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I personally don't think people are ready to have Russia in the EU, although we surely all want to be close to Russia for different reasons (mine being cultural, and for all I know genetic, others' reasons may be energetic/political ...).

But the day that the EU will take in a member as populated as all the EU states put together, and as large as half the surface of the Moon, has not arrived yet.

I frankly think people are more open to Turkey joining (what's the EU average on this, has anyone seen the latest Euro barometer figures on this? is it usually at around 35% yes?). And ALL are certainly in favour of being best buddies with Russia.

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:41:22 PM EST
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This makes me conclude that Russia is just too big. If you break it down into Russia I and Russia II then it becomes a near certainty that the EU will take in both, - with perhaps a 10 year gap between both memberships, just enough time to let nationalist trends start growing in both havles.
by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 12:45:22 PM EST
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This makes me conclude that Russia is just too big. If you break it down into Russia I and Russia II then it becomes a near certainty that the EU will take in both

In this case you'd probably talk about Russia I to X at least, with North Caucasus, Tatarstan, Bashkotorstan (mostly Muslim), Yakutia (partly Yakut), Khanty-Mansi Region (almost no population but huge oil resources, I bet EU would love to have them in), and, last but not least, the Central Russian Orthodox Republic, after accepting which the EU will truly learn what does it mean to have to heavily Christian countries (another is Poland) on different sides of the religious divide...
     Frankly, you don't want THIS experience which will generate endless possibilities for discussing racial and religious reasons to not admit one of these pieces... besides, citizen of today's Russia (Alpha and Omega) would start hating the EU the first time this idea gets aired, and the whole exercise would be moot.

by Sargon on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:29:55 PM EST
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Central Russian Orthodox Republic, after accepting which the EU will truly learn what does it mean to have to heavily Christian countries (another is Poland) on different sides of the religious divide...

Explain?

The idea is a bit mad anyway - Russia doesn't want to join.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:33:11 PM EST
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In any case, it wouldn't be an admission to the EU, it would be a merging of the EU and Russia. The scales are too similar.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:35:09 PM EST
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A dangerous trend in the Russian nationalism is actually content with encouraging other ethnic separatisms around, so that "Russians proper" - russkie - bang together and develop of feeling of national (or, rather, ethnic) self-identification. If forced to choose between the current country and some hypothetical "ethnic" thing with much smaller territory, I'm afraid they'd choose the latter. These guys are also heavily Orthodox and interpret the religion in a very old-fashioned way. In particular, Catholicism is evil for them (as Orthodoxy is for some die-hard Catholics).

     There are some political forces in Russia (such as Yabloko) which are all for accepting European values and even becoming EU members, when the time comes. However, everyone understands quite clearly that an invitation is not forthcoming (just look at Ukraine!) So in some sense, "we don't want to be in the EU" sounds like "sour grapes" to me.

     But then, of course, there's a joke that it's not about Russia entering the EU, but EU joining Russia :-)

by Sargon on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:53:37 PM EST
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  But then, of course, there's a joke that it's not about Russia entering the EU, but EU joining Russia :-)

It would really be a merger, not an acquisition. I'm not sure it would be a good idea: the resulting power bloc would be terribly powerful.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 02:03:09 PM EST
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I think Russia is too large to be anything other than the center of its own geopolitical pole.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 06:13:17 PM EST
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Well, no-one in the EU is ever instantly ready for expansion. If you took a poll about expansion to include Spain and Portugal back before the process of talks had begun you wouldn't see a lot of "ready."

You could well be right, but I think that subject to all the usual issues (economics, crime, human rights) people would accept Russia joining. But maybe the UK just has different neuroses to France about the EU.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Sep 26th, 2006 at 01:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the day that the EU will take in a member as populated as all the EU states put together, and as large as half the surface of the Moon, has not arrived yet.

Well, on population, Russia is not as big as the whole EU, it is much less: currently, 31% of the EU-25 (142.8 million vs. 458.5 million). But while Russia's population declines faster than any country in the EU-25 (in fact the whole EU-25 is projected to grow until 2025), the EU will most likely absorb another 120-150 million (Romania, Bulgaria, ex-Yugoslavia, Turkey) before Russia. So if Russia joins say in 2025, it will be around 20% of the then-EU: about the same ratio as Turkey would be in 2015, or the last ten new members were to the EU-15.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 04:17:43 AM EST
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Yeah you're right, for some weird reason I always project Russia at 350 million people!
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 05:00:00 AM EST
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Truly weird -- even the Soviet Union was only 250 million. Then again, if we consider that in a recent poll for the National Geographic, only 31% of young American adults correctly guessed the US population in the 150-350 million range [it is now just shy of 300 million], while 58% guessed higher (29% guess 1-2 billion!).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 05:21:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Woouuuuuudj, but then again I'm more certain about my "half the surface of the Moon" declaration, even if I need to recheck this.
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 09:56:05 AM EST
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Well, that's wrong too: the Moon's surface is some 150 million square kilometres, almost nine times that of Russia (17 million).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 10:55:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...but it is 4.5 times that of the current EU...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 10:57:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn damn damn.
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 11:01:13 AM EST
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Wait a minute!

On Wikipedia it says that the Moon's surface area is 3.793×10^7 km² (0.074 Earths). Or roughly 37 million square kilometers.

If Russia is 17 million square kilometers, then Russia's surface area is close to half the surface area of the Moon after all, no?

by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 03:49:18 PM EST
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Damn damn damn! I don't know where I took the wrong figure from...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 28th, 2006 at 04:09:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well after reading your comment, I thought damn damn damn, but then wondered how I had gotten it so wrong. So I googled "surface area" or "land surface" (can't remember), and found both values on various sites (150 and 37), that's when I realized something was wrong and checked further.
by Alex in Toulouse on Thu Sep 28th, 2006 at 05:40:26 AM EST
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It's just one of those unexplainable things, like my conviction that I'm not drunk when I've had half a bottle of whiskey, or that I'm a super jogger with my nearly daily 6-9km runs though I keep receiving emails from a friend in Seattle who tells me he's preparing for the marathon there this year and for instance ran 29km the day before.
by Alex in Toulouse on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 10:01:44 AM EST
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Heh. I see someone at Wikipedia was toying around with similar calculations, albeit they did so on the basis of present population numbers.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 05:12:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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