviet area demand an explanation. Why has post-Soviet integration been, on the whole, unsuccessful over the last two decades? Why did we have to wait almost 20 years for the first successful integration project, the «Troika» Customs Union, to materialize? How can certain trends related to shared infrastructure, mutual trade and investment be explained? There are some exciting questions for the future, for example, what are the prospects and driving forces for the next 20 years? What is more desirable — an intensification or broadening of the Custom Union and the Common Economic Space? What is the optimal relationship between post-Soviet integration and the drive towards closer cooperation with the European Union and East and South Asia (that is, essentially, Eurasian integration)? These are just a few of the questions which we address within the theoretical framework of what we refer to as «holding-together integration»

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