A Region Disunited? Central European Responses to the Russia-Ukraine Crisis
Europe has struggled to come to terms with the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine, and with the underlying challenge posed by Russia. Nowhere has this struggle been more obvious than in Central Europe and among the EU’s eastern-most states, which arguably should have demonstrated similar assessments of and responses to this crisis. Yet despite a shared history as Soviet satellites, still fresh transition experience, deep understanding of Eastern Europe and Russia, and geographical proximity to the conflict, this region has been surprisingly divided. These differences in approach warrant a closer look, and the contributions to this study detail the positioning of individual Central European states vis-à-vis the Ukraine crisis and Russia. Besides illustrating regional diversity in what may be the gravest crisis facing Europe since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the following chapters also uncover the reasons and rationales underlying the often different and sometimes opposing courses of action taken by the countries of the region since the beginning of the crisis. They bring to light considerable variations in political and public debate on the Ukraine crisis, important differences in economic and energy relationships with Russia, and a number of long-term legacies that in several cases even predate shared Soviet history. In so doing, the country perspectives provided here add a level of nuance and detail to a debate that is rapidly taking shape in Europe.