Posts by Andrey Makarychev

Andrey Makarychev 09-17-2012
  Guess what panel was the largest at a major conference on European studies held in Passau, Germany? Quite tellingly, it was on EU–China relations. As Fraser Cameron, the director of a UK-based EU-Russia Centre, put it, the real strategic partnership is developing between Germany and China. At the Passau conference, next to China, it was Russia that the EU is concerned about. But these two aspects raise fundamental problems. How should the EU’s policy...
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Andrey Makarychev 09-05-2012
  This past weekend I had a rare chance to observe Russia’s soft power in action: Gandermenmarket, one of the most beautiful squares in Germany (at least, this is what Berlin guides say), turned into a scene for Russian artists for an evening. Dancers and singers entertained the public at this free open-air concert organized by “Rossotrudnichestvo” – an agency subordinated to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Culture, and, of course, Gazprom. ...
Andrey Makarychev 09-04-2012
  What Russia and the EU share, even having drifted apart from each other in most policy spheres, are unfulfilled (or simply wrong) expectations. Indeed, intensive discourse on Russia’s European vocation did not bring so far fruits, as many in Brussels or Berlin have expected. And trade and economic interdependence does not automatically translate into political cooperation, as the Kremlin anticipated. This may sound quite pessimistic, but skepticism and...
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Andrey Makarychev 08-24-2012
  For socio-linguists everything matters – private ads hanging on the fences, street signs, media commercials, election posters, and even football fans’ exclamations. This made the Socio-Linguistic Symposium “Language and the City” held in Berlin on August 21-24 a fascinating academic event with clear implications for the ways we see ethnicity, culture and identity in different regions of Eurasia. At huge academic conferences like this you would...
Andrey Makarychev 08-22-2012
If you need a short and comprehensible answer to the question of why Russia is not like the rest of Europe, look at the “Pussy Riot” trial. Perhaps the group would be fined and morally condemned in Europe but they would not get two years of incarceration as they did in Russia. The verdict shocked many of my German friends, who “simply couldn’t believe it.” Defending the Kremlin has become almost impossible mission. The cover page of “Spiegel” magazine...
Andrey Makarychev 08-06-2012
  Perhaps, the most striking paradox of the London Olympic Games is that in spite of the much-discussed commercialization they leave much space for politics. For Britain, the Games bear political connotations due to subtle allusions of its imperial legacy of which sports and the English language are a core component. “Most countries will play British sports or sports that were derived from British sports,” a journalist from The New York Times opined. The...
Andrey Makarychev 07-19-2012
  Eastern Europe is a very volatile region with interests and identities of key actors far from stationary. Being pro-Russian or pro-European is a matter of interpretation. Is Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovich pro-Russian? Are Romania’s Traian Basescu, Czech Republic’s Vaclav Klaus, and Hungary’s Viktor Orban unequivocally pro-European? These uneasy questions were reconnoitered in an appropriate location, Odessa, Ukraine, during a two-week summer school for...
Andrey Makarychev 07-12-2012
  Guest post by Andrey Devyatkov—European interest in Moldova’s future recently received new momentum due to the forthcoming visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Chisinau. Some analysts assume that Germany is going to enhance its activities in Moldova to support Moldova’s “success story” of reforms and consequently shape its gradual integration into the EU. But most analysts see Germany’s interest as an attempt to find a bilateral (Russian-German)...
Andrey Makarychev 07-11-2012
  Since the days of perestroika, Russia has sought knowledge about federalism based on the experiences of Europe and the United States. But, today, comparisons between Russia and the West may no longer be valid. Many Russian scholars have been looking for reference points outside the realm of the West, as revealed at a recent conference at the Gorbachev Foundation in Moscow (“Toward a New Model of Russian Federalism”). Eminent foreign scholars who...
Andrey Makarychev 06-26-2012
  These days in Germany, news from European football (soccer) arenas is far more in demand than depressing reports about the Euro crisis. Even economic and financial news is sometimes relayed in a language full of sporty metaphors: it is all about “scores,” “defensive” and “offensive” strategies, “gate-keeping,” and so forth. Newspaper cartoons nicely reflect this conflation of Euro-2012 and Eurozone debate: one has the Greeks defending their goal with...

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About the author

Visiting Professor, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
University of Tartu, Estonia