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’.
The EU’s cultural policy is characterized by a structural oxymoron: The EU pursues European identity-building via a national framework. While the locus of EU cultural policies is delegated onto co-opted national organizations, the main share of successful identity-building discourse is arrogated by the EU. It is the eternal dialectic between Member States and supranational interests that leads to this institutional conundrum. The EU Prize for Literature serves as an illustration.
Several (post-)Socialist governments established new state awards in the past years, 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, on the other hand, have largely abandoned this appellation in international relations. The burgeoning of ‘friendship orders’ 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.
Russia and Turkey agreed to build the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline in August 2016. This benefits Bulgaria’s and Greece’s ambitions to turn into a regional gas hub, even more so when potential supplies of LNG, shale gas, and natural gas from Azerbaijan are taken into account. Despite the V4’s opposing stakes in energy policy (not wanting to “lose” Ukraine), talks about an Graeco-Bulgarian "Anti-Visegrad Alliance" are exaggerated.
In the Visegrad 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.
The Visegrad countries’ total ODA flows have increased impressively between 2007 and 2014, the main recipients of which are those EaP states which directly border the EU, especially Ukraine. The Visegrad Group’s joint aid programme focusing on the EaP countries - the “Visegrad 4 Eastern Partnership” - funds specific projects related to the development of civil society in the EaP states. A strengthening of the common Visegrad framework for the coordination of development assistance efforts would be possible in order to channel development assistance in a more efficient and integrated manner.