The 'Near Abroad' continues to be Russia's number one foreign policy priority. The lecture explores the contours and origins of the ambitious Eurasian Union project that was announced earlier this year during the Russian presidential elections campaign. It is argued that the Eurasian Union project constitutes a litmus test of President Putin's foreign policy.
Ria Laenen is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of International and European Policy, KU Leuven. Her dissertation, defended in 2008, focused on Russia's 'Near Abroad' and compatriots policies. Her current research focuses on Russia's great-power ambitions, as well as the link between national identity and foreign policy in Russia.