In this paper I have argued that some of the concepts used by the EU in its neighborhood strategy, resonate in Russia with different connotations. Russia apparently doesn't buy the EU's claim to speak on behalf of Europe as such. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that most of Russian policy analysts choose to equate the “New Europe” with the «Wider Europe» philosophy rather than with the former socialist countries.
Due to their discursively constructed nature, the conceptualizations given above do overlap. “A Europe of dimensions” could be inscribed into the “Old” - “New” problematization of Europe. All patterns of spatial ordering are about creating differences and identities, and determining the rules of belonging and exclusion, of contact / separation1367. In result, the space of the EU-Russia contiguity resembles a multi-tier patchwork “with varying degrees of Europeanness and Eastness”1368.
The four categorizations of Europe may be related to different levels of regionness. The scheme offered by Rodrigo Tavares seems to grasp this multiplicity. Thus, both normative Europe (represented by false – true conceptualization) and a Europe of colors may be attributed to “regional spaces”, i.e. areas that “have a certain degree of singularity, despite the non-existence of strong elements of any other sort that tie the agents”. Both “New” and “Old” Europes, as well as the Eastern Dimension area could be placed within the category of “regional complexes”, “marked by the dominant roles played by the states” that “live in a system where the idea of sovereignty and the Westphalian concepts of anarchy and balance of power assume a crucial position”. The Northern Dimension, in its turn, arguably stands closer to “regional society” since it is grounded in “interdependence on different subjects undertaken by actors sharing common values and rules”1369.
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RUSSIA BETWEEN “OLD” AND “NEW” EUROPE:
NEW POLICY ATRICULATIONS Dr. Andrey S.Makarychev
Danish Institute for International Studies PONARS Policy Memo
A number of most recent developments have sharpened the interest to Europe’s eastern margins where Russia finds herself in direct touch with NATO and EU: the “double” accession of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia of 2004; the scaling back of the U.S. involvement in the Baltic Region (in particular, the de-facto termination of the Northern European Initiative); the appearance of “Old” vs. “New” Europe divide; the emergence of the Eastern Dimension (ED) sponsored by Poland; and a clearer articulation of the importance of contacts with CIS countries in foreign policies of the Baltic countries.
The U.S. policy in Europe is aimed at politically elevating the roles of countries that have been traditionally considered as “marginal” (i.e., geographically located at the edges) at the expense of its relations with the nations that used to constitute the European core. This is within this context that the “New – Old Europe” debate has to be explored.
The «New Europe» seems to be a rather competitive space. Following Poland's ED initiative, Lithuania has started to think of presenting itself as a political leader of the Baltic region. The Lithuanian quest for leadership is underwritten by the functioning of the «Vilnius – 10 group», «Northern Baltic 8» caucus, and the «3 plus 3» initiative aimed at establishing institutional links with the Caucasian republics. Lithuania, in presenting itself as «the executive arm of NATO and EU» in the Caucasus, wishes to bridge it with the West. Estonia too – under strong influence of the United States - has recently made considerable efforts to establish political liaisons with Georgia and Azerbaijan. These developments constitute foundations for a new type of policy environment at Europe’s margins where Russia is bound to border on the countries sharing the U.S. concept of security. By the same token, Russia belongs to neither “Old” nor “New” Europe, which warrants some degree of autonomy vis-à-vis the whole debate and makes the Russian discourse rich in both variegated meanings and intellectual gaps between them.
The first gap is caused by a clash between a wider and a narrower view of Europe. One group of the conceptualizations of the “New Europe” sets more or less fixed geographic parameters for it. For many of Russian commentators, the difference between the “Old” and the “New” Europe roughly coincides with the West-East gap in the continent. Therefore, this is the “Old Europe” that appears to embrace the “New” one.
This vision is differently articulated in two other concepts. One of them is an idea of “the second Europe” based on a temporal understanding of Europe’s construction, presupposing that the less developed countries ought to catch up the leaders. The concept of “a different Europe” contains a much more pronounced identity-based component and is grounded in a rediscovering of a “non-western Europe”, to which Russia seems to belong.
