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  • Author: Juha Käpylä, Harri Mikkola
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With exciting economic opportunities and serious environmental challenges, the Arctic is transforming and re-emerging as a geopolitically important region. Major global players within and without the Arctic are paying greater attention to the region. While Russia is a traditional Arctic state with significant economic and security interests in the region, China, the US and the EU have also expressed their Arctic interests more explicitly. They are keen to tap into the economic potential and have a say in the way the region becomes accessed, exploited and governed. As a result, the Arctic is no longer a spatially or administratively confined region, but is instead taking its new form in the midst of contemporary global politics. The globalization and economization of the Arctic will most likely downplay environmentalism and reduce the relative influence of the indigenous people and small Arctic states in Arctic affairs. Arctic governance is also likely to turn more complex and complicated as the economic and political stakes are raised.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Development, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: To understand the political constraints on Russia's economic development, three dimensions should be explored simultaneously. The relations between Russia and the outside world (where Russia stands in comparison to others, and what it is prepared to do to advance its position), Russia's relations with its own past (the evolution of the Muscovite matrix), and the relations between ideas and political action (“the practical value of ideas in solving political dilemmas”). In this paper I will briefly discuss the first two aspects and then focus more closely on the third.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Rumour has it that prior to his first visit to Beijing in spring 2008, President Medvedev instructed officials at the Ministry of Trade and Development to take a picture of Moscow that would aptly convey Russia's drive for modernization and innovation to his Chinese hosts. In carrying out his orders, employees from the ministry spent two months looking for a suitable place to photograph, but it is not known whether they were successful in their quest or not. Perhaps the story is only apocryphal, and no such order was ever given. Nevertheless, the anecdote has sown the seeds of doubt in the minds of the country's current leadership that there is actually not that much to see when it comes to the campaign for the 'technological modernization' of Russia.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Markets, Political Economy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Moscow
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During recent years, transport and infrastructure development has acquired the status of a 'topic to be mentioned by the president' and other high-level state officials in their public appearances. The rise of transport from almost complete oblivion into the sphere of state strategic interests has been rapid, and it is a subject which is likely to maintain a high profile in the years to come. Success in implementing the current plans for infrastructure development is considered critical in order to generate further economic growth. From the longer-term perspective, it will also be critical in ensuring the diversification of the economy and securing Russia's place amongst the most advanced economies in the world. The modernization of the transport infrastructure is also seen as a lever with which Russia can reposition herself as a power-house in Eurasia. In actual fact, Russia is not a bridge but the dead-end of Eurasia. The country is faced with the enormous task of modernizing its transport infrastructures and implementing structural reforms that have been postponed for years. This would pose a tremendous challenge even in the best possible external circumstances, never mind against the backdrop of inflation and uncertainty in the world markets which exists at present. Something which has changed is that Russia now has the resources and the appropriate legislation in place to carry out these tasks. Yet, even if considerable effort has gone into defining strategic priorities, infrastructure investments are still implemented in an ad-hoc manner. The country is in dire need of massive construction projects. If the quality of the state apparatus in managing government spending does not improve – and there are few signs of that materializing – infrastructure development will become the Trojan horse of the Russian economy.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Kitty Lam
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Soviet Union's collapse brought to surface a complex ethno-political situation in the territory it formerly spanned. Changes in interstate boundaries separated various ethnic populations from their perceived homelands. This post-Soviet landscape has created policy dilemmas for the Russian government, as some 25 million Russians found themselves living outside the borders of the Russian Federation. How Russian leaders have dealt with issues pertaining to its 'compatriots' in the non-Russian Soviet successor states has become a subject of interest to Western observers. In particular, Western analysts have been observing the expression of 'ethnic diaspora' issues in Russian foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil Society, Development, Population
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia
  • Author: Linda Jakobson, Christer Pursiainen
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: “Modernity ends when words like progress, advance, development, emancipation, liberation, growth, accumulation, enlightenment, embetterment, avant-garde, lose their attraction and their function as guides to social action.” By this definition, Russia and China are both still undertaking extensive modernisation – though by very different means. Why have Russia and China chosen such different paths for their post-communist transitions? How do their strategies differ, and how are they interrelated? When – at what junctures - were the crucial choices made?
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Hiski Haukkala
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: It has become something of a cliché to argue that the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 resulted in dramatic changes in the unfolding of political space in the 1990s. Yet this was especially true in the case of the then European Community (EC) and its relations with the Soviet Union/Russian Federation. During the Cold War, the relations between the EC and the USSR were practically non-existent. The ascension of Mikhail Gorbachev and the period of perestroika and glasnost resulted, however, in a gradual rapprochement between the two parties. The creation of these new ties was formalized in the signing of a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the EC and the USSR, which was, however, in effect signed with an already crumbling Soviet Union as it took place as late as 21 December 1989.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Jochen Prantl
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The accession of Finland and Sweden as well as the ongoing enlargement process, which offers the perspective of EU membership to the Baltic States, has put the question of security and stability in Northern Europe on the Agenda of the European Union.
  • Topic: Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Finland, Asia, Sweden