Photo of a gas pipeline over miles of wilderness.

Integration challenges for former Soviet Union countries

Russia and the Post-Soviet Space

April 2010, Number 01.02

“Though firmly established in the latest political lexicon, the phrase “Post-Soviet Space” nonetheless remains somewhat undefined. Difficulties arise when one attempts to establish the boundaries of that “space” on factual and, specifically, historical and geographical levels.

To begin with, the circumstance that prompted researchers in post-Soviet issues to unanimously refrain from including the Baltic states in that nebulous space seems incomprehensible, even though, with the exception of the period of 1918 to 1940, they were part of the Russian Tsarist and Soviet empires for approximately 300 years. Given that, it bears special mention that, strangely enough, it was Russian authors who established and continue to maintain this “tradition.” Thus the “post-Soviet space” is narrowed to within the borders of the Commonwealth of Independent States, or CIS, and this approach is unassailable. It would be logical to explain it as an adherence to realpolitik — an acknowledgment that the CIS has certain functionality consistent with the geopolitical, economic, defense and cultural interests of the countries that make up that entity...”

Excerpt from Vardan Grigoryan and Suren Grigoryan, “Russia and the Post-Soviet Space” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 1, No. 2, 2010: 38-43.

Dr. Vardan Grigoryan is deputy director of the Institute of Armenian Studies, a research center at Yerevan State University, Armenia. He served as Armenia’s deputy minister of education and science from 2000 to 2002, as a diplomat at the Armenian Embassy in Moscow from 1997 to 1998 and as chief editor of the weekly magazine Epoch from 1989 to1997. He earned a doctorate in philological sciences from the V. Brusov Linguistic University at Yerevan, where he taught from 1980 to 1983.

Suren Grigoryan is a senior specialist on international military cooperation at the Armenian Ministry of Defense. He also does violence risk assessments on countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States for the London based company Exclusive Analysis. He was a troop commander in the Armenian military and an advisor on the legal aspects of international military cooperation. Since 2001, he has held several security positions at the Defense Ministry. He earned a master’s degree in comparative politics in 2009 at the London School of Economics and Political Science and a bachelor’s degree in law and military command. He is a graduate of the Marshall Center's 2010 Security, Stability, Transition and Reconstruction course, and the 2004 Program on Advanced Security Studies.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.