The paper presents theoretical considerations regarding the understanding of strategic autonomy in the field of security and defence. It starts with the theoretical understanding of the term “autonomy” and dilemmas concerning autonomy in the EU. Then it identifies and describes the key initiatives in the field of security and defence conditioning the EU’s achievement of strategic autonomy in this area and the main problems of their implementation. The presented conclusions are based on the qualitative analysis of the source material, mainly, the EU normative documents. They lead to the following observations. First, there is no clear definition and interpretation of “strategic autonomy” in the EU normative documents. This can lead to confusion and over-interpretation by individual Member States which may understand strategic autonomy differently, especially in the area of security and defence. Secondly, the majority of the Member States recognise security and defence as an area enabling the achievement of strategic autonomy. However, there are differences between countries in terms of understanding strategic autonomy. Two approaches are visible amongst the EU members: full sovereignty and flexible autonomy in the field of security and defence. Thirdly, the security and defence initiatives adopted by the EU over the past few years can provide the basis for achieving strategic autonomy in this area.
France’s status as a conventional power makes Paris an inevitable actor in the context of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Insofar France is considered as a staunch protagonist of the EU/European strategic autonomy and an opponent against the US/NATO dominance in Europe, the most recent CSDP progress may be expected to belong to the merits of French decision-makers. Based on a closer analytical look, however, CSDP is not reducible to a coherent outcome of French interests. At the EU level, the French influence turns out to be limited. A strong ideological attachment of this EU Member State to sovereign politics and a consequential lack of commitment to common issues of defence and security may be viewed as an impediment to the materialisation of a more significant clout of Paris on the communitarian scale. Yet relevant limits are predominantly a structural consequence, which is a pattern enhanced by the current dynamics in global politics. This makes one consider France’s status as a “system-influencing state” more cautiously. In a sense, the paper takes issue with the literature on the recent CSDP progress as an expression of political and policy convergence and re-focuses attention on manners in which inter-European dynamics can shed light on positions of individual members.
This article undertakes the issue of development assistance, which is one of the factors shaping human security. It is a human right, which refers to the security of people and communities, as opposed to the security of states. Also, human security recognises several dimensions related to feeling safe, such as freedom from fear, freedom from want and freedom from indignity. This people-centred approach to security has implications on how we carry out and understand development cooperation. The aim of the article is to analyse the effectiveness of development policy and development cooperation conducted by Sweden in 2000-2018 in the light of the principles of the English School of International Relations. The English School of IR is referred to as liberal realism. It maintains that there is a “society of states” at the international level, despite the condition of anarchy. The English School stands for the conviction that ideas, rather than simply material capabilities, shape the conduct of international politics, and therefore they deserve analysis and critique. The article discusses the assumptions of development assistance in the light of the English School’s guidelines. The organisation and management of development assistance in Sweden were characterised in the article. The last part examines the effectiveness of the development assistance provided by analysing selective cases and the Human Development Index (HDI). The focus of the article should be drawn to the fact that a human being is placed in the very centre of the Swedish projects. The donors’ attention focuses exactly on people. Similarly, in the case of the concept of human security and sustainable development, Sweden’s aid policy serves as an example of actions, which are a model for other states and may be used for reference purposes by them.
The article presents the study on strategic communication of NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Lithuania and assessment of the effectiveness thereof by the representatives of the parties involved in the process. The academic research of this issue has been scarce, especially in the case of focussing on the aspects of strategic communication, despite the fact that the battle groups have been deployed to the Baltic States and Poland in early 2017. Assessments by the representatives of the parties involved in the process indicate certain trends in communications, enable answering the question regarding the direction to be taken in respect of the communications of the battle group and what communication goals are being implemented.
The study relies on the assumption that, to some extent, the current misinterpretations and unrealistic expectations between Russia and the West are caused by linguistic and conceptual differences between the opponents. Thus, the aim of the study is to discuss the ways how Russia linguistically and conceptually understands and construes the terms normative power, deterrence, and sanctions. As the authors see it, deterrence, normative power, and sanctions constitute the three main elements in the toolbox used by the Western world in international relations to achieve its goals. However, none of these three terms has a clear and easily understandable meaning in the Russian language, furthermore, Russia’s psychological pattern does not overlap with the one of the Western countries, which makes it difficult to believe that these three elements have a chance to succeed in practice. The indication that the EU and NATO seek to move forward in terms of progress in the relations with Russia entails that challenges and limitations need to be accepted. It seems that normative power is the least likely to be accepted by Russian politicians and members of society out of the three aforementioned elements considering that its translation in the Russian language is linguistically complicated for Russians to understand and it is loaded with negative undertone of domination and disrespect. In this respect, sanctions might have slightly more chances to succeed, as Russia does not question the legitimacy of sanctions, furthermore, Russia might be motivated to find mutual understanding and search for compromises for this matter.
Countries are changing their military measures and strategies, thus they increasingly recruit private military and security companies or private military companies to pursue their interests instead of their regular forces. The aim of the research article is to reveal the motives and features of the use of private military companies in Russia’s foreign and security policy of 2014–2019. The novelty and relevance of the research object have prompted the use of the microtheory, i.e., the principal-agent theory, the application of which in political sciences has started just recently. It provides the basis for the assessment of the motives and features which led to recruitment of private military companies for the purposes of Russia’s foreign and security policy. The qualitative research method was selected in order to achieve this aim: the case analysis method was applied for the purpose of selection of the cases, i.e., regions: Syria, North-East and Central Africa, Ukraine, and Venezuela, focussing on the analysis of the factors which led to Russia’s decision to recruit private military companies instead of the regular forces.
