Greater Europe. Putin's Vision of the European (Dis)integration
On several occasions since 2001 Vladimir Putin has raised the concept of ‘Greater Europe’, a partly-integrated common space comprising mainly Russia and the European Union. This concept has never been recast into a detailed political programme. While it has been championed as‘a Europe without dividing lines’, the concept would in practice permanently split Europe into two geopolitical blocs – the Western bloc of the European Union, with Germany in the dominant role, and the Eastern bloc, consisting of the emerging Eurasian Union, with Russia in a hegemonic position. In recent years Russia has undertaken a number of initiatives aimed at implementing some elements of the concept. However, most of these have failed to become reality. In this context, we should expect Russia’s policy to focus on implementing its priority project of Eurasian integration, based on the structures of the Customs Union/the Eurasian Union. The Greater Europe project, on the other hand, will be postponed until the time when, as Moscow believes, a weakened EU will be ready to accept Russian proposals.