France has a passionate relationship with Russia: the French love Russia…but they also love to hate Russia. This has been the case at least since the Napoleonic Wars, the Berezina trauma, and the unexpected alliance of 1892 between the young French Republic and tsarist Russia. Today, those contradictory passions are very much alive: in French political debate, Russia has acquired an importance that goes far beyond foreign policy.
In orthodox Russia, New Year's Eve precedes Christmas. The Julian calendar, still promoted by the religious authorities, sets Christmas at January 7th. In consequence, between December 24th and January 1st, when Europe and the United States are enjoying the pleasures of family gathering, Russia is still very much active.
The choice of Kaliningrad as one of the venues hosting the World Cup was carefully thought through by the organising country. Is it another show of force in the Baltic region or an attempt to normalise and calm tensions?
The results of the January 26th and 27th Czech election will determine the relations between Central and Eastern Europe and Brussels: If Zeman wins, nationalistic positions will prevail in the region. If Drahos is elected, Central and Eastern Europe will not present a uniformly Eurosceptic front. In future struggles over individual freedoms and European funds this will be of importance.
Putin's victory in next year's presidential election is almost certain. Finding a new development model for Russia and fighting poverty are the real issues for the 2018-2024 term. And the strategy is yet to be defined.
The next FIFA World Cup will have a particular signification: the time (June 14th – July 15th) and the place (Russia) will give the Russian Federation a global audience. It will also place the country and the Putin regime under the scrutiny of the world during several weeks.
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…
“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.