Finally: The EU Reacted Strongly. United we Stand, Divided we Fall.

Finally, the EU has reacted in a rather strong way. Today, 31st Jan., 2017, in the afternoon the EU Council President, the former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, wrote an open letter to his 27 colleagues, as a Jingle for the forthcoming EU Summit Meeting in Malta next weekend. I wish this letter a world-wide distribution, and it goes exctly in the direction of two articles of John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus from Washington D.C., and myself in the next EUFAJ which will appear in some days. What is Donald Tusk’s letter about? Here is the full text:

„Dear colleagues,

In order to best prepare our discussion in Malta about the future of the European Union of 27 member states, and in light of the conversations I have had with some of you, let me put forward a few reflections that I believe most of us share.

The challenges currently facing the European Union are more dangerous than ever before in the time since the signature of the Treaty of Rome. Today we are dealing with three threats, which have previously not occurred, at least not on such a scale.

The first threat, an external one, is related to the new geopolitical situation in the world and around Europe. An increasingly, let us call it, assertive China, especially on the seas, Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine and its neighbours, wars, terror and anarchy in the Middle East and in Africa, with radical Islam playing a major role, as well as worrying declarations by the new American administration all make our future highly unpredictable. For the first time in our history, in an increasingly multipolar external world, so many are becoming openly anti-European, or Eurosceptic at best. Particularly the change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation; with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy.

The second threat, an internal one, is connected with the rise in anti-EU, nationalist, increasingly xenophobic sentiment in the EU itself. National egoism is also becoming an attractive alternative to integration. In addition, centrifugal tendencies feed on mistakes made by those, for whom ideology and institutions have become more important than the interests and emotions of the people.

The third threat is the state of mind of the pro-European elites. A decline of faith in political integration, submission to populist arguments as well as doubt in the fundamental values of liberal democracy are all increasingly visible.

In a world full of tension and confrontation, what is needed is courage, determination and political solidarity of Europeans. Without them we will not survive. If we do not believe in ourselves, in the deeper purpose of integration, why should anyone else? In Rome we should renew this declaration of faith. In today’s world of states-continents with hundreds of millions of inhabitants, European countries taken separately have little weight. But the EU has demographic and economic potential, which makes it a partner equal to the largest powers. For this reason, the most important signal that should come out of Rome is that of readiness of the 27 to be united. A signal that we not only must, but we want to be united.

Let us show our European pride. If we pretend we cannot hear the words and we do not notice the decisions aimed against the EU and our future, people will stop treating Europe as their wider homeland. Equally dangerously, global partners will cease to respect us. Objectively speaking, there is no reason why Europe and its leaders should pander to external powers and their rulers. I know that in politics, the argument of dignity must not be overused, as it often leads to conflict and negative emotions. But today we must stand up very clearly for our dignity, the dignity of a united Europe – regardless of whether we are talking to Russia, China, the US or Turkey. Therefore, let us have the courage to be proud of our own achievements, which have made our continent the best place on Earth. Let us have the courage to oppose the rhetoric of demagogues, who claim that European integration is beneficial only to the elites, that ordinary people have only suffered as its result, and that countries will cope better on their own, rather than together.

We must look to the future – this was your most frequent request in our consultations over the past months. And there is no doubt about it. But we should never, under any circumstances, forget about the most important reasons why 60 years ago we decided to unite Europe. We often hear the argument that the memory of the past tragedies of a divided Europe is no longer an argument, that new generations do not remember the sources of our inspiration. But amnesia does not invalidate these inspirations, nor does it relieve us of our duty to continuously recall the tragic lessons of a divided Europe. In Rome, we should strongly reiterate these two basic, yet forgotten, truths: firstly, we have united in order to avoid another historic catastrophe, and secondly, that the times of European unity have been the best times in all of Europe’s centuries-long history. It must be made crystal clear that the disintegration of the European Union will not lead to the restoration of some mythical, full sovereignty of its member states, but to their real and factual dependence on the great superpowers: the United States, Russia and China. Only together can we be fully independent.

We must therefore take assertive and spectacular steps that would change the collective emotions and revive the aspiration to raise European integration to the next level. In order to do this, we must restore the sense of external and internal security as well as socio-economic welfare for European citizens. This requires a definitive reinforcement of the EU external borders; improved cooperation of services responsible for combating terrorism and protecting order and peace within the border-free area; an increase in defence spending; strengthening the foreign policy of the EU as a whole as well as better coordinating individual member states‘ foreign policies; and last but not least fostering investment, social inclusion, growth, employment, reaping the benefits of technological change and convergence in both the euro area and the whole of Europe.

