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Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2013-2014

Irina Busygina, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Department of Comparative Politics

“Multilevel Policy of the EU Towards Russia and Russia’s Possible Responses"

(April-May 2014)


Irina Busygina is Professor of Comparative Politics at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and European Studies Institute at MGIMO. She also heads the Center for Regional Political Studies at MGIMO. Her main spheres of research include EU-Russia relations, regional development and regional policy in Russia and the EU (comparatively) and also federalism in EU and Russia. At MGIMO and ESI Irina Busygina currently teaches the courses “Political Geography”, “Regional and local development”, “Political geography of the EU”. Over the several last years, she have conducted extensive research – both individually and with co-authors – connecting challenges of globalization for the Russian domestic and foreign policies with the need of  political modernization. Her most recent book is Political Modernization of the State in Russia, published in 2012 by Liberal Mission Foundation (in Russian, with Mikhail Filippov).

Abstract of current research:
A number of scholars have stressed the importance of the multilevel nature of EU-Russia relations, focusing on the interactions between the all-Union institutions and the Russian government, on the Russian bilateral relations with member-states and on the cross-border cooperation at sub-national level. Taking this ‘multilevelness’ as a premise, I make an attempt to find an answer to the following questions. First, under given conditions, is it possible for the EU to come forward with coherent strategy towards Russia, and what are the constraints for shaping such a strategy? Second, how could Russia possibly respond to the policy initiatives from the EU side (taking into account that ‘multilevelness’ will grant Russia additional options)?

I argue that multilevel nature of the EU policy towards Russia will lead to significant asymmetry in ‘value added’ at different levels of interaction. In other words, ‘success’ at some levels and spheres will increase due to multilevel nature of policy (‘low politics’), while the same nature will considerably limit the progress at the other levels (‘high politics’, where the strategy should bedefined). As for Russia, it will definitively try to use this asymmetry playing different games at different levels. I’m going to illustrate my arguments with the cases of Northern Dimension, Ukrainian political crises and bilateral relations of Russia with Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom.  

The concrete result of the stay is to prepare an article for a submission to an English language peer-reviewed journal.


Academic hosts: Markku Kangaspuro and Hanna Smith