The article carries out an assessment of the “reunification of Crimea with Russia” from the point of view of contemporary international law and examines the arguments of Russian legal scholars who try to deny the annexation, i.e. the acquisition of territory by force. The assessment reveals recent changes in the interpretation of the principle of the self-determination of peoples in the Russian official position and legal doctrine, compared to the interpretation of this principle prevalent before the International Court of Justice adopted the Advisory Opinion on Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo. The analysis carried out in the article identifies the arguments and strategies that are employed in seeking to offer an interpretation of international legal norms that corresponds to the political interests of the Russian Federation. The examination reveals how new content is attached to international legal concepts in the works of Russian legal scholars who construct a position favourable to the Russian Federation, and in what way legal arguments are combined with statements and theoretical constructs that are irrelevant from the point of view of contemporary international law, thus deleting the boundaries between legal and non-legal reasoning and producing a pseudo-legal narrative that serves the political interests of Russia.
Interest in South Asia among Lithuanian scholars is rather low. For a long time the region has remained off the radar screen of Lithuanian foreign policy makers, who were largely focused on Lithuania’s Euro-Atlantic integration and international consolidation issues. But the situation is changing and South Asia is emerging as an increasingly important political and economic partner for Lithuania. This article attempts to outline the general characteristics of the South Asia region, its geographical and geopolitical limits, and its current key issues, in the backdrop of which Lithuania’s relations with the nations of the region are assessed. Arguably, at present Lithuania has little to offer in addressing the fundamental problems of the region, but its role in individual niches can be quite useful. Lithuanian exports of lasers and laser-related technologies to India, along with the growing number of South Asian students in Lithuanian higher education institutions, are brought in as two small but illustrative examples.
The present strategic disarray of the western democracies is both a by-product of the West’s failure to grasp the moral-cultural dimension of the end-game of the Cold War and a reflection of the crisis of civilizational morale that has beset western Europe in recent decades. Thus it is important to revisit the distinctive character of the Revolution of 1989/1991 in central and eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. That dramatic transition in European politics was born from many factors, including the re-armament of the West under the leadership of U.S. President Ronald Reagan. But the political Revolution of 1989/1991 was also the result of a revolution of conscience in central and eastern Europe, in which the reclamation of national identity and culture eventually gave rise to “soft power” tools of resistance that the hard power typically deployed by communist regimes in the face of dissent could not match. Lithuania, which embodied the oft-ignored truth that a tenacious national culture can, over time, produce democratic political change, is thus in a position to remind the West that freedom is never free; that the dignity of the human person, human rights, and the rule of law must be affirmed culturally by a robust civil society if they are to be defended politically and militarily; and that moral relativism is an insecure foundation on which to build, sustain, or defend the institutions of democratic self-governance.
The recent string of existential crises in Europe – the Euro crisis, Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the refugee crisis of 2015 – have resulted in new dynamics within the European Union. In Brussels, Germany has emerged as the hardly contested nexus of decision making. It was in particular through the Ukraine crisis and the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 that Germany found itself assuming a leadership role also in the EU’s foreign policy, a role it has shunned in the past. However, for Berlin this new role is far from obvious – it is only gradually that Germany grew comfortable with its enhanced role, which is due more to external circumstances than by its own design. Conscious of its own image abroad and, due to the still prevalent feeling of historical guilt, the fear of being perceived as a dominating power has so far prevented Germany from occupying the forefront of the stage, preferring to pulling strings from behind and presenting itself as the EU’s “Chief Facilitation Officer” (German Missions in the United States, “Foreign Minister Steinmeier Travels to Washington, Atlanta”, Mar 16, 2015, http://www.germany.info/Vertretung/usa/en/__pr/P__Wash/2015/03/11-Steinmeier-USA.html). This article analyses how Germany, in particular through the Ukraine crisis starting in 2014, affirmed itself – albeit reluctantly – as a nexus of decision making in the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and became the de facto leading nation for defining the EU’s response towards Russia. The article points out the internal and external consequences of this new role and, in particular, its impact on the Baltic States.
