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VOL. 4 (1) - WINTER 2010              Download Full Issue

Note from the Editor-in-Chief (pp. 1-2)
 

Research Papers

Russia’s Pragmatic Reimperialization (pp. 3-19)

by Janusz Bugajski  

 

Puzzles of State Transformation: The Case of Armenia and Georgia (pp. 20-34)

by Nicole Gallina

 

Russia’s National Security Strategy to 2020: A Great Power in the Making? (pp. 35-42)

by Sophia Dimitrakopoulou & Andrew Liaropoulos 

International Language Rights Norms in the Dispute over Latinization Reform in the Republic of Tatarstan (pp. 43-56)

by Dilyara Suleymanova 

 

European Foreign Policy after Lisbon: Strengthening the EU as an International Actor (pp. 57-72)

by Kateryna Koehler

 

Commentaries

The Fall of the Berlin Wall: Twenty Years of Reform (pp. 73-81)

by Aleksandr Shkolnikov & Anna Nadgrodkiewicz

 

Kazan: The Religiously Undivided Frontier City (pp. 82-86)
by Matthew Derrick

 

Interview

 

“The Current Trend of the Kremlin is to Rather Formally Distance itself from the North Caucasus” (pp. 87-90)

Interview with Dr. Emil Souleimanov, Charles University, Prague, Czechia
 

Book Reviews

“The Guns of August 2008: Russia’s War in Georgia”, edited by Svante E. Cornell and Frederick Starr (pp. 91-96)
Review by Till Bruckner

“The Caucasus: An Introduction” by Frederik Coene (pp. 97-98)
Review by Alexander Jackson

“When Empire Meets Nationalism. Power Politics in the US and Russia” by Didier Chaudet, Florent Parmentier & Benoît Pelopidas (pp. 99-100)
Review by Samuel Lussac

 

 

 

 

 

Note from the Editor-in-Chief (pp. 1-2)

Events in the Caucasus have continued to offer observers choice issues for analysis. On everyone’s mind, of course, is the lack of development in the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia. The two sticking-points – the “Armenian genocide” issue and that of acknowledging Azerbaijan’s call for first making progress toward a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – have remained major obstacles in the way forward. The “genocide” obstacle has been strengthened by the statement of the Constitutional Court of Armenia that the application of the protocols signed in October 2009 should comply with the paragraph 11 of the Armenian Declaration of Independenceread more
 

Research Papers

Russia’s Pragmatic Reimperialization (pp. 3-19)

by Janusz Bugajski  

 

The Russian authorities are engaged in a policy of “pragmatic reimperialization” in seeking to restore Moscow’s regional dominance, undermining U.S. global influence, dividing the NATO alliance, neutralizing the European Union (EU), limiting further NATO and EU enlargement, and re-establishing zones of “privileged interest” in the former Soviet bloc, where pliant governments are targeted through economic, political, and security instruments. Russia’s strategies are pragmatic and opportunistic by avoiding ideology and political partisanship and focusing instead on an assortment of threats, pressures, inducements, and incentives. Despite its expansive ambitions, the Russian Federation is – potentially – a failing state, and may be resorting to increasingly desperate imperial reactions to intractable internal problems that could presage the country’s territorial disintegrationread more

 

 

Puzzles of State Transformation: The Case of Armenia and Georgia (pp. 20-34)

by Nicole Gallina
 

The problems of weak state structures, including state territoriality, in the South Caucasus has highly influenced political developments and the building of a democratic state. This paper explains the difficulty of recovering statehood in the cases of Armenia and Georgia, both in the context of post–Soviet state transformation and post–conflict state-rebuilding. It argues that recovering statehood in the South Caucasus meant at once maintaining the status quo within the state structures and managing the highly volatile political and ethnic relations (culminating in armed conflict). In the cases of conflict, elite management impeded conflict solution. In this context, this paper finds that elite power slowed the construction of a democratic and effective state. In particular, elite fragmentation has led to serious impediments for state development and the consolidation of territoriality. In sum, elite-led state development and conflict management hindered the successful consolidation of state territorialityread more

 

 

Russia’s National Security Strategy to 2020: A Great Power in the Making? (pp. 35-42)

by Sophia Dimitrakopoulou & Andrew Liaropoulos 

The publication of Russia’s National Security Strategy in May 2009 provoked a discussion regarding the security challenges that Moscow is facing. This article reviews, firstly, the security context that defined the Putin era and then relates the analysis of the latest national security strategy to the broader dilemmas that Russia will encounter in the next decade. The purpose is to identify the priorities and threat perceptions that are outlined in the latest national security strategy and to question whether Russia will become a great power in the near futureread more

 

International Language Rights Norms in the Dispute over Latinization Reform in the Republic of Tatarstan (pp. 43-56)

by Dilyara Suleymanova 

This paper explores the role of international language rights norms in the dispute over script reform in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. In the late 1990s, the authorities of Tatarstan initiated reform to change the orthographic base of the Tatar language from a Cyrillic- to a Latin-based script. However, this reform was subsequently banned by a Russian federal law that stipulated the mandatory use of the Cyrillic alphabet for all state languages in Russia. In protesting this decision, Tatar language activists referred to international human and minority rights provisions and used categories of international law to frame their case as a violation of international norms. However, it is not clear whether this case would really qualify as a violation of international norms and whether international instruments would have the power to overturn this state decision. Rather than being practically applicable, international language rights norms have shaped the strategies minorities employ in advocating their rights and contesting state decisionsread more

 
 