In contrast to that, some of Russian analysts attribute the concept of the “New Europe” to the whole continent. The “New Europe” is viewed as a common EU-Russian project which points to the Russian subjectivity as a “New European” actor. Understandably, most of Russian policy analysts choose to equate the “New Europe” with the «Wider Europe» rather than with the former socialist countries.
The second gap has to do with articulating Russia’s sympathies to either of two Europes. One group of Russian experts is distrustful to France and Germany due to their alleged ambitions to monopolize the European identity. There are also strong cultural underpinnings of Russia’s critical attitudes toward these two countries. In the interpretation of some of the Russian scholars, they embody a tendency of growing self-denial of the national interests and identities. Russia, therefore, seems to denote what Europe itself is proud of – both refusal of national egos and valorization of supranational integration.
Yet the criticism of Germany and France is seriously challenged by other pundits (like Alexander Dugin and Sergey Belkovskii) who think that this is the “Old Europe” with whom Russia has to negotiate cases like Kaliningrad. Their reasoning is quite compelling, since in global issues this is basically Germany and France that are inclined to frame the EU – Russian relations with long-term strategic commitments. Within the Russian academic community, there are voices assuming that the Russian-German alliance is the key factor of all-European stability. Russia gravitates to the Berlin – Paris nexus, the argument goes on, since these two countries are committed to the preservation of traditional Christian values which Russia by and large shares.
The leaning toward the French – German “couple” is an indication of Russia’s search for her own European subjectivity which is ultimately considered as a pre-condition for Russia’s self-assertion both vis-à-vis and within Europe. Recreation of what could be called “a great continental family” (sometimes geographically overextended to Madrid – Paris – Rome – Berlin – Moscow – Delhi – Tokyo imagined axis) features as a part of Russian strategy of resisting the America-led globalization. Rediscovery of a “traditional” Europe as an interlocutor and an agent is part of regaining Russia’s own subjectivity. In the meantime, the evanescence of Europe as a world power (or its substitution by a “post-Europe”) would make a significant part of the Russian policy community feel uncomfortable. The dispersion of European subjectivity, paradoxically, appears to be more painful for Russia than dealing with a powerful Europe. This is from this interpretative angle that one has to understand both disdain of “post-European-ness” and, vice versa, enthusiastic discovery of certain degree of vitality in the “Old” European nations. This reasoning could be transformed into a clear sympathy to the “Old Europe”. In the meantime, implicitly exposing their friendliness to the “aging” (“old”) Europe, some of Russian analysts relate their hopes with its “rejuvenation” as an effect of the enlargement.
The Russian discourse on the “New Europe” is to no lesser extent split along similar lines. One standpoint, grounded in the criticism of France and Germany, perceives Russia’s neighbours as countries taking at certain occurrences (as in the case of Kaliningrad) more pro-Russian stand(s) than other EU’s members and the EU in general. It is also assumed that the direct neighborhood may be considered as an important resource to be exploited through a variety of potentially profitable trans-border arrangements. In particular, Russia is believed to be able to take advantage of Polish eagerness to eventually become Moscow’s lobbyist in the EU. There were some attempts to welcome the Visegrad group as an institution able to plug into the Russian concept of all-European security, a vision which is compatible with the Visegrad group’s self-perception as a co-maker of the EU Eastern European policy.
The attraction of the former Soviet / socialist countries for Moscow might also be grounded in Russia’s possibilities to influence their internal policies. It is understandable that, pragmatically speaking, Russia has more chances to exert an impact upon the domestic developments within Latvia, Estonia or Lithuania, than to change the way the policy is being made in France or Germany. The perspectives of Russia as a power being in a position to have its say in shaping the policies pursued by the Baltic countries are quite discernible in the Russian discourse.