Based on the analysis of the motives for using private military companies and conventional forces, we may claim that they are similar, because the use of both military structures enables achieving somewhat the same interests. Nevertheless, it was noted that, based on the specifics of the forces and the chart encompassing the variety of social deviations, private military and security companies are more similar to the regular forces. Nevertheless, both types of private companies help Russia avoid direct liability for various violations of the law.
The factors explained in the microtheory are adjusted, expanded, and correlated by taking into account the case of Russia analysed within the course of the research. The analysis of the case of Russia also has shown that the Kremlin faced only one problem explained by the principal-agent theory, i.e., agency slack. The analysis has shown that not all regions located further away from Russia were useful in terms of finances, but all of them gave Russia advantage over the USA in respect of strategy.
The Russian Government has become relatively proficient at deploying disinformation as a tool of statecraft. The 2014 events in Ukraine and the 2016 US presidential election brought the issue to the forefront of the contemporary political debate and scholarly inquiry. While the reach and effectiveness of the Russian information operations is often exaggerated by western commentators, the Kremlin certainly has grand ambitions in the information domain. Indeed, statements by the Kremlin seniors underscoring the need to compete in the information sphere have been myriad since 2012. The talk has translated into capabilities and capabilities have turned into operations on numerous occasions. Always changing to incorporate ‘lessons learned’, Russia’s approach to information warfare is fluid. This article examines a particularly novel twist to that approach, i.e., the inclusion of civil society entities to proliferate the Kremlin’s messaging. Institutions not typically associated with information dominance have become increasingly operationalized to serve the regime’s interests abroad. Many have followed the same path as journalism – subjugated to the Kremlin’s wishes early in Putin’s reign; exploited as a tool for domestic control; and finally, employed externally with near seamless coordination within state information campaigns. While this whole-of-society approach is still in an early stage of development and might not appear too disconcerting at the moment, countries that are particularly vulnerable to Russian meddling would be wise to recognize the trend and consider countermeasures.
In 2018 Russia initiated attempts to substantially revitalize the slow process of the Russian – Belarusian integration by implementing the fundamental obligations set out in the Union Treaty not only in the fields of economy or the military, but by also resolving the essential political and financial issues, thus building a strong foundation for further creation of the union state and a certain breakthrough. This article discusses the new phase in the creation of the Union State in order to identify the reasons behind the new initiative and the key factors having led to the slow-pace integration of the Union State and different rates in individual fields. It is argued that the creation process of the Union State does not gain the required momentum due to different interests of the states: Russia’s aspirations for full control over Belarus and the efforts made by the President of Belarus seeking to maintain an integration format enabling unobstructed existence of the model of the political system established by him and allowing him to stay in power. This process could be described as a certain strategic partnership enabling flexible and non-binding actions (postponement of agreements for economic, security, and personal gain). The 2020 crisis in Belarus when President A. Lukashenko lost the legitimacy of his constituents and the Western States did not recognise the presidential election as democratic, the Union State project was “frozen” temporarily until the political situation in the country stabilizes. Under these conditions Russia’s ambition to keep Belarus has remained unchanged and it is likely that cautious tactics would be implemented to achieve this goal at the same time to avoid stirring up opposition sentiment, to maintain sentiments of the Belarusian public favourable to the great power in their neighbourhood, and to activate economic actions directed at strengthening the positions of Russian capital in the neighbouring space.
This article provides the most comprehensive analysis of the willingness to defend one’s own country in the similar, yet different, Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It reviews the previous research focussing on regularities explaining the willingness to defend the country. This article proceeds with mapping the results of the previous sociological research from the three countries and discusses the results of a nationally representative poll conducted for the purposes of this research. The previous and current data suggests that Estonians are more likely to defend their country, while Latvians and Lithuanians are less keen to do so. In a wider regional and global context, the willingness to defend one’s own country is high in Estonia but low in Lithuania.
Several hypotheses on regularities are tested in the Baltic case. It is affirmed that on the inter-societal level, growth in life opportunities tends to have a negative effect on the willingness to defend one’s own country, though it cannot explain the correlation of fluctuations in both indicators. On the intra-societal level, it is affirmed that men are more likely to defend their own country. While the empirical data in relation to two of the Baltic States confirm some other hypotheses, such as those related to trust in the armed forces, the impact of external threats, and historical experiences, there is no conclusive support in all three regarding other factors like trust in the government, religiousness, conscription, age, nor education on the individual level. That underlines the role of various factors, interaction thereof and their different effect on people’s willingness to defend their countries.
After the Euromaidan (2013) and the war in the East of Ukraine (2014) youth in this country experienced a new situation, i.e., life during the “Hybrid War”. The article analyses the situation of the young generation in Ukraine in the frameworks of this new war. In addition to this, the author attempts to answer the question of whether there is a sense of patriotism among the young people related to the defence of the motherland during the Hybrid War. The results show the first experiences of the young people towards the unusual situation in which they find themselves. The new reality requires them to have a thorough understanding of patriotism. Patriotism is based on primary motives related to a sense of duty to their country and striving for unity of sometimes totally different parts of the country. This article shows that Patriotism not only still exists in the young generation, but it is fundamental for the myth that will influence next generations.