European Foreign Policy after Lisbon: Strengthening the EU as an International Actor (pp. 57-72)

by Kateryna Koehler

Following years of compromise, the Treaty of Lisbon finally came into force on December 1, 2009. This article analyses the new substantive law regulations and institutional arrangements of the Lisbon Treaty in the field of external relations and their impact on the effectiveness of the European foreign policy and the European Union as an international actor. For this purpose, this paper starts with analyses of the principle of coherence and continues with the reformed structure and legal personality of the EU, which was previously a serious challenge for the coherence of the EU’s foreign policy. Finally, this article examines the functions and implications of institutional innovations, namely, the positions of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the President of the European Council and the European External Action Service. This paper argues that the Treaty of Lisbon improves the preconditions for a higher degree of coherence in European external relations and strengthens the EU as an international actor, even if the success of the European foreign policy, especially in the field of CFSP, still depends to a great extent on the Member States’ willingness to cooperateread more

 

Commentaries

The Fall of the Berlin Wall: Twenty Years of Reform (pp. 73-81)

by Aleksandr Shkolnikov & Anna Nadgrodkiewicz

Reflecting upon transition twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall yields important lessons about the challenges of establishing democracies and market economies. Neither appears overnight; both require difficult and often unpopular reforms in order to create inclusive and responsive institutions of governance and business. The outcomes of the systemic transition in Central and Eastern Europe are undoubtedly impressive but vary greatly, and even the most successful countries continue to struggle with corruption, delayed reforms of key economic sectors, and disillusionment and lingering nostalgia among their populations. In order for the region’s democracies to deliver growth and prosperity, their democratic and market institutions must become more representative and inclusive so that a genuine public-private dialogue can lead to concrete reforms. Local civil societies and business communities are crucial agents of this process, providing grassroots input into policymaking and bringing substance to the region’s democratic developmentread more

 

 

Kazan: The Religiously Undivided Frontier City (pp. 82-86)
by Matthew Derrick

Located at the confluence of the Turko-Islamic and Slavic-Christian worlds, Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, a semiautonomous region of Russia, is populated by roughly even numbers of Muslim Tatars and Eastern Orthodox Russians. The city is separately important to each group’s national history. For the Tatars, it is remembered as the seat of their Islamic state that held sway over Russian principalities to the west for three centuries before facing defeat at the hands of Moscow in 1552. For the Russians, the victory over Kazan marked the beginning of a vast multinational empire. In light of its geography and history, Kazan would seemingly be counted among the world’s religiously divided frontier cities. Yet Kazan, in spite of pursuing a sovereignty campaign throughout the 1990s, has managed to avoid the type of ethno-religious-based conflict visiting other frontier cities, such as Jerusalem, Sarajevo, and Belfast. What lessons might Kazan offer other religiously divided frontier cities? In approaching this question, this article analyzes bordering processes, specifically looking at the invisible socio-spatial borders socially constructed through narratives and symbolsread more
 

 

Interview

 

“The Current Trend of the Kremlin is to Rather Formally Distance itself from the North Caucasus” (pp. 87-90)

Interview with Dr. Emil Souleimanov, Charles University, Prague, Czechia

CRIA: Can you contextualize the recent surge in violence in the North Caucasus, especially in Daghestan and Ingushetia.
Souleimanov:
In my understanding, the ongoing violence in the North Caucasus can be understood as an outcome of the continuous intermingling of ethnic nationalism, religious fundamentalism (some call it “Jihadism” and militant Islam) and customary law of the mountainous Caucasus. In other words, some North Caucasians found themselves in the resistance movement because of their ethno-separatist aspirations – their desire to free their homeland, to make it independent on Moscow, to establish nation states. This was especially the case in Chechnya in the last decaderead more

 

Book Reviews

“The Guns of August 2008: Russia’s War in Georgia”, edited by Svante E. Cornell and Frederick Starr (pp. 91-96)
Review by Till Bruckner

“At the very least, it will be all but impossible hereafter for anyone to deny that Russia had engaged in detailed planning for precisely the war that occurred,” write editors Svante Cornell and Frederick Starr of the Central Asia–Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program in the introduction of their new book on the August 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia. The volume develops three main themes. First, it presents evidence that Russia had been actively engaged in preparing for fighting a war against Georgia prior to August 2008. Second, it argues that the culpability for the conflict lies overwhelmingly with Russia. Third, it claims that Georgia’s actions were justified both morally and legally, irrespective of who may have fired the first shot in that fateful monthread more
 

“The Caucasus: An Introduction” by Frederik Coene (pp. 97-98)
Review by Alexander Jackson

Frederik Coene is no stranger to the Caucasus. Currently the Attaché dealing with post-conflict assistance in the European Commissions’ Mission to Georgia, he has also worked in organisations on both sides of the Caucasus Mountains, dealing with conflicts and developments. It is unfortunate that Mr Coene’s on-ground experience – he worked in the North Caucasus during the savage violence of the Beslan school siege, for instance - does not always come through in this informative, but sometimes slightly shallow, volumeread more
 

“When Empire Meets Nationalism. Power Politics in the US and Russia” by Didier Chaudet, Florent Parmentier & Benoît Pelopidas (pp. 99-100)
Review by Samuel Lussac

From the Iraq war in 2003 to the Russian-Georgian conflict in 2008, both neoconservative and neo-Eurasianist politicians have been held responsible for the recent power politics of Russia and the United States. After analyzing this issue in French in 2007 at the end of the presidential mandates of George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin, the English translation of the book allows Didier Chaudet, Florent Parmentier and Benoît Pelopidas’ work to reach a wider audience during the early days of Barack Obama’s and Dmitri Medvedev’s mandatesread more

       
 
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