Post-Cold War Borders Reframing Political Space in Eastern Europe
In the aftermath of the Ukraine crises, borders within the wider post-Cold War and post-Soviet context have become a key issue for international relations and public political debate. These borders are frequently viewed in terms of military preparedness and confrontation, but behind armed territorial conflicts there has been a broader shift in the regional balance of power and sovereignty. This book explores border conflicts in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood via a detailed focus on state power and sovereignty, set in the context of post-Cold war politics and international relations.
By identifying changing definitions of sovereignty and political space the authors highlight competing strategies of legitimising and challenging borders that have emerged as a result of geopolitical transformations of the last three decades. This book uses comparative studies to examine country specific variation in border negotiation and conflict, and pays close attention to shifts in political debates that have taken place between the end of State Socialism, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the outbreak of the Ukraine crises. From this angle, Post-Cold War Borders sheds new light on change and variation in the political rhetoric of the EU, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and neighbouring EU member countries. Ultimately, the book aims to provide a new interpretation of changes in international order and how they relate to shifting concepts of sovereignty and territoriality in post-Cold war Europe.
Shedding new light on negotiation and conflict over post-Soviet borders, this book will be of interest to students, researchers and policy makers in the fields of Russian and East European studies, international relations, geography, border studies and politics.
This chapter traces shifts in political conceptualisations of Russia’s borders since 1991. The primary method for accomplishing this study was through the application of the bordering paradigm, which was interpreted in the broadest sense, taking into consideration the shifting qualities of Russia’s ‘stateness’ and positionality as reflected in relations to new post-Soviet and established states. The analysis shows that the process of bordering in Russia has been determined by the nature of relations between ‘western’ and ‘eastern’ geopolitical concerns. A new aspect of the dominant border-related discourse is the link between integration in the post-Soviet space and the framing of the west as a potential threat. The relations with the west are increasingly considered as a zero-sum game based on harsh geopolitical competition. These trends have led to a hardening of Russia’s western boundaries and a sharp deterioration of mutual relations reflected in political discourse, public opinion, the freezing of joint projects, and an increasing emphasis on security. Nevertheless, cross-border programmes remain one of few fields where cooperation continues. © 2019 selection and editorial matter.