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By Alina Sobolik,  student at the Department of Political Science, University of Victoria

Introduction: Why Talk About It?

The EU and Russia are both significant actors on the world stage, both in the size of their economies and the values that they represent. Since the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union, Liberal Democracy has been the law of the land, and Human Rights have been the hot topic. However, is it possible that this is only because those nations that felt otherwise were too weak at the moment to protest? And do these kinds of values have any place in bilateral economic agreements?

Through my studies on the European Union and my participation the University of Victoria’s European Union Study Tour and Internship Program, I have observed what I believe may be a shift in this global dynamic. A primary example for me is the transforming relationship between Russia and the EU. As their relationship has faced several obstacles in recent years, resulting in sanctions from the EU and a failure to re-negotiate an agreement, observers have concluded that the relationship is dead, with no future in sight.

I disagree. The relationship as it was born is dead, however I believe that there is a future for EU-Russia relations that reflects the changing power dynamics between them as Russia regains its ground as a global actor. This new relationship would be one that does not include ideological conditions from either side, but is based purely on economic and strategic benefit.

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