The Baltic states could also be positively featured as countries to constitute the backbone of Russia’s stable relations with NATO in the sense that this alliance is expected to be appreciative of Russia’s relative tolerance displayed to the accession of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In the meantime, the NATO membership of these Russia’s neighbours could be a means of de-problematizing Moscow’s relations with NATO. This logic is split into a number of arguments. The first one is that the Baltic states are said to debilitate NATO and complicate its operational management. Secondly, it is argued that NATO, by accepting the Baltic states, has voluntarily displayed an absence of strict standards of membership. Thirdly, some of Russian commentators deploy the accession issue in a purely commercial context presuming that the Baltic states are predominantly motivated by “making money” on providing some service to the Alliance. It is emblematic that all arguments are ostensibly excusive of Russia’s tranquility towards the NATO enlargement.
Yet in the meantime, there is an opposite tendency, representing the “New Europe”’ as composed of a group of trouble-makers annoying both Russia and the EU. In the Russian media, the accession of former socialist countries to the EU in 2004 was repeatedly depicted as an “invasion” which is to stimulate the growth of prices in the EU and threaten the European agriculture. “Europe became larger and poorer”, - the newspaper headlines of this sort duly reflect the state of mind among many of opinion makers in Moscow.
Security issues were also divisively actualized by the “Old – New Europe” debate. When the three Baltic republics celebrated their double accession, the Russian media was full of stories fingering at possible deployment of NATO armed forces in a close vicinity to Russia’s westernmost territories and a probable threat which might be caused by AWACS military jets. The “war of words” has reached its apex in the decision of Riga’s authorities to bar Dmitry Rogozin from Latvia.
From its part, many of Russian politicians characterize the EU newcomers are as “America’s fifth column in Europe”. The heart of today’s Europe, the argument goes on, is to be found in the United States which makes the “New” and the “Old” Europe clash with each other. Some of Russian analysts relate “the New Europe” with the “New Atlanticism”.
Concomitantly, Moscow tends to suspect the «New Europe» countries of undermining the Russian international positions. In the Russian media, the coverage of the post-accession period of the Baltic states is framed by multiple descriptions of the “vodka tourism”, gasoline smuggling, etc. The resolution of the Lithuanian parliament of September 2004 banning the perspectives of visa-free transit travel of Russian citizens to and from Kaliningrad exacerbated the Russian criticism of Vilnius.
Russia’s European discourse confronts a number of challenges. One of them is grounded in debates on the scale and the limits of the EU power. The question is, figuratively speaking, the degree of the EU strength that Russia can allow herself to admit and attribute to the EU. One possible type of reaction to this dilemma is the accentuation of the European ongoing weakness. Opinions of some of the Russian politicians are marked by a denial of Europe's attraction to Russia through presenting the EU as a presumably exhausted entity lacking political will and an identity of its own. Not surprisingly, the theme of possible dismantling of the EU is regularly debated among Russian experts.
The discourse focusing on the European existential weakness leads to a rather interesting twist exemplified by a hypothesis that the so-called “New European Project” could be implemented by Russia herself. This is at this point that the distancing from Europe leads to an attempts of discursive self-construction of Russia. This type of discourse not only makes Europe a poorly self-articulated entity with scarce or even non-existent political will, but also questions the strategy of Russia’s integration with Europe.
A different discursive strategy pertains to the actualization of the idea of “two empires” by stressing the “imperial” background of the European integration. Naturally, this approach leaves much room for both EU’s actorship and a potential division of spheres of influence between Moscow and Brussels.
These points lead to the second major challenge Russia is trying to tackle, namely finding a balance between stressing Russia’s specificity/exceptionality, on the one hand, and accentuating Russia’s “normality”/typicality. The question could be also reversed: how specific the EU policies towards Russia are to be, and to what extent Russia may be put on the same ground as her neighbors.
The ED initiative seems to sharpen this debate due to a tendency of selectively offering partnership arrangements to the eastern countries. There exists a wide spread feeling in Russia that Poland is reluctant to accept the common «rules of the game» and is eager to distinguish Ukraine (and potentially Moldova and Belarus) from all eastern neighbors, which transfers the whole issue to the domain of power politics.
