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 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.
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.
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.
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”.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
In the Visegrád countries, traditional Armenian cross-stones (or khachkars) are silently countering Azerbaijan’s major role as a future gas provider to the EU. The diaspora-funded activities often obtain local governments' support for their seemingly unharmful nature. However, the khachkars have the potential to subtly and enduringly change the public’s perceptions in the V4, whose governments are seen as crucial drivers behind the EU’s Eastern Partnership.