We should use the change in the trade strategy of the US to the EU’s advantage by intensifying our talks with interested partners, while defending our interests at the same time. The European Union should not abandon its role as a trade superpower which is open to others, while protecting its own citizens and businesses, and remembering that free trade means fair trade. We should also firmly defend the international order based on the rule of law. We cannot surrender to those who want to weaken or invalidate the Transatlantic bond, without which global order and peace cannot survive. We should remind our American friends of their own motto: United we stand, divided we fall“.

I really like this Open Letter – finally the EU gets a spine of steel. Donald Tusk Shows that he is a leader, and I hope he remains still a while in his present Job in the future, too.

It is not by chance that Donald Trump is mentioned in one line with questionable presidents like the ones in Turkey or Russia. This is really a shame for an American president. We all in Europe should not be passive in the attempts of the conscient Americans to stand and finally overcome this Person. He has so Little political and civic education, that his advisors seem to have free way, much to the pleasure of the president who thinks he can run a complicated state like a billionaire’s shop.

What is worst: The US have always been at the side of European integration, and of course we had some small difficulties, but this is normal in families. In families who share the same values, also internationally. In the last years of the Soviet Union, in the 1980s, there was a big discussion in Europe about so-called „equidistance“ of Europe, towards the USSR and the USA. In Europe, it was clear that we may be geographically closer to the first ine, but value-wise closer connected to the US. Now we know: We stand alone – and we will not give up, now more than ever, to tell the world that it is worth while to have an open society, of immigration and emigration (many famous US companies would not exist if today’s travel bans would have existed!), a social market economy, and a clear concept of the togetherness in the world. What the Republicans do at present, is adventurous, and it shows that the political coordinates cannot be considered parallel at all, between Europe and the USA. This not yet a cultural fight, but serious cultural differences – and it is indeed a matter of education, of being open to other cultures and countries. Let us work in the suitable way in keeping contact with „enlightened“ Americans, who think apriund the Corner, and let us prepare the day, when Trump is „shot down the tube“ by the voters, or by an impeachment before, what I do not exclude, if you see the exhaust of his companies.
Hans-Jürgen Zahorka
Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal
http://www.eufaj.eu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Russia Withdrawing from Rule of Law Principles?

Between 2013 until mid-2015, around 45.000 Russians have turned to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg (Moscow Times, 10.12.2015). The majority of cases was decided against the Russian administration, for the protection of Russian citizens. The ECHR can rule also against a constitution of a signatory state – which was the case e.g. in an equality and nin-discrimination case aganst Germany where the Constitution had ruled that women cannot fight in the army, resp. nit fight in combat troops. A female future helicopter pilot had this examined legally, and won finally. The German Constitution had to be changed. So, the ECHR is a (not only constitutional) watchdog, with many judgments in favour of judicial rights of the citizens. Since Eastern European states are subject of ECHR decisions, there is a certain tendency in favour of a liberal society, abiding to the rule of law. It is good to have international courts in Europe, and the ECHR and its EU counterpart, the Court of European Justice (CEJ) in Luxembourg have all confidence of the citizens. These courts are a guarantee of the sum of all positive legal traditions.

But now Russia has managed to adopt a new law, and this within days:. The Federal Constitutional Law of 14.12.2015 № 7-FKZ: „On Amendments to the Federal Constitutional Law“ – On the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation. The law has been initiated in the parliament on 18.11.2016 and was approved on 4.12.2015 State (Duma) resp. 9.12.2015 (Federation Council), then signed by the president on 14.12.2015. This speed says it all; only  semi-auhoritarian and authoritarian regimes can afford to whip a law through parliament that fast, without gathering any feedback by civil society (which hardly exists in Russia). The law says that its Constitutional Court can exempt Russia of international judgments, if this judgment is against the Russian Constitution. So Russia is, again, alone.

This cannot be compared to the case of the United States who did not want their military staff responsible before an international court. The ECHR concerns civilians. Russia evidently took the Yukos case to trigger its new policy, also to save 1,9 billion EUR compensation to be paid to former Yukos shareholders. This case has to do with arbitrary use of procedural rights, as well as with the case against Michail Khodorkovsky, another example which can show very contestable Russian standards of the rule of law.

Russia should know that this new law is considered by the Rule-of-Law community of the world as being against its own interests, against foreign Investment in the country which would be needed so urgently. But it goes hand in hand with the laws about „foreign agents“. It is the point on the „i“ which should defer all relevant decisions to a post-Putin era, as at present Russia is far away from the rule of law.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal

http://www.eufaj.eu

New Observatory on the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU)

Within LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH, there is from beginning of April 2015 an observatory on Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) affairs – ranging from the history of Eurasianism until the most topical developments like e.g. the possible preparations for a common Eurasian currency. It is mainly intended for access out of the European Union and for scientific purposes, but it is open for requests and cooperation throughout the world. The EEU is at present composed of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia (since 1.1.2015); Kyrgyzstan will join on 1.5.2015. The Russian president V. Putin has said he wants the whole former Soviet republics, except the Baltic Republics, to form the Eurasian Economic Union.

