Crimea and Civil Society: Challenges, Antagonisms and Models of Cooperation for Ukraine and Russia

April 2015
By Centre for Global Cooperation Research


Abstract:Taking place about a year after the referendum on Crimea’s political future, this two day event brought together academics, policy makers and researchers from Crimea, Russia, Ukraine, Canada and Germany. It focused on the current situation in Crimea, the lives of the Crimean people and current and future relations between Ukraine and Russia as well as the role of the West in finding a cooperative solution to the conflict1. The first day was organised around the Käte Hamburger Dialogue co-organized and hosted by the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in Bonn on 9th April featuring an expert panel that examined the political, humanitarian and security situation in Crimea. A subsequent workshop on 10th April featured those same panellists along with academics drawn from the Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg Essen, Ruhr Bochum University, Carleton University, Kharkiv V.N. Karazin National University and Taurida National Vernadsky University/ Crimean Federal University.

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The Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research seeks to contribute towards a better understanding of the possibilities and limits of transboundary cooperation. By building a learning community, researchers from different disciplines and world regions develop an innovative framework for contemporary cooperation research that enables the exploration of new options for global public policy. We aim to become a crucial hub for this emerging branch of research. We aim to understand the role of transboundary cooperation as an essential part of public policy addressing global challenges.

The Emerging World and Bulow’s Geopolitical Vision: No Use of “Experiments” with Canadian Foreign and Defence Policy in the 21st Century

April 2013
By Hristijan Ivanovski


Abstract: Due to the economic growth and politico-strategic maturation of the East and the South, multipolarity is now becoming all the more palpable. As with any other country or lesser power, Canada’s global position and foreign-policy direction will inexorably depend on the actual multipolar content and the great-power relations thereof. The emerging multipolar constellation is obviously one of several gigantic political entities bearing mutual resemblance. Quite expectedly, by challenging the role of Western allies in a comfortable unipolar setting the coming new age of empires has compelled Canada’s foreign-policy and defence community to explore “New Directions in Canadian Foreign Policy.” Yet, however attractive the availability of multiple foreign-policy options, Canada ought to avoid “experimenting” with its proven alliances and well-recognizable international approach.

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Hristijan Ivanovski is Research Fellow at the University of Manitoba Centre for Defence and Security Studies (CDSS) and a former coordination officer with the Secretariat for European Affairs of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia. Information on his recent work is available here.

Beefing up the NGO sector in Central and Eastern Europe: How to legitimize a re-boost of Western geopolitics with civilian means?

September 2014
By Hristijan Ivanovski


Abstract: Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Western strategy for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has generally relied on two instruments: NATO and an abundance of civilian means. The latter’s use in the post-socialist world has flourished since the early days of transition. However, in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, which now tends to be seen as the hallmark symbol of Western decline, the indispensable reformist role of the Western-abetted NGO sector in CEE began to fade, inter alia, due to revised strategic priorities, funding cuts, and gradual withdrawal by foreign donors (except the EU). The prolonged economic and debt repercussions affecting mostly the West and the US Pacific pivot have gravely exacerbated the situation over the past several years. First, the resultant geopolitical vacuum has been rapidly filled by rising actors, most notably Russia, China, and Turkey, via various types of strategic activities and transactions. Second, whether encouraged by the eastbound distribution of material capabilities or simply attracted by emerging economic opportunities, some CEE societies and their elites have begun suffering from a serious “power-shift syndrome.” Third, the greater the local inspiration by the new tendencies, including the Russo-Turkish concept of “managed democracy” through strong, authoritarian-styled leadership, the more marginalized the opposition voices/media and the independent civic action in the entire region.

In light of these developments, the old question of strengthening democracy and the non-for-profit sector in CEE becomes much more than that. Having advanced on the transatlantic agenda as of late, it is ultimately about containing the ongoing penetration of Sino-Russian influence in the region by correcting the mistake of an early civil-military withdrawal and legitimizing a targeted re-boost of Western geopolitics with civilian means. No doubt, if the EU and NATO (US) are to remain in control of a key geopolitical space on the Eurasian chessboard, thoughtful steps are required beyond mere supporting of local pro-Western forces and civic/human rights activism. Based on a profound understanding of the situation on the ground, the civilian dimension of the virtual transatlantic strategy for CEE should urgently include a reinvented set of administrative, policy, financial, investment, and diplomatic measures with far-reaching social effects.

Click here for the full paper in PDF.

Hristijan Ivanovski is Research Fellow at the University of Manitoba Centre for Defence and Security Studies (CDSS) and a former coordination officer with the Secretariat for European Affairs of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia. Information on his recent work is available here.

Failed States or Failed Policies? Problem versus Enemies

August 2014
By David Carment (CDFAI Fellow) and Yiagadeesen Samy (Carleton University)


Introduction: A lot has been written and said recently in scholarly articles and news outlets about the demise of failed states as a paradigm for shaping and influencing security and development policy. About a year ago, the venerable Foreign Affairs magazine published a piece declaring the end of the concept as outdated and no longer useful because the so-called Global War on Terror (GWOT), now over 10 years in the making, was more or less officially dead. Although the idea has been around at least since Bill Clinton was president, it was the GWOT that launched state failure onto centre stage.

The justification for failed states policies was provided by no less than the World Bank, among others, who argued that such states were the crucible for terrorist activities and vectors for the transmission and diffusion of transnational conflict, crime and environmental instability. More recently, Doug Saunders, writing in the Globe and Mail and using Uganda as an example, noted that our aid is being wasted on fragile states. And just this year, the decade-old Fund for Peace announced that it was going to change its Failed States Index to the Fragile States Index. While this change is meant to recognize that all states are fragile in a relative sense (an argument which we have made for many years), it is probably equally the result of all the negative attention that the term ‘failed states’ has received over the years.

Click here for the full paper in PDF.

Whirling Dervishes: Exploring the transformational shift in both the PKK’s irredentist movement and Turkey’s outlook on the ‘Kurdish question’

19 June 2014
By Ryan Moreira


Abstract: While the Kurds have long-been a minority within the Ottoman Empire and the modern Turkish Republic, armed insurgency led by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) began in 1984 against Turkish attempts at forced assimilation and oppression of Kurdish culture and identity (Taspinar and Tol 2014, 1). Violence between the PKK and the Turkish state has never extensively diminished, and the PKK continues to be branded an enemy of the Turkish state and a terrorist group by some Western countries (Marcus 2012).

However, in 2012 Turkey entered into peace negotiations with the PKK and its jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan resulting in a cease fire and withdrawal by PKK forces (Winter 2013). Although an irredentist movement towards realizing an independent greater Kurdistan has been the ultimate goal of the PKK for decades, it has now transformed its objectives to include negotiating a settlement with the Turkish government. Exploring the reason behind this shift in approach and what the PKK’s new goals might be requires looking not only at the PKK alone, but at the interplay between Turkey, the PKK and other neighbouring Kurdish groups in Iraq and Syria. On the other hand, it is also vital to analyze the surprising shift in the Turkish state’s own long-held approach to the Kurdish question.

This paper will examine this shift in approach from both the perspective of the PKK and the government of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. It will demonstrate that this shift in approach by both the PKK and Turkey is founded ultimately in a strategic consideration by both parties of changing regional geopolitics, and an understanding by the PKK of the renewed importance of political activism in achieving its goals in a post-911 era; while Turkey’s shift in approach is based on a realpolitik understanding by Erdogan of the potential for personal political achievement and of regional power and national security interests for Turkey.

Click here for the full paper in PDF.