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Current Issue. Vol. 13, № 4 (43). October-December 2015
Special Issue: Political Democracy and the World State
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Volume 13. No 4 (43). October-December 2015




Leadership and Contemporary World Order

   Abstract. During almost 30 years of academic discussions on the issues of world and international order the main focus of debates was concentrated on such questions as structure of interaction among leading world powers, solving the most important global and regional problems, quantitative growth of great powers and their status in comparison with non-state actors. Special attention was given to the issue of global leadership in the contemporary world, where the number of great powers has grown, and the disgreements among them have become rather noticeable. The main point of great powers’ discontent is who has the right to construct the contemporary world order. The United States declared itself a long-term global leader who can and must fulfill this mission together with its transatlantic allies and followers. American leaders declared that it was the US who saved the world from serious conflict after 1945, and they would like to continue this mission in the 21st century. Analysis of the results of American international policy shows that on the one hand, further destabilization of international relations should be expected, and on the other, the trend for establishment of the US-centric world order continues. The transatlantic strategy of obvious American dominance is aimed to establish new regulating rules and institutions, to constrain all initiatives and policies at global, regional and national levels. Destabilization of international relations and aggravation of global and regional threats put into question the idea of American global leadership. We need other forms of collective global and regional management, when interests of all leading world powers are coordinated and meet global challenges and threats. The issue of peace has become a key issue in the world policy agenda. The Obama administration is a monolithic group of politicians and experts who demonstrate sincere and strong adherence to the idea of American leadership, and are ready to use all possible means to fulfill the mission. They use “hard power” – military forces and NATO, informational campaigns and propaganda, as well intelligence and economic sanctions for this task. Even its use of “soft power” reflects the fact that the Unied States does not have a very peaceful image. The present state of world affairs dissatisfies many scholars in Russia and other countries. The author analyzes the current American view of the US global mission, and tries to answer this crucial question: Does the world community in the 21st century need one country – the United States - as a global leader.
Keywords: world order; international order; leadership; hegemony; Russia; the United States of America.


Pathways of Change and the Current UN Status

   Abstract. The article observes the current state and directions of development of the United Nations from a sociological perspective. Despite its uniqueness, the UN bears some features in common with other international organizations: its members, internal structure, goal attainment, interactions with the external environment. The UN is an international intergovernmental organization, but one can identify three relatively independent levels of interraction: political and legal (member-states), institutional (agencies and independent or autonomous organizations), social (groups of people involved into activities of the organization). The changes in the balance of power in the UN are determined by the particular features of a globalizing world. Integration associations attempt to displace states in the Westphalian model. The development of main agencies is characterized by large and small periods. The large periods reflect the changes in the organization as in a union of members. The small periods reflect the organizational processes. One can clearly identify two tendencies in the interaction of the UN with the external environment: intensification of interactions with non-state actors and improvement of level of pressure on particular states. The study of the UN as an organization provides an argument for developing and even revising certain provisions of the theory of organizational sociology. Inconsistent attempts to provide the UN with the function of central institution to control the international order are realized in an inconsiderable manner. Created as a stabilizing element of the international system, the UN has only partly fulfilled its obligations, but it has become an instrument of change. Being in its original design an institution for intergovernmental cooperation it is involved in the processes connected with globalization. The UN played its role in global social and political processes.
Keywords: United Nations; sociology of international relations; organization; socio-professional group; development goal attainment; sustainable development; organizational changes.