This EEU Observatory will start working on an informal basis, and is headed by Ofelya Sargsyan M.A. The Armenia-born political scientist is also Junior Editor of European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ); see http://www.libertas-institut.eu/de/EUFAJ/Ofelya_Sargsyan.pdf. The output will be an archive and database, articles, discourses and lectures, advice and papers for government level, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), conferences, company purposes etc. Any later news will be published on Facebook, on the blog http://libertasblogs.wordpress.com, or on www.eufaj.eu as well as in EUFAJ.

The EEU cannot be compared directly to the European Union, neither with its background, nor with the political system of its member states and the degree of voluntary participation. There is a strong knowledge deficit about it in the EU and other countries. While it is totally legitimate to integrate also economies of CIS countries, there is, however, also sometimes the call for a new ‚empire‘ behind the attempts to set up a Eurasian Economic Union.

EUFAJ 3 / 2014 is out and online. This is the content:

This is the European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ) link to the new issue of 3rd quarter 2014. In this issue which can be downloaded under this link: http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/EUFAJ/EUFAJ_3_2014.pdf you can find, among others, the following contributions:

Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs): Their Current Positions and Relationship with the EU – Ofelya Sargsyan

Ukraine: Can Meaningful Reform Come Out of Conflict? – Marek Dabrowski

Too Blind to See the Threat We Pose to Russia – Andreas M. Bock

The Latest 2014 Standard Eurobarometer: The European Elections Made a Difference

European Year for Development 2015 – The First European Year Dealing with EU External Policy

The Strategic Culture of Authoritarian Regimes: Mountainous Karabakh Conflict in the Limelight –  Grigor Boyakhchyan

Spanish Regional Parliament Recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh’s Self-Determination

EU Commission: New Cooperation Priorities for the Eastern and the Southern Neighbourhood – 5.5 Billion EUR for 2014-2020

Adapting to Arctic ChangeMonica Bjermeland

India: New Business Opportunities – Sourajit Aiyer

Value Africans Place on Education Varies Widely by Country: Africans Often Perceive Personal Connections as More Important to Success – Steve Crabtree 

The whole EUFAJ website can be seen under www.eufaj.eu.

 

New issue of EUFAJ (1-2014): Here are the Headlines

A new number of European Union Foreign Affairs Journal is out: 1-2014. With the following content:

– The EU Internal Market in 10 Years Perspective from Accession of Ten Central and Eastern European Countries in 2004 – Lessons Learned for Eastern Partnership Partner States
– Russia under Putin and the Eurasian Union: An Impossible Possibility?
– Belarusian Identity: The Impact of Lukashenka’s Rule
– The Commonwealth of Independent States in Sequence of the Former USSR: A Tool for the Formation of the Eurasian Union?
– Forming a New Energy Security Alliance in North-Eastern Europe
– Transitioning from a Fossil-Fuel to a Green Economy: Government Policy for Private Sector Participation in Trinidad and Tobago
– The Right to Development and Rights-Based Approach to Development: Two Mutually Reinforcing Concepts?
– Stabilizing the Dynamics in the Global Socio-Economic System: Categorial Clarification for Exhaustive Transparency and Sustainability
– With book reviews on Nagorno Karabakh, Cuba and Africa

With authors from Belarus, Ukraine, Trinidad and Tobago, Switzerland, Armenia, Germany, and the USA (book reviews).

Go to the link: http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/EUFAJ/no1_2014.pdf.

Russia and the Eurasian Union: Mission Impossible?

By Hans-Jürgen Zahorka
Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ)
http://www.eufaj.eu

The Russian president Putin may be a political chess player, but he will fail at the very end. He wants to restore glory for his country, and therefore he undertakes a lot:
– blaming the Americans and the Europeans for anything which does not function in his country, including a growing authoritarianism and repression of non-violent opposition, including as well the stigmatisation as „foreign agents“ of any non-governmental organisation which has contacts abroad (and all open-thinking NGOs have them), and following a media policy which is absurd and where critical journalists often have to pay with their lives and health,
– gathering a lot of compliments from most of his compatriots after the conquest of Crimea, and the intended destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine – and in both cases the troops there turned out to be Russian ones, although this has been denied by Putin, who did not say the truth to the world.

This is why Russia is now isolated more than ever. Even China did not veto the trend of a discussion in the UN Security Council on 12.4.2014.

