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Abstract

The experience of the past decade shows a steadily increasing role of the armed forces in the implementation of Moscow’s strategic aspirations. The aim of this work is to present the geopolitical ambitions of Russia in competition with the West and the role of the armed forces in satisfying these ambitions, as well as to evaluate their modernisation. The article identifies the directions of Moscow’s strategic aspirations and presents a vision of Russia’s future war. The reforms carried out by the Russian national defence ministers Anatoliy Serdyukov and Sergey Shoygu are evaluated. The conclusions resulting from the involvement of Russian armed forces in the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria are explained. It indicates the changes that will take place in particular branches of the armed forces in the near and long terms.

Abstract

The article discusses the evolution of political and security cooperation between the Republic of Poland and the United States of America in the years 1999–2019. It argues that this relationship has been strengthened over the past several years to an unprecedented level, as reflected by the following: (a) permanent presence of US troops and facilities on the territory of the Republic of Poland; (b) significant reinforcement of energy cooperation that would contribute to the security of the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region; (c) development of a high-level strategic dialogue; and (d) successful widening of the mutual scope of soft security collaboration, including economic, digital and people-to-people aspects. In this article, I try to answer the following questions: what are the reasons of upgrading Poland–US political and security relations? What was the process shaping US– Poland relationship during 1999–2019? What are the priorities for both sides in this cooperation? I suggest that the past 20 years of Polish–American relationship can be divided into three stages: (a) between Poland’s accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russian aggression towards Ukraine (1999–2014); (b) between the NATO Summit in Newport and the swearing in of Donald Trump as President of the United States (2014–2017); and (c) then onwards (2017/2018–).

Abstract

The current study discusses differences between Russia and the Baltic States in terms of their strategic narratives, as well as how they interpret key terms and concepts in the field of security. To frame the scope of the study, the strategic narrative of Russia for the Baltic countries and the Baltic strategic narrative(s) for Russia are compared and analysed. Both sides are also locked within the bigger framework of European Union’s economic sanctions against Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance’s deterrence concept. On the other hand, the Baltic States and Russia have a lot to gain from possible improvements in economic relations and reduction of regional security tensions.

Abstract

The article addresses the need to identify and quantify the external costs of air pollution on the health of the population, especially children. The subjects of evaluation are the respiratory illnesses acute nasopharyngitis and acute bronchitis, both of which have very high incidence in connection with air pollution. The aim of this paper is to estimate the cost of morbidity and to determine the amount of additional social costs of airway morbidity among children aged 0–15 years in Ostrava city, one of the most polluted cities in Europe, compared to the incidence of these diseases in the whole Czech Republic. Estimation of social costs is based on the Cost-Of-Illness approach, in which the total value is made up of the costs actually incurred in treating illness and in loss of productivity. Using this approach, additional costs related to the treatment of illnesses were calculated at approximately €20 million per year, which represents approximately 0.4% of Ostrava's regional gross domestic product (GDP).

Abstract

The paper examines electoral manifestos of social democratic parties in Visegrad countries through a computer-driven method of content analysis. The analysis focuses on a sentence sentiment (how parties talk about their priorities) and a keyword examination (what parties mostly talk about). Such analysis is not widespread in the academic literature related to Visegrad countries, where a human-based approach to content analysis of electoral manifestos prevails. The paper, however, does not aim to nullify the findings of the previous research, but aims to improve the understanding of the content of manifestos through a different research method. The paper’s findings have confirmed the pro-European support of social democratic parties as well as the focus on predominantly socio-economic issues in manifestos. Additionally, the paper explores the effect of incumbency on the manifesto’s content. The incumbency seems to have an impact on the manifesto sentiment, but not on keywords.

Abstract

This review of the historical studies of cleavages and seeks to bridge the gap between the historical study of cleavages and frozen cleavage theory and the post-communist states of Europe which have transitioned to democracy. The study identifies the literature on frozen cleavages and new divides which have arisen transition, as well as the primary actors in their political representation and issue positioning. The key literature in the development of studies on cleavages was provided by Lipset and Rok-kan, but their work focused mostly on Western democracies and did not include any of the countries which were behind the iron curtain at the time. However, the transition of the post-communist nations of Europe are now several decades old. Since the demise of communist regimes in Europe, much literature has been produced on the newly democratic regimes developing there. This article provides a broad overview of general trends in cleavage literature and more specific developments for Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. The main findings were that there are frozen cleavages present in the post-communist countries of Europe, but that much of the developments since the fall of communism seem to be unpredictable and change-able — a fact reflected by the instability and constant change in the party systems.

Abstract

In the given paper a discourse quality index (DQI) tool, rooted to criteria elaborated by Jurgen Habermas’s in his discourse ethics, will be modified and used to assess the deliberation level of the 1995 Georgian Parliament. The methodology will accurately represent important principles of deliberation. Due to its focus on observable behavior and its detailed coding instructions, a discourse quality index can be a reliable measurement of the quality of political debates. The DQI for a parliamentary debate in the example of the 1995 parliament of Georgia will be illustrated in the given article. The parliamentarian debates concerning the adoption of the 1995 constitution of Georgia, according to its importance, will be taken as the specific case to be analysed. In the framework of the research, scholars will study and analyse over 200 pages of stenographic recordings of the parliamentary debates connected to the mentioned topic. The DQI score will be evaluated based on the analyses of the stenographic records.

Abstract

This article explores the media environment in Turkmenistan from a comparative perspective, analyzing periods when this Central Asian nation was ruled by President Saparmurat Niyazov and his successor Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. It examines critical trends of the media system’s development since the early 1990s and onward based on the political culture established under the ruling of these two state leaders. The paper argues that media plays a primary role in building a cult of personality of Saparmurat Niyazov, which was further implemented and developed by the administration of Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. A case study of the Turkmen TV channels, in particular, is focused on styles of presenting materials, the language and propaganda techniques (clichés, slogans, labels), used to promote the cult of personality. The article analyzes the behaviors of the constructors and supporters of the cult of personality using the concept of the political culture in authoritarianism. Thus, the paper outlines that with some moderate dynamics in the media system, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov continues to strictly control media – the policies established by his predecessor, who used methods of total control and censorship of all media outlets in the country.

Abstract

Until now there is no consensus in the academic literature as to whether Fidesz is a (soft) Eurosceptic party or rather Europragmatic. By identifying the manifestations of Euroscepticism on the policy level rather than the party level, this article sheds light on the dynamics of Fidesz’s Euroscepticism. It also looks at the party strategy of Fidesz regarding its main Eurosceptic competitor Jobbik, and how this facilitated further Euroscepticism. Hungary’s vision of the EU is at odds with the vision of most member states and EU institutions, which makes Fidesz not only Eurosceptic; but there is a form of inverted soft Euroscepticism characterising Fidesz’s vision and policies towards the EU.