The Baltic Region

2016 Issue №1

The Baltic Sea region and increasing international tension

Abstract

For many years, the Baltic Sea region stood out for its remarkable stability. The dramatic changes following the end of the Cold War did not have a profound effect on the territory. However, Russia's cooperation with other states in the Baltic Sea region began to lose momentum. This paper discusses the negative effects of the Ukrainian and Syrian crises and the increasing tension between Russia and other countries in the Baltic Sea region. In the short term, these trends are unlikely to re¬verse. Of the two possible scenarios — suspending relations until a solution to the political and military problems is found or trying to make use of every opportunity in economy, culture, science, education, etc., — the latter is preferable. A breakdown in regional cooperation will weaken Russia’s position. However, gaining positive momentum may prove instrumental in overcoming the confrontation between Russia and the West in the future.

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Eastern Europe. On the centenary of the political project

Abstract

This article describes the characteristics of Eastern Europe as a political pro-ject. The author considers the genesis of Eastern Europe as a political region and identifies several periods in its history. The author analyses key features of sover-eignization- desovereignization of the region and examines geopolitical projects of Intermarium. It is shown that Eastern Europe as such is an objective reality, whose history has not ended. At the same time, the author advances and proves the thesis that various ‘Baltic/Black Sea’ cooperation models aimed at isolating Russia act against the interests of all participants of the political process. A number of meth¬ods, including the historical and structural functional analyses and the system ap¬proach are used in the study. The central hypothesis is that, as a political project, Intermarium reflects an important part of the systemic features of Eastern Europe as a political region. However, it is not identical to the region in terms of its geography or political regionalism. The anti-Russian sentiment of the Intermarium project is dominant. Yet, it is not immanent in this group of concepts. Reformatting the Inter¬marium concept in line with the new Moscow-Warsaw-Berlin cooperation model can be considered a feasible political task, which requires an adequate scientific solution. Moreover, Eastern Europe has reached the point of bifurcation. The region may become another new source of instability in Europe. Intermarium projects — a traditional object of research – have to be re-evaluated in the new political and eco¬nomic conditions. This article is a step in this direction.

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The US ballistic missile defence policy in the Baltic and Nordic regions

Abstract

This article examines the implications of the deployment of the US ballistic missile defense (BMD) system in the Baltic and Nordic regions. These implications are to be considered to ensure Russia’s military security. Using the structural-functional method, the authors analyse the internal structure of the US BMD in Europe, stages of its implementation, and its influence on the military equilibrium in the region. Being similar to other regional missile defence systems of the Pentagon, BMD in Europe increases the offensive capabilities of the US armed forces and its allies and in doing so, it stops performing a purely defensive mission declared by Washington. It is stressed that the deployment of mobile sea- and land-based BMD elements in the Baltic Sea region and Nordic countries will inevitably destabilize the strategic situation and may lead to a new round of arms race in the region. The efficacy of BMD in Europe is evaluated from the perspective of military technology. The system’s potential threats to Russia’s military security and its armed forces are assessed. The article considers measures to enhance national security that could be taken by Russia provided the US plans to deploy BMD in Europe are fully implemented.

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Key actors of German ‘soft power’ in the Baltics

Abstract

This article focuses on Germany’s key ‘soft power’ actors promoting the country’s interests in the Baltics. The authors analyse the policies of ‘soft power’ aimed to create a positive image of Germany in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. The article examines the activity of German political foundations, research institutions, communities, language centres, and scientific and cultural organisations. It is stressed that Germany makes use of the Baltics’ historical familiarity with German traditions in implementing its policy in these countries. The study suggests that German political and educational foundations are major actors of German soft power. It is shown that the development of a multilevel German language learning system incorporating various courses and scholarship programmes is one of the central strategies of German foundations. This strategy uses ‘High German’ as a means to integrate the Baltic audience into the German information space. The German language serves as a basis for popularisation of the German educational system and educational standards, on the one hand, and partnership institutionalisation, cooperation, and integration on the other. It is concluded that, alongside Sweden and Russia, Germany is a major foreign policy player in the Baltics.

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The Baltic policy of Germany and current international relations

Abstract

This article analyses the Baltic policy of united Germany from the 1990s until today. The authors set out to identify the significance of German-Baltic relations and the role of the Eastern policy in Russian-German relations. The method of dynamic comparison between the political and economic narrative in intergovernmental relations makes it possible to identify distinctive features of Germany’s Baltic policy in the context of current international relations. In particular, it is noted that Germany was most active in the Baltic region in the 1990s, when the country was establishing political, economic, and cultural ties with the new independent states. In the second half of the 1990s, Germany’s foreign policy became less intense. After the accession of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to the EU and NATO in 2004, certain disagreements started to arise between Germany and the Baltics. It explains the lukewarm relations between them. The Ukraine events brought about a change in Germany’s regional policy. Despite Russia remaining one of the key economic and political counteractors, Germany, being a partner of the Baltics in the EU and NATO, cannot adopt a neutral position in the conflict of interests between the Baltics and Russia.

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