rss_2.0Politics in Central Europe FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Politics in Central Europe in Central Europe Feed and Development of Definitions and Concepts of Hybrid Threats and Hybrid Wars: Comparison of Solutions at the Level of the European Union, NATO and Croatia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Political, professional and academic circles, as well as the general public, are increasingly using different terms like hybrid threats and hybrid wars in everyday circumstances, describing different phenomena and processes. This trend became more prominent in Europe after the events in Ukraine in 2014, and it has especially been more emphasized since the attack of the Russian regime on Ukraine in 2022. For this reason, the central organisations of the European security architecture – the European Union and NATO, as well as their member states – pay more and more attention to research, conceptualisation and explanation of what different forms of hybrid dangers represent, what their scope is and how to effectively oppose them. This is a necessity because only by adequately addressing the problem and defining key definitions and concepts, the development of appropriate and effective response measures can be achieved. This paper aims to comparatively research and present the development of this area at the level of the European Union and the NATO Alliance, and specifically for Croatia, analyse the use of the relevant terms with a special focus on two terms: hybrid threats and hybrid wars. The first term, because it is the most general and most common hybrid term used, the second because it is the term with the strongest meaning and consequences. The research will represent an addition to the existing body of knowledge and will provide guidelines for the continued development of this field at the policy and academic levels. Also, the research will be significant for other countries and researchers in order to perceive the current status of the situation in the European Union, the NATO Alliance and Croatia as a member state of both organisations, and to be able to compare the challenges and solutions in their countries.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Cyber Threats on the Example of Visegrad Group Countries<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article deals with cyber incidents that were recorded in the area of the V4 countries. It is important for the discussed topic to extract certain factors and with their help to characterise the conducted cyberattacks in terms of political motivations. The analysis tries to prove the existence of politically motivated cyberattacks. This, in turn, helps to determine the consequences of such cyber incidents. Moreover, the scale and magnitude of the cyberattack can be information to determine the strategic maturity and cyber capabilities of the adversary. Thus, the incidents that have occurred allow a cyberattack to be characterised in political terms and thus have value as information about ongoing conflicts in cyberspace that either reflect reality or foreshadow actions yet to come in the real world. Cyber operations can also be used as a tool to build a sphere of influence and exert political, economic and military pressure on a particular state.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Threats and Counter-Hybrid Solutions: A Comparative Case Study Analysis of Croatia, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Hybrid threats are not new security challenges, but they are becoming more and more pronounced, primarily due to the situation in Ukraine, where multiple hybrid activities are underway by Russia. As central actors in the European security architecture, the European Union and NATO recognise that both organisations, their member states and other countries in Europe are exposed to various forms of hybrid threats. However, this ability to recognise hybrid threats and especially the development of counter-hybrid solutions is an open question for some smaller countries. In order to investigate the above, this paper focuses on hybrid threats and counter-hybrid solutions by analysing the state of affairs in Croatia, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our goal is to explore this area and answer the following research questions: What hybrid threats are Croatia, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina exposed to? How do they deal with them? What counter-hybrid solutions are being developed?</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue New Impetus for the European Crisis Literature<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The review essay presents European crisis literature, which tests the theories of European integration. It argues that the existing research on European crises and subsequent reactions by the European Union is fragmented, non-systematic and works with a too-implicit definition of ‘crisis’. The reviewed literature comments on turbulent developments in the European Union rather than providing comprehensive empirical research. The article demonstrates existing gaps and suggests a conceptualisation of the research topic. It also promotes a systematic research framework enabling a proper analysis of the European crises and the European Union’s reactions. Such a framework is based on a clear definition of the relevant actors and crisis situations and the identification of an empirical basis for analysis. The author argues that a systematic approach could enhance researchers’ ability to understand reactions to turbulence in European integration better and even predict the European Union’s responses to future events.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Ministers According to the Areas of Electoral Support for Political Parties in Elections to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Following identification of the areas of electoral support for the ruling parties since 1996 and subsequent analysis of the selection of ministers by each party, it was found that centre-right parties nominated more ministers from their areas of electoral support, mainly from Prague and other large cities. On the other hand, left-wing parties nominated ministers from similar areas to centre-right parties, even if they did not draw their electoral support from there. The Public Affairs party, which was established in Prague, nominated all its ministers from Prague, despite the fact that for the party it was not an area of electoral support. It is evident that, for the completion of a minister’s mandate, it is not important whether he or she comes from an area of electoral support. Only TOP 09, the Greens and KDU-ČSL (1998 elections) used the nomination of ministers to maximise votes within electoral regions, which could be identified as areas of electoral support in the previous elections. On the other hand, with ODA and ANO 2011, ministers were used outside the territory of electoral support, which may be related to the improvement of the election result in regions where the party was not so successful.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Hybrid Interference in the Czech Republic: How to Make it a Practically Researchable Phenomenon?