After the collapse of the Soviet Union, there were high hopes of Russia’s "modernisation" and rapid political and economic integration with the EU. But now, given its own policies of national development, Russia appears to have ‘limits to integration’. Today, much European political discourse again evokes East/West civilisational divides and antagonistic geopolitical interests in EU-Russia relations. This book provides a carefully researched and timely analysis of this complex relationship and examines whether this turn in public debate corresponds to local-level experience – particularly in border areas where the European Union and Russian Federation meet.

This multidisciplinary book - covering geopolitics, international relations, political economy and human geography - argues that the concept ‘limits to integration’ has its roots in geopolitical reasoning; it examines how Russian regional actors have adapted to the challenges of simultaneous internal and external integration, and what kind of strategies they have developed in order to meet the pressures coming across the border and from the federal centre. It analyses the reconstitution of Northwest Russia as an economic, social and political space, and the role cross-border interaction has had in this process. The book illustrates how a comparative regional perspective offers insights into the EU-Russia relationship: even if geopolitics sets certain constraints to co-operation, and market processes have led to conflict in cross-border interaction, several actors have been able to take initiative and create space for increasing cross-border integration in the conditions of Russia’s internal reconstitution.

chapter |12 pages

On the edge of neighbourhood

Regional dimensions of the EU–Russia interface
ByHeikki Eskelinen, Ilkka Liikanen, James W. Scott

part |31 pages

Northwest Russia

chapter |16 pages

Federal reforms, interregional relations, and political integration in Northwest Russia1

ByElena Belokurova, Maria Nozhenko

chapter |13 pages

Regional community-building and cross-border interaction1

ByElena Belokurova, Maria Nozhenko

part |104 pages

Processes and actors of cross-border interaction

chapter |13 pages

Geopolitics and the market

Borderland economies in the making
ByHeikki Eskelinen

chapter |13 pages

Crossing the borders of Finnish and Northwest Russian labour markets

ByPertti Koistinen, Oxana Krutova

chapter |14 pages

Reconnecting territorialities?

Spatial planning co-operation between Finnish and Russian subnational governments
ByMatti Fritsch

chapter |17 pages

Russia's oil and gas export infrastructure

New routes, new actors
ByDmitry Zimin

chapter |18 pages

Civil society organizations as drivers of cross-border interaction

On whose terms? For which purpose?1
ByJussi Laine, Andrej Demidov

part |62 pages

Northwest Russia

chapter |16 pages

Company towns on the border

The post-Soviet transformation of Svetogorsk and Kostomuksha
ByDmitry Zimin, Juha Kotilainen, Evgenia Prokhorova

chapter |16 pages

Repositioning a border town

ByAlexander Izotov

chapter |11 pages

Informal transitions

Northwest Russian youth between ‘Westernization' and Soviet legacies
ByPirjo Jukarainensc

chapter |17 pages


A Finnish–Russian borderland on the edge of neighbourhood
ByVladimir Kolossov, James W. Scott