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More filters. Sort order. Tom rated it liked it Jan 11, Stephen Bruce marked it as to-read Dec 10, Stefan marked it as to-read Sep 20, LPenting marked it as to-read Nov 01, Augusto Petter marked it as to-read Aug 04, Matt Nesbitt marked it as to-read Oct 24, Sreya Vaidyanathan marked it as to-read Mar 13, Tiana marked it as to-read Jun 10, Artem marked it as to-read Jul 19, Anna is currently reading it Nov 08, There are no discussion topics on this book yet. There has been smooth cooperation between the sides on visas and cultural issues, albeit less so since Today, many Bulgarians who oppose Russia see the threat it poses as greater than, or equal to, that from terrorism or the refugee crisis.

Official relations between Bulgaria and Russia cover political, economic, educational, and cultural issues. The countries cooperate on energy, trade, tourism, and, to an extent, maritime affairs in the Black Sea. Most Bulgarians view Russia as a friendly country and recognise their historical, cultural, linguistic, and religious links with the Russian people. Before it joined the European Union in , Croatia generally had a stable, productive bilateral relationship with Russia.

Official relations remain volatile, following several tense verbal exchanges between Croatian and Russian leaders in recent years. In Croatia, there is widespread concern that Russia is trying to pull the Western Balkans back into its sphere of influence. The Russian media and the Russian Orthodox Church have only minimal influence in the country. The Cypriot government sees Russia as a partner. Greek-Cypriots have relied heavily on Russian support in talks on reunifying Cyprus, providing Russia with considerable political leverage over the country.

Cyprus and Russia have long had strong political, economic, and security ties. Almost all Cypriot political parties, including the ruling Democratic Rally party, have a positive approach towards Russia. However, Cypriot foreign policy usually aligns with that of the European Union, including in maintaining sanctions on Russia. Russia is the main source of foreign direct investment in Cyprus, but most of this investment is for tax and legal protection purposes.

A popular destination for Russian tourists, Cyprus is widely regarded as a money-laundering hub for members of Russian organised crime groups. Members of the Czech elite generally see Russia as threatening to destabilise Eastern Europe, a perception that has grown since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine in Having traditionally viewed it as only as an indirect threat, they now increasingly acknowledge that interference from Moscow has had a direct impact on the Czech Republic.

Nonetheless, the Czech Republic views terrorism and the refugee crisis as more pressing threats to the country and the wider European Union than Russia. Bilateral relations between the Czech Republic and Russia centre on economic diplomacy — especially that related to the protection of Czech investments in Russia, which are largely concentrated in the automotive industry through Skoda , real estate, and banking.

Copenhagen is among the leading advocates of sanctions on Russia, and of working within NATO and the European Union to create a coherent Russia policy. Denmark has experienced threats from Russia in recent years, including a form of a simulated attack of the Danish island of Bornholm in Concerned about the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which would skirt the coast of Bornholm , Copenhagen is looking to change the legislation around the approval of such energy projects, advocating that foreign policy and security considerations be taken into account when assessing them.

Despite its security concerns, Denmark cooperates with Russia within the framework of the Arctic Council the countries have overlapping territorial claims in the Arctic. As a result, Denmark tends to view its relationship with Russia as being compartmentalised, comprising elements of both cooperation and containment. Russia has limited influence in Denmark. Estonia is highly critical of Russia, perceiving the threat from Moscow as its main security priority.

Therefore, securing the presence of NATO troops within its borders became an issue of utmost importance after Russia annexed Crimea in Estonia harbours some anxiety about the loyalties of the 27 percent of the population who speak Russian, most of them Soviet-era immigrants. However, the ties between Russia and these Estonian citizens are mainly limited to culture and language — most have never wanted to join the Russian state.

Russian information operations have repeatedly targeted Estonia, but this interference peaked a decade ago and has been less intrusive though still present since In , the Russian authorities abducted an Estonian security officer on the Russia-Estonia border they released him a year later. Despite the broad political consensus on Russia, parts of the Estonian Centre Party see Russia as a possible partner, especially in trade and tourism.

Helsinki regards cooperation, dialogue, and engagement with Russia as indispensable, but views Moscow as increasingly difficult to work with. Helsinki and Moscow have a long history of effective cooperation in the management of the Finland-Russia border. There was a hiccup in winter , when Russia relaxed its border-related legislation, allowing around 2, illegal immigrants to cross into Finland.

The problem was solved after a presidential meeting in March Finnish custody cases involving the children of Russian nationals have become a politicised issue in the Russian media. Many French citizens have positive views of Russia, largely due to their romanticised vision of Russian culture and the long history of Franco-Russian artistic and philosophical exchange. This perspective also stems from the Gaullist tradition in French foreign policy — within which one deals with nations and great powers rather than with their regimes.

France likes to use dialogue with Russia to emphasise its continued relevance on the international stage. Indeed, Emmanuel Macron came to power criticising his predecessor for failing to engage in substantive dialogue with Moscow. This broad view of Russia should not be confused with a pro-Russian political agenda.


