UACES conference Exchanging Ideas- Dr. Mikhail Molchanov

UACES conference Exchanging Ideas on Europe 2012-Dr. Mikhail Molchanov

On September 2-5,  Dr. Molchanov took part in the UACES conference Exchanging Ideas on Europe 2012; Old Borders – New Frontiers. The conference took place in the University of Passau, Germany. The University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES) provides an independent forum for informed debate and discussion of European affairs. It is directly involved in promoting research and teaching in European Studies as well as bringing together academics with practitioners active in European affairs. Its annual conference is a showcase event brining in leading experts in European Union studies from the EU and abroad.

Dr. Molchanov presented a  paper entitled ” Eurasian Regionalisms and Russian Foreign Policy”. The paper presented a study of regional integration projects in the postcommunist Eurasia, defined as the former Soviet space plus China, and the impact that the Russian foreign policy has on these projects. The role that major powers, both indigenous (Russia) and external to the post-Soviet region (China, USA) play in, alternatively, encouraging or dampening the development of the competing regionalist projects remains under explored.

The paper endeavoured to close this gap by looking at new regionalism in Eurasia in the context of a parallel exploration of Russia’s foreign policy. Dr. Molchanov addressed Eurasian regionalist projects as a subset of the new regionalism (NR) developments that had emerged in response to neoliberal globalization and represent an adaptive reaction to it. The foreign policy emphasis in a study of evolving regionalisms sought to refocus attention on regionalizing agency and its role in shaping regional institutions and structures. Such a refocusing, in my view, allows building a bridge from a study of new regionalism to a study of domestic determinants of foreign policy. Both areas of research are crucially important for the better understanding of politics of development and international relations that connect emerging economies to each other.

Presentation was met with interest and contributed to a wider debate at the panel on ‘Awkward’ States in Regional Integration. The panel addressed such questions, as: What drives some states to join regional organizations while frequently appearing ill at ease with their choice? How are these states managed by their partners? What constitutes
“awkwardness” in regional integration processes?