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Striving Towards a Consensus

Striving Towards a Consensus

Almost a century ago today, Winston Churchill said that the Balkans produce more history than they can consume. It seems like this has remained unchanged over the years and Albania is no exception. Along with political events and conflicts in Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia, recent and momentous political developments are taking place in one of the most important countries for the stability of the Western Balkans. More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


Bulgaria – Geopolitical Near Future Outlook

Bulgaria – Geopolitical Near Future Outlook

Rapid progress in today’s modern world is also generating a significant speed-up of the rate with which social and technological challenges rise up to hinder the peoples of the 21st century. Bulgaria, through its position on the crossroads of the Balkans, has a rather complex geopolitical profile, influenced by neighbouring countries, by EU and NATO and by global and regional powers like Russia, the USA and Turkey. In this context, a multicriteria approach has to be outlined for social, economic and security facets, in order to achieve a more concrete future analysis. More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


The Big Misunderstanding with Bulgaria. Why Not Cross The Danube?

The Big Misunderstanding with Bulgaria. Why Not Cross The Danube?

It seemed that this motto would best reflect the attitude of many Romanians, diplomats, experts, politicians, regarding the bilateral relations of Romania with her neighbour from across the Danube. For the Romanians, Bulgaria, located so closely, remains a distant land, a great unknown and a mysterious and even exotic place. Regardless, our stake in Bulgaria might turn out to be at least as important for Romania as the bilateral, trilateral, quadrilateral, multilateral formats, strategies, initiatives and partnerships that have been hatched for years in Bucharest by policymakers.  More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


The Hungarian Government’s Chase of “Foreign Agents”: The Orgy of Hypocrisy

The Hungarian Government’s Chase of “Foreign Agents”: The Orgy of Hypocrisy

Last month, Hungary made headlines in the international press again by making further steps towards Viktor Orbán’s illiberal dream, which was highlighted three years ago at an event in Băile Tușnad in Romania. Viktor Orbán’s government recently passed a law that enables the authorities to shut down the Central European University – the university established by George Soros, and operating in Hungary for more than two and a half decades. More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Eurasian Economic Union: A Risky Game or an Opportunity?

Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Eurasian Economic Union: A Risky Game or an Opportunity?

The regional economic integration within the globalized world has been recognized as an important driver for economic growth and job creation. Hence, free trade is one of the essential points for future regional economic development that would lead to a more productive and competitive economic structure. In this respect, the Eurasian Economic Union, which came into force in 2015, aims to establish a single regional market with the elimination of all customs barriers between its Member States. Even though a number of Post-Soviet countries have already become members of the EEU, Azerbaijan has managed to maintain its neutral position in this regard.  More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


Iran in the South Caucasus – A Keystone to Nagorno-Karabakh?

Iran in the South Caucasus – A Keystone to Nagorno-Karabakh?

The Republic of Azerbaijan occupies a key geostrategic position in the region of the South Caucasus. Lying at the geographical crossroads, this country is located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea and controls large reserves of hydrocarbon energy resources in the basin. This geographic location and geoeconomic importance of the area not only creates opportunities, but also generates threats, or at least challenges. More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


Macedonia – The Sounds of War Drums Are Mass Auditory Hallucinations

Macedonia – The Sounds of War Drums Are Mass Auditory Hallucinations

It has been 16 years since the last war on the Balkan Peninsula. The last time anything resembling a war occurred, hundreds died and the small country of Macedonia was left with a reorganized political system, a crushed economy and a convulsing system of social relations. These days, we hear the dogs of war begin their gruesome growls yet again as rule of law collapses in the Republic of Macedonia, but you would be a fool to believe your ears. So what has been going on in Macedonia?  More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


