The Baltic Region

2019 Vol. 11 №4

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Regionalisation in Northern Europe and the Northern Dimension in Russian political discourse



The progress and sustainability of international cross-border region formation is a major concern for Russia, a country bordering sixteen states. In the early 2000s, the development of regions with Russian participation was at its height in northwestern Europe. Cross-border regions arise both naturally, stemming from various functional relations, and as a result of political decisions. In the latter case, political discourse is an important factor in successful region-building. The Northern Dimension (ND) programme, which was launched in 1997, embodied the principle of depoliticised cooperation — Europe’s ‘new regionalism’. This article aims to evaluate the role of the ND in the federal and regional political discourse of 1997—2016, to determine its place among other cross-border cooperation projects, and to follow changes in the understanding of its goals. The study relies on data from the Integrum agency, which has built up the most comprehensive digital archive of federal and regional printed and online media. The federal discourse on the ND reflected the whole set of relations between Russia and the EU. The idea about the crisis of the programme came from the discrepancy between the expectations aroused by political discourse and the actual results of cooperation. The study shows the ND-related discourse changed over the study period and stresses profound differences between federal and regional discourses.