The role of the Eurasian Union, its prospects, as well as the necessary actions of Russia in the integration process are discussed by Yuri Krupnov, political scientist, chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Institute of Demography, Migration Policy and Regional Development.
Why is it important to develop Eurasian integration?
- Returning a few days ago from Pakistan, where I participated in a conference to discuss the future strategy of this country after the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan next year, it became absolutely obvious to me that the Eurasian Union is not only critical for the post-Soviet countries, but also for all states of Eurasia. I especially want to highlight the countries of Central Asia, which includes both 5 of the former republics of the Soviet Union, and Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.
In Pakistan, everyone is wondering about Russia, which has suddenly come to life in the geopolitical arena, where it will go and whether it will be possible to use the new opportunities of Russia for its own development. So far Pakistan has established relations with the United States, with China, but it is obvious that this is not enough for him and he is waiting for a response from Russia.
The creation of 29 in May 2014, the Eurasian Economic Union, is a powerful signal for all countries. But still the content of the integration process is not yet indicated. It is important to understand that Russia will export to the world. This is a key issue for the Eurasian Union.
Either the Eurasian Union will be built on the principles of a liberal empire that Chubais advocated ten years ago, when “rich Moscow” credits a number of post-Soviet states, but no new opportunities will appear for these countries. Either Russia will export development. This key point sets a completely new agenda for all of humanity.
What does export development mean?
- A simple example. In the same Pakistan, the key security problem is the extremely weak power supply. Even in the capital, in Islamabad, on 6 hours of electricity is turned off per day. Since 1947, for the entire period of the existence of independent Pakistan, a plan for the development of energy as a single system has never been developed. This is a challenge for Russia, for the Eurasian Union. It is necessary to set a technological agenda, an action plan that is interesting for both Russian energy corporations and Pakistan. Here is a specific platform for the phenomenon of development.
What should Russia export to expand Eurasian integration?
- From my point of view, Russia should offer export development. This is a comprehensive promotion of all spheres of life and, above all, new explosive opportunities for young people.
Today, tens of percent of young people are simply unemployed or have a temporary job. The development will not only provide them with work and employment, but, very importantly, the work of a completely new professional level. And this is not only an increased salary, but also self-esteem, the possibility of professional growth.
Continuing the theme of the electrification of Pakistan, export development means that there are ten times more hydropower engineers, hydraulic engineers, network maintenance, energy conservation and energy efficiency engineers in Russia. Those. there will be new social strata attached to complex types of labor. This is the main indicator of real development.
This problem is very relevant. Over the last quarter of a century, the number of people employed in mechanical engineering in Russia has fallen by 7 times, in machine tool industry - almost 20 times, in aircraft manufacturing (according to the current state program for the development of aviation industry!) Due to 2025, the year by 2. Those. we see that huge strata of people will fall out of complex forms of labor. Therefore, the issue of youth employment is a strategic issue of export development.
What should Russia offer to the Eurasian Union?
Russia, as the locomotive of reintegration, should offer a system that covers several countries. The simplest example where the Eurasian Union would immediately go into planetary orbit is to suggest a format for solving a water problem in Central Asia. Today there is a shortage of water, as well as an acute problem of its low quality level. Already heard statements about possible future water wars between the states of Central Asia. Russia could offer a different format for water use. One of the elements is the restoration of the project of exporting part of the Ob drain (approximately 5%) through the conduit to Central Asia. Hydrotechnical measures, construction of hydroelectric power stations, and other irrigation stand behind this decision.
The second project is the restoration of the aviation industry. Worldwide 3-4 aviation powers that fully manufacture all types of aircraft. Every day Russia is getting closer to the line when it will cease to be such a power. Meanwhile, each job in the aircraft industry provides up to 16 jobs in related industries.
Today in Russia, even taking into account flightless technology, about 2,5 thousands of small aircraft, and in Alaska, where not 145 million people live, but 750 thousand people - 9 thousand small aircraft. An example of the aviation of Alaska shows an effective solution to the transport issue.
It is important to restore the technological sovereignty of the Eurasian countries. This means a departure from dependence in the technological base in the machines from the EU, the USA and Japan. Designing and creating your own machine tool base is a number one issue, because political sovereignty is not possible if a country is forced to buy modern machines abroad.
The question of the revival of astronautics should also become a new form of export development today. We must do our own ambitious programs, as well as draw new countries of the Eurasian Union into space exploration.
Russia should export the Institute of Large Fundamental Science. For example, when I arrive in Tajikistan, I admire that the Academy of Sciences has been preserved, I see scientists who solve fundamental scientific problems at the world level, and I see how much this raises the general culture of the country. The same in Belarus.
Human health, in the sense of spa treatment, will also be a unifying factor for the countries participating in the Eurasian Union. Mass rehabilitation of people should be a state task. It is necessary to revive the tourist and recreational sphere (restorative medicine, prevention, rehabilitation, etc.), which will require from the economy of hotels, the organization of sanatorium vouchers, new methods and programs. This area can also be a cross-cutting investment projects that will create the base of the Eurasian Union.
Food safety and food quality should also be criteria for participation in integration. If a country buys a ticket for integration and joins the Eurasian Union, it should change the quality standards of the products produced, allocate additional subsidies for the development of the village, and organize import substitution. It’s time to stop looking at agriculture from an economic point of view, and increasingly to look at an ecological product.
Which countries can join the Eurasian Union in the near future?
The key country to join the Eurasian Union is Tajikistan, since it is located at the epicenter of all of Central Asia and borders on China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and has close cultural ties with Iran and Kyrgyzstan.
The main platform for the integration and creation of the Eurasian Union is Central Asia. If we do not win the integration potential of Central Asia, we will not achieve anything with any remarkable connections. Without integration with Central Asia, this territory will become a source of endless conflicts, extremism, and drug production.
We should also talk about the accession of Pakistan, and, however terrifying it may sound, Afghanistan, and Iran, and Turkey, and Syria, and the Balkan states. Proper organization of the Eurasian Union will solve their immediate problems.
It is important to understand that the Eurasian Union should not be a copy of the Soviet Union. This is re-Sovietization in the sense that we need to reach ambitious projects and tasks of the Soviet Union, compared with which we are in a very difficult degrading situation today.
Does Ukraine need a Eurasian Union?
Not only Ukraine, but also Georgia are critically necessary for the Eurasian Union. As for the NATO states, both Georgia and Ukraine are an exclusively geopolitical base for actions against the emerging Eurasian Union. Therefore, in no case can not leave these bridgeheads.
The main thing is that these are brotherly peoples to us, especially the Ukrainian people, we should not throw them, but should draw into the orbit of the development of the Eurasian Union.
Each new country’s clear understanding of systemic benefits, systemic advances from joining the Eurasian Union is the key to expanding integration.