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Authors: Boris Czerny and Efim Basin

Abstract

The present work aims to fill a gap by analyzing the situation facing the Jewish population of Brest between 1915 and 1919. It is based on unpublished documents and an accurate account of events in Yiddish. It further endeavors to outline the perspectives offered by the examination of the documents over a longer period of time, taking into account the early years of the Polish period. We believe that such an approach will not only allow us to stop considering the period 1915–1919 as an “empty” period, but also contribute to a better understanding of the situation of the Jewish population in Brest-Litovsk after 1919. This epigraphic analysis of the documents presented by the inhabitants of Brest when returning to obtain Polish nationality is a novel study of materials that have not previously been investigated.

In: Journal of Belarusian Studies

Abstract

This article compares two national shrines, the Cross of Dagmar (Denmark) and the Cross of St. Euphrosyne (Belarus), providing novel evidence that both crosses could have been made by the same master. It has long been contended that the Cross of Dagmar allegedly belonged to Queen Dagmar from Bohemia, the first wife of the Danish king Valdemar II, son of Sophia of Minsk and Valdemar the Great. A former director of the Danish National Museum, Fritze Lindahl, was the first to propose a hypothesis that the Cross of Dagmar could have come to Denmark together with Sophia via Minsk, Belarus. The purpose of this article is to verify Lindahl’s hypothesis, combining the Belarusian and Danish sources for the first time. The paper also contributes to queenship studies, taking out of oblivion Queen Sophia—a “forgotten queen” of Danish politics and the Baltic Sea region in the 12th century.

Open Access
In: Journal of Belarusian Studies
Free access
In: Russian Politics

Abstract

Over the past thirty years, relations between Russia and the EU have gone from the idea of a ‘Common European home’ and ‘the unification of everything except institutions’ to periods of fading partnership, culminating in the post-Crimean crisis and the current systemic confrontation over geopolitics and values. Today, the EU and Russia seem to be irreconcilable in terms of values, domestic politics, and geopolitical approaches. For the time being, the most likely scenario for EU-Russia relations will be tense coexistence with cooperation restricted by a climate of general mistrust. The best prospects for constructive cooperation will come from a common commitment to pragmatic ‘neighborliness’. Nevertheless, given the turbulence and unpredictability of international politics a return to “Greater European” integration cannot be entirely ruled out. The fundamental conditions for such a rapprochement still exist, though critical internal processes and external issues need to be resolved before this process can begin.

In: Russian Politics

Abstract

An introduction to the special issue on Russian foreign policy prepared by a team based at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. We begin with an overview of some of the contesting views about the dynamics and drivers of Russian foreign policy and some of the key theories. We then present the substantive arguments of the contributors, assessing how they fit into the overall pattern of understanding the key issues in Russian foreign policy and larger global concerns. The Introductions ends with some broader considerations, noting the tension between ‘declinist’ and ‘revivalist’ approaches to Russia today, and suggest that the contributions on the whole steer a cautious path between extreme representations of these two perspectives, while warning of the dangers of triumphalism. We argue that Russian and Russian-based views can make a specific and important contribution to larger debates about the dynamics of Russian foreign policy and Russia’s contribution to the resolution of some of the pressing issues facing humanity.

Free access
In: Russian Politics
Author: Vladimir Lukin

Abstract

This article is about the challenges that face Russia when reflecting on her obligations to the UN system, and on the limits of what is possible in trying to ‘master’ globalization. These challenges are not simply practical questions about the choice of foreign policy. They are deeper questions about worldview and how best to understand and navigate contemporary world politics. Several schemes have been presented to help identify and explain the foundations of our contemporary world order: geopolitical frameworks, civilizational ones, and some that are explicitly ideological. In engaging with and critiquing some of the best-known of these frameworks, the article makes the case for a worldview for Russia that is realist and progressive. This worldview recognizes the hierarchy of states and the logic of power politics in a UN-centered world, but it also moves beyond this pragmatic focus to consider the possibilities for a global dialogue of ‘pluralistic convergence’ and peaceful change that is facilitated by Russia.

In: Russian Politics

Abstract

Russia’s use of force in Ukraine has been described as a challenge to the rule of international law and an event of unilateral intervention. This paper provides a reinterpretation of this standard history of Russian revisionism. Our new history places this practice in a global governance context through an analysis of the politics concerning the international legal norm of ‘non-intervention’ and its legitimate/illegitimate exceptions for collective intervention. This analysis discloses a practice of Russian diplomacy that emerges out of resistance to humanitarian interventions advocated for by Western states. This practice justifies its own state-bound humanitarian intervention as the legitimate exception to the foundation of international order, which Russian diplomacy had previously sought to restore. We argue the political discourse of the worldview of ‘state civilization’ explains these events of Russian revisionism. We conclude with an analysis of the international paradoxes of peace and conflict contingent on this Russian worldview.

In: Russian Politics
Author: A.M. LaVey

Abstract

This paper analyses the communicative features of traditional Belarusian textiles and embroidery, exploring their history and their use as cultural code from the earliest times to the present. Using cultural semiotic analysis, the article highlights the evolving statements textiles make in regard to contemporary Belarusian culture, with specific attention being paid to the use of textiles in the months surrounding the 2020 presidential election and its aftermath, as well as engaging current fashion design. This paper, combating ideas of Belarusian invisibility, brings to light how textiles are and continue to be symbols and visual expressions of Belarusian cultural identity, and will be useful to scholars and students in the fields of art history, Belarusian studies, cultural studies, semiotics, Slavistics, and textile, costume and fashion studies.

In: Journal of Belarusian Studies

Abstract

Most studies of the US, EU and Ukraine’s sanctions against Russia and Russian counter sanctions focus on their immediate and intended effects and apply these to make judgements about their efficacy. However, the complex consequences of sanctions go far beyond the target countries’ immediate reactions, as sanctions have positive and negative spillover effects that are rarely acknowledged in official discourse, which focuses on issues of the sanction regimes’ legitimacy and effectiveness. Vulnerability to sanctions leads target countries to reposition their domestic and international priorities. This article will examine three critical ‘collateral effects’ of Western sanctions and Russian counter sanctions. First, they serve as a catalyst for Moscow’s efforts to diversify economic relationship through international projects such as the EAEU, BRICS, and the “Pivot to the East.” Second, they have triggered more risk-sensitive policies in the provision of national economic security, particularly when it comes to finance. Finally, they serve as a transformational tool for national development strategies both at the industrial and regional levels.

In: Russian Politics