The return of the 'spheres of influences'?

By Adam Urosevic | 9 January 2018

Russia’s power over Central Asia perfectly illustrates the notion of a ‘sphere of influence’: A hegemon exerts power over a geopolitically close region. Yet, at the same time, Central Asian states do regularly resist unilateral power impositions by Russia. How can this be explained? A recent paper in the journal Geopolitics posits a ‘negotiated hegemony’ to better understand the political dynamics between an ‘influencer’ and its ‘influenced’.

The EU’s Eastern Partnership, post–Soviet frozen conflicts and the war in Eastern Ukraine

By Pierre H. N. Martin | 21 November 2017

The 5th Eastern Partnership Summit is an opportunity to promote conflict resolution in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood. The initiative brings closer together EU citizens and people afflicted by post-Soviet frozen conflicts, and compels Brussels to engage in mediation whilst defending the territorial integrity of its Partners. In Ukraine, the Union faces the challenge of pre–empting the freezing of a conflict.

Macedonia/FYROM: Changing Government, Changing Name?

By Andreas Pacher | 15 June 2017

The name dispute which has hampered Skopje’s path towards NATO and the EU receives fresh optimism. Both the new Macedonian government and the Greek Foreign Minister have signaled unusual goodwill for a soon-to-reach compromise. While some analysts assert that the ‘China factor’ may tone down Skopje’s thrust to the West, such a view is overly simplistic and should not pollute the hopes for a political reconciliation.

Becoming Ukrainian. The context of national indifference in Ukraine

By Yana Hryshko | 24 April 2017

In the history of independent Ukraine, we can distinguish three periods of rising nationalism with rising national indifference in response. The topic has always been strongly influenced by the ‘Russia factor’. Moreover, the occurrence of national indifference was highly politicized, raising both nationalism and national indifference to the rank of a problem, issue, and even threat. In this article, I try to describe the origin of national indifference in Ukraine, the specificity of Ukrainian nationalism and the evolution of these two opposite yet intertwined phenomena.

From the Dolomites to Galicia – national indifference and “Habsburg patriotism” in the Austro-Hungarian empire’s literature

By Balázs Gyimesi | 22 April 2017

The Habsburg empire’s literature offers an intriguing landscape of Habsburg patriotism, which can be seen as a form of “national indifference”, a response to specific societal and political changes which affected the empire in its last decades, such as secularisation and nationalisation. This form of multi-layered belonging, having both territorial and religious anchors, but ultimately being attached to the institution of the Habsburg monarchy, was masterfully demonstrated in Roth’s chef-d’oeuvre, “Radetzky March” (1932). Through an analysis of fiction and nonfiction works of authors born in the Austro-Hungarian empire, the article will explore the notions of Habsburg patriotism, national indifference and a possible contemporary manifestation of the latter phenomenon, a form of “European patriotism”.

How European can be a Post-Soviet Korean?

By Svetlana Kim | 22 April 2017

Disinterest towards one’s own nationality may be regarded as indifference, but this indifference is nuanced. For example, most of the post-Soviet Koreans who increasingly settle in the EU today seem well-assimilated and unconcerned about their identities, but they still continue to live their deeply ingrained national traditions. National indifference can therefore be dynamically combined with the concept of a ‘dormant diaspora’.

The Orders of Friendship in (Post-)Socialist Countries

By Andreas Pacher | 24 March 2017

Several (post-)socialist governments have established new state awards which all carry the name ‘Order of Friendship’. The term ‘friendship’ here is genealogically related to the Stalinist concept of ‘friendship of peoples’. Western political theories have largely abandoned the use of 'friendship' in international relations. The burgeoning of Friendship Orders in (post-)socialist countries is culturally contingent on a collectivist mindset, while the general popularity of state awards can be attributed to the increasing attention governments pay to public diplomacy.

Being Friends with Transnistria: Emotional Politics via State Awards

By Andreas Pacher | 18 February 2017

By exclusively targeting foreign citizens, the Transnistrian “Order of Friendship” is confined to a limited scope: The tiny republic enjoys recognition only by a few Russian-backed breakaway regions. The recipients therefore consist of disputed leaders from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, some Russian politicians with influential NGOs, and a Soviet-era singer whose connection with the Donbass placed him on the EU’s list of sanctioned people. The political logic revealed in the government’s implicit criteria for “awardworthiness” is that of a narrow understanding of diplomacy.

China and Poland: Economic Cooperation Under the 16+1 Formula

By Yao Le | 1 February 2017

Why do China and Poland view each other as significant partners under the 16+1 formula? Based on a comparative analysis of the two countries’ respective goals and expectations, this article will put forth possible explanations, and point towards options the Chinese government could address to promote the Sino-Polish cooperation a step further.

Does the Turkish Stream Fuel the “Anti-Visegrad Alliance”?

By Andreas Pacher | 3 October 2016

Russia and Turkey agreed to build the Turkish Stream pipeline in August 2016. This is beneficial to Bulgaria and Greece, for they aim to turn into a regional gas hub. What is more, potential supplies of LNG, shale gas, and natural gas from Azerbaijan realistically fuel their ambitions. Despite the V4’s opposing stakes in energy policy (not wanting to “lose” Ukraine), talks about a Graeco-Bulgarian Anti-Visegrad Alliance are exaggerated.