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Political Trust and Russian Media in Latvia

Abstract

Russia’s attempts to influence public opinion outside its borders attracted increased interest in the context of its involvement in the war in Ukraine, Brexit referendum, the elections in the US and other political processes in the West. This article focuses on the assumption that Russian activities in the information environment of NATO and the EU member states among other things are aimed at undermining public trust in democratic governance institutions. Russian state-owned media is one of the tools about how Kremlin disseminates and promotes its worldview within and outside Russia’s borders; therefore, the research questions being addressed in this paper are related to the relationship between political trust and consumption of Russian media. To study this issue, Latvia was chosen as an outstanding case due to the relatively large presence of Russian media content in its information environment. The paper examines the trends of Russian media consumption and political trust in Latvia to assess if this is a fruitful further research area since linking political trust and Russia’s information activities is a new perspective on the issue. The theoretical part of the paper outlines the concept of political trust and the factors affecting it as they are identified in previous research, with a specific focus on the impact of media on political trust. The empirical part of the paper examines the trends in the growth of the audience of the TV channels retranslating Russian media content and political trust in Latvia in the period from 2007 to 2017. Considering that political trust in Latvia is increasing alongside with an increase in Russian media consumption, this paper suggests several further research directions with a focus on political and economic performance indicators and the impact of domestic media.

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Mitigating Risks of Hybrid War: Search for an Effective Energy Strategyin The Baltic States

[Accessed 20 October 2018] Ratsiborynska, V, 2018 (June), Russia’s Hybrid Warfare in the Form of its Energy Manoeuvers Against Europe: How the EU and NATO Can Respond Together?, NATO Defense College Research Paper n o. 147. Rühle, M & Grubliauskas, J, 2015 (April), Energy as a Tool of Hybrid Warfare, NATO Defense College Research Paper n ° 113. Slobodian, N, 2016 (March), Energy Instruments of “Hybrid Warfare”, Stratfor Worldview. Available at: https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/energy-instruments-hybrid-warfare [Accessed 20 October 2018

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Genetic Knowledge and Genetic Reproduction Technologies as New Modes of Governance – are We Witnessing a New Form of Eugenics?

Abstract

This article aims to examine whether there is continuity between eugenics as employed in Nazi Germany and modern-day medical genetics. Drawing on Foucault’s conceptualization of the relationship between power and knowledge, it draws the conclusion that despite the differences in the means employed and underlying motivations, both may serve as disciplinary tools and shape human behaviour. Finally, it addresses ethical issues that arise during genetic reproduction counselling. Namely, it reviews how genetic information during genetic reproduction counselling is presented to those being counselled and puts forward the idea on how to stay committed to the principle of non-directiveness.

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Rethinking Realism and Constructivism Through the Lenses of Themes and Ontological Primacy

Abstract

If integrative pluralism in international relations theorising is the way forward, how can we still maintain some type of demarcation between pre-existing paradigms in order to not throw the baby out with the bath water? The notions of themes and ontological primacy provide a useful intervention in this regard. They both link realism and constructivism yet at the same time differentiate between the two enough to allow for the original free-standing paradigm to maintain its veracity and usefulness as an explanatory tool to explain the international order. This article promotes the idea that realism and constructivism engage with many similar themes; it is their ontologies and methodologies that are the key points of departure and are worth being further explored. The article concludes that taking the notion of ontological primacy seriously allows for much needed theoretical pluralism, while effectively maintaining the foundational moorings of longstanding international relations theories.

Open access
Why does cooperation work or fail? The case of EU-US sanction policy against Iran

Abstract

In the article, we explore the factors which brought about the transatlantic coordination of the policy of imposing sanctions on Iran. We will mainly focus on the events in the 21st century when the new incentives for cooperation appeared due to the growing concern over the development of Iran’s nuclear programme. Considering the capabilities of using the tools of economic statecraft and diplomacy, we claim that the EU-US cooperation can be termed a co-leadership. The assessment and the reasons for the transatlantic break-up on this matter during the presidency of Donald Trump was examined using the concept of relative gains. We evaluate to what extent the initial goals were achieved in practice, and we also try to predict the possible consequences of the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

As to whether the effectiveness of the sanctions through the cooperation has been enhanced, the answer is ambivalent. On the one hand, the cooperating transatlantic partners managed to coerce Iran through isolating the country from international economic contacts and negotiated the JCPOA. On the other hand, Trump’s renouncement of this agreement brought many negative consequences and undermined the earlier joint effort.

Open access
Energy resources as the tools of foreign policy: the case of Russia

Abstract

The article provides an explanation of how energy resources become instruments in Russia’s foreign policy towards countries-consumers at the same time indicating elements determining the efficiency of energy instruments to reach Russia’s foreign policy goals. The article argues that Russia expanded its state power in energy sector through direct and indirect mobilisation. There are two types of energy instruments - sway and compel. The effectiveness of energy instruments depends on barriers country-consumer has. Instruments may have positive targeted and foreseen as well untargeted and unforeseen negative consequences for Russia and countries-consumers in Post-Soviet space especially focusing on Belarus and Ukraine.

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Understanding Strategic Information Manoeuvres in Network Media to Advance Cyber Operations: A Case Study Analysing Pro-Russian Separatists’ Cyber Information Operations in Crimean Water Crisis

Understanding Botnets. Cambridge, MA. Kumar, S., Barbier, G., Abbasi, M.A., Liu, H., 2011. TweetTracker: An Analysis Tool for Humanitarian and Disaster Relief., in: ICWSM. Labatut, V., Dugue, N., Perez, A., 2014. Identifying the Community Roles of Social Capitalists in the Twitter Network. Presented at the IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Network Analysis and Mining (ASONAM), China. doi: 10.1109/ASONAM.2014.6921612 Nissen, T.E., 2015. #TheWeaponizationOfSocialMedia. Protalinski, E., 2012

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Identity Tensions: The Case of Michail Golovatov’s Release

Abstract

The aim of this article is to investigate what perceptions towards European Union, Austria and Russia exist in terms of Lithuanian identity. This question arises from a chosen case of Michail Golovatov’s release and intense discussions within Lithuanian media about this issue in summer of 2011. Although it seems that incident and later diplomatic conflict is directly related with Austria and judicial arguments, but Austria and its actions provoked broad considerations what Lithuania’s relations with European Union, its member states and even Russia are. First, article analyses theoretical significance of identity and its relation with foreign policy. Second, methodological tools of discourse analysis are formulated in order to analyse selected texts which compose the discourse of the case. Third, according to the meanings found interpretations explaining how Lithuanian identity is constructed through perceptions towards EU, Austria and Russia are presented.

Open access
On the Clausewitzian Challenge in Eastern Europe

Abstract

This article evaluates contemporary growing tensions to geopolitical changes in Eastern Europe. The current Eastern European geopolitical situation is labelled as a crisis that has been generated by the Ukrainian conflict for more than one year already. In light of the described crisis, the military option has been discussed as a meaningful political tool. This notion has provoked the necessity to evaluate growing tensions in the region through the lens of a traditional Clausewitzian challenge that should define a solution for effective force tasking aimed at the achievement of firm political goals. More than that, the analysis of this article is based on theoretical notions of neoclassical realism suggesting that foreign policy is dependent on international incentives and on domestic evaluations of political entities.

Open access