The clearest shared understanding of Eastern Europe’s geographical boundaries emerged over the course of the geopolitical polarization following the Second World War. The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the socialist regimes beyond the “Iron Curtain” brought all-encompassing and dramatic changes to the region and evoked the shared endeavor of (re-) integration into the liberal Western order as the primary goal of the state and society.
A quarter century later, however, analysts and decision makers alike have to deal with a much more differentiated picture of what was once a more or less homogeneous region. As quantitatively indicated by numerous indexes and scores, e.g. Polity IV, Freedom House or the World Bank Governance Indicators, there is a great divergence in the political and economic developments in the region reaching from the successfully EU-integrated Central European Countries and the laggards in the Southeast to the more or less advanced EU candidate countries and finally, the quasi-authoritarian regimes in Central Asia. As a result of Russia’s foreign policy towards Crimea and the fact-based suspicion of an active involvement in the destabilized Eastern Ukraine, the Eastern European situation has once again made headlines and returned to the front page. As well, old fears and anxieties have been revived in the neighborhood and beyond. Knowing this, the best solution against fear and anxiety is the thorough study and investigation of the problem at hand.
Starting on October 5, 2015, the Center for Global Politics offers a Stand-Alone Module called Introduction and Tools to deal with these topical questions which are beyond doubt worth exploring. Join us and meet our dedicated and competent instructor Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Studies Program at Miami University (Ohio). She obtained her PhD at the George Washington University focusing on post-communism, political economy and Russian regions.