Measuring Hierarchy in the European Union and Eastern Partnership Countries

  • Yuval WeberEmail author


For more than a decade, Russian foreign policy has pursued a policy of re-establishing a sphere of influence in areas formerly governed or dominated by the Soviet Union. This chapter places Russia’s policy within the theoretical frame of hierarchy in international relations, that is, the establishment of unequal political relations between two juridically equal states. I introduce an original Hierarchy and Resilience Index (HRI), based on a novel data set, which evaluates the hierarchical relations of Russia, the United States, and China along security, economic, diplomatic, and informational categories. Initial results indicate that Russia’s attempts to recreate a sphere of influence in Europe and Eurasia have largely failed, particularly in the states of the Eastern Partnership. War and frozen conflict in Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova have seen those states minimise connections with Russia, while Russia has emphasised military relations with Belarus, Armenia, and Azerbaijan even more strongly. For the European Union, its political choices are relatively clear for the Eastern Partnership. Since those states are the object of security competition between Russia and the United States, and economic competition between China and all other external powers, the European Union will have to engage with the competitive international environment on its eastern borders or cede political influence to others.


Russian foreign policy Eastern parternship Resilience United States foreign policy Chinese foreign policy 



I wish to thank Michael Smeltzer for invaluable research assistance in the compilation of the Hierarchy and Resilience Index, and Laura Gold for ongoing support and editing assistance. I also wish to thank Henry Hale and Marlene Laruelle of George Washington University for arranging audiences at the US Department of State and Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia in April 2019 to present the first drafts of this research. Gratitude as well to Gabriela Carmen Pascariu, Gilles Rouet, and panel participants at the initial conference in Iasi, Romania. All errors remain my own.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kennan Institute Associate Professor of Russian and Eurasian StudiesDaniel Morgan Graduate SchoolWashington, DCUSA

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