March 11, 2016

Summary

The March edition of Diplomaatia basically looks east. Aimar Ventsel, an ethnologist, writes about the distant regions of Russia. According to Ventsel, the local community may have their own laws and feel quite alienated from the central power, but television holds the country together.

“The information stream coming from the TV set holds the largest country in the world together and creates the feeling of togetherness in its people. Even in the villages where there is no connection to the outside world, every home has a TV set,” Ventsel observes.
His article is supplemented with opinion from three experts on Russia, Jüri Luik, Raivo Vare and Taavi Minnik.
Andres Mäe, an energy expert, looks at how the EU’s sanctions have affected the Russian oil sector. Mäe notes that the financial restrictions have had an impact since the shortage of money has forced the oil producers to reduce needed investments.
Two Kazakh diplomats and political scientists, Rustem S. Kurmanguzhin and Kamilla Sheryazdanova, write separate articles about Kazakhstan’s foreign-policy choices on Europe and Asia.
Kurmanguzhin looks at how Kazakhstan has succeeded in strengthening cooperation with the European Union, while Kamilla Sheryazdanova writes that the Eurasia strategy remains the cornerstone of the country’s foreign policy.
“The increasing relevance of this strategy is primarily related to key factors such as the country’s position at the heart of the continent, being landlocked and away from the world’s transport and communication arteries, and its multi-ethnic and religiously diverse population,” Sheryazdanova remarks.
Their articles are introduced by Aimar Ventsel, a regular visitor to Kazakhstan.
Ivar Raig, an economic scholar, writes about a possible Brexit and the various scenarios which may come about after the United Kingdom has left the European Union.
“Great Britain may become Little England and Scotland. The European Union may lose some of its importance in the world economy and its politics and may change to East–West or North­–South regional communities. But it cannot be ruled out that the UK’s departure will trigger the start of EU reforms with the current leaders towards renewed federalisation and a ‘united states of Europe’”, Raig observes.
Raig is convinced that a Brexit may force Estonia to consider possible scenarios for the future.

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