The Baltic Region

2015 Issue №4(26)

On crisis trends in the legitimacy of the political regimes of the Baltic States

Abstract

This article considers the legitimacy of political regimes in the Baltic States by analysing three major parameters: confidence in political institutions, level of corruption, and the development of their party systems. The author identifies the major crisis trends in the legitimacy of the political regimes of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. The article stresses the problem of legitimacy reproduction resulting from the limited representation of the national party systems. Special attention is paid to compensatory mechanisms used by political elites to ‘artificially’ reproduce legitimacy. It makes sense to analyse the deficit of legitimacy in the Baltic States not only in the context of threats to democratic institutions but also considering weaknesses of public institutions and insufficient resources to ensure stateness. This requires developing a hypothesis about smaller states ‘importing’ legitimacy from larger states and intergovernmental organisations, in whose zone of influence they are included. In other words, the EU and NATO can provide smaller states not only with economic and military resources but also legitimation ‘resources’ using their prestige to support the belief of local residents that there is no alternative to the current political system of social organisation. Legitimacy deficit increases the risks of a rift between political elites in the Baltic States, which can become a prologue to a deep political crisis. In these conditions, compensatory mechanisms cannot be considered as targeted exclusively at broad social strata. They are also aimed at political elites, whose consolidation or ‘encapsulation’ is achieved by exaggerating external threats and resorting to repressive measures in an attempt to develop an ethnonational consensus. These methods are used to ensure self-preservation of the Baltic States political regimes within the current ideological and institutional configuration.

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Legal aspects of the EU policy on irregular immigration

Abstract

This article addresses the issues pertaining to the adoption and development of legislation on irregular migration in the context of uncontrolled growth in the number of immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East to the EU. The article attempts at studying the EU legislation on irregular migration, classifying it, and analysing the prospects of EU migration legislation in the light of an increase in irregular immigration into the EU. The author systematises, classifies the current EU legislation on irregular immigration, and analyses the conditions, in which this legislation was developed. Using the legislation analysis method, the author proposes the following system of EU legislation on irregular immigration: rules preventing assistance to irregular immigration, rules preventing employment of irregular immigrants, rules on the return of irregular migrants and readmission, rules on border control, and rules on collaboration with third countries. The author pays special attention to analysing the current state of irregular immigration to the EU, which was dubbed the ‘greatest migration crisis in Europe’. The conclusion is that the European Union succeeded in the development of pioneering legislation on irregular immigration, which can serve as the basis for reception by other states. However, changes in the political and economic situation in the EU’s southern borderlands made the current legal mechanisms incapable of withstanding new threats. It necessitates a radical reform of the legislation on irregular immigration.

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The concept of the European Union’s normative power

Abstract

Traditionally, studies into a state’s foreign policy focus on the international situation and national interests of the parties. However, such approach does not completely conform to the objectives of studies into the foreign policy of the European Union – an example of unique integration of states. One of the modern approaches aimed to describe the nature of the EU as an actor in world politics is the concept of the EU’s ‘normative power’ arguing that the ‘power’ of the EU lies in the ability to change the international community’s idea of the ‘norm’. The concept of the EU’s ‘normative power’ is the focus of the article. The author describes the historical background of EU’s foreign (and to a degree, domestic) policy, assuming that the policy is a ‘product’ of its time. The article examines three approaches to understanding these concepts and analyses the correlation between the ‘normative’ and ‘soft power’ as well as related contradictions. In conclusion, the author identifies prospects of studies into the сoncept of ‘normative power’ of the European Union.

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A ‘divided history’: the politics of memory on the territory of the former East Prussia in the light of current discussions

Abstract

In the humanities and social sciences, the politics of memory and related culture of remembrance increase their significance, affecting legislation, historiography, and political science. This article aims to present key approaches to studying the politics of memory and employ them to the analysis of the politics of memory on the territory of the former German province of East Prussia. The author shows different research perspectives on the key concepts of memory studies. Some researchers identify the notion of the ‘politics of memory’ with that of the ‘politics of history’, while others distinguish between them. The author evaluates the effects of using the category of ‘memory sites’. Applying the method of historiographical analysis, the author examines similarities of and differences between approaches to the politics of history and the politics of memory. The author evaluates the effects of using the notions of ‘memory sites’ and ‘memory conflicts’ in the Baltic Region states, and reviews recent works of historians and political scientists on the changes in the culture of remembrance in Russia in general and the Kaliningrad region in particular during the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. Modern historiography is used as an example to demonstrate that ‘memory sites’ and the ‘politics of history’ are the most relevant concepts in the study of the culture of remembrance and identity, whereas a comparative analysis proves to be effective for the identification of the main features of the politics of memory on the territory of the former East Prussia.

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