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Working with Russia has never been easy for France, even before the Ukraine crisis. And the French public does not share the positive views of Vladimir Putin that are relatively common in part of the establishment. Macron has tried his own approach to this dialogue, hosting Putin with pomp in Versailles only a few weeks into his presidency, while being outspoken on their differences. French arms sales to Moscow, which grew rapidly in the s and early s, ended after the imposition of sanctions on Russia in In Germany, there are two competing narratives on Russia. These factors, combined with shared economic interests, form the foundations of German engagement with Russia.

Before , many Germans hoped that trade and political links would help modernise Russia and draw it into the Western community of states. The new government that took office in is even stricter with Russia than its predecessors. In its dealings with Moscow, Berlin has invested a lot of diplomatic energy in restoring trust and agreeing on key security issues — with little result. Berlin continues to regard German economic interests in Russia as important, while maintaining its support for sanctions on the country. Germany and Russia still engage in cooperation on trade and energy, albeit at a much lower level than they did before Greece and Russia traditionally have a warm relationship due to their well-established cultural and historical ties.

Good relations between the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches have significantly strengthened these ties, enhancing Russian influence in Greece. In January , when the leftist Syriza party came to power, relations between the countries seemed set to improve further. The Syriza government hoped that Moscow would provide a loan to Greece or otherwise save the country from the austerity measures required by the terms of its financial rescue package from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Yet, after agreeing to a third bailout, Greece realised that it could not rely on Russian financial support.

The country now attempts to walk the thin line between improving bilateral economic relations with Moscow and respecting its obligations to the EU and NATO. Greece sees Russia as an economic partner, especially in the fields of energy, tourism, and agriculture. However, successive Greek governments have followed the EU consensus in dealing with Russia, including by imposing sanctions on the country.

The Syriza government discussed in early a possible veto of these sanctions with the aim of pressuring the EU to ease the terms of the bailout , but did not follow through with the threat. Sometimes resentful of the EU for limiting its options, Greece would like to expand its cooperation with Russia. However, they regard the threat from Russia as less severe than that from terrorism or the refugee crisis.

From the early s until around , the Hungarian political parties most friendly towards Russia tended to be on the left. Hungary now depends on Russia for energy because Russian firms supply it much more cheaply than their competitors. While relations between Ireland and Russia were usually friendly for most of the post-Soviet era, the physical and psychological differences between the countries are now evident in almost every arena — be it political, cultural, or social.

Russia is largely absent from Irish public discourse, but Dublin perceives the country as a threat to the Western order due to its aggressive actions in Eastern Europe albeit not a direct political or security threat to Ireland. Nonetheless, these parties have little influence on Irish politics. The Ireland-Russia bilateral agenda focuses predominantly on trade. Italy generally sees Russia as more of a partner than a threat. This is due to historical ties and a handful of pragmatic considerations.

As it believes that Moscow is key to addressing various transnational conflicts in Libya, Syria, and elsewhere and threats such as terrorism , it has no interest in isolating Russia on the international stage. This means that Italy wants the EU to select issues on which it will engage with Russia without compromising on its values and principles.

At the same time, Italy is trying to ensure smooth bilateral cooperation with Russia, especially on energy. In the last two years, Italy has shown a preference for bilateral dialogue, maintaining contact with Russian leaders in areas such as energy, transport, and trade. As neighbours, Latvia and Russia have a long shared history. Latvia sees Russia as an important trading partner, but also the main threat to its security and sovereignty — a far greater threat than terrorism or the refugee crisis.


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Latvia regards these policies as designed to increase Russian influence in the country, which can be used to generate support for Moscow and widen divisions in Latvian society. The Latvian government seeks to maintain some bilateral dialogue with Moscow, promoting expert seminars and other exchanges between the sides.

Latvia is also interested in practical cooperation in sectors unaffected by sanctions on Russia, such as border demarcation and control. But Latvia also remains firmly in support of maintaining the sanctions until the full implementation of the Minsk II agreement on the conflict in Ukraine.

Vilnius is particularly concerned about the military build-up in Kaliningrad, one of the most militarised regions in Eastern Europe. Lithuania is a staunch supporter of sanctions on Russia and views Western military deployments as an essential deterrence measure. Due to these factors, bilateral relations between Lithuania and Russia tend to be tense and conflictual.

The Russian diaspora in Lithuania, largely comprising Soviet-era immigrants, makes up approximately 8 percent of the population. Unlike Estonia and Latvia, Lithuania has granted automatic citizenship to all members of this community — meaning that its citizenship policy is not a matter of contention with Russia. Luxembourg predominantly regards Russia as a partner rather than a threat.

Winning the normative war with Russia: An EU-Russia Power Audit

The Luxembourgish government believes that dialogue with the Kremlin must continue despite the disagreements between the EU and Russia, believing that sanctions on the country cannot last forever because they cause economic damage to both parties. Luxembourg and Russia had a good economic relationship until , and have sustained aspects of the relationship unaffected by sanctions since then. As a financial centre, Luxembourg also facilitates transactions by some Russian companies that invest in the EU. Unlike most of their counterparts elsewhere in the EU, Luxembourgish officials have stable ties to the Russian authorities, underpinned by more than years of Luxembourg-Russia diplomatic relations.