Public Diplomacy in Conflict Resolution

   Abstract. The world is undergoing significant transformation caused by large-scale cross-border activity. Modern communication and information technologies make interaction accessible to more people, while popular social networks provide a quick mobilization effect. In these conditions, diplomacy becomes much more complex and varied. It has two distinct vectors of influence on a foreign audience. The first vector is directed to the official structures (diplomats, politicians, etc.), while the second one (public diplomacy) – to non-governmental structures, business, people. The analysis shows that both vectors should be coordinated, but separated. Otherwise, diplomacy can be inefficient and block certain channels of influence. In addition, in the XXI public diplomacy acquires traits such as orientation to dialogue with public entities of foreign countries, extensive involvement of non-state actors. All these apply to situations of conflict. However, in a conflict situation public diplomacy has its own specifics. Thus, a coordination of parties involved in the conflict as mediators is especially important. Otherwise, the conflict can be amplified, or it may generate new conflicts. The article analyzes the opportunities and constraints of non-state actors in conflict management within the framework of public diplomacy. Particular attention is drawn to the tools that are used to achieve short-term and long-term objectives in a conflict. It is shown that in a conflict situation public diplomacy primarily focused on short-term goals that can be directed at ending the armed confrontation, but can – on the support of one of the parties in the conflict. To implement short-term goals media are intensively used. Educational and cultural programs are typically used for long-term goals. However, in situations of a conflict they may have a short-term goal as a demonstration effect, which symbolize the help of the state providing such programs. Russian public diplomacy, which in recent years has been given considerable attention, is not fully focused on a conflict situations, limited mainly by media activities.
Keywords: evolution of diplomacy; public diplomacy; conflicts; conflict management; interaction of state and nonstate actors; soft power; international media; educational and cultural programmes.


Globalization and Social Protest

   Abstract. Today globalization has become a ‘catch-all’ word, often used to explain everything in the contemporary world. However, it still has an explanatory value, if combined with the “meta-level” theories andapproaches. In this paper I try to explain why and how globalization impacts mass protest behavior. So, a priori I suggest that globalization processes do matter in contentious politics and their transnationalization. In doing so, I align with a long-standing academic tradition of studying social movements and patterns of their dissemination around the world. What is really new in my approach to the topic is the ‘meta-level’ concepts I use to explain globalization’s impact on mass protest behavior. I introduce the analytical framework heavily based on the concept of ‘consumer society’ in its sociological interpretation. It means that consumption is not only a process to satisfacty basic needs but also a human activity aimed at gaining status in the social structure. Thus, I assume that globalization most directly affects individuals wherever they live and work through consumption, transforming its processes and objects. The impact of globalization on consumer society becomes mostly obvious if we consider the interaction of consumer society and information society and the birth of the digital virtual consumption. So, consumption nowadays determines not only the day-to-day material activities of the millions of peoples. It also strongly affects their dreams and desires. But consumer society produces not only abundance and affluence, but also deficit and dissatisfaction. So I turn to the analysis of the mass protest behavior arguing that the initial point of all the protest whatever kind and scope is the feeling of the dissatisfaction and deficit. The empirical part of my paper contains several case-studies. It begins with the analysis of the 1968 student revolts. I show that the 1968 protest was perhaps one of the first manifestations of the ongoing globalization process that nevertheless wasn’t identified at that time. The 1968 global revolts embrace the First (the USA and Western European countries), the Second (the ‘Prague Spring’) and the Third (Mexico, Jamaica) worlds. I pay special attention to the fact that the student uprisings in Western countries contemporized with the birth of the affluent consumer society in the USA and West Europe. So, I interpret the 1968 student protest as a reaction to the deficit of the freedom in the interpersonal and family relations. ‘Archaic’ social taboos of the 1950s were questioned by the generation of the “1960s” who already enjoyed all the ‘fruits’ of affluence. I continue tracing the impact of globalization on the mass protest movements with another case-study: the 1989 transnational popular uprisings in the former Eastern bloc. In so doing I pay a special attention to the ‘commodity deficit’ in the socialist countries in the late 1980s as one of the factors that galvanized public unrest. It’s commonly accepted tthat the velvet revolutions and the end of the cold war opened a door to the all-embracing globalization process. After that moment the impact of globalization on the birth of new social movements became more complex. During the 1990s it was realized that globalization isn’t a force for good, and therefore it must be regulated and contained. So, the antiglobalization movement started to manifest itself worldwide in a lot of protest campaigns. In my approach I interpret the ideology of antiglobalization movement as mainly a reaction to the inequality and deficits produced by globalization especially in developing countries. In conclusion I briefly trace the newest mass protest campaigns of the 2000-2010s paying special attention to colour revolutions and popular uprisings after the global financial crisis of 2008 (Arab spring, Occupy Wall Street and Euromaidan). I suggest that new means of communication (social media) not only build a new opportunity structure for the social activists, but also allow millions of people to express their identity and become powerful actors and a force of change that couldn’t be neglected by the rulers. The era of ‘virtual digital consumption’ adds a new dimension to the mass protest movements and facilitates their dissemination around the world. Therefore, I conclude by insisting on the returning of the “masses” on the global political scene.
Keywords: mass protest, globalization, consumer society, social movements, 1968, student revolts, 1989, velvet revolutions, antiglobalization.


