The Changing Eastern Europe as a Subject of Research (on the Example of the INION Publications)

Shanshieva L.N.


The article discusses the main directions of today’s East European studies at the INION and their results in the form of analytical reviews, collections of scientific papers and monographs. Presented are research works on the most pressing problems of the East European region, dealing with the tendencies of its political development and public consciousness trends, relations between states and nations, contradictions of European integration, strengthening of the national factor in the politics of the countries under consideration; growth of right-wing radical moods across them. Emphasized are specific geopolitical characteristics of the region and its role in the overall politics of the continent. Special attention is paid to the concept of «Eastern Europe». Much of the implemented research analyze the systemic transformations in the region, underscoring the essential features of the ongoing transformations here, namely, wide differences in directions, pace and forms of transformations, varying degrees of democratization of the political systems, differences pertaining to market economy and private property. It is concluded that political transformations in the region have outpaced the regional economic changes, were accompanied by a «big bang» of political parties and movements, and an increase in the level of electoral mobility. Economic reforms have been of much more prolonged nature, this being one of the causes of the growth of populist and radical sentiments in transitional societies as well as disappointment of the population in «real democracy». Many works focus on the role of history politics in today’s public consciousness and interstate relations between the countries of the region. The analysis of this issue takes into account the historical features of the region as an array of small countries, some of which are multi-ethnic states. This determines the specific nature of their domestic and foreign policies as well as the relationship between individual nations and ethnic groups. One of the pressing problems of today’s development of Eastern European countries pertains to their integration into the European Union and NATO, this making it necessary to analyze the experience and characteristic features of the participations of various countries in pan-European organizations. The point is made that for some countries the EU membership has opened up opportunities for accelerated reform of their economy and the political system, whereas for others, it only created additional social and economic difficulties. It is emphasized that presently large differences between the EU member states remain in the levels of their economic and social development, which enhances the mood of Euroscepticism among the population of some countries. The authors emphasize the contradictory nature of European integration, manifested in two development trends, those of centripetal and centrifugal. It is indicated that with the «return to Europe» of the Eastern European countries, the trend towards their distancing from Russia is reinforcing. Outlined are the main directions of research for the near future, including such themes as: integration of the countries of the region into pan-European structures and their interaction in the policies towards achievement of pan-European objectives; pursuit of national-state interests; conflict issues in bilateral relations between the states and their relationships within pan-European structures; their policies towards Russia.


Eastern Europe; peaceful revolutions; transformation; European integration; radicalism; national characteristics; interstate relations; Russia; the European Union; NATO.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2020.03.18

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