56083 - Russia and Regional Policies in East-Central Europe

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

Students are expected to handle with a comparative methodology the most relevant aspects of the region formation and development, construction of its identity, Russian and Western European influences on the Baltic countries, the prospects of regional europeanisation/EUisation as well as the policies of the major inside and outside actors within the so called New Europe. Moreover, students will raise their awareness of New Eastern Europe (namely the Baltic area), the Western Balkans and the Black Sea area.

Course contents

Students are expected to acquire a comprehensive and interdisciplinary knowledge on the region of New Eastern Europe (NEE) that is located beyond new eastern borders of the enlarged EU and NATO, including in-depth comparative analysis of the post-communist transitions of its countries since 1989/1991 as well its international political context where the Russian and EU/Western policies towards this region are of utmost importance.

The course is devoted to the political analysis of the region which is located beyond new eastern borders of the enlarged EU and NATO, there is so-called region of New Eastern Europe (NEE) which is being constructed and developed in the area of the western part of the post-soviet space.

In the beginning the course will focus on the current political debates on the NEE region and its countries, where the key attention will be paid to the process of the post-communist and post-soviet transition of the regional states since 1989/1991, its main dimensions and social actors, the comparative analysis of the commonalities and differences of the post-communist transformations in different regional countries in the context of the modernization and globalization processes. Also the different theoretical region-building approaches will be applied to the area of the NEE.

Dealing with the processes of the post-communist transition in the region of NEE the course will outline the main debates on the causes of the USSR disintegration in 1991 and its implications for the different regional countries. Then the main dimensions of the post-soviet and post-communist transformations will be analyzed through the perspectives of the political/democratic transition, economic transition, nation and state building processes where the debates on the collective memories, identities and soviet legacies are very important. Also, the colored revolutions and its implications will be considered in terms of the political/democratic transition and the debates on the nation, identity and state building.

After the analysis of the post-communists transitions the region of New Eastern Europe will be analyzed in a broader international context, where the policies and strategies of the main global actors towards the region will be outlined (e.g. Russian, EU, U.S., NATO policies) as well as the policies of the NEE countries in the pan-European intergovernmental organizations (e.g. OSCE, the Council of Europe), also important aspects of the relations between regional countries will be considered.

Regarding these issues the main attention will be paid to analysis of the Russian and EU policies towards the NEE region. In particular the Russian domestic debates on the NEE region and the Russia`s policies towards it will be analyzed including bilateral relations and the functioning of the post-soviet intergovernmental organizations with Russian participation like the Commonwealth of the Independent States (CIS), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Customs Union, the Union state of Russia and Belarus, the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) as well the current debates on the so-called Eurasian integration.

Considering the EU policies towards the NEE region the main attention will be paid to the development of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), EU Eastern Partnership (EaP), the adoption and implementation of the Association Agreements (AA). Also the prospects of the Europeanization/EUisation of the NEE countries will be considered.

In concluding part of the course there will be two comparative interregional and sub-regional case studies:

  • The comparative analysis of the New Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans as two post-communist and post-USSR/Yugoslavia disintegrations regions at the EU and Western institutions borders and peripheries.
  • The comparative analysis of two sub-regions of the NEE, namely, the Baltic and Black Sea regions as two “post-Cold War regions”, where the main idea is to compare in what different ways both the EU, Western institutions and Russia are involved in these regions and the regional cooperation.


  • Structure of Lectures:

    Issue 1: The Academic and Political Debates on the Region of New Eastern Europe and Post-Soviet Space

    (Days 1-4)

  • The Problem of the region definition and construction: The NEE region in contemporary political and academic discourses. NEE region and the theories of the regionalism
  • Main regional actors
  • Post-communist/soviet legacies and post-communist/soviet transition: Main dimensions and different paths of the transformation processes in the different regional countries (political transition; economic transition; collective memories and identities / nations building; the process of the state building)
  • The region of diversities: Will the different countries and societies of the region search for a kind of shared regional identity?


