The constitutional framework of power distribution within the Eurasian integration process: bellum omnium contra omnes

“The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”[1]

After the fall of the Soviet Union, many post-Soviet countries pursued integration among themselves, leading to various regional arrangements. Those had little success for an array of reasons stemming from considerable differences among the many integrating states. Eventually, an understanding came along, that in order to make things work, a change in approach is needed. Among others, such a change would require an efficient legal framework and stronger regional institutions capable of upholding it. These features were played with on the way to the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which was obviously inspired by certain narratives about the EU integration process, and eventually launched in 2015.

However, as integration projects are also about power, the process of fine-tuning of the new features has been influenced considerably by the power play. The major issue is that there is a member state, which clearly holds a dominant position over the others – Russia. The tensions between member states that ensue turn the integration project into a battlefield with different actors either trying to reinforce the power position, to shield from power, or to make a claim to power through various means, including the constitutional framework.

In fact, a constitutional framework can be used for power concentration through its institutionalization, reinforcing the features of dominance. This, naturally, brings about resistance of weaker states. For example, this has led to reluctance of some states to engage in a formal political integration (refusal of the proposed name “Eurasian Union” in favor of “Eurasian Economic Union” is revealing). Further, decision-making no longer operates upon a weighted voting system corresponding to the financial contributions of each state, which made it impossible to take any decision without having Russia on board ...

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