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Meri Kulmala
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Maarit Elo-Valente
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Enni Valtonen
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The Aleksanteri Institute

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00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

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Stephen E. Hanson

Stephen E. Hanson (PhD, Political Science, University of California at Berkeley) is Professor and Director of International Studies and Vice-Provost in the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. Previously, he taught at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is well-known as a scholar of comparative historical analysis of political ideas and institutions. At the moment, he is also a president-elect of Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES).

Russia, Ukraine, and the Borders of Europe
Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in March 2014 has dramatically reopened old, unresolved questions about the nature and definition of the borders of Europe, Asia, and Eurasia.  The ultimate resolution of such questions will clearly have a powerful effect on regional and global geopolitics in coming decades.  Yet we lack a consensual social scientific approach to the study of “comparative foreign policy” that would allow us to explain the various perspectives of Russian, Ukrainian, EU, US, and other key actors in this conflict.  In this context, Max Weber’s theory of the traditional, rational-legal, and charismatic types of legitimate domination can help us better understand the competing interpretations of national and regional borders that are at play in the Ukrainian crisis.  In particular, the legacy of Leninist “charismatic-rational” understandings of Soviet jurisdictional boundaries seems to have generated a specific form of post-Soviet border ambiguity, within which Russian imperial-traditional claims to “historical” territory overlap and compete with Western efforts to define the boundaries of states and international organizations in rational-legal terms.

Selected publications