Sic! Five features of Eurasian Union

The path followed by the country at foreign level – the West or the East – is one of the most spread forms of polarization of Moldovan society. It is usually the mediocre and opportunist political forces that gain as a result of manipulation about the foreign course. Not many political forces can provide real and plausible arguments to explain why the country should go towards one direction or another. The authors of a new Sic! article present five features of the Eurasian Union given that, according to them, the Eurasian course is debated superficially or in a very idealized way, unlike the European course, over which arguments for and against are daily provided by pro-European voices and, respectively, by their Euro-skeptical opponents.

According to the authors, the policy dominated by (semi)authoritarian regimes or fragile democracies is the first of the five features of the Eurasian Union. Three of the five member states of the Eurasian Economic Union – Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus – are governed in an authoritarian way. “The real political opposition is marginalized, the elections are simulated, while the critical nongovernmental sector is criminalized, being described as a danger (“foreign agents”) to public safety. In the other two countries – Armenia and Kyrgyzstan – the tendencies towards authoritarianism still meet with particular resistance on the part of the political opposition or civil society whose powers gradually decrease. Their proximity and connection with the political class of Russia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan can accelerate the decline of the democratic institutions,” says the article.

The unpredictable trade is another feature. The main economies of the Eurasian Union (Russia and Kazakhstan – about 95% of the organization’s GDP) are dominated by the extractive industry and, respectively, the export of hydrocarbons. Consequently, the economic state of the Union is powerfully dependent on global oil prices that are extremely volatile. In addition to this handicap, any internal economic shock in Russia and Kazakhstan easily causes chain reactions in the other three countries.

This feature is followed by the marginalized independent mass media. “The freedom of the media is in danger in the Union’s member states, less in Kirgizstan and Armenia. The really independent press is ridiculed or isolated from the large audience. This eliminates public pressure on the authoritarian regimes,” said the authors.

According to Sic!, justice and corruption are “in the shadow” in the Eurasian Union. The entry into the Eurasian Union implies no criteria or commitments concerning the fight against corruption and strengthening of the rule of law. These aspects are simply absent from the text of the Treaty of the Eurasian Union. The economic cooperation and integration prevail. The improvement of the democratic standards or freeing of the rule of law state from political influence is neglected. This is sharply contrasting with the Association Agreement signed by Moldova with the EU.

The Sic! article say the human rights come last. During the last few years, Russia firmly stepped onto the principles that support the respect for and promotion of human rights, using the traditional values and the church as anchors of the Russian orthodox civilization. The Russian model is exported to the whole ex-Soviet area, in particular the countries of the Eurasian Union.

In conclusion, the authors say that in reality the Eurasian Union is a technical, not yet conceptual plagiarism of the European project. The smallest attempt to borrow the true nature of the EU (rule of law, democratic freedoms, etc.) could lead to the collapse of the autocratic regimes in the countries of the Eurasian Union. Before choosing the Eurasian development model, during the next elections of 2018 the Moldovans should attentively examine the real anatomy of the Eurasian Union, based on all the available sources. This model does not allow and does not promise to combat the oligarchized power or corruption in all its manifestations. On the contrary, it can create favorable conditions for perpetuating these.

The full article in the Romanian can be read on Sic! is a project implemented by IPN News Agency with support from Soros Foundation Moldova.

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