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Russia’s Influence on the European Neighborhood Policy

Marred by a history of warfare and suspicion from its neighbors, Russia has been a major player in the European geopolitical landscape. This has been mainly because Russia, being one of the largest economies in their region, has many interests that it needs to protect, foremost being the national security, pursuance of peace in its somewhat volatile neighborhood, and then of course the economic benefits that it stands to gain. As a result of these differences, political instability was created in the region. The uneasy relationships hampered the growth of the nations around Moscow, whose growth was also to a large extent affected as a result of the murky relationship it had with its neighbors. In 2002, the United Kingdom proposed a deal that was meant to cement trade and foster a good relationship between Moscow and the neighboring nations.

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This initiative was called The European Neighborhood Policy (ENP). The main aim of this proposal was to unite Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Moldova, while at the same time fostering economic growth, economic freedom, the internal and external security of the member states, and to propel justice (Falcetti, 2006). This raises several questions though; being the larger economy, does Russia really have an influence on the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP)? Has the ENP lived and fulfilled its objectives when some of the member countries are deeply divided internally? Are Moscow and the other states gaining anything from this affiliation?

Russia enjoys a ‘strategic partnership with the EU, thanks to an agreement reached by both Russia and the EU. This agreement dictates that each party happens to be an independent player. Therefore, Russia has this status and acts on its own obligations since it’s not a member state which happens to be bound by the terms and conditions of the ENP. Due to this, Russia has a direct influence on the ENP. Before the ENP, Russia was selling gas and fuel products at much cheaper prices to its neighbors such as Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus compared to other EU member states. Sometimes the prices happened to be below cost recovery. When the ENP came into effect, price shocks were felt as a result of Moscow’s efforts to raise the gas prices. In Armenia, the Russian imported gas doubled in price, in Georgia there was a 75% price increase. Moldova had its prices increased thrice while in Belarus Russia more than doubled the gas price per every cubic meter bought. (International energy agency, 2006).

Russia’s influence is again felt on the nation of Moldova. The country is virtually torn apart by war. The country lacks an efficient governing structure, there is biting poverty and total political instability. As a result of Moscow’s extended helping hand to Moldova, Russia almost controls everything in Moldova (Graeme, 2007). It handles internal affairs and provides both economic and military support to Moldova. As a result of this, the EU cannot meddle with the affairs of Moldova without consulting Moscow.

The ENP may not have fulfilled all its objectives which entailed providing a ‘blanket cover’ within which all states would operate on the same grounds, but it has come a long way. It has reduced the intensity of the cold war between the member countries and opened them up to be trading partners. It is trying to broker in on the conflict in Moldova to establish peace and a good governing structure and is also trying to stabilize the poor economies of the region to gain an economic foothold.

The affiliation has benefited Moscow a great deal. In as much as it entered into the partnership as a ‘strategic partner’, the increase in gas prices has increased revenue for Moscow. The long-term effect of the increase of the gas prices to the other economies is that they will expand since they will have to compensate for the increased prices by getting more funds through both external and internal borrowing. This would expand their market. This research is important to my field of study as it opens up my mind to the dynamics of relationships around different nations, how large economies can use their muscle to get their way even with big unions such as the EU. It also brings to focus the importance and the weight of the terms of the agreement in any association or partnership that binds international relationships.

Works cited

Falcetti, E., Lysenko, T. and Sanfey, P. (2006). Reforms and Growth in Transition: Re-examining The Evidence, Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, Vol.34 (3), pp 421-445.

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Graeme P. Herd, (2007). “Moldovan Security Politics: The Tale of Three Cities,” Connections, vol. III (4):13–20.

International Energy Agency (2006), Energy Balances of Non-OECD Countries 2003-2004, OECD, Paris, France.

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"Russia’s Influence on the European Neighborhood Policy." StudyCorgi, 9 Dec. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Russia’s Influence on the European Neighborhood Policy." December 9, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Russia’s Influence on the European Neighborhood Policy." December 9, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Russia’s Influence on the European Neighborhood Policy." December 9, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Russia’s Influence on the European Neighborhood Policy'. 9 December.

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