This paper investigates the endeavors to solve the Donbas Conflict typologically. The first and most consistent policy was the Minsk Accord belonging to the category of federalization. As has been the case with other post-Soviet secession conflicts, federalization was a hopeless policy, which produced serious commitment problems, while contradicting the real interests of both the parent state (Ukraine) and the secession polities (the DPR and LPR). In the context of the Donbas War none proposed the second type of solution, that is, land-for-peace. Ineffective diplomatic endeavors induced both Ukraine, Russia, and the DPR/LPR to solve the situation in a military way. Azerbaijan’s victory in the Second Karabakh War in 2020 disposed Ukraine for a coercive solution of the Donbas problem (the reconquest policy). The Russian political and military leadership split into two groups: one supporting the policy to make the secession polities (the DPR and LPR) Russia’s protectorates and another supporting the policy to destroy the parent state (Ukraine). The unsatisfactory results of Russia’s choice in 2008 of the protectorate policy vis-à-vis South Ossetia and Abkhazia and underestimation of Kyiv’s defense capacity made the Russian leaders opt for the destruction of Ukraine itself.
Up until 2013 Russia had exerted pressure on Ukraine, threatening to close its market to a variety of Ukrainian goods in an effort to bring Ukraine into Russian-led Eurasian integration. This attempt, however, failed due to the 2014 Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine. Russia retaliated by unilaterally introducing tariffs on imports from Ukraine, in violation of the CIS Free Trade Agreement. What followed was a fully-fledged trade war between the two countries.
Meanwhile, we need to analyze the economic processes of the so-called Donetsk & Lukhansk Peoples’s Republics separately from the bilateral economic relations between Russia and Ukraine because, as grey zones between the two countries, their situations are unique. Although DNR/LNR initially and oddly coexisted with the Ukrainian mainland, they were cut off from the Ukrainian economic space in the wake of the Donbass blockade. DNR/LNR became Vneshekonomservis’ turf, allowing the notorious oligarch of the Yanukovich regime Oleksandr Kurchenko to freely make money. However, as Russia started to have more direct control over the Donbass economy, Kurchenko was replaced by Yevgeniy Yurchenko, who was believed to be a more effective economic manager.
Russia’s ideology concerning the invasion of Ukraine mainly comprises five components: the criticism of the “West,” historical unity of the East Slavs, self-portrait as a great multi-national/multi-religious nation, staging of the “Great Patriotic War” redux, and traditional gender and religious norms.
Based on the three presidential speeches that officially explained the “special military operation” (February 21, February 24, and September 30), this study examines the origins and development of the five components of the Putinesque ideological construction, which is characterized by its haphazardness.
The main body of the alleged motivation of the “operation” is the security threat posed by the “West.” In this context, Russia repeatedly criticized the double standard of the “West” as well as its neo-colonialism. More broadly, the September 30 speech expanded the accusation into a criticism of the so-called liberal international order, implying that Russia recognizes the cleavage between the “North” and the Global South and is attempting to use it as a wedge issue.
The idea that the East Slavs were originally single “narod” long before the modern notion of “nation-state” emerged from Western Europe was popular in the imperial period and continues to affect parts of the contemporary Russian society. With Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as an intellectual reference point, it was revived in post-Soviet Russia and developed with the “Russkii mir” ideology. The present administration recycled it as a justification of Russia-Ukraine “historical unity.”
Despite emphasizing its Slavic element, Russia still holds a multi-national nature. Its self-portrait as a huge multi-national/multi-religious state grew along with its Eurasian identity. In the 1990s, the newly born Russia rediscovered the legacy of classic Eurasianism. Since then, groups of diplomats and practitioners, as well as influential public intellectuals such as Aleksandr Panarin, have contributed to its spread in the political circle. Given the present situation of an increasing number of ethnic minorities being sent to the frontlines in Ukraine, it is essential for the Putin administration to emphasize its pride of the multi-national identity.
On one hand, President Putin severely criticized the Soviet nationalities policy. On the other hand, the administration devoted much energy to choreographing the redux of the Second World War. The historical memory and family story of the “Great Patriotic War” is a valuable asset shared by the Russian society, which can unite the nation and create a patriotic atmosphere. Moreover, a considerable number of political elites maintain continuity with the Soviet period―it is no wonder the administration attempts to appeal to the Soviet nostalgia.
The final ideological element comprises the traditional values of gender and religion. Since its third term, Putin administration has adopted it both as a tool to obtain support from the conservatives as well as the Orthodox Church and as an outreach strategy abroad.
With anti-liberalism as the core based on strong antagonism toward the “West,” which behaves as “the winner of Cold War,” these ideological branches have been bound together in an eclectic manner. As a result, the current ideological production contains contradictions and seems complex at first glance.
This paper seeks to explore the perception of learning, including the factors which contributed to the spread of self-learning and collaborative learning in the Association of Russian Interpreters in Japan. The research is based on the oral history interviews of three pioneer Russian language interpreters who have taken part in the activity of the Association of Russian Interpreters since the 1980s.
The paper briefly outlines the background of pioneer Russian language interpreters in Post-World War II Japan. Tokunaga Harumi, who was one of the founders of the Association of Russian Interpreters in Japan, highlighted the importance of sharing knowledge and continuous learning, and his beliefs significantly influenced Russian language interpreters’ attitudes towards learning.
