Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I'm not sure that Russian elite (its various clans to be exact) has a firm view on relations with the EU and EU's expansion.

As I said, they tend to look for the American involvement in these projects and react to them. More often then not they are clumsy, aggressive and look like that they dislike the whole Western integration project even if they only really hate/fear few of its pieces (said American involvement primarily).

We saw that in summer 2013 when Kremlin mounted an economic pressure on Kiev due to the coming Eastern Partnership/DCFTA deal. They started blocking various Ukrainian export projects and creating media pressure. There was a nice Spiegel article on the prelude of the Maidan and Yanukovich's refusal to sign EaP, where they said that in the private meeting at the one of the Moscow airports Putin laid out the Russian capabilities to economically hurt Ukraine if the treaty with EU was signed. Yanuk came back to Kiev and asked some economic institute to calculate the whole possible damage. He told Stefan Fuhle that the estimate was in the area of 150B$. Fuhle was mad since he thought that Yanukovich is simply lying and is refusing to sign the EaP for selfish political reasons alone.

But in essence, Russian politicians usually say that they do not fear the EU alone, either because they are friendly to it or because they have a disdain for it. Putin said so repeatedly. Ironically, when they were hitting Ukraine over EaP/DCFTA issue they were again acting over fear that it will irreversibly suck Ukraine into American orbit, not just EU.

Russian have a true difficulty of systematically telling apart separate American geopolitical interests from European (either through EU or nationally) interests and from various other promotions of social norms (human rights, democracy, rule of law etc etc).

Sorry for long posts, I just want to be clear. :)  

by Prospero on Sat Mar 7th, 2015 at 10:40:00 AM EST
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