Malta has traditionally maintained warm relations with Russia. Neither the Maltese political class nor the population views Russia as an imminent threat to national security, the economy, or the independence of the Maltese electoral process. Russia maintains a centre in Valletta that actively promotes Russian culture, particularly classical music. However, Russia-Malta relations have cooled significantly since In October , the country withdrew permission for Russian warships en route to Syria to refuel in its ports. The Netherlands sees Russia mainly as an economic partner, but also as a security threat.

The Dutch government is committed to supporting sanctions on Russia until the Minsk II agreement on the conflict in Ukraine has been fully implemented. Moreover, The Hague insists that those responsible for the destruction of MH17 must be brought to court and subjected to an independent legal process. Despite these considerations, the Netherlands regards Russia as posing a more distant, less urgent threat than those from terrorism and the refugee crisis.

The important trade and energy links between the countries strengthen their relationship, as do well-established cultural and historical ties such as those between the Dutch royal family and the Romanov family. In , the Dutch and Russian governments celebrated years of diplomatic relations and organised a variety of cultural exchanges in their countries. Poland has always been one of the harshest critics of Russia in the EU.

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The vast majority of the Polish political elite and most of the population view Russia as the main military threat to Poland. Polish leaders also fear that the Kremlin will deploy more firepower to Ukraine to seal a victory there. Polish-Russian bilateral relations are very limited, with almost no contact between the sides at a level higher than that of middle-ranking diplomats. Russia has limited cultural power in Poland due to widespread fears of, and prejudice against, Russia that are deeply rooted in history.

Portugal and Russia maintain only a distant relationship; they have never had much in common. The Russian Revolution led to a freeze in their diplomatic relations that lasted from until the Carnation Revolution, which the Soviet Union influenced through its ties to the Portuguese Communist Party. The Portuguese government perceives Russia as posing a remote threat. There is effective technical and cultural cooperation between the countries, while their economic relationship is minor but growing steadily. Romania perceives Russia as a military threat so serious that it outweighs other security issues such as terrorism.

This perception has led Bucharest to actively seek NATO security guarantees and support in protecting its eastern flank, particularly in the Black Sea. High-level Russian leaders have stated on several occasions that, by hosting missile-defence batteries, Romania has made itself a target. Although Romania has made an effort to improve its dialogue with Russia, it has also engaged with countries such as Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland in an attempt to create a balance of power in the Black Sea and the Baltic.

Although there are no openly pro-Russian parties in Romania, Russian narratives featured prominently in Romanian public discourse throughout Parts of the mainstream media picked up these narratives, as did several opportunistic politicians and parties. Slovak society is split between those who see Russia as potential threat and pro-Russians who rely on the ideological heritage of Pan-Slavism.

Slovak political elites are also split: two out of three ruling parties Social Democracy and the Slovak National Party , and the businesses linked to them, see Russia as an important economic partner and an indispensable actor in regional affairs, including efforts to resolve disputes. Some opposition parties are pro-Western; however, several parties on the extreme left and right regard Russia as a model to emulate. Several social media outlets that spread anti-Western propaganda and pro-Putin messages are quite popular in Slovakia.

At the same time, the Slovak government — especially the foreign ministry — is fully aware that it has no substantial political or economic leverage over Russia. While Slovakia supports EU sanctions on Russia, it does not see Moscow as a direct foreign policy or security threat.


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In short, although Bratislava continues to a seek pragmatic relationship with Moscow based on strong political economic and cultural links, it understands that it has little chances of success in this while relations between the EU and Russia remain tense. Yet Slovenia regards Russia as not a direct threat but a potential partner, especially in economic and energy matters.

Furthermore, as members of the same Slavic ethno-linguistic and cultural group, Slovenians feel a kinship with Russians, providing Russia with enduring influence in Slovenia. The Slovenian government is broadly critical of Moscow, particularly its oppression of the political opposition, the press, and the LGBT community.

Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History

But Ljubljana is considerably less opposed to Russian foreign policy. Slovenian politicians and media outlets tend to depict Russia as less of a threat than terrorism and especially the refugee crisis, challenges they typically present Moscow as capable of easing.

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The Spanish government sees Russia as neither a threat nor a partner, but as an important strategic actor with which the European Union should try to have good relations based on shared principles and interests. The Spanish public has broadly unfavourable views of Russia. Moscow has little influence in Spain. While some Spanish parties on the extreme right and the extreme left regard Russia as a model to emulate, they have only a marginal impact on mainstream politics. The most prominent parties of this kind are Vox and the Republican Social Movement, on the far right and far left respectively.

Madrid favours liberalising the EU visa regime with Russia to boost tourism and broader Spain-Russia economic relations, but does not regard Russia as a key trade or investment partner.