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  • Author: Heiner Hänggi, Fred Tanner
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: With the European Union's enlargement eastwards and southwards, its neighbourhood now stretches from the Balkans to the south Caucasus, and from Russia to the southern Mediterranean. The EU's eastern and southern neighbourhood is composed of areas which, to a greater or lesser extent, have serious deficits in security, development and democracy. There are many types of security problems, ranging from weak states and rampant international crime to spoilers in post-conflict reconstruction and unpredictable authoritarian leaders who pursue regime security often at the expense of national or regional security. In terms of socio-economic development, most of the countries in the EU's neighbourhood are fragile, often struggling with the effects of black market economies and cronyism, and burdened by bloated defence and security sectors that escape any accountability. As regards political systems, the EU's neighbourhood is composed of regime types ranging from new but weak democracies to regimes with authoritarian features and limited political participation.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Caucasus, Balkans
  • Author: Jason R. Wisniewski
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • Abstract: The small and medium-sized states in Southeast Asia have undergone significant geostrategic changes with the end of the Cold War and the rise of China. There has been a lively debate over the last decade about whether these countries would balance against or bandwagon with China, and how their relations with the other major powers in the region would change. Recent works that argue against the simple dichotomy of balancing versus bandwangoning are correct in asserting that Southeast Asian countries do not want to choose between the two major powers, the U.S. and China. But this paper goes further to present the results of an empirical study that fleshes out the conceptual thinking that underlies this avoidance strategy. It finds that instead of merely adopting tactical or time-buying policies, key Southeast Asian states have actively tried to influence the shaping of the new regional order. It argues that key Southeast Asian states in fact have (a) distinct coneptualisations of two main pathways to order in the region omni-enmeshment of major powers and complex balance of influence; and (b) a concrete vision of the preferred power distribution outcome, which is a hierarchical regional order.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Oil-rich Azerbaijan, which borders Iran, Turkey and Russia and is still scarred from its defeat by Armenia ten years ago, gives cause for both hope and concern. The October 2003 election of Ilham Aliyev to the presidency that his late-father, Heydar, had held almost from independence, highlighted the stark choices which now face the country. Its government is a carefully designed autocratic system, which the father and former Soviet-era politburo member began to construct in the late 1960 s, with heavy reliance on family and clan members, oil revenues and patronage.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Turkey, Eastern Europe, Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Sergei Prozorov
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The article seeks to map the emergent discursive field of conservatism in Russian politics in the context of the reshapement of the political space in the Putin presidency. In the course of Putin's first presidential term 'conservatism' became a privileged mode of political selfidentification in the Russian discourse, functioning as the nodal point of the hegemonic project of the Presidency. Yet, in accordance with the Foucauldian understanding of discourse as a system of dispersion, the article demonstrates the way the conservative discourse is internally fractured into two antagonistic strands, identified by their practitioners as liberal and left conservatisms. While the liberal-conservative orientation supports and sustains the depoliticising project of the Putin presidency, which orders and stabilises the effects of the anti-communist revolution, left conservatism functions in the modality of radical opposition to the Putinian hegemony, thereby contributing to the pluralisation of political space in contemporary Russia. In the present Russian political constellation 'conservatism' is therefore less a name for a stable hegemonic configuration than a designator of the field of political struggle over the very identity of postcommunist Russia. The article concludes with a critical discussion of the relation the two strands of Russian conservatism establish to the period of the 1990s as the 'moment of the political' in the Russian postcommunist transformation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Richard J. Krickus
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to address two questions associated with Lithuania's political crisis in 2004. First, what were the domestic circumstances that led to the impeachment of Lithuania's President, Rolandas Paksas? Second, what evidence is there that Russia has played a significant role in the crisis and what are the motives behind Moscow's meddling in Lithuania's internal affairs? Answers to these questions are pertinent to the fate of countries throughout post-communist Europe, given their common history and geography. In addition, they provide the framework for addressing a third question that must be answered by the European Union (EU), NATO and the United States: what can be done about these two-fold threats to the newest members of the Western alliance?
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Lithuania, Moscow
  • Author: Tatiana Lykova, Sergei Sivaev, Raymond J. Struyk, Ekaterina Petrova
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: When Russia's housing allowance program, the country's first means-tested program, was introduced in 1994, it was truly innovative. But there were difficulties from the start, many arising from the division of authority for setting program parameters among different levels of government and the potential for variation in the treatment of similar households in different cities. In 1996, the program's original simple basis for benefit determination was seriously impaired by the introduction of different principles for very low-income households. Moreover, local governments have exhibited a willingness to vary benefits from year-to-year, depending on political and budgetary considerations. The analysis presented here documents the impact of these variations on participation rates in a sample of Russian cities. Large inequities are obviously present in the treatment of similar households from city to city. Indeed, it is questionable whether the program as currently configured is fulfilling the social safety net function envisioned for it in the original legislation.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Sergei Sivaev, Raymond J. Struyk, Valentin Andrianov, Emin Askerov
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: During the past two winters, breakdowns in district heating services in Russia have grabbed international headlines. In Russia these services and water and sewerage services are the responsibility of municipal governments; these governments set the tariffs for these services. This article examines the tariff-setting process during 1997–2001 for these two services with particular emphasis on the decision process for considering tariff increases. We find that little progress has been made during the transition period in developing the legal base for rational tariff-setting procedures. Overall, tariff increases have been substantially less than the rate of inflation. Statistical analysis confirms that decisionmaking is highly politicized and that in times of extreme inflation tariff increases lag even further behind inflation, with the sector being used as a kind of shock absorber to cushion the full impacts of inflation on the population. There is an obvious acute need for leadership at the national level to address these problems.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: André Decoster, Inna Verbina
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The interplay of a differentiated indirect tax structure and the variation in expenditure patterns across households, leads to a possibly unequal distribution of indirect tax liabilities across the population. This paper uses the ninth round of the RLMS survey to assess the distributional consequences of the two major components of the indirect tax system: VAT and excise taxes. The global indirect system can be considered to be progressive overall, according to the Kakwani index. Decomposition into constituent terms shows that this is due not only to a progressive VAT structure, but also to progressive excise taxes. This surprising result is mainly explained by the progressivity of the excise tax on car fuel, but might also be sensitive to peculiarities in the data about alcohol consumption.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: David Betz
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces
  • Abstract: It is a truism that the nature and limits of parliamentary oversight in any state are determined by the constitutional and political structure unique to that state. That is to say, a state's constitutional and political “framework of legislative oversight” ultimately constrains the extent to which its parliamentarians may regulate their defence establishment. In some countries, parliament has the legal wherewithal to exert a high degree of scrutiny and control over developments in the defence sector. In others, parliaments possess only limited legal prerogatives in this respect because the executive dominates the defence sector.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Civil Society, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary
  • Author: Edward Schatz
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Capital relocation (i.e., the physical move of the central state apparatus from one location to another) is an unusual tool for nation and state building. Yet, it is used more frequently than we might expect. Thus, when Kazakhstan shifted its capital city in 1997 from Almaty to Astana the move was unique in that post-Soviet region, but not as uncommon in other post-colonial cases. This paper examines the move of the capital in Kazakhstan suggests that this move was designed to address particularly acute nation-and state-building challenges. If the Kazakhstan experience seems strange in de-Sovietization, this tells us much about the different nature of post-Soviet space versus other post-colonial contexts. The relative in frequency of capital moves implies that the challenges of nation and state building in the ex-USSR—as daunting as they have proved to be—are generally not as acute as in those of other post-colonial contexts.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan