April 28, 2010

English summary

April’s issue of Diplomaatia concerns Latvia and Lithuania. In the opening article, Latvian political scientist Toms Rostoks, discusses the influence of the economic downturn on Latvia’s foreign policy. “Foreign policy has been hit particularly hard during the economic downturn, and the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of the ministries that has been most affected.

April’s issue of Diplomaatia concerns Latvia and Lithuania. In the opening article, Latvian political scientist Toms Rostoks, discusses the influence of the economic downturn on Latvia’s foreign policy. “Foreign policy has been hit particularly hard during the economic downturn, and the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of the ministries that has been most affected.

English summary

April’s issue of Diplomaatia concerns Latvia and Lithuania.
In the opening article, Latvian political scientist Toms Rostoks, discusses the influence of the economic downturn on Latvia’s foreign policy. “Foreign policy has been hit particularly hard during the economic downturn, and the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of the ministries that has been most affected. The number of employees in many embassies has been reduced to a bare minimum,” he writes. Although the present financial circumstances will mean heavy cuts to the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is very unlikely that Latvia’s foreign policy will change fundamentally. “Latvia’s EU membership will be considered as the most important component for ensuring economic recovery and development. Latvia’s security and defence interests would still mainly be served by its NATO membership,” writes Rostoks.
Journalist and political commentator Pauls Raudseps takes a look at Latvia’s domestic politics. According to Raudseps, most political scientists would look at these numbers and say that the country was on the verge of revolution. Yet in Latvia, he concludes, where things are often not exactly as they seem and where political dynamics swing between the inscrutable and the paradoxical, this spring is being hailed as a time of stability and consolidation,
Political analyst Veiko Spolitis writes about the influence of the endemic political crisis on Latvia’s public opinion and the Latvian people’s trust in state institutions. Spolitis also looks at some recent and expected changes in the landscape of Latvia’s political parties.
Political scientist Mindaugas Jurkynas and journalist Indré Makaraityté take on the task of charting the latest developments in Lithuania’s foreign and domestic politics. On the foreign policy scene, a more personalised, Presidential style of foreign policy making is developing due to the weak government. “The President stresses rhetoric and style, but the substance is not clear so far,” claims Jurkynas. Makaraityté writes that in domestic politics, Lithuania is witnessing the exit of giants: “Brazauskas, Landsbergis, Adamkus were charismatic leaders whose opinion has meant and still means a lot to people. Especially Brazauskas and Landsbergis have created their own system of power and influence in their parties and in the political system itself,” she says. “Now the Lithuanian political scene is much more fragmented, parties are dominated by a bunch of second rate leaders. Political life is dynamic and scandalous, Lithuanian political trends, especially in foreign policy, are ambiguous.”
Žygimantas VaiāiÅ«nas, Merle Maigre and Jeroen Bult deal with energy security issues. VaiāiÅ«nas describes Lithuania’s nuclear energy policy after the closure of the Ignalina nuclear power plant, Maigre examines the Baltic energy security scene as a whole and Bult discusses Estonia’s position on the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
In memoriam Lech Kaczyňski, journalist Edward Lucas writes that the late Polish president was a man of unquestioned, almost painful integrity. “His values, attitudes, habits and behaviour were those of the prewar Polish middle class: a culture so strong that it survived decapitation and evisceration under Soviet and Nazi occupation, and the occupation regime installed at gunpoint after the war. Obstinate, old-fashioned, provincial, gutsy, rather shy, awkward, suspicious, cantankerous, honest and brainy, he was utterly uninterested in the tactful doublespeak usually required of politicians in modern Europe.”

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