ABSTRACT: The author develops an analysis of the relations between the European Union and Russian Federation through the normative convergence, an approach proposed by the EU to Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It investigates the way these initiatives have evolved, identifying on the one hand, the phenomena that led to the conclusion of mutually beneficial partnerships, and on the other hand exposing the causes which led to the failure of these initiatives. In this context, it is important to considerate how Russia, in the early 2000s, seeks to return to the negotiating table of great powers, aiming to regain its status of influential decision maker in the world, but also to develop itself as a solid power, equal with the European Union and the United States. Because the respect for state sovereignty in Russia gets a particularly important significance in front of the EU normative transforming measures, over time, the shaping of a new assertive Russian foreign policy may be observed, where common neighborhood becomes an inconvenient topic in the relation with European Union, while the implementation of Eastern Partnership takes the form of a zero sum game. Consequently, as the European integration policies are adopted in several countries of common neighborhood, the transition towards a geopolitical competition becomes vital. In this regard, the application of instruments of realpolitik influences the way Russia manages its external relations, by which it demonstrates the need to change the world order, where Moscow should be perceived as an influential international player, able to get what it wants.
KEYWORDS: Russia, European Union, normative convergence, realpolitik.