All the efforts by Putin go in this mentioned direction. It is to be crowned by the project of the „Eurasian Union“ which is to see the light of the world in 2015. Since his article in Izvestiya some years ago, it is evident that this Eurasian Union should become a kind of counterpart to the EU. No problem with this; the EU is very much in favour of regional integration in the world. And nobody in the EU or elsewhere would have anything against the Eurasian Union. However, this Project is not about economic or political Integration only. It will never be possible as an integration in the worldwide sense, alone as the EU has been a totally voluntary integration. The same for all other integrations in the world. The Eurasian Union, however, is definitely not: its predecessor and economic centerpiece, the Eurasian Customs Union is going bonkers — even if this is not seen by the protagonists. Consisting of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan (all three beacons of democracy and human rights, as everybody knows), a lot of transborder operations go better with the help of corruption. I don’t want to mention the ranking in the Corruption Perception Index, as everybody also in Russia knows that there is still a lot of corruption in the administration. The customs tariffs are three times as high, on an average, as the import tariffs for new member countries: Armenia has either to raise its customs considerably, or get several hundred of exemptions, which makes a customs union ridiculous. Normally a customs union in economic history has always served to decrease customs, and not to increase! The Armenian government has been squeezed – under which circumstances ever – to welcome this and to tell its people that this would be a success. At the same time, newspapers write at the same page of many possible insolvencies of various sectors and drop-outs, which will lead to a continuation of the Armenian nightmare, the brain-drain by emigration. Every integration – see e.g. the accession of Spain, Portugal, Greece as well as Central and Eastern Europe to the EU – has led so far to a short to medium-term re-integration of former emigrants.

The biggest problem for Russia is her relations with Ukraine. Here every possible Eurasian Union member state can see at first hand, how they can be treated. No chance to hope that this can be changed: Russia has in all Eurasian structures since many years the absolute majority of votes. No way with a qualified majority, which in the EU can easily serve as an instrument of balancing the interests and of creating a compromise.

The result of the Crimea action has been to suspend Russia’s voting rights in the Council of Europe and to be subject of a negative assessment by the UN Assembly.

And nobody will invest at present in Russia, if he is mentally normal (except some big operators who are of strategic interest for Russia): The Moscow government had declared that it might confiscate foreign investmnt. This is against all rules, the rule of law, the rule of any international economy and above all the interests of Russia herself. Every small and medium enterprise will refrain from investing – and this in an era of positive globalization. Only a former KGB chief who never saw a company from inside can ride on such a wave. Russia is also dependent of its raw material and energy sales. The EU, including Germany, as main client are working since a while to diversify their purchases, a step which is getting momentum, and of developing alternative energy.

As the present macroeconomic trends indicate, Russia’s economy goes slowly but safely down, like the ruble currency, thus problemizing all foreign purchases which will be necessary also for domestic investment.

There are some people – like the author of these lines – who remember the hospitality, the fine humour, the philosophical discussions even with non-philosophers, the great nature, the food, the interesting history, the excellent education of Russian people. Their economy could become more and more efficient, corruption could go down, a numerous middle-class could emerge, Russians (all, not some) would go for holidays to the EU and worldwide, and will not flee their country, NGOs could form a vital civil society, art and music could thrive, and all problems could be discussed – why not controversially – and then solved in a free parliamentary vote. And the parliaments are correctly elected, and why not letting all parties admitted for this? Towards the outside, Russia could have excellent relations with its neighbours, with the EU (there are many years homework on what has been proposed and not done, like a free trade agreement etc.), with NATO, just to name some. In such a climate, NATO could become a historical structure – maybe with Russia as a member.

Instead of this, the former KGB chief in the Kremlin does not refrain from lying to the world, from attacking Crimea (at least. until tonight, 14.4.2014), and arresting many people who demonstrate against this in Moscow these days.

It is, simply speaking, ga-ga that at the beginning of the 21st century Russia, while all the others, or most of them, try to cooperate, falls back into the 19th century. If these ideas cannot convince the people (who should not behave like a flock of sheep), they feel a minority complex, manipulate the media and threaten other countries with tanks at their borders. They also are misled by this foreign activity from domestic and grave deficits. With this, the Eurasian Union will never function. It might be launched, but it will be a sick structure from the beginning – like many others who have been launched after 2001 in the former Soviet Union. There are brillant heads e.g. in the Eurasian Development Bank which is a kind of think-tank for regional integration and where many concepts for economic integration have been conceived. But in their concepts you do not read anything about the necessity of a free will of the member states to follow this integration. What their people have, the Russian government has not: sovereignty. The sovereignty to live and to let live. You should take it easy, Vladimir Vladimirowich. If you would, your people would also. But I have lost any hope that this is possible under your reign, although I am an eternal optimist. So drive your country to the beton wall, including following countries. Like the system of the USSR, this „Soviet 2.0“ system, although not under Communist auspices, will be rejected by a majority of People involved when they see the middle and Long-term results – first in the partner countries, then in Russia. By educated, young people who will see how dysfunctional their own system will be, also due to their Facebook and Twitter accounts and the Internet in general. Like the integration of the USSR, of Yugoslavia which both burst in bubbles. The result will always be smaller than the original. Because of this, perhaps for the sake of its own corruption?, the Moscow government will end up similarly, in the most positive way with four or five former and present European CIS countries in or near the EU, and Central Asia may later form a kind of integration themselves. It would, after all, need another and sympathetic leader in Moscow (not only to most of the Russians but also to the world) to break up this isolation and inefficiency.

