Posts by Andrey Makarychev

Andrey Makarychev 04-08-2013
When Manfred Sapper, editor-in-chief of the German Osteuropa journal, in his public discussion with the Belorusian writer Sviatlana Kurs asked, “What does Germany have to do with the Lukashenko regime?", it looked like a tacit indication of the crisis of Berlin's Ostpolitik. Perhaps, Dr.Sapper's approach is right: since neither Political Science nor International Relations give a more or less clear answer to this question, why don't we start looking for...
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Andrey Makarychev 03-29-2013
Russia does not fit in traditional Western theories of political science and perhaps needs more nuanced explanations reaching beyond habitual dichotomies like “democracy–authoritarianism.” This assertion by Theodor Shanin at the opening of the 20th annual Moscow symposium, “Russia’s Pathways” (“Puti Rossii”), to a large extent framed the two-day discussion on the key issues of Russian politics and society. Indeed, the Russian regime is authoritarian, but...
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Andrey Makarychev 03-22-2013
While en route to an event in Germany, Edward Nalbandyan, foreign affairs minister of Armenia, should have anticipated a tough conversation ahead. That the German community of political experts is rather critical of Armenia was illustrated by DGAP analyst Stefan Meister, who, a few days prior to Nalbandyan’s visit, published a working paper in which he claimed that it is only because of Moscow’s support of Yerevan that Armenian troops maintain control of...
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Andrey Makarychev 03-22-2013
Among all European countries, Germany has the deepest tradition of not only engaging Eastern Europe politically and economically, but also discursively shaping Osteuropa as a region. Russia is a part of this East European imagery, though under different guises. Recently, three different events took place in Berlin that unveiled three faces of today’s Russia and presenting three different messages to Germany’s policymakers. Story 1: Ryzhkov’s...
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Andrey Makarychev 03-12-2013
Berlin was recently full of posters and billboards announcing a Russian cultural festival, “Wie klingt Russland?” (“How does Russia sound?”), featuring a young lady with her ear to the top half of a Russian matrioshka, the universal signifier of “official” Russian identity. In the meantime, a different Russia was introduced to Germany, less traditional and more sarcastic. The exposition "Verbotene Kunst" (“Forbidden Art”) presented the cartoonist Viktoria...
Andrey Makarychev 03-08-2013
Rallies for democracy in Russia gather only a small percentage of the population. People can lose interest in democracy. They can (sometimes indirectly) support totalitarian practices or live their own private lives. In this rather sad tone, Professor Artemy Magun began a discussion on “Democracy: between the national and the global,” which was held a few days ago at the European University in St. Petersburg. The declining (at)traction of democratic...
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Andrey Makarychev 02-28-2013
It seems that German diplomacy found a new role to play in Eastern Europe – assisting housing and labor market reforms in Belarus. Incomprehensible housing tariffs, legal imperfections, unprotected consumer rights, excessive red-tape regulations – all these mundane issues were discussed at a two-day conference (“European Dialogue on Modernization with Belarusian Society”) convened by the German Foreign Ministry. Evidently, Belarus is a hard case where...
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Andrey Makarychev 02-27-2013
“Europe doesn’t function!" Ulrique Guerot, one of the leading German voices in European affairs, made this emotional statement at a round table discussion (“Building a European Democracy: Mapping the Approaches”) convened by the European Council of Foreign Relations and the Mercator Foundation in Berlin. Other participants were more moderate: for them Europe does function, but it is not popular any longer. Debate on the future of Europe would attract...
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Andrey Makarychev 02-20-2013
Vladimir Putin’s Russia claims to be back to the “premier league” of world politics. However, hidden behind such exclamations of national grandeur is “bare life,” a physical struggle for survival without properly functioning institutions. This metaphor, coined by the political philosopher Giorgio Agamben, nicely catches the gist of Russia’s trouble. Other such allegories were sounded out at the International Winter School "Transformation of Modern...
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Andrey Makarychev 02-12-2013
Ukrainian public opinion is split. Not between pro-Russian and pro-European forces as many believe. The dividing lines are more subtle. They are between those who feel offended (and even betrayed) by the EU’s alleged negligence toward Ukraine and those who, despite everything, keep faith in Europe as the strongest magnet for their country. On top of this, there are different attitudes toward Europeanization: for some Ukrainians, the European orientation...
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About the author

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