The «Impossible Triad» of the EU Energy Security

   Abstract. The concept of energy security of the European Union includes three elements: to provide a secure, affordable and sustainable energy. The article argues that this understanding of energy security is self contradictory, since three above mentioned objectives could not be reached simultaneously. The analysis of the contradictions between particular areas of EU energy policy, as well as some case studies of interfuel competition confirm this conclusion. For example, security supply usually requires additional expenses, thereby generating a conflict with the objective of minimizing the cost of energy. Additional costs may be associated with a higher cost of energy from a secure source in comparison with the "unsecure" one, the investment in infrastructure, political costs or even the costs of providing hard security in the region of supply. Providing additional security of supply may result in infrastructure excessive under the market logic, and structure of energy mix irrational from an economic point of view. This inevitably would increase energy price for the end consumer. Therefore, EU energy policy, politically declaring all three objectives simultaneously, in practice emphasizes one or another objective of the triad, reacting to current challenges and adapting to the changing balance of influence within the EU. The article traces the history of changing priorities of EU energy policy and their causes. Dynamic of EU energy policy priorities is determined by external factors and the changing balance of interests of the EU Member-States. Shifts from one objective to another became more frequent in the last decade in comparison with 1980s-1990s, as the differences in the energy interests within the Union have increased in line with the number of the EU countries The fluctuations between the objectives of the energy triad and the need to follow, at least verbally, all three priorities reduce efficiency and coherence of EU energy policy.
Keywords: Energy security; European Union; energy policy; security of supply; affordable energy; sustainable energy.


Digest of Foreign Publications


Energy Studies in the Theory of International Relations

   Abstract. Politics of energy have been a key area of international relations studies since the oil crisis of 1970ies. The heoretical framework of energy research is still dominated by neorealism, which focuses on the role of state actors and their interests in terms of energy security. Military aspects of energy politics are by far the main area of interest of the neorealist school, represented by M.Klare, J. Russell, D. Moran etc. “Resource nationalism” is another issue analyzed by scholars inspired by neorealism. Some neorealist researchers use the geopolitical framework to study energy policy. The neoliberal school, represented by A. Goldthau, J.M.Witte, C. Fettweis and others, looks into the role of institutions, international cooperation and liberal markets. Unlike neorealists, neoliberals suppose that international energy markets provide the necessary conditions for peaceful cooperation and global governance. However, as an alternative to this “neo-neo” debate, several new theoretical approaches are becoming increasingly popular among energy policy researchers. For instance, the constructivist school provides an interesting insight into the role of perceptions and ideas in the energy sphere. Neomarxist and international political economy theories are also used to analyzing energy policy issues. A large number of scholars, both in Russia and abroad, prefer a combined approach based on elements of various theories. Combined analytical frameworks have been developed by such leading Western researchers as D.Yergin, A.Korin and G.Luft, as well as many Russian scholars, including N.Simonia, N.Mironov and S.Zhiznin.
Keywords: energy policy; energy security; neorealism; geopolitics; resource nationalism; neoliberalism; complex interdependence; energy terrorism; constructivism; securitization.



Corporate Volunteering in the EU Countries

   Abstract. The article examines the main features of corporate volunteering in the European Union. Firstly, the place of these activities both in corporate social responsibility and in voluntary work is assessed. The motives for participation in corporate volunteering by companies and employees are explained as well. Secondly, specifics of EU member states are studied. The analysis is based on 4-7-years old Eurobarometer statistics on volunteering activities, the results of some questionnaires of Western researchers and the author’s investigation of websites and sustainability reports of leading companies for 2014 from the EU. Although corporate volunteering has become popular, many companies prefer other forms of corporate social responsibility, especially in the oil & gas industry and some other sectors. Moreover, corporate volunteering is popular mainly in countries with developed traditions of voluntary work. Thus, corporate volunteering is only an additional institutional form of voluntary work. In fact, companies prefer to support their employees volunteering projects (sometimes within selected priorities) or give employees one-day vacations for their voluntary work with non-profit organizations. It means that companies do not consider volunteering as a PR-asset. Indeed, they usually choose corporate charity or social marketing for PR-purposes. Only few European companies prefer to develop their own volunteering programs (usually within their business specialization – e.g. in healthcare by pharmaceutical. companies). However, corporate volunteering significantly supports voluntary work in some European countries by additional financial resources and new categories of volunteers. The most interesting category is young specialists who are eager to develop their communication skills within their company and acquire new live experience and new competences, but it does not mean that such volunteers are only career-driven.
Keywords: volunteering in the EU; corporate volunteering; corporate social responsibility; motives of voluntary work; transnational corporations.