Putin’s Russia: „Sorry, we have withdrawn our investment intentions“…

In context with the Crimea crisis the EU and US consider various sanctions. However, one kind of sanction will come – for sure – by the markets themselves, i. e. by thousands of big and small investors who until now have considered an investment to Russia.

First, investment is a huge global market. Every state, every region, every municipality dreams of big factories, hotels, company headquarters, or of small and medium sized companies‘ investment into their territories. So investors, who want to conquer another market or want to place a factory closer to their existing markets, also for service reasons, are pampered wherever they might be. It is no accident that very many states, regions or local governments run own offices or agencies in order to attract Investment, and some of them really do a good work. States or regions often have special laws with implicit positive discrimination of foreign investors.

Second, foreign direct investment makes a lot of sense: it brings new technologies, new ways of management, new jobs, new clients, and whoever is the investor also opens a bilateral trade runway between his own country and the investment destination. The WTO takes this into account with the TRIMs Agreement from 15.4.1994 (TRIMs = Trade-related investment measures), the WTO to which Russia acceded only recently. Of course, foreign direct investment may be restricted or excluded in sensitive fields (and Russia has a lot of them), but in principle Russia has less FDI than a „normal“ country, which should have – passively – around a third of the capital in foreign hands (and should also – actively – participate accordingly).

Third, investment decisions are not only a matter of figures, facts and data. Investment decisions are today for around 50% based on emotional Facts. A little town in French Vosges mountains got the Japanese factory because it is a nice region, a beautiful location, near rivers and lakes, near bigger cities, but otherwise like in a fairytale movie, with wild storks etc.. And the wife of a West German owner of a manufacture forced him not to go to Apolda/Thüringen but to Weimar, as this is culturally more interesting and the kids could go there in better schools, etc. After all, the investment destination must be sympathetic to the investor.

Russia has now a problem. In the discussion about sanctions and counter-measures and counter-counter measures, they said among others that it would not be excluded that in retaliating any sanctions Russia may confiscate foreign Investment. Russians who said this may not have worked at any time in any privately held shop or company, otherwise they would have known what immense damage this not too wise formulation brings. It brings … nothing, in the sense that then really nobody will invest anymore. I was advising a German medium-sized enterprise who was convinced to invest in tourism in Siberia. They wanted to acquire or build a lodge. Now came a phone call: „Sorry, we have withdrawn our investment intentions…“. Not because of Crimea, but because of the above mentioned phrase. This phrase has not been used by any of the EU institutions or member states – it would also hit the wrong. But by using this or having it used in an open way, Putin shows either that he does not care at all about the Russian economy, or does not know anything about economy, or both. He has just imposed the biggest sanction against himself, but also against his own people. Another „collateral“ damage in addition to the political and diplomatical damage because of his Crimea action.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka
Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal
http://www.eufaj.eu

New Book by Gohar Yeranyan: Acemoglu’s Model and the Reality. Dynamics of Economic and Political Power in the Former Soviet Union Countries

This study came – not planned – at the right time: when Russia tried by its policies to exercise pressure on its former parts which are now before their respective Association Agreements with the EU, as member state of the Eastern Partnership. It serves to find criteria for a dynamic development in politics and economy, based on a Master thesis at the American University of Armenia, dealing with a model of the Turkish-American economist Acemoglu, and tries answers on questions like „Under which circumstances democracy can prevail?“ in the former Soviet Union countries (FSU). Six of them have been selected for this „detective story“ among the descriptions of transition: Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine. But the models of public institutions and private groups‘ behaviour are different from country to country, and the effects of transition sometimes contraproductive – be it under the „big bang“ or under „gradualism“.

Gohar Yeranyan investigates systematically the functions of the elite, the oligarchs, the interest groups, the system-immanent changes, inequality, the revolutionary potential (end the evolutionary possibilities). the wealth distribution – and the persistence of political institutions. In this context, she discusses different paths of political developments in the FSU reality, possible reasons of democratization, as well as the dynamic model by D. Acemoglu – one of the most promising economists today, as well as the role of incentives for the political and economic change in former Soviet Union countries, before giving an overview of economic development paths of the FSU countries (shock therapy versus gradualism).

She is clearly pleading for a EU-approached democracy which is more likely than any other system to keep the different interest groups balanced, and can create more GDP and popular wealth which is not only restricted to an oligarchy. This includes also that the different states should also follow an outspoken social policy. A very refreshing book (from the EU or a US perspective, for example) – and a very necessary one (from the FSU states‘ view), and a very adequate one in view of the latest discussions in the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries.