Next follows a description on how the three interviewed interpreters acquired necessary competence through interpreting and translation work, and it focuses attention on the fact that all of them emphasized the role of background knowledge. The paper highlights the importance of extralinguistic knowledge, including worldly knowledge and the country-specific knowledge suggesting the future possibilities of interpreter training within area studies.
By analyzing the narratives, this study also demonstrates how the socio-political situation, i.e., the ups and downs in demand for interpreters at that time, was one of the factors which led to the collaboration of the interpreters. Characteristics of interpreter demand, such as the need to work in different spheres, have influenced not only the contents of interpreters’ learning but also the style of learning. This in turn fostered the spread of collaborative learning in the community of practice which enabled the interpreters in this study to exchange their experiences.
How the Soviet regime handled the concessions that subjects of Imperial Russia had acquired in Iran was closely related to the transition from the Russian Empire to the Soviet Union.
Iran had been defeated in the war against Imperial Russia in the first half of the 19th century. Consequently, its northern area was incorporated into Imperial Russia’s sphere of influence. In Northern Iran, Russian subjects were granted various special privileges. The oil concession (Khoshtariya concession) was particularly important in that countries such as Britain and the United States were involved in the issue in the 1920s.
Previous studies on the Khoshtariya concession fail to comprehensively capture the interconnectedness of many actors. Thus, there have been no attempts to study the issue from a broader perspective by combining it with the issue of oil concessions on the Soviet shore of the Caspian Sea or to incorporate it into the study of the entire Caspian Sea region.
To overcome this shortcoming, this paper will address the question of what continuity or discontinuity can be seen between Soviet and Imperial Russian diplomacy by examining how the Soviet regime in the 1920s attempted to deal with the Khoshtariya concession. In seeking to answer the research question, Soviet geographical perceptions of the Caspian Sea region will be revealed.
This paper will first touch on how Khoshtariya acquired the oil concession in Iran in the last years of the Russian Empire. It will then describe the process by which ownership of the concession was transferred to another actor after the outbreak of the Russian Revolution. The entry of the Standard Oil Company of the U.S. into the struggle for the northern Iranian oil concession that involved the Iranian government, the Soviet government, and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company is discussed in this context. Following the failure of Standard Oil to reach an agreement with the Iranian government, Sinclair Oil Corporation, which had only recently turned its attention to the northern Iranian oil, began to seek a cooperative relationship with the Soviet government.
It will become clear that the Soviet government linked its negotiations with Sinclair regarding the Northern Iranian oil concession to those with Western oil companies on oil concessions on the Soviet shore of the Caspian Sea and to issues of the oil pipeline that was planned to run from Northern Iran through the Caucasus. This confirms that the Soviet Union dealt with issues of foreign concessions as issues linked to its domestic concessions and its own economic sphere, suggesting that there was an intermediate category between domestic and foreign concessions and that Soviet officials had a geographical perception of the Iranian shore of the Caspian Sea as a politically continuous region with the Soviet shore of the Caspian Sea. Thus, although the Soviet Union did not have the same territorial ambitions toward Iran as had Imperial Russia, Soviet diplomacy had a certain historical continuity with that of Imperial Russia in that the Soviet Union still considered the Caspian Sea littoral to be within its sphere of influence.
This article considers the large-scale political movement that emerged in the Czech Republic in the second half of the 2010s from a cultural anthropological perspective. It traces part of the transition from post-socialism to post-post-socialism, considering the effects of memories and representations of the socialist period in the Czech Republic after 1989.
The political movement covered in this article is a series of demonstrations organized in the late 2010s by a political group, “Milion chvilek pro demokracii” (“A Million Moments for Democracy”), calling for the resignation of the then-prime minister, Andrej Babiš, who had been the subject of investigations by the Czech police and Office Européen de Lutte Anti-Fraude since 2015 for fraudulently receiving grants from the European Regional Development Fund. Consolidating into one political expression the multiple allegations against Babiš, in June and November 2019, Milion chvilek organized two of the largest mass demonstrations since the Velvet Revolution in 1989.
The main question raised in this article is why a new political party, lidé PRO, has failed to gain public support, despite the national momentum of the anti-prime ministerial demonstrations by Milion chvilek. Lidé PRO aimed to prevent the formation of a third Babiš government due to the October 2021 parliamentary elections by turning Milion chvilek, which has no base in party politics, into a new political party from the autumn of 2020 onward. However, this project was closed after just over 40,000 signatures were collected by the deadline of March 2021, which was less than the 50,000 signatures required to stand for election to the Chamber of Deputies.
This article attributes the failure of lidé PRO to the cognitive discrepancy between the post-socialist generation (those born before 1975) and the post-post-socialist generation (those born after 1975). The former is the generation that experienced the 1989 “revolution” after its adolescence, and it has organized its political struggles according to a complex of three dichotomies: “the East” and “the West,” “past” and “present,” and “socialism” and “capitalism.” On the other hand, the later generation has begun to organize its struggles according to the dichotomy of “liberal forces” versus “populist forces” since the second half of the 2010s. This article demonstrates that both generations worked simultaneously within the anti-prime ministerial demonstrations by Milion chvilek and finds that the cognitive discrepancy between the two generations manifested as differences in understanding party politics. It concludes that, as a result, lidé PRO failed to gain public support, and the project failed.