May 21, 2014

Summary

The new Minister of Defence of Estonia, Sven Mikser, is the author of the opening article in the April number of Diplomaatia. He analyses the impact of Russia’s aggressions against Ukraine on European security. Mikser states that things which seem new have sometimes just been forgotten, indicating that Moscow’s imperial ambitions and the desire to control its nearest neighbours are not a novelty in itself. However, Mikser reveals a new trend that causes concern—the fact that Russian politicians and analysts supporting the Kremlin are increasingly and openly discussing that Moscow need not find any pretexts or create such with the help of provocateurs before planning aggressions against neighbouring countries in the future.

The new Minister of Defence of Estonia, Sven Mikser, is the author of the opening article in the April number of Diplomaatia. He analyses the impact of Russia’s aggressions against Ukraine on European security. Mikser states that things which seem new have sometimes just been forgotten, indicating that Moscow’s imperial ambitions and the desire to control its nearest neighbours are not a novelty in itself. However, Mikser reveals a new trend that causes concern—the fact that Russian politicians and analysts supporting the Kremlin are increasingly and openly discussing that Moscow need not find any pretexts or create such with the help of provocateurs before planning aggressions against neighbouring countries in the future.
In his interview to Diplomaatia, the security policy expert Kurt Volker considers the behaviour of Russia and West’s reactions to it. He comments that the West should react to Russian aggressions more strongly than it has done so far, since leniency may tempt Moscow to test the security of NATO member states.
Legal scientist Rene Värk dedicates his article on the analysis of Russia’s behaviour in Ukraine in the context of international law. Värk finds that the incorporation of Crimea into Russia has disturbed the established political, security and legal order. According to the author, Russia is advancing political and legal justifications, which do not stand criticism or are simply very difficult to understand. “Russia has illegally orchestrated a secession of Crimea” concludes Värk.
Diplomaatia also publishes a longer essay by the political scientist Lilia Shevtsova on the strategic goals of Russian leaders. “Nothing could have stopped Vladimir Putin from his current course of action. He has become a hostage of his own logic, and couldn’t even free himself if he wanted to” says Shevtsova. According to the author’s view, the Kremlin’s moves have triggered the law of unintended consequences. “Its tactical victory in Ukraine will inevitably result in a strategic defeat. The Kremlin may fortify the walls of its decaying fortress, but it is undermining the foundation.”
In the book reviews’ section, Kaarel Tarand explores Marléne Laruelle’s Russias’s Arctic Strategies and the Future of the Far North.

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