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Understanding Eurasian Integration and Contestation in the Post-Soviet Conjuncture: Lessons from Geopolitical Economy and Critical Historicism

Theoretical Engagements in Geopolitical Economy

ISBN: 978-1-78560-295-5, eISBN: 978-1-78560-294-8

Publication date: 22 September 2015


The purpose of this paper is to examine processes of Eurasian integration and the veritable ‘culture war’ between Russia and the West over it, while contributing to the theoretical paradigm of geopolitical economy. This paradigm invites us to consider the multiple manifestations of an emerging multipolar world order while scrutinising the extent to which previously popular approaches to the study of international political economy were themselves enmeshed in projects, the architects of which aspired to global hegemony.

The paper employs critical historicism, an approach in which cultural difference is seen as the sedimentation of historically constituted material and ideational processes and which eschews cultural essentialism and orientalising tropes. It is through this lens that Russian state attempts at normalising Eurasian integration processes are examined.

I demonstrate that Russian state organs and officials, as well as ‘political technologists’ attempt to de-politicise processes of Eurasian integration by appealing to both the logic of cultural/civilisational compatibility of affected parties, as well as the logic of economic integration. Such portrayals invite scrutiny; however, it is important that we also consider how Eurasian integration initiatives are the product of a post-Soviet struggle over Eurasian space but represent something more than mere neo-Soviet revisionism.

The paper demonstrates its originality by situating ongoing processes of Eurasian integration within the longer post-Soviet conjuncture and amid processes of international contestation. Moreover, it situates Russian officials and political technologists as active contributors to international debates about the emerging multipolar world order.




The author thanks Jessica Praznik for research supports.


Silvius, R. (2015), "Understanding Eurasian Integration and Contestation in the Post-Soviet Conjuncture: Lessons from Geopolitical Economy and Critical Historicism", Theoretical Engagements in Geopolitical Economy (Research in Political Economy, Vol. 30A), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 235-258.



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