Following the formation of the Eurasian customs union from 2011 and Russian WTO membership
from 2012, the project examines the role of these and other patterns of trade integration for Russia
and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) area. During two decades of economic
transition and fast trade growth, a trade pattern with manufacturing imports in exchange for
commodity exports has become more pronounced. Intra-CIS trade has grown more slowly then
trade with other countries, and a growing share of manufacturing imports is now coming from Asia.
With research partners in Russia and Finland, the project studies trade integration using a variety
of approaches and research methods. Using economic models and data with Russia divided into
regions, it will be studied how trade policy integration as well as infrastructure development affect
growth, welfare and the difference across regions. Will trade liberalisation shift Russia's trade
orientation from the West towards the East, and will intra-CIS integration succeed in creating an
internal market promoting economic growth in the area? Or will the vast economic space and
infrastructure challenges in Russia and the CIS, combined with its industrial structure, lead to
a fragmented pattern with limited intra-regional trade? The project is inter-disciplinary: Using
political science and political economy approaches, the project will also study institutions and the
implementation of reforms, based on new survey data.
The project will be interdisciplinary between economics and other social sciences and address how trade integration is related to geopolitics and Russia?s possible turn towards Asia. The project will also study how trade integration affects core-periphery relations and industrial development and inside Russia, taking into account the particularities of Russian institutions.
Russia's trade integration has recently accelerated through WTO membership, regional trade agreements and new trade infrastructure. The impact of this will be studied by an inter-disciplinary team including NUPI, New Economic School/CEFIR and BOFIT/Helsinki, with extensive research experience and competencies on relevant models and methods. Research will be divided about 50/50 between economics and other social sciences. The project will examine how trade integration affects and is affected by geopolitics; with a declining trade share for Western Europe and Russia turning east. Also focusing on developments in the high north, we will study how trade integration affects industrial development and core-periphery patterns in Russia using regional models developed by project participants. As part of the inter-disciplinary approach, a key focus will be on Russian institutions and how they affect and are affected by trade integration.