Belarus has joined Russia's customs union and has been called "Europe's last dictatorship." Although Minsk has been invited to the Vilnius Summit, no policy changes are likely.
In an about-face, Ukraine suspended work on an Association Agreement and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement on November 21.
Ukraine would have been the biggest Eastern Partnership prize by far, and Moscow fought hard to prevent it from signing an agreement with Brussels. It had blocked exports of Ukrainian chocolate, threatened to cut Kyiv's "special partner status," and threatened to impose heavy tariffs on imports to Russia. In past disputes with Kyiv, Moscow has cut off the flow of gas in the winter, and it had threatened to do so again.
Recently, Russia had also offered some enticements in the form of major economic projects in Ukraine. Brussels, on the other hand, had been concerned with President Viktor Yanukovych backsliding on democratic practices. The EU demanded the release of imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a Yanukovych rival, before an agreement could go forward.
Moldova has taken a sharp turn towards Europe and expects to initial an Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement in Vilnius. Moscow, however, holds several levers vis-à-vis Chisinau. It has re-imposed an embargo on Moldovan wine and has threatened to cut the flow of gas to the country this winter. There have also been veiled threats to stir up discontent in Moldova's Moscow-friendly breakaway republic of Transdniester.
Moldovans are supportive of an EU path, but may not see quick results. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2015. A strong showing for the Communist Party – which lost power in 2009 – could put the brakes on Moldova's European path.
Brussels and Yerevan have been locked in intensive negotiations for years and many expected an Association Agreement and trade pact to be signed in Vilnius. But in early September, Armenia unexpectedly agreed to join the Moscow-led customs union that currently includes Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Moscow had successfully played off of Yerevan’s security concerns by signing a security pact with Azerbaijan, Armenia’s bitter rival. Armenia also has a large diaspora in Russia and had been concerned with heightened nationalist rhetoric emanating from Moscow.
Joining the Eurasian Union would preclude Yerevan from signing an Association Agreement or free trade pact with Brussels. Nevertheless, Yerevan has said that it plans to continue to seek a limited Association Agreement. No major breakthroughs should be expected out of Vilnius.
Georgia is expected to initial an Association Agreement and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement in Vilnius in November.
Moscow is irritated with the continued westward push of Tbilisi, despite the election last year of the Georgian Dream coalition of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who was widely seen as more Russia-friendly than former President Mikheil Saakashvili.
But with formal diplomatic relations already broken off following the 2008 Russia-Georgia War and with Moscow having already recognized the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, there are not many sticks left in the Kremlin's arsenal.
For its part, the EU has expressed some concern about Georgia’s democratic development since Ivanishvili took power. Arrests of high-level figures of the former government have led some to warn of a politically motivated crackdown.
Resource-rich Azerbaijan is interested in economic cooperation with Europe, but is less enamored with the demands on political accountability that an association or trade agreement would entail. Baku has ruled out a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, but has been open to an Association Agreement. Russia has rewarded Baku with increased diplomatic support and a multi-billion dollar defense pact.