  • Issue 2: Russia and the Region of New Eastern Europe

    (Days 4-6)

  • Russian debates on the Russian identity: Implications for the Russia`s foreign policy
  • Russia`s foreign policy ideas, institutions and decision-making
  • Russia`s policies towards the Post-Soviet space and New Eastern Europe: Bilateral and multilateral dimensions. The concept of ‘near abroad’ in the Russian political discourses and Russia`s foreign policy
  • The institutions of the regional intergovernmental cooperation within the Post-Soviet area with Russia`s participation (The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO); the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEc); the Customs Union; The Union State of Russia and Belarus; the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)
  • The Russian debates on the Eurasian integration
  • Evolution of the Russia’s attitudes towards the EU activities within the Post-Soviet space


  • Issue 3: The European Union and New Eastern Europe: European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), Eastern Partnership (EaP) and Association Agreements

    (Days 6-8)

  • EU rationale to cooperate with NEE region: EU system of external relations and the NEE countries. EU strategic, political, normative and economic objectives for cooperation with the countries of the NEE region.
  • Development of the EU policies towards the NEE: Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCA), European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), EU Eastern Partnership (EaP)
  • Association Agreements (AA) and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA)
  • EU and security problems within the NEE region
  • Debates on Europeanization/EUisation of the NEE: The balance between the EU and domestic factors
  • EU attitudes towards the Russia’s policies within the NEE region and Post-Soviet space
  • Russia`s and the EU policies towards the region of New Eastern Europe: a contested region? The Post-Soviet space as an area of the EU/West-Russia interactions.


  • Issue 4: New Eastern Europe and Post-Soviet Space in International Politics and International Institutions

    (Days 8-9)

  • New Eastern Europe and problems of international and European security
  • U.S. policies towards New Eastern Europe and Post-Soviet space: Interests and strategies
  • NEE and NATO: Cooperation and involvement
  • The NEE countries membership in the OSCE and the Council of Europe: influence, conditionality, monitoring, mediation and socialization


  • Issue 5: Interregional and Sub-Regional Comparative Case Studies

    (Days 9-10)

    New Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans as the Post-Communist/Soviet/Yugoslav Regions and the EU Peripheries: Comparative Analysis

  • Post-communist legacies and transitions in the regions: What is in common and what is different?
  • The processes of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia: Comparative analysis
  • General trends in the relations between the post-Soviet countries and between the post-Yugoslav countries after 1991: Comparative analysis
  • Evolution of the EU policies towards the NEE and the Western Balkans: Comparative analysis
  • The prospects of the Europeanization/EUisation (and EU accession?) for the countries of the NEE and the Western Balkans: Comparative analysis
  • The Baltic and Black Sea Regions as Sub-regions of New Eastern Europe: Comparative Analysis
  • Post-communist/post-soviet legacies and transitions: Implications for the developments of the Baltic and Black Sea regions
  • Institutions of the regional political and economic cooperation in the Baltic and Black Sea regions and the main problems of the regions construction and development: Comparative analysis
  • Debates on the international security and political developments on the Baltic and Black Sea regions: Comparative analysis
  • The EU, Western institutions and Russia`s involvement in the Baltic and Black Sea regions: Comparative analysis

Day 10. Presentations of the research papers drafts by the students


Recommended readings:

Monographs and academic articles:

Averre, Derek. The Ukraine Conflict: Russia’s Challenge to European Security Governance. Europe-Asia Studies. Jun2016, Vol. 68 Issue 4, p699-725.

Cianciara, Agnieszka K. Stability, security, democracy: explaining shifts in the narrative of the European Neighbourhood Policy. Journal of European Integration. Volume 39, 2017 - Issue 1, Pages 49-62

Coppieters B., Huysseune M., Kovziridze T., Noutcheva G., Tocci N., Emerson M., Vahl M. Europeanization and Conflict Resolution: Case Studies from the European Periphery. 2004.

Delcour L. Shaping the post-Soviet Space? EU Policies and Approaches to Region-Building. Ashgate. 2011

Deyermond, Ruth. The Uses of Sovereignty in Twenty-first Century Russian Foreign Policy. Europe-Asia Studies. Aug2016, Vol. 68 Issue 6, p957-984.

