Contrary to widely assumed western opinion, Ukraine is not pursuing decentralisation because the West tells it to, but because she has herself decided to do so. The reform helps combatting corruption and protecting Ukraine’s national sovereignty. Moreover, decentralisation practices in Ukraine can, in the future, become models for the entire post-Soviet space.
The international order has never been tidy or complete, always having lands with contested sovereignty. The breakdown of empires is the most common catalyst for producing new aspirant states. The post-Soviet space is especially rich in these territories, which includes Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and Transnistria, along with two more recently established shadowy entities in eastern Ukraine.
Instead of portraying the remnants of the Belarusian Homo sovieticus as a problem, we should see it as a challenge and potential advantage: subservience and passivity as potential openness; collectivism as a chance to build a civil community; adaptability and opportunism as resourcefulness; and the multi-layered identity as an expression of a modern civil nation.
In the eastern parts of the European continent, 1918 is remembered not only as the end of the First World War, but also saw the emergence of newly-independent states and the rise of geopolitical struggles which are felt until this day.
Vladimir Putin is set to win a fourth term as president of the Russian Federation. The March-April 2018 issue takes a deeper look at the consequences of Putin’s presidency and what could eventually come after…
Central Asia is an ethnically, geographically and culturally diverse region, covering a similar land mass as the European Union. Yet, it remains one of the least familiar to the general public in the West.
“The price of Europeanising the Balkans is much higher than the price of the Balkanisation of Europe,” claims Zagreb-based writer Miljenko Jergović in the opening essay to this issue of New Eastern Europe.