In 2032 Russia will not be a part of the European Union, but will control the Eurasian Union, says University of Tartu Professor of International Relations Eiki Berg, who was interviewed by uudised.err.ee for a series ahead of a “vision conference” in April. The conference, a cooperative project between ERR and the University of Tartu, will look at predictions of the direction of the country in 18 years.
Will the EU be closer to Estonians by 2032?
My position is that the EU is talked about as a process. It is in perpetual development and difficult to pin down. For example, if member states were to believe the goals have been achieved, then European integration would halt immediately.
What will the union move forward?
The direction is clear - closer integration, leading to a federal state. At the same time, it is hard to move forward as the public has not approved the trend. European integration begins from the perception that there is a crisis. Until that feeling of a crisis is lacking I don't see states giving up more of their independence.
Russia is excluded from any horizontal integration?
Absolutely. Russia is in a customs union with Kazakhstan, Armenia and Belarus. It is not unthinkable that influence will expand to Ukraine, Moldova and probably also central Asia, than can grow into a Eurasian Union. That kind of union needs institutions, which to a large extent already exist.
What will such a union lead to?
An economic rival will be created next to the EU. Both economic units will begin influence political relations. I would not be surprised if a permanent trade war would define relations between the European Union and the Eurasian Union.
What will Russia look like in the future?
Putin's Russia is going through a rebirth […] Russia will begin to have a great effect on the European Union. Will Russia become a democracy? I doubt it.
It can not be ruled out that Putin will still be in charge in 2032. I don't think a strong opposition will surface, which could bring about a revolution. There are critically minded people, but they have left the country or are laying low.
We must hope that there are no shocks (in Estonian-Russian relations). Estonia has won and lost its independence thanks to such major events. That will not be directly dependent on Russian-Estonian relations, but from global developments and those changes can arise from small conflicts which escalate and become regional.