Dragneva, Rilka; Wolczuk, Kataryna. Between Dependence and Integration: Ukraine’s Relations With Russia. Europe-Asia Studies. Jun2016, Vol. 68 Issue 4, p678-698.

Feklyunina, Valentina. Soft power and identity: Russia, Ukraine and the ‘Russian world(s)’ European Journal of International Relations, Volume 22, Issue 4, December 2016, pp. 773–796.

Gehring, Thomas; Urbanski, Kevin; Oberthür, Sebastian. The European Union as an Inadvertent Great Power: EU Actorness and the Ukraine Crisis. Journal of Common Market Studies. Jul2017, Vol. 55 Issue 4, p727-743.

Green S. (ed.) Engaging history: The problems and politics of memory in Russia and the post-Soviet space. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - Carnegie Moscow Center. Working Papers # 2. 2010 / http://carnegieendowment.org/files/WP_2_2010_engaging.pdf

Gudkov, Lev. Russian Public Opinion in the Aftermath of the Ukraine Crisis. Russian Politics & Law. 2015, Vol. 53 Issue 4, p32-44.

Haukkala, Hiski. A Perfect Storm; Or What Went Wrong and What Went Right for the EU in Ukraine. Europe-Asia Studies. Jun2016, Vol. 68 Issue 4, p653-664.

Hutcheson, Derek S.; Petersson, Bo. Shortcut to Legitimacy: Popularity in Putin’s Russia. Europe-Asia Studies. Sep2016, Vol. 68 Issue 7, p1107-1126

Kembayev, Zhenis. Regional Integration in Eurasia: The Legal and Political Framework. Review of Central & East European Law. 2016, Vol. 41 Issue 2, p157-194.

Korosteleva, Elena A. Eastern partnership and the Eurasian Union: bringing ‘the political’ back in the eastern region. European Politics & Society. Jul2016, Vol. 17, p67-81.

Kropatcheva, Elena. Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation: Multilateral Policy or Unilateral Ambitions? Europe-Asia Studies. Nov2016, Vol. 68 Issue 9, p1526-1552.

Kuchins A., Zevelev I. Russian Foreign Policy: Continuity in Change. Washington Quarterly. Winter2010/2012, Vol. 35, Issue 1, P.147-161.

Lane, David. Post-socialist regions in the world system. European Politics & Society. Jul2016, Vol. 17, p46-66.

Langbein, Julia. European Union governnance towards the Eastern Neighborhood: Transcending or Redrawing Europe`s East-West Divide? Journal of Common Market Studies, Jan 2014, Vol. 52, Issue 1., P. 157-174.

Laruelle, Marlene. Eurasia, Eurasianism, Eurasian Union: Terminological gaps and overlaps. Ponars Eurasia Policy Memo No. 366. July, 2015.

Lavenex, Sandra. On the fringes of the European peace project: The neighbourhood policy's functionalist hubris and political myopia. British Journal of Politics & International Relations.Feb2017, Vol. 19 Issue 1, p63-76.

Lavenex, Sandra; Schimmelfenning, Frank. EU rules beyond EU borders: theorizing external governance in European politics. Journal of European Public Policy, 2009, No. 6.

Lukyanov, Fyodor. The Last Year of Soviet Inertia. Russian Politics & Law.2015, Vol. 53 Issue 4, p102-110.

Makarychev A. The Crisis in Ukraine and the Baltic Sea Region: A Spillover of the Conflict? Ponars Eurasia Policy Memo No.345. September, 2014.

Moshes, Arkady; Roberts, Sean P. The Eurasian Economic Union: a case of reproductive integration? Post-Soviet AffairsVolume 32, 2016 - Issue 6

Natorski, Michal; Pomorska, Karolina. Trust and Decision-making in Times of Crisis: The EU's Response to the Events in Ukraine. Journal of Common Market Studies. Jan2017, Vol. 55 Issue 1, p54-70.

Neumann, Iver B. Russia's Europe, 1991-2016: inferiority to superiority. International Affairs. Nov2016, Vol. 92 Issue 6, p1381-1399.

