Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The purpose of this blog

Dear Reader,

The purpose of this blog is to follow, to comment on, and to analyse contemporary political events in the post-Soviet region. By 'political events' I mean public events, particularly events relating to the state and to bodies subordinated to the state, but also including events that may reasonably be assumed to have influence on a given state in the near future. While I realise such a definition will make the topics of my blog quite diverse I doubt that employing stricter, artifical delimitations of the topic would be beneficial to my purpose.
As for the 'post-Soviet region' I include all fifteen successor states of the Soviet Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. While I realise that these states have suffered highly divergent fortunes in the last two decades, I nonetheless wish to include all these states for two main reasons: first, because none of the states have managed to completely distance themselves from the heritage of the Soviet Union and its collapse, and, second, because by highlighting the very differences between these states may help the observer to view each of them more clearly.
I will not claim to be a neutral observer of post-Soviet political events; indeed, I do not believe such neutrality is possible. However, my purpose in this blog is not (often) to advocate policy changes as much as it is to attempt to present some understanding, however limited of events; understanding going behind and beyond those presented in the daily news. Whether I shall succeed in this is, of course, not for me to say.
Finally, a couple of words about myself and the background for my claim to at least partly understand post-Soviet politics. I am an academic, having received my PhD-degree in Political Science from University College London, United Kingdom. My academic work has generally focused on the post-Soviet region. For anyone wishing a more thorough understanding of my analytical view I suggest consulting my doctoral thesis on Russia, Belarus and Ukraine on  http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/19223/1/19223.pdf
For the purpose of this blog I shall generally consult English- and Russian-language news sources; partly because of their frequent engagement with the topics of this blog, and partly because of my language skills. Among English-language media I plan to regularly use newspapers such as The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent, as well as internet-based news-sources such as Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, and The Jamestown Foundation. Among Russian-language sources I plan to use Газета.ru, Итар-Тасс, Известия, РИА Новости, and Российская газета, among many others, depending on my topic of choice. Of course, I will always provide any sources I may have consulted and will strongly encourage any reader to consult these sources, to the extent it is possible for him / her.
I very much look forward to working on this blog and hope it will draw thought-provoking comments, from the post-Soviet region and beyond.
February 21st, 2014
Rasmus Nilsson