Anne de Tinguy (dir.)

Looking into Eurasia : the year in politics provides some keys to understand the events and phenomena that have left their imprint on a region that has undergone major mutation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991: the post-soviet space. With a cross-cutting approach that is no way claims to be exhaustive, this study seeks to identify the key drivers, the regional dynamics and the underlying issues at stake

Charlotte Thomas

Armed combatant and leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen Burhan Wani was killed by the Indian Army in July 2016. This killing triggered a new phase of insurgency in Kashmir. In the Valley, the local populace started mobilizing against the Indian State in the name of azadi, (freedom). In such volatile context, the production of the national sentiment of the Kashmiris is documented from a distanciated perspective. Frontiers of the national group are explored from New Delhi, as well as the logics of differentiation and otherification of the Kashmiri group towards the Indian one. Kashmiri nationalism therefore more clearly appears in a negative definition (what a Kashmiri is not) than in a positive definition (what a Kashmiri is). The slight and incremental slip of the meaning of azadi demands is at the heart of Kashmiri nationalism. From an original demand for greater autonomy within the Indian Republic, demands of azadi now refer to the independence of the Valley – yet there are nuances that will be studied. They also convey an utter rejection of “Indianess” whether national or citizen. In that respect, New Delhi’s negating the political aspect of the mobilizations that are taking place in the Kashmir Valley has dramatically fuelled the national sentiment of the Kashmiris. The current insurgency that started in July 2016 has sped up the pace of the process. Despite the escalating tensions in the Valley, New Delhi keeps refusing to consider the political dimension of the local social movements, be they violent or peaceful. That is the reason why, beyond Kashmir and Kashmiris themselves, studying the political demands of the Kashmiri population does shed a light on the functioning of the Indian nation and the Indian state.

Laetitia Bucaille

Today, the creation of a Palestinian state appears to be a distant possibility: the international community rejected to manage the issue, and the leadership in these territories weakened because of its divisions, revealing their inability to advance. Both the political and the territorial partition between the Gaza strip, governed by the Hamas and the West Bank, under Palestinian authority in line with Fatah, reveal a profound crisis that questions the very contours of Palestinian politics. It also shows that Hamas’ integration in the political game made it impossible to pursue the security subcontacting system. Maintaining the system avoids reconstructing the Palestinian political community, and makes it difficult to develop a strategy that moves towards sovereignty. Since October 2015, the popular and pacific resistance project has been shelved by the return of the violence against Israeli civilians. The Palestinian leadership counts on internationalization of the cause, which has shown mediocre results. Will the replacement of Mahmoud Abbas by his competitors permit to leave the rut?

Gilles Lepesant

One week before the third Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius on November 28-29, 2013, Ukraine suspended the preparation of an association agreement with the European Union, which had been under negotiation since 2007. When the agreement was finally signed in June 2014, President Yanukovych had fled the country under people’s pressure, and the integrity of Ukraine was challenged in the East by separatists and their Russian allies. These events came paradoxically at a time when the country's cohesion seemed stronger than in the 1990s. Far from being divided into two parts, Ukraine consists of the pieces of broken empires that all have good reasons to join in the state, as recent as this one may be. Indeed, its geography, electoral or economic, does not show a split between two blocks, but various lines of division that do not necessarily herald the breaking up of the state. Since the independence, this diversity had never been translated into new institutions: for several reasons, the reshaping of the centralized regime inherited from the Soviet era was deemed untimely by the country’s political forces. Presented as a priority by the members of the Parliament elected in 2014, the reform of territorial government is being implemented while Ukraine’s driving regions are either paralyzed or threatened by war.

Signataires : Gilles Bazin, Denis Hairy, Lucien Bourgeois, Michel Jacquot, Jean-Marc Boussard, Jean-Christophe Kroll, Jean-Claude Clavel, André Neveu, Hélène Delorme, François Papy, Joseph Garnotel, Claude Servolin

Burcu Gorak Giquel

Cross-border cooperation in the EU policy of regional development is crucial for three reasons: it reinforces partnerships between, on the one hand, central, regional and local agents, and on the other hand, public, private, and associative actors; it rests on the decentralized structure of states, assigning to each level of intervention a unique role in the development process. Finally, it supports local initiative. Cross-border cooperation becomes a vehicle for the “multi-level governance” that the EU intends to promote, by linking organization of regionalized action, cooperation between actors, and solid territorial establishment. For Turkey the task represents a challenge and an opportunity. A challenge, because regionalization directly affects the unitary structure of the state. An opportunity, because the EU does not impose any model of decentralization. On the contrary, the EU gives national actors the chance to create their own public structures in function of their historical path and the negotiation between the centre and the periphery. This is what this study ultimately attempts to show, stressing two aspects of Turkish transformations: decentralization is not a precondition for membership and that different forms of cooperation exist at the borders with Bulgaria and Syria, as a proof of the Europeanization of the Turkish public administrations.

