The RAND Corporation and the FES Regional Office for Cooperation and Peace in Europe are organising a Track II initiative to identify avenues for building an inclusive regional order in post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia. While the competitive dynamic between Russia and the West has come to a head in Ukraine, all of the so-called “in-between” states (those outside of Euro-Atlantic institutions: Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) are in fact objects of competition among outside powers. This contest has become a negative-sum game, benefiting none of the parties: the West and Russia now find themselves caught up in a dangerous and damaging competition as a result, while the states in the region remain to varying degrees unstable, unreformed, and rife with conflict.
With generous support by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and in partnership with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, this project will define an alternative to the current approaches to regional integration. It will do so by first identifying the common ground among these “in-between” countries, Russia, the United States, and EU member-states on the underlying principles of regional order, divorced from the current institutions. These principles will form the foundation for a regional architecture that is both appropriate for the particular circumstances of the “in-between” countries and acceptable for all parties.
The working group will seek to devise mutually acceptable harmonising mechanisms to bridge the divide between Euro-Atlantic institutions and Russia-led organisations like the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The purpose of these mechanisms would be to help transform the “in-between” states – including those that are members of Russia-led institutions – from objects of geopolitical competition and sources of geopolitical conflict into secure, prosperous, and modern countries that are at peace with all their neighbors. A shared agenda for regional integration would also dramatically stabilise relations between Russia and the West.