Communication Barriers of the BRICS Educational Space

   Abstract. The article addresses the problems of overcoming communication barriers in the process of building a BRICS educational environment. In the modern world, education is seen as a crucial factor of social development and a “soft power” tool in global competition. One of the global megatrends is life-long learning that allows the possibility of continuous professional training and entails qualitative changes in the labour force. It comes as no surprise that one of the main directions in developing cooperation in the BRICS states is education, particularly, building a new international educational environment. The article aims at revealing and further breaking communication barriers hampering the creation of a single educational environment of the states with different historical and cultural backgrounds, located on different continents. The paper analyses the experience of creating the European Higher Education Area, a single educational space of the CIS, the SCO University and the educational space of the Eurasian Economic Community. The author points out that all these projects were launched largely due to political and economic reasons. Among the advantages of the projects realized is academic mobility of students and faculty, a thoroughly worked out system of credits accepted by all the Universities belonging to the educational space. The disadvantages list a lack of coordination in the curricula and different approaches to academic degrees. The article goes on to analyze the causes of communication barriers in educational cooperation: ethnic and cultural, linguistic, institutional (socio-psychological, intra-university, IT, legal, financial). The author concludes that breaking communication barriers fosters the creation of the BRICS educational environment, which is vital for training personnel for the national economies of the BRICS states.
Keywords: educational environment; communication barriers; life-long learning; academic mobility; cross-cultural communication; educational standards.


Economic Priorities of Russia and Sub-Saharan Africa Relations

   Abstract. The article examines economic relations and the renewal of cooperation between Russia and Sub- Saharan Africa. The previous partnerships were abandoned in the early 1990s after the disintegration of the USSR. The authors analyze the record of the Soviet economic presence in the region and highlight Russia’s modern advantages and disadvantages in the markets of Sub-Saharan countries. High emphasis is placed on the main factors of commercial and investment attractiveness of Sub-Saharan Africa for Russia. Development of energy cooperation against the depletion of hydrocarbon reserves in Russia is an issue of high relevance for Russian business. Similarly, the expansion of deliveries of agricultural products from Tropical Africa to Russia could become a useful instrument for diversification of Russian food imports in the context of the current economic sanctions. However, the current levels of trade between Russia and regional economies remain marginal, even despite recent trade preferences adopted by Moscow. Furthermore, the authors describe such relatively new phenomenon in Russian-African economic relations as the penetration of Russian banks and IT companies in Sub-Saharan region. The article contains assessments of investment attractiveness of the regional countries, as well as achievements of traditional and new competitors of Russian business in the region. It also examines the main trends in flows of FDI to Sub-Saharan Africa including from Russia. The authors describe the most important investment projects with participation of Russian companies and determine countries that are the key partners for Russia in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the last part of the article, the authors study the current state and prospects of cooperation in military supplies between Russia and Sub- Saharan Africa.
Keywords: economic interests of Russia in Sub-Saharan Africa; natural resources; trade; investment; energy cooperation; factors of investment attractiveness; military-technical cooperation; competition; food imports; infrastructural projects.



Renewed Standoff With the West: Back to the Future?

