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  • Author: Andrey S. Makarychev
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The search for common language has become a demanding issues in the Russia-EU relationship. One of the strongest messages contained in Russia's "sovereign democracy" concept is its desire to be regarded as a "normal" country, a full-fledged member of the international community. The concept embodies a search for its own subjectivity, which is ultimately felt to be a pre-condition for its self-assertion vis-agrave-vis Europe. Russia does not question any of the basic European norms; instead it seeks to offer an alternative version of each of them. For the Western audience, analysis of these concepts is essential for a better comprehension of Russia's foreign policy arguments.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Valerio Fabbri
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: How capitalism was built : the transformation of Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia, Anders Åslund, Cambridge University Press, 2007
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Anne-Marie Le Gloannec
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The new French President's brash style is ruffling more than a feather on the international scene: while Nicolas Sarkozy has contributed to finding a solution to the Constitutional crisis and has brought France back into the European Union, he certainly does not always sound the good European he pretends to be. Too many ambiguities and inconsistencies pave his way. The same can be said for international politics: for instance, while the new President heralded human rights, he recently singled himself out by congratulating the election results in Russia. Is there a distinctive new French policy worldwide?
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Maurizio Massari
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Almost ten years have passed since the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between Russia and the EU entered into force. The PCA, signed on June 1994, went into effect in December 1997 and will expire on 30 November 2007. Brussels and Moscow are now expected to take stock of what has been achieved in their relationship and agree on whether and how to update the PCA. While there has been significant progress in several areas of technical cooperation, the relationship has suffered from too many political ups and downs and a growing and mutual distrust. The failure at the 24 November 2006 Summit to agree on the launching of negotiations for a new comprehensive agreement – even though this was mostly due to a Polish veto – is however indicative of the patchy character of the EU-Russia relationship.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Moscow, Brussels
  • Author: Fabrizio Tassinari, Marius Vahl
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union and Russia are preparing to negotiate a new comprehensive agreement at a time when their bilateral relations have become increasingly prickly. On the one hand, Vladimir Putin's Russia is perceived as having gone undesirably far in reverting to a semi-authoritarian state and in exerting economic and political pressures on some pro-Western, former Soviet states. On the other hand, the EU's Russia policy remains ambivalent because of the continuing deference towards Moscow of a number of large European countries and the confrontational posture of some new EU member states. Other factors add to this deteriorating state of affairs. For one, there are a number of legal complications coming from the shape and scope of the new agreement. Perhaps more importantly, there are several political uncertainties, first and foremost the definition of those "common values" upon which the new treaty should be based. To get out of this quandary, the two sides will have to scale down their ambitions on the new agreement. A mutually acceptable formula might imply the negotiation of a concise "framework" treaty, accompanied in due time by sector-specific agreements.
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Soviet Union
  • Author: Philip Hanson
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since 2003, state control in the Russian economy has increased significantly. This has affected mainly but not only the oil industry. This policy development gives some grounds for concern about Russia's long-run growth. Its origins lie in power struggles within the political elite, in efforts by members of that elite to enrich themselves and in a profound distrust on the part of that elite of any sources of power that they do not themselves control. One result is that business confidence has been dented, the growth of oil output has slowed, and future GDP growth depends more heavily than before on further growth in oil prices.
  • Topic: Economics, Oil
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Anna Matveeva
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Reversing the retreat of the Yeltsin era, Russia has returned to Central Asia proactively. Its presence is increasingly felt in the traditional - that is, security - field and in new fields of engagement, such as strategically-placed investment or construction of regionalism. The cultural and "civilisational" role has also gained more prominence. Moscow's policy reflects pragmatic opportunism, aimed at getting the utmost benefits for Russia from a region in which it holds many assets rather than at a revival of the former empire. There are limits however as to how far its engagement can go due to constraints posed by Central Asian realities and Russian domestic developments. So far, the advance has been greatly facilitated by the West's retreat, giving rise to perceptions of an unfolding "great game", while in reality a record of both competition and cooperation between Russia, China and the West is a normal state of affairs. Although Central Asian elites find it easier to deal with Moscow in the current political climate, they view its assertive role with caution and may turn to a rival suitor should the price for the relationship with Russia become too high.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Central Asia