Russia seems to have at her disposal a certain menu of choices, as related to the “New – Old Europe” debate. The first option would be to reinterpret a ”New Europe” as a “Wider Europe”, a move supposedly to be based on accepting the “New Regionalism” vocabulary of trans-border networking. This re-signification would mean that the “Old Europe” is considered irrelevant, and is to be left behind. The “Old Europe”, in this interpretation, is attributed to the past and doomed to dismantlement.
The second option that Russia is considering is to stay above the polarizing binaries. It could mean taking a “wait-and-see” stance resembling the Russian version of “Euro-skepticism”. Its gist would be a de-problematization of both the EU and NATO enlargements under the premise that the bigger are the unions, the less manageable they are to become. This posture might also be grounded in Russia’s sense of self-sufficiency as an autonomous pole of gravitation in Eurasia.
The third option would be to get involved in the “Old – New Europe” debate by taking sides, i.e. through prioritizing Russia’s relations with either part of this dichotomy. Russia’s pro-American stand would certainly bring her closer to supporting the “New Europe” concept (option 3a), while the preponderance of anti-American attitudes is possibly to lead to a different outcome (3b). Should Russia opt for making a choice in favour of the 3b option, this move could most likely be facilitated by equating the “Old” Europe with “true Europe”, while the “New Europe” is to be located in the category of “false Europe”. The 3a option could be attained through finding a common ground with the ED initiative which is the first political product of the “New Europe”.
The fourth option could be discovered in depicting the EU as a “non-subject”, which would be conducive to the transcending of the “Old – New Europe” debate. One of pathways under this scenario appears to be imaging Russia as a “real Europe” (a rhetoric that might work basically for domestic consumption), or - in a less radical variant meant for international audience – as a part of “proper Europe”, along with Ukraine and Belarus. At any rate, Russia will have to either try to find her own version of the “New” and “Old Europe”, or to substitute this contraposition by other binaries better tailored to the Russian understanding of herself.
Semi-Outsiders or Close Outsiders? Russia and Its Kaliningrad Region in European Integration1370 Paper to be presented at the ‘Uusi maailmanpolitiikka [‘New World Politics’]’ conference, 12-13 January, Hämeenlinna, Finland
Dr. Pami Aalto
1. Introduction This paper attempts to shed new light on EU-Russian relations in the context of the EU’s enlargement process, which is making the Union more pronouncedly a north European power. Relevant studies regarding this topic include accounts looking at the evolvement of EU-Russian relations at the level of the ‘strategic partnership’ and the related great power politics, mostly by relying on document evidence and other public sources (e.g. Haukkala and Medvedev 2001; Moshes 2003; Pinder and Shishkov 2002; Smith and Timmins 2001; Vahl 2003). Another branch of literature has grown especially popular in north European academies, and focuses on EU-Russian relations at the regional level, in the context of the EU’s Northern Dimension (ND) programme and the interaction of Russia’s northwestern regions with the EU (e.g. Aalto 2002; Aalto et al. 2003; Deriabin 2000; Haukkala 2003; Joenniemi and Sergounin 2003; Morozov 2002; Rytövuori-Apunen 2000).
In this paper, both the ‘strategic partnership’ and the regional level are addressed. The focus is on views on the Russian side, which invariably have remained less well covered than views on the EU side. Views prevailing at the federal level (Moscow) and thus pertaining to the ‘strategic partnership’ are examined, on the one hand, and on the other, views in Russia’s Kaliningrad region, which forms the country’s enclave/exclave within the enlarged Union. The consulted material includes not only the conventional documents and other public sources, but also in-depth interviews. One of them was conducted with a federal level Russian policy maker, and seven with various ‘euro-experts’ representing the regional level in Kaliningrad.1371 The overall claim is that the level we opt to examine, influences considerably the picture of EU-Russian relations we obtain. The paper derives from a broader book manuscript (Aalto forthcoming), and is organised around two notions that are explained only shortly below. The first one of them derives from a branch of previous research, whilst the second one is original. Together they account for a new approach to European integration in northern Europe.1372