004_Pic_Gohar_YeranyanThe author, Gohar Yeranyan, lives in Yerevan/Armenia and belongs to a new generation of future Armenian leaders. She studied first for her B.A. and M.A. in philosophy and psychology at Yerevan State University, with a Master thesis on Bergson’s intuitivism, and then for another M.A. in Political Science and International Affairs at American University of Armenia (AUA). She stands for a cross-skilled approach to all scientific questions and is far away from any monolithic look about one discipline. A member of the Non-Governmental-Organization “Democracy for Development”, she has gained experience in work-life as a loan officer for a loan organisation, as a trainer for the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC), giving training in leadership and intercultural communication, and in a lectorship or scientific books.

Gohar Yeranyan: Acemoglu’s Model and the Reality –
Dynamics of Economic and Political Power in the Former Soviet Union Countries
Libertas Paper 78, 48 pages, October 2013.
ISBN 978-3-937642-45-1 – e-book/PDF 4,99 EUR; e-book/Amazon Kindle version 4,99 EUR;
ISBN 978-3-937642-46-8 – Paper Edition 15,00 EUR

Orders for paper edition in any bookshop or by e-mail, for eBooks (PDF version) by e-mail: LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH (LIBERTAS Verlag), Lindenweg 37, 72414 Rangendingen, Germany,
e-Mail: verlag@libertas-institut.com, Internet (Book Shop): http://www.libertas-institut.eu.

Orders for Amazon Kindle reader eBooks via http://www.amazon.com (or one’s country’s Amazon website). You should have an Amazon Kindle Reader.

Details are on the book flyer, which can be downloaded from LIBERTAS – European Institute under http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/PDF/Flyer_Gohar_Libpap78.pdf

„Russia and the Balkans After the Cold War“

This is the title of a new book just having appeared now in May 2013 (eBook and print version) in LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH, coming from a seasoned expert on the Balkan and on Russia, Ms. Didem Ekinci who works as assistant professor at Çankaya University (Ankara) in the Political Science and International Relations Department. The multilingual and conference-proof author has an outspoken track record of publications, and she writes very clear and understandable, in a „feet-on-the-ground“ way. The expert on Russian relations to the Balkan region covers Moscow’s position on the Balkan conflicts after Tito and comes to interesting conclusions, among them that Russia now has to follow a more defensive, passive position despite the traditonally intense Serbian-Russian relations. But they can always break up again and influence the neighbouring states. She also indicated that Russia’s policies to the West Balkan did not change in substantial matters since the Tsar and Communist times.

This book is of interest to anyone who writes, thinks and talks about international relations for each Balkan state – she analysed them all, from Albania, via Bulgaria and Romania, to Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia. Also Croatia and Slovenia, as succession states of Yugoslavia, have merited chapters. Whoever deals with the approximation of the Balkan states to the European Union should consider also Russian foreign policy manoevres. For scientists or students, the book becomes valuable by the many sources and footnotes and their interactive Internet links.

Bibliographical data:

Didem Ekinci: Russia and the Balkans After the Cold War
Libertas Paper 76, 110 pages, May 2013,
ISBN 978-3-937642-39-0 (e-book / PDF), 8,99 EUR;
ISBN 978-3-937642-41-3 (e-book / Kindle version); 8,99 EUR – available in some days; 
ISBN 978-3-937642-40-6 (Paper Edition), 15 EUR.

A flyer – including how it can be ordered –  with infos about the book, its detailed table of contents as well as bio notes about the author can be downloaded at http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/PDF/Flyer_Ekinci.pdf

OSCE 2013: Welcome Mongolia, and Ukraine: Attention, You Will be Watched

The OSCE is not the easiest organisation, but it has proven to follow a solid policy in the sense of the majority of its member states, i. e. pro Human Rights, democracy, freedom of press etc.

In this context it may be useful if it is pointed out that some weeks ago, the OSCE has a 57th member state – Mongolia. This signalizes a political choice of a country surrounded by states like China, Russia, Kazakhstan. So welcome, Mongolia, and it can be considered a choice of confidence. In my opinion, Mongolia will be a non-problematic member of the OSCE.

Another member state has taken over today the presidency of the 57: Ukraine. This country is more problematic. This has to do with its demands to herself, like joining sooner or later the European Union. Nothing against this at all; enlargement is always the most successful aspect of any EU foreign policy, and welcome to the Ukrainians! But a country close to the EU wanting to join the club is always under closer scrutiny than a country further away.

According to an OSCE press release from today’s 1st January 2013, the country „will seek to make progress on resolving
protracted conflicts, strengthening conventional arms control, combating human trafficking, reducing the environmental impact of energy-related activities, and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms as OSCE Chair in 2013 the new OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara, said…“. It is correct when the Minister underlined „his country’s role and experience as a co-mediator and guarantor in the Transdniestrian settlement process and
welcomed the momentum achieved in these talks over the past year. He stressed the need to continue to make progress in this and other protracted conflicts in the region.“ This is correct, and maybe the Ukrainian chairmanship can change something to the positive in Transdniestria, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia. He should be wished all the best when he says; „We must re-energize negotiations within the existing formats and prevent any escalation in tensions. The resolution of protracted conflicts must remain the highest priority for the OSCE and all participating States”.