   Abstract. The exacerbation of tensions between Russia and the West resembles the cold war period in that it encompasses all spheres: politics, economy, and information. The confrontation was not inevitable but the result of the political mistakes made, and does not suit the interests of anyone, while augmenting politicomilitary and economic risks for all. The resolution of the stand-off should be sought through negotiations and engagement, not sanctions, saber-rattling or information war. Russia’s operation in Syria – which had among its goals to change the agenda and build bridges with the West – has managed to make western political and military leaders speak to their Russian counterparts. Yet their interaction on Syria, though definitely needed if only to prevent getting unnecessarily in each other’s way in that country, will not be sufficient as a game changer unless Russia succeeds in changing the perception of itself as an expansionist country. The resolution of the Ukrainian crisis remains a key prerequisite in overcoming the cold confrontation with the West. The settlement of the Ukrainian crisis must be based on rigorous implementation of the Minsk Agreements, irreversible discontinuation of military activities in Eastern Ukraine, and guarantees of the country’s territorial integrity and non-aligned status. The confrontation and information war in Russia’s relations with the West should give way to a coordinated effort to prevent economic collapse in Ukraine and foster its future development. Moreover, both Russia and the West need to develop a comprehensive long-term strategy of mutual engagement focused on joint efforts to overcome international challenges and together seek resolution of global problems whether it is ending the Ukrainian crisis, finding a way out of the civil war in Syria or more broadly, upholding international institutions and international law, building an inclusive security environment in the Euro-Atlantic region and cooperating in Asia-Pacific, overcoming global terrorism and cyber-threats, preventing nuclear proliferation and the weaponization of space, effectively dealing with global climate change, disease and hunger, and ensuring sustainable development of the world’s poorest regions.
Keywords: Cold War; U.S.-Russia relations; information war; sanctions; Ukrainian crisis; Minsk agreements; Syria.


Faces and Personalities


«Russian-Western Relations Lack Realpolitik
Mentality on Both Sides»


Lee Jae Sung

Promotion of Public-Private Partnerships
in the Republic of Korea

   Abstract. The R.O.K. leadership's stand on supporting public-private partnership (PPP) is defined in such key legal arrangements as The Act on Private Participation in Infrastructure, the President-issued Enforcement Decree of The Act on Public-Private Partnerships in Infrastructure and PPP Basic Plan which chiefly lay the regulatory basis for the PPP practice. Some important aspects of granting preferences and incentives to private companies in PPP are determined by other laws, including The Act on the Acquisition of and Compensation for Land, etc. for Public Works, Restriction of Special Taxation Act, Local Tax Act and Restriction of Special Local Taxation Act. The R.O.K. government enhancement of PPP takes the form of cooperation in settling project-linked land matters, financial support and risk-sharing mechanisms. The land settlement support means that the concessionaire is granted land expropriation rights and may entrust the competent authority, such as the local government, with the execution of the land purchase, compensation for loss, and resettlement of residents, among others. The financial support is provided by means of construction subsidies and tax incentives to the private partner while the compensation of base cost, early termination payment and Infrastructure Credit Guarantee Fund are the risk-sharing mechanisms. According to the legislation, the central or local governments may grant construction subsidies to the concessionaires if it is required to maintain the user fee at an affordable level. The tax benefits comprise separate taxation on interest derived from social infrastructure bonds, application of zero rating to VAT and VAT exemption in case of certain facilities and services as well as Acquisition Tax exemption with respect to PPP. In the compensation of base cost structure, the government assumes a portion of investment risk that is limited to what the government's costs would have been in the case of a public-financed project. The mechanism of early termination payment enables the private side in the project to request the government to terminate the concession agreement for certain reasons. When such a situation occurs the government pays the early termination payment for the project, taking over the project facility involved. The R.O.K. PPP market has gained in stability to become profitable over the past 20 years. In December 2011, Korea had 600 contract-based PPP projects, valued at USD 79.6 billion, a 29-percent increase in comparison with the same period of 2009.
Keywords: public-private partnership in Korea, PPP support measures, PPP basic regulations, PPP project implementation.


Book reviews

Competitive Advantages of RIC in the New Circumstances
Allison, Roy. Russia, the West, and Military Intervention. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 308 p. Allison, Roy. The Russian case for military intervention in Georgia: international law, norms and political calculation. / Georgia: Revolution and War / Ed. by Rick Fawn. London; New York: Routledge, 2014, pp. 90-117. Allison, Roy. Russian ‘deniable intervention’ in Ukraine: how and why Russia broke the rules // International Affairs, 2014, vol. 90, no. 6, pp. 1255-1297
Dilemmas of Aid to «Global South»
Nye J. Is the American Century over? John Wiley and Sons, 2015. 152 p
Russian Discourse on Integration
The Next Great War? The Roots of World War I and the Risk of U.S.-China Conflict. ed. by R.N. Rosencrance, S.E. Miller. Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2015. 290 p

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