This article explores escalation as a tool which is being used in Russian military strategy in the twenty-first century. This method of operation has been transformed from a purely defensive deterrence asset which was valid at the beginning of the 2000s into an element of aggressive deterrence, one which bases itself on Russia presenting Crimea’s annexation as a fait accompli. The authors conclude that the strategic value for Moscow of the Black Sea region has grown with the annexation of Crimea, so that it now surpasses the value of the Baltic region. This can be inferred by comparing the Russian military potential which is present in both regions, as well as through related doctrines and corresponding decisions. To a major extent, the Russian stance in the Baltic plays a coercive role in its strategy: it aims to boost deterrence on the Black Sea, where Moscow sees itself as being more vulnerable.
Based on an inter-disciplinary theoretical approach about built form as a social construct which mirrors power relations, this article examines the role of what is broadly understood as ‘physical infrastructure’ in Crimean political history, with particular emphasis on the late modern period. The analysis reveals that the infrastructural component proved to be crucial in terms of physically ‘attaching’ the peninsula either to the Russian or Ukrainian parts of the mainland, with the latter naturally seen as a much better option due to the existing terrestrial connection at least as long as all of them remained within a single state. The Soviet disintegration therefore immediately made Crimea’s infrastructure both a contested milieu and a medium of this contestation. As a result, the 2014 annexation and subsequent flashpoints cannot really be explained without referring to such issues as transportation gateways, energy security, and even water supply. While long being quintessentially political, physical infrastructure in Crimea is becoming existential.
This article contributes to research which covers individual’s willingness to defend their own country. To achieve this end, a case study is undertaken which looks at the Baltic states, with a special focus on the Russian-speaking inhabitants of the region. The mapping out of historical and present day quantitative data corroborates the finding that there is a gap in terms of willingness to defend one’s own country between Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian-speakers on the one hand and Russian-speakers on the other. At the same time, data from two nationally-representative surveys across the Baltics leads one to the conclusion that there are no fundamental differences in reasoning along ethnic and linguistic lines, i.e. why individuals express willingness (not) to defend their own country. Consistent differences can be observed only in some smaller categories which generally mirror trends in contrasting historical memories and the perceptions of domestic and international issues.
The Russian federation uses several tools to allow it to place pressure on the western world in an asymmetric manner, among them being cyber-attacks, economic tools, and information-influence campaigns. These instruments are especially strongly felt in Estonia. This article uses Estonia’s example in order to delve into Russia’s political goals and strategic conduct. Specifically, analysis is provided in regard to the political context, instruments which form part of the ‘information war’, and any effective counter-measures, with all of this being carried out within the theoretical framework of constructivism. As will be argued, the shift from European to Eurasian power and Russia’s carefully crafted management process of not exceeding red lines, as well as its process of exploiting the socio-economic weaknesses of the west all play a relevant role in understanding the political context. As for instruments, Russia has developed tools which can be analysed in terms of strategic conspiracy narratives, while it has likewise used several channels which lie next to the usual media tools, along with policy tools such as Pax Russica and the compatriot policy.
This article analyses the energy dimension of relationships which have been developed between the ‘Eastern Partnership’ (EaP) partner countries within the context of European security. The essence of the EaP and the main priorities of the initiative’s energy platform will be determined. The peculiarities of their relations with the European Union and the Russian federation will be analysed. One discovery which has been made is the fact that the involvement of the addressee countries within the EaP grants them significant advantages in the implementation of the overall energy policy, and the EU is understood by them as being a guarantor of energy security. Emphasis is placed on the fact that Russia seeks to establish the fullest possible levels of control over energy supplies which are sent to Europe, and to the EU, and indeed even to reduce the dependence of the EaP partner countries on energy imports from Russia. Something which became obvious was the fact that while Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, and Ukraine were forming closer ties with the EU, Azerbaijan and Belarus on the contrary continued (and continue) to adhere to the authoritarian status quo. From this it can be concluded that the EaP partner countries face new challenges and threats, both in terms of domestic and foreign policy, which will determine the transformation of energy relations, in particular within the dimension of security.
In the wake of the Cold War, Yugoslavia and its successor states were engulfed in a series of conflicts, including armed ones. In all of the republics - the newly independent states of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Serbia’s then-province of Kosovo, but with the exception of Slovenia - these conflicts were primarily ethnically driven. The only former Yugoslav republic to avert armed conflict in the 1990s was Montenegro, which regained its independence peacefully in 2006. In this article, the authors respond to the research question of why, out of all of the republics of the former Yugoslavia, was it only in Montenegro in which there was no ethnic conflict during the disintegration of the Yugoslav federation? The authors apply the Randall Collins theory of social conflicts to the case study of Montenegro. This theory combines geopolitical and ethnic factors for the absence or outbreak of conflicts, something which has a strong explanatory potential for this case study. Through a multidisciplinary approach, based on a case study as a qualitative method, the authors analyse various factors so that they are able to reach concrete conclusions in a comprehensive manner. The analysis covers historical, demographic, political, and special ethical aspects in Montenegro. Our explanation of the most important causes which ensured the absence of ethnic conflict in Montenegro is based on perspectives of what can be referred to as the neo-Weberian and anti-foundationalism approaches which emphasise the behaviour of the state, as well as geopolitical circumstances, as prime examples for the emergence or absence of ethnic-based conflict.
Europe’s security situation has evolved somewhat over the past few years, causing national defence policies to be reviewed and strengthened. Being members of Nato and the European Union, the Benelux countries of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg have been changing their defence policies to face complex military and non-military threats. The potential threat from Russia is one factor which has been behind their closer military cooperation, supported by the process of rebuilding national military capabilities. Progress has been especially visible after 2014 most especially due to Russian aggression against Ukraine, along with hybrid threats and terrorists attacks. All three countries tend to cooperate with each other while also enjoying ever-closer relations with Nato and other EU members, while the USA has a special place in this arrangement. All of these connections and areas of cooperation will be covered in this article. The author utilises the qualitative research approach which involves one or more case studies, along with institutional and behavioural analysis, deskbound research, analysis, and synthesis methods.