This sounds after all very well and is also realistic, together with some other accents on arms control and confidence-building measures, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office stated, as a way of strengthening security and military stability.

But there is another wish to Ukraine, too: Strengthening democracy at home, a correct handling of human rights, of elections (about which some weeks ago the OSCE election observers issued a devastating assessment), of the non-interference in the judiciary – and all this in an evident, uncomplicated, uncontested way. I have often heard the argument that some CIS countries, like Ukraine, cannot achieve within 20 years what other states – e.g. in Western Europe – have achieved since World War II (Germany), since 1789 (France) or since the 13th century (Great Britain with the habeas corpus act). Come on please, information today is global, education too, discussion too, and of course nobody would blame Ukraine for details in this field, but in general today we all live in an era with common goals, to which the preservation of power does not belong. So nobody in Ukraine lives still on the back of the moon.

The European Union Member States have just been witness of an OSCE chairmanship by Kazakhstan, not either the yolk of an egg. But it was good to go there and discuss openly, and perhaps it could contribute to an open-minded and free mass media there in the future (not during and right after te OSCE year of the country). As soon as Ukraine will have a system which is not anymore determined by corruption, by political trials, by full fundamental freedoms, then nobody in the EU will have anything against „the“ agreement EU-Ukraine. This must be taken into account by the Kiev government. The OSCE press release from today says „Emphasizing that protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and implementation of existing OSCE commitments in this area remain an important integral part of the OSCE’s concept of comprehensive security, Leonid
Kozhara said that Ukraine’s Chairmanship would promote fight against human trafficking, support media freedom and encourage meaningful steps in a number of human dimension issues.“ Great what he wants to achieve. But has he the freedom to do so by his own government, apart from human trafficking? There are a lot of doubts, and they are permitted. And if he wants to get rid of FEMEN, the fancy female movement which has brought a new, drastic, colourful demonstration culture to Ukraine (like „Pussy Riots“ to Russia) – then, Minister, it is very easy: Just change a couple of things within Ukraine, and then FEMEN will be obsolete. But at present they are necessary in your country.

Let’s wait until 17. January 2013. Then the Minister will present Ukraine’s priorities to the OSCE Permanent
Council in Vienna. Let’s wait if it will be an apparatchik’s speech, or something which can bring Ukraine closer to the European Union, as its citizens desire it (and please do not forget: The EU cannot be blackmailed with a possible approach to Russia!). What you say, Minister, may upgrade your country as valuable interface to Russia, why not!

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka
Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal

Putin’s Euro-Asian Initiative and Armenia’s „No“

On the eve of the visit of NATO SG to Armenia

The Euro-Asian Union is an initiative proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, that many perceive as an attempt to revive the Soviet Union – a communist country removed from the world map almost two decades ago. Perhaps that’s in vain… Hardly a person once serving in Soviet KGB could have that much problems with adequate apprehension of the reality – to assume possible the recreation of the Soviet Union or any of its patterns whether in Europe or Asia. It can rather be expected from a KGB officer to use his public acts and steps as a veil for solving pragmatic tasks behind the scene, for achieving “program minimum” in course of stating about “program maximum”.

Battle for Kazakhstan

Independently of the geographical latitudes where the Russian officials state about the Euro-Asian Union, despite the quantity of continents they unite in that virtual union – marking boundaries in air – the core idea and target of Euro-Asian Union is the preservation of Kazakhstan within the orbit of Russian influence.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, once nicknamed “the purple sultan”, remarkably succeeded to lead his country to prosperity and increasing international engagement, turning Kazakhstan into a kind of powerhouse in the Central Asian region. Today one may witness the presence of Western capital and giant companies in Kazakhstan, the advancement of the Russian ground space station and cultural, scientific interrelations there, as well as the broadening influence of Far-Eastern giants’ – with China’s leading progression.

The Western presence in Kazakhstan hardly ever worried Russia much. That presence has little potential to go beyond the financial-economic sphere in the large – both by geographic and civilization affiliations. Kazakhstan lies far away from Europe. Meanwhile the increasing influence of China – involving at once financial-economic, political and migration dimensions – is obviously another opera.

If China’s financial and economic advancement in Africa is sufficient to bother the European Union, then how much worried must get Russia in face of China’s expansion in Central Asia – escorted with migration and political instruments. Such course may once end up with geographical enlargement of China – maybe reflecting in establishment of some kind of commonwealth of the Central Asian states.

