Neighborhood in Europe

Neighbourhood_europeTaciana Arcimovic at Eurozine:

The topic of “neighbourhood” has probably never been more of a burning issue in eastern European than today, both in terms of physical geography and political space. The annexation of Crimea and military action in eastern Ukraine have destroyed the illusion of stable borders post-1990, jeopardizing the chances for peaceful neighbourhoods throughout Europe. Having seen what has already happened in Transnistria and South Ossetia, it is quite possible that the “unresolved” question of Russian activities in Ukraine might trigger similar “conflicts” with other “neighbouring” countries, particularly now that the Russian government no longer seeks to conceal its imperial paradigm. This is also certain to affect the geopolitical situation in Europe in general. In this context, it is hardly surprising that countries such as Lithuania, Belarus and Estonia have voiced concern regarding their own autonomy. In light of their centuries-old experience of being Russia's “neighbours”, questions such as Is Lithuania next? Or will it be Belarus? Or perhaps Narva? are fully justified.

This is why discussion of this topic seems more crucial today than ever, especially for former Soviet bloc countries, because of the multiple traumas linked to their “shared history”, first as part of the Russian empire and later of the Soviet Union, and subsequently their status as neighbours of present-day Russia. Many of these traumas have yet to be properly discussed and processed by the global community, which continues to regard the post-Soviet space as a single entity or, more precisely, a region, rather than in terms of individual autonomous entities.

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