Chloé Froissart

Hukou is a system for registering and controlling the population set up under Mao to promote the socialist development program. It has created a lasting division between urban and rural areas and has given rise to differences in status that violate the Chinese constitution, which stipulates that all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law. Maintaining the hukou system and cleverly adapting this communist institution in answer to the country’s social and economic changes largely explains how the CCP remains in power. Hukou helps manage development by controlling urban expansion and favoring rapid industrialization at a lesser cost to the state. Despite accelerated reforms to the system in recent years, it has perpetuated inequality among citizens. Hukou thus remains a tool of the party’s divide-and-rule strategy. The reforms, which promote greater social mobility and help ensure that elites remain behind the central power, also curb social unrest, although in a context in which hukou has never been so criticized. The system thus remains the bedrock of an authoritarian regime, serving its two priorities: maintaining social stability and high growth rate.

Marwa Daoudy

From 1991 to 2000, Syria and Israel, two of the key actors of the Middle-Eastern conflict, entered into extensive peace negotiations. What lessons can be drawn from the process in terms of Syria’s objectives, motivations and perceptions, considering that this actor remains largely unknown? Such concerns will be addressed by identifying the major issues at stake: territory, security, and water resources. By analyzing all the obstacles on the road to peace, we will evaluate the potential for a resumption of peace talks in the new regional context. The death of President Hafez al-Asad in June 2000 and the rise to power of his son Bashar, the deterioration of the Israeli-Palestinian situation since the start of the Intifada and Ariel Sharon’s election in Israel, the war launched by the United States in Iraq, the assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon in April 2005, and the meeting of the 10th Baath Party Congress in June have all drastically impacted on domestic and regional dynamics. The purpose of the study is to shed new light on Syria’s constraints and opportunities, and their impact on her bargaining position.

Sébastien Colin

Since the resumption of talks between China and Russia – still the Soviet Union when this occurred in the mid- 1980s, relations between the two countries have been particularly dynamic. On the international level, the two countries in fact share the same viewpoint on a number of issues. These mutual concerns led to the signing of a strategic partnership in 1997, then a new treaty of friendship in 2001. The complementarity between the two countries in the energy and arms sectors also stimulates cooperation. However, this alliance is not without its limits. The United States, its primary target, can easily short-circuit it, as it did just after the September 11, 2001 attacks. In the field of cooperation, the intensity and structure of trade between the two countries are both inadequate. The rise in trade during the 1990s was very uneven and marked by a drop between 1994 and 1996. The main causes of this are situated at the local echelon along the Chinese-Russian border. After the dynamism characteristic of the 1988-1993 period, the opening of the border triggered new problems, such as illegal Chinese immigration in the little-inhabited border zones of Russia. Although this trend caused friction among the local Russian population, it was mainly the retrocession of certain Russian territories to China when the border was demarcated between 1993 and 1997 that radicalized the inhabitants, paralyzing border cooperation. The Russian and Chinese government played an active role in attempting to resolve most of these disputes, as the Tumen program illustrated. Since then, the various authorities in the two countries have tried to revitalize border cooperation, but a number of problems remain that are mainly economic in nature and vary depending on the border region.

Ivan Crouzel

In South Africa, the transition negotiated in order to build a post-apartheid political order has brought about a deep-seated transformation of the state. A central issue of this radical reform had to do with the territorial arrangement of the new state. Constitutional negotiations resulted in a hybrid federal type of system that distinctly reinforced the power of local government, particularly to counterbalance that of the nine provinces. At the same time, a smoother form of intergovernmental relations was introduced with the concept of “cooperative government.” In contrast to the centralized system that held sway under apartheid, local government has been strengthened by a new constitutional status, which in particular guarantees an “equitable share” of the national revenue. It also ensures that municipalities are represented nationally through intergovernmental structures involving the participation of local governments. The new space of autonomization that local governments henceforth enjoy nevertheless comes up against the centralizing tendencies of intergovernmental relations. In South Africa, cooperative government has turned out to be a means of consolidating national power. The configuration of the South African political party system also plays up this rationale. The dominant position of the ANC at every level of government thus has a centralizing effect on the management of center-periphery relations. Yet this dynamic is partly the result of a centralization “by default” due to the institutional weakness of sub-national governments. The use local governments make of the new constitutional space granted to them greatly depends on their own capacities, thus producing an asymmetrical dynamic of autonomization. Without their own resources, rural municipalities remain highly dependent on the central government. On the contrary, metropolitan areas manage to strengthen their power and position themselves as competitors with certain provinces, thus becoming central actors in intergovernmental relations.

Olivier Roy

One of the causes of the weakness of the State in the Middle East is that prime allegiance goes to the "solidarity group" (açabiyya), a social network which is always founded on family and personal relationships. These solidarity groups either are committed to a national strategy in order to control the State or, on the contrary, become delocalised and internationalised within diasporas which create their own transnational networks. Solidarity groups are not the expression of the permanence of a traditional society within a modern State, but rather a recomposition of allegiance networks within a political space definitively modified by the existence of a State. This recomposition can take three main forms. Firstly territorial establishment and the development of a community within sub-ethnic groups competing for power: the Kulabis in Tajikistan for example. Secondly the delocalisation of power networks which fade away once their objective, the obtaining of State power, is achieved (the Samarkand faction in Uzbekistan). Finally it can be achieved by the linking to an international network, for example that of humanitarian aid. These different types of recomposition do not weaken the State as such, which remains the framework of any possible inscription in the political space. But they do hinder the transition towards an ethnic State which can function only when it is built from above: thus Uzbekistan exists - not Baluchistan.

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