The article surveys public information which casts doubt on the traditional definition of Vladimir Putin’s regime as the “Power Vertical” concept; i.e. the assumption of the same chain of reasoning that it was Putin who created this regime and that the beginning of its creation should be identified with Putin’s coming to power in Russia in 2000 is also questioned. The article attempts to substantiate the fact that processes resulting in what we now call the Putin regime began well before the collapse of the Soviet Union and were developing in Russia throughout the entire period of the so-called Boris Yeltsin’s democracy. They are related to the Soviet Union reformation plans of the KGB secret service, considered as omnipotent even in the Soviet Union itself, to the redistribution of assets after the collapse of the Soviet Union and to people who were either specially trained for the mentioned reformation of the USSR or were themselves KGB representatives; now it is they who are established in the highest echelons of Russia’s power. The objective of this article is to reveal the side of the nature of the Putin regime which considerably changes the customary picture.
Hybrid warfare is perhaps the most frequently used concept in seeking to explain and define Russia‘s military actions in Ukraine. This article thoroughly analyses the development of the theory of hybrid warfare and circumstances of its formation, draws a line between hybrid warfare and hybrid threats, and discusses the perception of hybrid warfare in the armies of Western states and Russia. Actions of the Russian army in Crimea are analysed on the grounds of the provisions of the theory of hybrid warfare formulated by Frank Hoffman through revealing the impact on a military operation not only of the changing warfare tendencies but also of political, cultural, demographic and military conditions that existed on the Crimean peninsula. The article ends with an assessment of the capability of the hybrid warfare theory, as an analytical category, to explain Russia’s military actions in Crimea.
This article examines how the on-going confrontation between Russia and the West affects perceptions of security in Georgia. Our angle is twofold: in addition to comparing previous National Security Concepts of Georgia we examine both governmental and public perceptions of security in the light of Georgia’s foreign policy priorities, its relationship with neighbouring countries and conflict resolution policy. Since Georgia declares 20 per cent of its territory to be occupied, the article focuses particularly on the crisis in Ukraine and its effect on security debates in Georgia. As the upcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia in autumn 2016 are highly important to maintain the current foreign policy course and secure achievements, the paper also tries to answer how these global and regional developments may be interpreted and reflected in the next National Security Concept of Georgia (whenever it might be published).
The article explores threats related to illicit trafficking of radioactive materials and dual-use goods applicable in state level nuclear programs, actualizing the global trends for the Baltic region. The article points to Eastern Europe’s changing risk profile in this respect, as increasing penetration of Russian criminal groups inside Ukraine and the destabilized situations in neighboring countries create an environment where the risk of nuclear smuggling is on the rise. Criminal entities can be seen forming new bonds, with trafficking routes intersecting and zones of influence shifting – consequently, an unusual level of criminal involvement in nuclear smuggling is observed, alongside a geographic shift of smuggling patterns. In addition, states seeking materials and technologies for their military programs have taken a notable interest in this region as a way of circumventing international transit regulations. The article looks at the likely implications of these new nuclear smuggling trends for the security of the Baltic states. It suggests that Lithuania may soon be facing a relatively new threat, and one that it is ill-prepared to counter. The article discusses the risk factors and indicators to watch before that risk becomes reality, and offers ways for Lithuania to contribute to addressing these increasingly acute problems on a regional level.
This article reflects on the concept of fear in theories of international relations and foreign policy. The text discusses the concepts of the phenomenon of fear and rational behavior emphasizing that the concept of fear, contrary to the concept of anarchy, has no emotional charge in the theory of international relations. Having surveyed the factor of emotions in the theory of international relations and foreign policy, the author suggests that the emotional meaningful charge be returned to the concept of fear. The study stresses that fear (if treated as an emotion) can also have a destructive function disrupting the international system and disturbing the international communication. The third part of the article is devoted to an analysis of the ideas of Lithuania‘s foreign policy. The study explores the idea of Lithuania as a regional leader. The writer claims that the idea was irrational because it was based on the factor of the emotion of fear.