The last week’s visit to France of Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has further strengthen Franco-Russian relations, while at the same time endangering European security. During this visit France and Russia concluded a series of economic agreements concerning the energy market (GDF Suez wil participate in the Nord Stream pipeline project), a partnership between the French rail company Alstom and its Russian counterpart TMH and opened exclusive talks on buying four Mistral class amphibious assault ships (LHD). Although France has not yet decided to sell the ships, this military deal seems almost certain and the bilateral talks between France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev seem to confirm that few details remain to be settled before the green light is given.
Ileana Racheru has interviewed the regretted Ukrainian political analyst Roman Kupchinsky. Roman Kupchinsky was the editor of the Ukrainian language publishing house and research company Prolog Research Corp. Between 1990 and 2002 he was Director of the Ukrainian service of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty and senior analyst for the same institution between 2002 and 2008. Mr. Kupchinsky died of cancer this year on January 19, aged 66. This interview may be the last he ever gave.
How do you describe the Ukrainian electorate and the electoral programs of the main candidates? What groups of interest are behind each important candidate?
A group of Central and Eastern European intellectuals and former chiefs of state have published on July 16 an open letter to the President of the United States of America, voicing their concerns regarding the current state of relations between the countries of this region and the United States. The letter comes after the US-Russia summit and is signed by Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa, Emil Constantinescu, Valdas Adamkus, Martin Butora, Matyas Eorsi, Alexandr Vondra and other important figures who have played a part in the recent history of Central and Eastern Europe. In the letter they emphasize the role played by the United States in Central Europe’s (CEE) transition from authoritarianism to democracy, remind Washington of the contribution made by the countries of this region to the American war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan, while deploring the fact that the CEE is no longer a priority for US foreign policy. The letter criticizes the new “realist” foreign policy of the Obama Administration concerning Europe and Russia, with the shadow of Yalta looming large in the minds of the signatories.
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has declared today after the informal EU summit called by the current Czech Presidency of the European Union and the Presidency of the European Commission in concern with the effects of the economic crisis and possible remedies, that Germany is against any public funding for the Nabucco project. This means that any hopes for EU funds to help develop this alternative energy route have been dashed. Without German support it is doubtful than any funding will be released in order to give the go ahead for this long delayed pipeline that would have circumvented the Russian monopoly on gas deliveries to Europe.
A recent article titled “A Tale of Two Allies” which was published in the American newspaper Christian Science Monitor has sparked furore in the Romanian media. In brief the article accompanied in the electronic edition of the Christian Science Monitor by an interview with A. Wess Mitchell, Director of Research at the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington D.C. analyzes the way in which the United States of America deals with its allies in Europe. The article basically argues, using Poland and Romania as examples, that the United States of America classifies its allies in two categories: mature allies-partners which do not require coaxing, as the article argues and another category (which I call it allies of opportunity, since the article fails to give a proper category) with which the United States has a relation based on reciprocity.
As a result of the unilateral suspension of the CFE Treaty by Russia on July 14, 2007, the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adrian Cioroianu, was summoned by Parliament to explain how this decision will affect Romania’s relations with Russia. During his testimony in front of the parliamentary commissions, Adrian Cioroianu stated that Russia does not represent a threat to Romania. This article will analyze the validity of this statement in the light of recent courses of action and policy statements made by Romanian and Russian state officials.
After the debacle of the Soviet Union in 1991 and its dissolution, the loss of its sphere of influence in Central an Eastern Europe, the economic and political woes of the 1990’s as well as lowed failures in its foreign and security policies (the 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo and the First Chechen War), Russia has begun quite forcefully to assert itself again as a great power in the international system. It has become evident that Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin is no longer the sick man of Europe, but on the contrary we are now dealing with a different Russia, one that has managed to put an end to its internal instability, has become quite prosperous and has an active foreign policy that befits a great power.
This article will deal with the current status of relations between Romania and Russia. I will argue that although there are issues when cooperation can occur between the two states, the opportunities for conflict far outweigh them.
One thing that must be cleared from the beginning is that the relation between the two countries is and was asymmetrical. This relationship is and has been asymmetrical because it involves a great power or a medium power (depending on the timeline) and a small power. Today Russia can be catalogued as an aspiring great power while Romania remains a small power (with a good prospect of becoming a regional power).
In this article I will argue that EU’s relations with the Russian Federation are at a crossroads, with the latter gaining leverage while the former has trouble finding an adequate response to this challenge.
The differences between two actors stem from two quite different perceptions of world politics and diplomacy. Russia sees international politics from a realist perspective emphasising power politics and strategic cooperation while the EU is advancing a post-Westphalian agenda of international politics based on shared norms and values. These different approaches and understandings of the international system have lead to an impasse in EU-Russian relation.