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Libman, Alexander; Vinokurov, Evgeny (2018): Autocracies and regional integration: the Eurasian case. In: Post-Communist Economies, Vol. 30, No. 3: pp. 334-364
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Abstract

The establishment of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in 2010, succeeded by the Eurasian Economic Union in 2015, constituted an important discontinuity in the development of post-Soviet regionalism: while the preceding organisations remained cases of ink-on-paper' regional integration, in the case of the Customs Union the members actually implemented their commitments. This creates an important theoretical challenge: the literature (which the previous experience of Eurasian regionalism was very much in line with) conjectures that authoritarian states are unable to successfully implement an economic regional integration agreement (RIA). The aim of the article is to explore the conditions under which implementation of economic RIAs by autocracies happens. We argue that the implementation is influenced by the extent of economic, social and political ties between member states, and suggest that, unlike democratic states, which are more likely to implement a RIA where there are strong economic ties, non-democracies are more likely to do so in the case of intermediate economic dependence.