Nitoiu, Cristian.Towards conflict or cooperation? The Ukraine crisis and EU-Russia relations. Journal of Southeast European & Black Sea Studies.Sep2016, Vol. 16 Issue 3, p375-390.

Pop-Eleches, Grigore; Robertson, Graeme. After the revolution. Problems of Post-Communism. Jul/Aug2014, Vol. 61 Issue 4, p3-22.

Rieker, Pernille & Lundby, Gjerde Kristian. The EU, Russia and the potential for dialogue – different readings of the crisis in Ukraine. European Security, Volume 25, 2016 - Issue 3. Pages 304-325

Riabov A. The Post-soviet states. Russian Politics & Law. Mar/Apr2014, Vol. 52 Issue 2, p30-43.

Sjursen, Helene; Rosén, Guri. Arguing Sanctions. On the EU's Response to the Crisis in Ukraine. Journal of Common Market Studies. Jan2017, Vol. 55 Issue 1, p20-36.

Trenin, D., Lo, B. The landscape of Russian policy decision-making. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 2005

Trenin, D. The End of the EU-Russia Relations as We Know It. Carnegie Endownment for Peace. 25.12.2013.

Trenin D. Vladimir Putin’s Fourth Vector. Russia in Global Affairs, 30 of June, 2013. / http://eng.globalaffairs.ru/print/number/Vladimir-Putins-Fourth-Vector---16048

Triantaphyllou, D. The European Union and the Black Sea Region in Search of a Narrative or a New Paradigm. Journal of Balkan & Near Eastern Studies. Sep2014, Vol. 16 Issue 3, p286-299.

Wilson, Jeanne L. The Eurasian Economic Union and China’s silk road: implications for the Russian–Chinese relationship. European Politics & Society. Jul2016, Vol. 17, p113-132.

Zubarevich, Natalia. Geopolitical Priorities in Russia's Regional Policies. Russian Politics & Law. 2016, Vol. 54 Issue 5/6, p44-62.


Primary sources and documents:

Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation (2016) / http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/official_documents/-/asset_publisher/CptICkB6BZ29/content/id/2542248

Communication from the Commission to the Council and European Parliament “Wider Europe – Neighborhood: A New Framework for Relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours”. Brussels. 11 March 2003. COM (2003) 104 final / http://eeas.europa.eu/archives/docs/enp/pdf/pdf/com03_104_en.pdf

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council “Eastern Partnership”. Brussels, 3 of December, 2008. COM (2008) 823 final. // http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2008:0823:FIN:EN:PDF

European Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affaires and Security Policy Joint Report Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy Review. Brussels, 18.5.2017 JOIN(2017) 18 final / https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/2_en_act_part1_v9_3.pdf

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions concerning the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Brussels. 10.06.2009. COM(2009) 248 final / http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docoffic/official/communic/baltic/com_baltic_en.pdf

Northern Dimension Policy Framework Document. 2006 / http://collections.internetmemory.org/haeu/20160313172652/http://eeas.europa.eu/north_dim/docs/nd_framework_document_2006_en.pdf

Political Declaration on the Northern Dimension Policy. 2006 / /http://collections.internetmemory.org/haeu/20160313172652/http://eeas.europa.eu/north_dim/docs/nd_political_declaration_2006_en.pdf

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament “Black Sea Synergy – A New Regional Cooperation Initiative”. Brussels, 11 of April, 2007. COM(2007) / http://eeas.europa.eu/archives/docs/enp/pdf/pdf/com07_160_en.pdf

Charter of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. 1998. / http://www.bsec-organization.org/documents/LegalDocuments/statutory/charter/Download/CHARTER%20web%20080630.pdf

Teaching methods

The course will be delivered in the form of lectures, discussions and presentations by the students, thus every lecture will include the seminar elements.

Assessment methods

Presentations by the students on the drafts of the research papers

Research papers submission


The outcome of the module will be averaged to that of the other module composing the integrated course in order to determine the final grade.

Teaching tools

Computer, power point software and projector

Office hours

See the website of Aleksandr Izotov