The Baltic Region

2011 Issue №4(10)

Historical memory in the age of globalization: the case of Russian- Estonian relations

Abstract

This article contributes to the discussion within the "Towards the Common Past" international academic network bringing together scholars from Russia, the Baltic States and the Nordic countries. It assesses the relationship between globalization and historical memory, thus contributing to the discussion on globalization and the roles and applications of history. On the basis of an analysis of academic discourses on globalization and historical memory, the author arrives at two conclusions. On the one hand, the proponents of globalization use historical memory as one of their arguments: they claim that the history of globalization in international relations stretches back to the 19th century, thus globalization is an irreversible process. On the other hand, globalization attaches international significance to historical events that were earlier considered as being of local importance. The author proves the latter statement through comparing Russian and Estonian discourses on the relationship between the events which took place in Tallinn in September 1944 and April 2007. Highlighting the differences between the two discourses may help Russian scholars understand the reasons behind the political decisions made by the Estonian authorities in April 2007. It accounts for the practical significance of the research conducted, since one of the most important objectives of international relations as a discipline is not to explain what decision would have been the most appropriate in the given situation, but to further the understanding of the reasons behind the actually made decision. The author expresses his gratitude to his counterparts from St. Petersburg State University and the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, as well as those from the Universities of Lund (Sweden), Tampere (Finland), and Tartu (Estonia) for their comments on the earlier versions of the article. At the same time, the author alone bears all the responsibility for the conclusions drawn in the article.

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The formation of the political elite in Lithuania at the turn of the 1980s—1990s: the role of “moral politicians”

Abstract

This article considers the trend of structural changes in the political elite of the Republic of Lithuania in the post-Soviet period through analyzing the role of the so-called “moral politicians” — intellectuals, artists, and cultural figures, who played a decisive role in the period of the communist system disintegration and further development of the country's policy. The role of the political elite, which is understood according to R. Putnam and J. Higley's definition, is considered in the conditions of political instability and uncertainty typical of transformation processes. In this context, the role of key actors is interpreted on the basis of the methodological structure of the so-called Stanford model developed by G. Almond and P. Bourdieu's theory of capital. This article reconstructs the course of political changes in the Republic of Lithuania at the initial stage of its independence, in the framework of which the key role was played by «moral politicians», most of whom subsequently retired from politics. Focusing on the situation in Lithuania, this research sets out to show the continuous dependence of today's policies of the Baltic States on the key choices made by the authorities at the turn of 1980s—1990s. Today, Russian political science lacks concrete regional studies into the issues of changes of elites in the context of research on the processes of postcommunist transformations. This work addresses the scientific interpretation of the content of mechanisms of «new» political elite development in postcommunist societies under the influence of endogenous and exogenous factors in the course of transformation. The stabilisation of elite formation processes in Lithuania, the assessment of patterns and trends, the identification of power centres and the character of intra-elite interaction, and a profound understanding of the functioning of Lithuanian political system in general will allow Russia to formulate a more efficient policy towards the Baltic States, which would promptly respond to emerging challenges.

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Modern Lithuanian foreign policy: the adjustment of traditional policy

Abstract

The authors consider the core areas of Lithuanian foreign policy. Special attention is paid to the adjustment of the major foreign policy vector, which concentrated earlier on the cooperation with the United States of America and strategic partnership with the Republic of Poland. The article analyses the attempts of Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė to formulate the so-called «new foreign policy» based on the multivector approach  to the intergovernmental cooperation. This research is timely because of an increasing influence of small states on foreign policy decision-making within the European Union. It emphasizes the need to analyse foreign policy priorities of the Baltic States and Central and Eastern European countries and to identify the dominant trends in the international policy in the region in order to forecast further development at European and global levels. This objective is achieved with the help of an integrated approach with elements of interdisciplinary research. Special attention is paid to the comparative-historical approach, which facilitates the analysis of the relations between the Republic of Lithuania and the neighbouring states and its principal partners. Alongside traditional methods of historical research, this work employs such methods as participant observation, content and event analysis, and simultaneous and comparative analysis. The research and practical significance of this work is explained by its emphasis on the need to apply an additional theoretical framework to studies into the foreign policy initiatives of the Republic of Lithuania in the international arena. While earlier they were determined by the value (democratic approach), which was a reflection of American realism, today an increasingly important factor is the personality of the president, who does not always positively influence the changing policy of the country. The results of the research contribute substantially to the understanding of foreign policy processes taking place in Lithuania and the region in general.

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The role of the Kaliningrad region in the development of Russian-German relations

Abstract

Germany is one of the principal partners of the Russian Federation. The Kaliningrad region plays a significant role in the development of partnership between the two countries, but the existing opportunities for development are not fully exploited. This article analyses the development, current state and prospects of an increasing role of the region in Russian-German cooperation. The authors emphasize the role of the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University as one of the leaders in the development of research and cultural links with German universities and research foundations. This publication is based on the authors' presentation at the round table discussion on the cooperation between Russian and German partner regions held on September 23, 2011 in the framework of the 8th International Conference on Transborder Cooperation: the Russian Federation, the European Union, and Norway (September 22—23, 2011, Kaliningrad). The article considers topical issues of Russian-German economic and cultural relations in the Kaliningrad region, which facilitate the development of Russian strategy for the integration of northwestern constituent entities into the economic and cultural space of the Baltic region.

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