The successive transference of Kazakhstan into the zone of China’s influence is still the partial misfortune of Russia. The full misfortune is that Russia is a material empire without spiritual impetus and the peoples inhabiting the Russian Siberia – with their small and large autonomies – glance not only at Moscow. The Chinese influence in Kazakhstan sooner or later will have projection on Russian Siberia.

Life is what we think of it

At some point in future the NATO initiative of a defense shield “from Vancouver to Vladivostok” may factually turn into guarantee of Russia’s territorial integrity. Still what is noticeable for the moment is the repetition of the story. Just alike to the first decade of the new millennium when Russia almost walked out of Europe and the advancing NATO established itself along the Russia’s entire European border, a decade later Russia seemingly gets to depart from the Central Asia and the Far-Eastern giants will further expand their influence along the Russia’s southern border.

Likewise a decade ago Mr. Putin succeeded to award the Russians an imitative sense of powerfulness, thanks to the Chechnya war and the permanent loss of influence in Europe passed relatively unnoticeable for the Russians, now the same scenario is under examination: the initiative of the Euro-Asian Union and the imitative developments around it will allow Russia to fight its interests in Central Asia and in case of failure at least to step back painlessly and imperceptibly for the Russian society. Mr. Putin obviously succeeds to neutralize the essence of events through their staged appearance.

Remarkably realizing the game, Kazakhstan herself erects the main obstacle and complexity on the way of formation of the Euro-Asian Union. President Nazarbayev declared with full clarity that the Euro-Asian Union is a format of economic cooperation only that can’t and doesn’t pursue a goal of political uniting. The formation created in sake of involving Kazakhstan hardly can disregard or oppose Kazakhstan’s stance.

NATO Secretary General’s visit instead of Euro-Asian Union developments

Kazakhstan’s discord to political unification marks almost a fiasco to Russian aspirations of Euro-Asian political union. Here Russia hardly nourishes illusions; now she rather disseminates illusions to achieve some psychological pression and effect in the countries she’d like to get in that union.

Seemingly the last was the aim of Russian propaganda throughout July-August 2012 when primarily several high-ranking Russian political emissaries arrived to Armenia and made statements about the Euro-Asian Union, then on the eve of the Armenian President’s visit to Russia scheduled on 8th August 2012, the Russian mass-media endlessly and persistently reported about Armenia’s principal consent to join the Euro-Asian Union that had to be declared on the meeting of the Armenian and Russian Presidents.

Armenia doesn’t possess a common border with any member of the Euro-Asian Customs Union (Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan), therefore Armenia’s involvement into this customs club – claiming to transform into Euro-Asian Union – would de facto attach political appearance to economic formation, balancing at surface the Kazakhstan’s “no” to the political union.

The visit of the Armenian President to Moscow planned for August 8, surely took place. The Kremlin and the Presidential Palace of Armenia issued press releases, even a joint press conference was held… still as it should be expected despite all the noise raised by mass media the Euro-Asian Union wasn’t even mentioned. Furthermore it didn’t become even clear what was the topic touched at the meeting of Presidents or not.

If the theme was discussed then obviously Armenia hadn’t obeyed to summons and pressure of Russia to join the Euro-Asian Union, like in 2008 when Armenia dismissed the Russian demands to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia after the Russia-Georgian military confrontation. Then Armenia argued that she hasn’t recognized even the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh – the Armenian enclave separated from Azerbaijan and declared independent some 20 years ago. Now Armenia argues that she doesn’t possess any common border with any country of Euro-Asian Customs Union, intending to transform into Euro-Asian Union.

The arguments are interpretation of reality but they are rather reflection of will. Probably that will was demonstrated by Armenia and thanks to that the noise around Armenia’s possible joining to Mr. Putin’s Euro-Asian initiative calmed down. Moreover still in the beginning of summer there was announcement that Mr. Putin will pay an official visit to Armenia in September. But the September arrived with another news – the Secretary General of NATO is paying visit to Armenia on September 5-6 – some symbolism that speaks for itself.

Lusine Petrosyan*

* Lusine Petrosyan is an Armenian journalist. In 2012 she was nominated for UNESCO Guillermo Cano Prize by Thomson Foundation (UK). The nomination was made to mark the efforts she made in legal confrontation with the former President of Armenia R. Kocharyan, after the President personally filed a lawsuit against her article in 2011. After Lusine’s year long fight engaging the EU, OSCE officials and the Armenian Ombudsman new commentaries on the Armenian defamation law were issued by the country’s Constitutional Court that obliged even the former President to refrain from monetary demands and offer conciliation. In February 2012 Lusine moved into politics and joined the Heritage party.  In June 2012 she became a Board member of the Party, and presently takes the position of the Coordinator of Party Headquarters (Heritage is an oppositional Parliamentary party, one of three Armenian parties having joined the European Peoples‘ Party – EPP).