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Russia between integration and protectionism

International road transport, ports, and the forestry sector. Nordregio Working Paper 2007:2

In very general terms, this report deals with the prospect of Russia becoming more closely integrated into Europe and into the world economy more generally. In a more restricted sense, it tries to illustrate some of the central issues of this theme by briefly reviewing three sectors of economic activity in Russia, namely international road transport, ports, and forestry. The report focuses in particular on Russian strategies, policies and decision-making in these fields, having Northwest Russia (and its borders with the EU Member States Finland and the Baltic States) as a particular point of territorial reference. In the conclusions, the focus is placed squarely on the implications of this analysis for the whole European Union (EU), Member States and EU-based companies.

It is argued here that while Russia's declared goal is to enhance integration, at the same time its policies are clearly characterized by state-regulated protectionism. In order to understand or explain Russia's rather ambiguous behaviour along this integration vs. protectionism axis, two basic approaches are presented: geopolitics and geoeconomics.