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While the economic recession is global, some countries have been hit harder than others. Following the Cold War, Russia embraced capitalism and experienced considerable growth in its economy. Now that growth is being reversed and Russia’s status as an economic power is being eclipsed by other emerging nations. Russia needs a partnership in order to modernize its economy. Enter the European Union, but it is safe to say the past is hard to forget. Some members of the EU are suspicious about bringing Russia into the federation, even loosely. As a warning, some Russia leaders mention the possibility of an alliance with China and other Asian countries, but that relationship would be risky. Still Russia is making overtures to Europe that it is serious about cooperating. Only time will tell what sort of agreement might emerge.


IB1. If the world is increasingly moving toward global free trade, why is it necessary for Russia to develop stronger ties with the European Union? What advantages do economic unions offer independent countries?

IB2. While some members are skeptical about an alliance with Russia, why might a stronger relationship be advantageous to the European Union? Should China be factored into the EU’s decision making? Why?

IB3. Does Figure 8.3 support the statement “that Russia is not a sustainable BRIC?” Keeping this figure in mind and reviewing Table 8.5, are Russia’s concerns about China legitimate? What is driving China’s rise as an economic power and why might it be interested in Russia?

SOURCE: S. Fidler, “A Weakened Russia Looks to Europe,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

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