The Russian-Georgian war in 2008 revealed serious weaknesses in the Russian Armed Forces. In the wake of the war the political leadership in Russia seized the opportunity to push forward with a number of reforms which had been underway for quite some time, but which had been met with stubborn resistance by the military leadership. In October 2008 Minister of Defence Anatolii Serdiukov launched a comprehensive initiative to reduce the numbers of officers dramatically and to enhance the intake of professional soldiers, thus in effect transforming the army from a huge mobilization army to a smaller, professional army. The most important task ahead will be to equip the armed forces with armaments suited for modern warfare. The article discusses the various elements of the current reform initiative in light of the experiences from former attempts to reform the armed forces, as well as the main obstacles to the current reform: the continued resistance within the officer corps and the cost of modernizing the army in the midst of an economic crisis.
Keywords: defence budget, equipment, military reform, personnel, Russia
The article applies Piotr Sztompkas theory of social becoming on a discussion of media change in the Baltic region. Concentrating on three recurrent categories in the literature on the transformation of the Baltic media landscape – glasnost, mass media and social movements – the article seeks to explore how these categories contributed to shaping the current media landscape. Sztompkas model of social becoming is an attempt at developing a tool for studying social change without being historically deterministic and at the same time getting round the dichotomisation of structure and actor in social theory. Previously, the model has been applied on analyses of social movements and revolutions. In the article, it is attempted to extend the use to the study of mass media in the Baltic states. It is argued that media change in the Baltic states was an event that drew on external factors such as glasnost and public involvement in social movements, but that the impact of these external factors cannot be separated from each other or from developments inside the media system itself.
Keywords: the Baltic states, glasnost, mass media, media change, social change, social movements
This article presents the thoughts on Russia, Russian culture, nationalism and imperialism that were formulated in the polemical works written by the Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev during the First World War. In these works, Berdyaev claims that Russian culture is characterized by certain tensions, i.e. the tension between anarchism and state authoritarianism, and between anti-nationalistic humanism and crude nationalism. To explain these tensions, Berdyaev points to what he considers to be the dominance of «female» primordial forces and the lack of a «male» sense of personal responsibility in Russian culture. Berdyaev also contends that all great peoples are messianic, i.e. they have a mission to fulfil; and he emphasizes that it is time for Russia to «say its word» to the world. The article further discusses how Berdyaevs polemical works from this period have been evaluated by scholars who have studied the life and thoughts of Berdyaev and traces how ideas that were formulated in Berdyaevs war-time works re-appear in his later writings. Finally, it contains a criticism of Berdyaevs concepts and way of thinking.
Keywords: Nikolai Berdyaev, imperialism, messianism, nationalism, Russia