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Bindi: The Russian Elections - Bad News for the EU
CNBC.com | March 06, 2012 | 11:27 AM EST

The Russian Presidential elections have once again revealed the EU’s many contradictions and exposed its dwarf-size political mass.

The relation has always been peculiar: geographically, Europe and Russia are overlapping entities: half of Europe is Russia; half of Russia is in Europe. However, politics do not necessarily take this axiomatically – either in Europe or in Russia - and the relation between the two has witnessed an alternation of attraction and cooperation, with competition and mistrust.

Moscow is promoting an equal and strategic relationship with Brussels (similarly to the NATO-Russia Council) that excludes the long-term objective of full-fledged integration but allows Russia to claim its great power status. Vladimir Putin put re-integration of the post-Soviet space high on the political agenda: interactions with the EU thus became instrumental to Russia’s economic prosperity and growing international power and prestige.

The EU is split between two approaches: some of the EU member States consider Russia as a potential partner that can be drawn into the EU’s orbit through a process of Europeanization that might end in more integration. They favor involving Russia in as many institutions as possible and encourage Russian investment in the EU’s energy sector. Other members - whose perceptions remain influenced by the burden of the Cold War - still see Russia as a threat.

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