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Nordic Russian and Eastern European Studies Conference
Intentions, Interactions and Paradoxes in Post-Socialist Space
24-25 May 2013 in Helsinki, Finland

Abstracts

Constructing and Crossing Borders in the EU’s Neighbourhood and Russia Policies
Chair and discussant: Tatiana Zhurzhenko (University of Vienna, Austria and Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland)
Ilkka Liikanen (Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland, Finland): The EU and the "Re-bordering" of Post-Soviet Space
Larisa Titarenko
(Belarus State University, Minsk, Belarus / Collegium for Advanced Studies, Helsinki, Finland): EU-Belarus Cross-bordering Projects: Paradoxes of Interactions or the Mutuality of Exclusion?
Tiina Sotkasiira
(Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland, Finland): Migration in the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood
Andrey Deviatkov
(Malmo University, Sweden): Dynamics of Inclusion / exclusion in Polish and Swedish discourses toward Eastern neighbourhood

The European Union is actively engaged in re-configuring borders at its external boundaries and its neighbourhood. In post-Soviet space, it is pushing forward regional co-operation agendas and cross-border cooperation projects that target political and social modernization and convergence to the EU norms. At the same time the EU is developing a new security area that aims at stopping undocumented immigration and addressing other perceived threats. These objectives are often contradictory and problematic – they contain both progressive elements of potential regional partnerships but also exclusionary and discriminatory aspects. With a view to future scenarios of deeper regional co-operation, our panel will investigate discontinuities between domestic political agendas in the neighbouring states and the EU’s Neighbourhood Policy as reflected by borders-related issues. 
We will examine how the rhetoric of cross-border cooperation promoted by Neighbourhood Policies of the European Union corresponds to the ways of conceptualizing borders in the internal discussion of the countries of ex-Soviet Union and in their external relations - with the EU and with one another. To what degree different actors are speaking the same language and using common political grammars? What is the difference between the core and the fringe of the ex-Soviet political space in regard to the border crossing policies from their own (national) perspective?
A special focus is set on the analysis of different kind of border spanning and border crossing projects that are intended to promote new kind of cross-border regionalization. What are the regional experiences and national level political conclusions of the EU-supported cross-border cooperation projects? Are they neutral tools of social and political modernization or means of promoting institutional and discursive Europeanization that builds new exclusionary lines within post-Soviet space?