Politics in the Republic of Moldova – Strong Essences in Tiny Bottles

Politics in the Republic of Moldova – Strong Essences in Tiny Bottles

The Republic of Moldova is a post-Soviet geopolitical entity, underdeveloped and currently maintained by financial interests, domestic and abroad: because of its geostrategic position in Eastern Europe, it is being used as an interface between the Eastern and the Western financial markets, an enabler for transactions and other movements that would otherwise not take place or be more difficult, especially for Russian oligarchs. At the same time, under this cover, Russian operatives affiliated to SVR are maintaining clandestine operations within the Western hemisphere because they have in their possession a “launching pad” – Transnistria, the first “frozen conflict” and the 14th Russian Army base, which can be used as a “pressure point” in different negotiations. Through this “open window” to Europe, plus their tradecraft ability, they are able to penetrate and control large swathes of the Republic: Russian speaking minorities, mass-media organizations and different political parties through businesses and other actors. More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


How to Steal a Billion in the Wild East

How to Steal a Billion in the Wild East

The Republic of Moldova is a very small state in the East of Europe, very far from the rich core of the continent. As an economy, it is one of the smallest in Europe, being the 41st largest economy of the continent (in Purchasing Power Parity methodology) and the 144th largest economy of the world, with a GDP of about 18 billion USD. In nominal terms, the size of the GDP is somewhere over 6 billion (6.8 last year, according to its own statistics). Small is not beautiful here: as an image for its poverty, the trade deficit is over 2 billion US dollars, about 30% of the GDP, and one fifth of the public budget is made up of foreign aid. More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


The Russian Federation and the Implementation of the A2/AD System in the Black Sea: Risks and Threats to Romania

The Russian Federation and the Implementation of the A2/AD System in the Black Sea: Risks and Threats to Romania

The Crimean Peninsula was under Tatar control until the end of the eighteenth century when Catherine II announced the annexation of the region in 1783 to the Russian Empire. She established the main naval base of the Russian Empire on the Black Sea in the city of Sevastopol in 1785. It retained its importance until 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and the peninsula became part of independent Ukraine since it had been offered to the Ukrainian SSR as a gift in 1954 by Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union at that time, celebrating 300 years of Russian-Ukrainian friendship. The breakup of the Soviet Union meant that its successor state, the Russian Federation, lost the strategic position and the freedom of maneuver which Crimea offered in the Black Sea region. However, Moscow would regain its position on May 28th 1997 when Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma signed the Treaty of Friendship Cooperation and Partnership in Kiev. Among other things, it created the division of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet in two parts and allowed the use by the Russian Federation of the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol and its territorial waters until 2017, for 98 million dollars per year.[5] More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


Germany-Russia: Normative Deadlock and Confrontation Fatigue

Germany-Russia: Normative Deadlock and Confrontation Fatigue

Due to the Ukrainian crisis, political relations between Russia and Germany, which used to call each other “strategic partners” at an earlier date, have hit rock bottom. The Germans were embarrassed by the fact that Russia had undermined, in their view, the foundations of European security architecture of which Germany self-identifies as a key advocate. It even became known that Angela Merkel allegedly said, after one of the rounds of negotiations on Ukraine, that Vladimir Putin “exists in another reality”, which demonstrated very well the deepening communication failure. As a result, Germany was one of the initiators of economic sanctions against Russia, working closely with the Obama Administration on a common policy towards Moscow, and broke off all possible bilateral negotiation formats at the highest level. Some symbolic “red lines” were crossed: for instance, Germany became the framework nation for NATO reassurance forces in Lithuania, so the German army again approached the Western borders of Russia. Both sides described the current state of relations as a complete loss of trust. More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


Serbia's Geopolitical Position and Challenges, According to Its Elites

Serbia's Geopolitical Position and Challenges, According to Its Elites

Serbia is a state in the Balkans whose foreign policy should be well balanced to be effective, given the heavy historical legacy of the region and its susceptibility to distortions of global politics. That is why Serbia’s elites should know the position of their country in international relations well, and act in accordance with this knowledge. The main problem with this is that most of these elites are predominantly driven by their group and personal interests, rather than the national one. More

No. 3, Jan.-Feb. 2017 2017


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OEconomica No. 1, 2016