Beata Halicka’s masterly narrated biography is the story of an extraordinary man and leading intellectual in the Polish-American community. Z. Anthony Kruszewski was first a Polish scout fighting in World War II against the Nazi occupiers, then a Prisoner of War/Displaced Person in Western Europe. He was stranded as a penniless immigrant in post-war America and eventually became a world-renowned academic.
Kruszewski’s almost incredible life stands out from his entire generation. His story is a microcosm of 20th-century history, covering various theatres and incorporating key events and individuals. Kruszewski walks a stage very few people have even stood on, both as an eye-witness at the centre of the Second World War, and later as vice-president of the Polish American Congress, and a professor and political scientist at world-class universities in the USA. Not only did he become a pioneer and a leading figure in Borderland Studies, but he is a borderlander in every sense of the word.
Since the national independence of the Central Asian countries in the early 1990s, there has been a tension between stability- and transformation-oriented rationalities, goals, and policies. However, the concurrent missions of political stability and societal transformation indicate a clear distinction between state and society. This idea of separating state and society is particularly strong with regard to security issues, but this strict separation is likely to produce contradictory goals and to have dysfunctional consequences, since it prevents the political system from benefitting from the contribution that civil society can make to addressing political and social challenges. Therefore, in this article—which also serves as an introduction to the special issue—we argue that it is necessary to bridge the discourses on security and civil society, with a particular focus on Central Asia.
The degree of institutionalized cooperation on security among three or more of the five Central Asian states remains moderate. Currently, regional security is nurtured in part via frameworks provided by external state and nonstate partners. A rational institutionalist perspective has been invoked, suggesting demand for regional security cooperation. This view also insinuates that it would be reasonable for these five states, because of their limited resources, to rely largely on external cooperation partners instead of being self-organized. This article discusses additional causal factors possibly responsible for the low degree of regionalism. Given varying foreign policy preferences and Kazakhstan’s consistent backing of far-reaching security regionalism, the argument that autocracies generally refrain from deep security cooperation cannot be sustained, nor does the sea change in Uzbekistan’s foreign policy in 2016, which could serve to nurture security regionalism in the future, align well with this argument.
Mainstream theories of international relations explain the foreign policies of small states based on the function of external incentives and pressures. This article challenges such explanations and analyzes Kyrgyzstan’s decisions concerning the U.S. air base at Manas between 2005 and 2010, which was a curious case of risk-taking in foreign policy by a small state. Applying a framework of “ideas, interests and institutions,” the article shows how changes in Kyrgyzstan’s foreign policy reflected a shift in the domestic context of policymaking.
Although a number of previous studies have investigated violent extremism in Central Asia, rigorous research concerning the international efforts in preventing this phenomenon in the region is still limited. In response to this gap in the literature, the paper examines the EU’s engagement in preventing violent extremism (PVE) through the involvement of civil society organizations (CSOs) in Kyrgyzstan. In particular, by providing new insights into the EU-funded civil society projects under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) and its program Strengthening Resilience to Violent Extremism (STRIVE), it deepens our understanding of the security–development nexus and the approach to stability and peace that characterizes EU assistance on the ground. At the same time, by looking at the concrete activities carried out by EU-funded organizations in Kyrgyzstan, this article presents a classification of CSO forms of engagement in PVE that is relevant for the selected country and beyond.
How do the post-Soviet countries differ in their regulatory approaches to organized civil society? This study provides a systematic and comprehensive assessment of relative differences and similarities in the regulation of civil society organizations in seven post-Soviet countries: Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. Empirically, the study offers a regulatory index that makes it possible to map and compare relative differences and similarities between these countries’ regulatory approaches to civil society. The findings show that post-Soviet authoritarian countries do not use similar levels of repression against organized civil society. The study provides an account of how different political configurations explain relative differences in the extent to which post-Soviet authoritarian countries repress their respective civil societies.
This article has a threefold aim. First, to create a typology of Balkan migration crises. Second, to reflect on how migration is theorized in a crisis situation by analyzing the competing conceptual clusters and proposing new ones. Third, to measure the ratio between the region’s crisis and anti-crisis potential in the field of migration in regard both to agency and policies. The article is structured in four parts. The first part reconstructs the conceptual history of “crisis” and its affirmation as the hegemonic discourse of contemporary times. The second part introduces temporality as a theoretical zoom that illuminates a different migration profile depending on whether we are observing it in a short-term, mid-term, or long-term perspective. The third part presents a new typology of Balkan migration crises based on different criteria. It structures Balkan migration crises into two clusters: real and constructed. The article seeks to answer the question of why, given the abundance of real refugee and migration crises, new ones are constructed. The fourth part goes beyond the crisis and analyzes the migration and development nexus as a major policy innovation. The conclusion offers a comparative analysis of the diverse Balkan migration crises.
Migration studies are usually concerned with involuntary or underprivileged migrants living in highly developed societies. In contrast, this article focuses on emigration from affluent to less developed countries, using the example of EU lifestyle women transmigrants living in Belgrade. Serbia is a Western Balkan EU candidate country with a high youth emigration rate. The aim of this study is to question whether EU migrants can be development actors in a Western Balkan country. The bulk of the ethnographic research was conducted in 2018 by way of a series of interviews. The findings show that by using their “transcultural capital” in Serbia, the interviewees have the development potential to act as agents of “Europeanisation from below” and avoid the negative public perception of Europeanisation as a tool of Western domination in the region. However, in order to fulfil their development roles, affluent migrants first need to be recognised in Serbian migration management policies and supported by the local authorities.