<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The text focuses on the definition and reconceptualisation of the concept of hybrid interference, traces the use of the concept in Czech security documents, presents the historical development of the use of the concept and then seeks a practical conceptualisation applicable towards research on the resilience against it. This conceptualisation includes a narrower definition of the concept, which is necessary for the real application, graspability and researchability of resilience in the context of the Czech environment. We arrive at a framework of hybrid interference that we believe to be more practical and useful, mostly due to its higher clarity and precision. Furthermore, we believe that definition of hybrid interference which is agnostic towards sectors, actors and specific tools used during such activities is preferable and more likely to remain universally relevant than those relying on enumeration and itemisation.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Role, Expectations and Challenges of High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) longs for stability and development as it continues to be held back by the dysfunctional political system, weak institutions, rampant corruption and ethnonationalist rhetoric. It is caught in a vicious cycle of crises generated by some of its political elite that has hampered BiH’s social, political and economic progress. The international community, including the Office of High Representative (OHR), has taken on the responsibility of safeguarding the rights of three Constituent people and Others, ensuring peace prevails in BiH (OHR 2022). In particular, the OHR was established to drive reforms and institution-building in BiH but has often been hobbled by inadequate and reluctant political support. Considering the uniqueness of the High Representative’s position in BiH, further research is needed on its role, evolution, impact and acceptance. The research applies the role theory to examine the HR role (i.e., conception, performance and recognition). The OHR continues to play an essential role in BiH and cannot be closed until BiH makes significant progress toward state-building, which includes establishing strong institutions and addressing the democratic deficit, promoting a common national identity and the interethnic trust.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Renewable Energy on CO Emission: Evidence from the Visegrad Group Countries<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>EU policies aim to develop renewable energy share in both production and consumption of total energy and increase the efforts to mitigate climate change. As relatively new EU members, the Visegrad countries aimed to adopt these targets. Therefore, climate change mitigation and CO<sub>2</sub> emissions reduction are important issues in Visegrad countries. In this paper, we examine the renewable energy consumption and CO<sub>2</sub> emissions relationship in the Visegrad countries. We use the Fully Modified Ordinary Least Square (FMOLS) model to estimate the long-run relationship between the variables using annual data from the period of 2000–2018. The variables used are CO<sub>2</sub> emissions, GDP per capita, renewable energy consumption and urban population. The results show that there is cointegration among the variables. The estimated FMOLS model shows that GDP and population increase CO<sub>2</sub> consumption, and renewable energy consumption decreases CO<sub>2</sub> emissions. Results show that renewable energy consumption has a decreasing effect on CO<sub>2</sub> emissions.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and Regional Politics at the EU level: who is actually represented in the Committee of the Regions?<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>One of the main reasons for the establishment of the Committee of the Regions was to provide the subnational level with the representation within the institutional system of the European Union. As the body advising the EU institutions, the Committee can influence the decision-making process. Since it consists of members of the local and regional authorities, one may ask if it does offer the opportunity for the peculiar territorial self-government units to be represented at the EU level. And in the broader terms – what does the relation between the general and particular interests look like in that regard? The article tries to determine if the Committee of the Regions is a suitable place for the individual territorial self-government unit to promote its interests. The findings of the paper are based on the author’s own empirical research conducted among the Polish members of the Committee. The results entitle the author to state that the territorial self-government units are represented in the Committee of the Regions and they have some benefits from being represented within this body.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Nationalism and Hungarian Pan-Turanism until the Beginning of the Second World War<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>After the Napoleonic Wars in the 19<sup>th</sup> century, the development and spread of nationalism in Europe began to accelerate. The development of the national consciousness of the peoples living under the domination of the empires in Europe damaged the legitimacy of the empires in Europe and started to threaten the existence of the empires in Europe. These nationalist movements especially affected the Habsburg Empire, the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Tsardom, and these regions became areas of nationalist conflict.<sup>1</sup></p> <p>The word ‘Turan’, which is used to describe the Central Asian lands where Turkish tribes live, gained its ideological meaning in the 19<sup>th</sup> and 20th centuries. ‘Turanism’, which started to gain its ideological meaning in the second half of the 19<sup>th</sup> century in Hungary, which can be defined as an Asian country in the middle of Europe, has become an ideology identified with Hungarians, Hungarian nationalism and the Hungarian awakening. ‘Hungarian Turanism’, which has undergone many changes in its ideological depiction, was born and strengthened from the search for national identity among economic and social problems in Hungary, which is considered an ‘insecure’ society in Europe due to the threats of Slavic and Germanic elements. Hungarian nationalism and Hungarian identity, which were shaped in an ethnocultural context, evolved from a liberal/political basis to an ethnocultural and pan-nationalist practice. Especially at the beginning of the 20<sup>th</sup> century, the ‘Hungarian Turanism’ ideology, which started to strengthen with the Hungarian elites and intellectuals focusing on Hungarian national interests, culture and expansionist policies against external threats, led to the emergence of a new nationalism movement, Pan-Turanism.</p> <p>Hungarian nationalism and ‘Hungarian Turanism’ ideology, which started to develop and transform on different grounds, especially after the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, became stronger in the interwar period after the First World War and became an important part of the fascist Hungarian parties supported by Nazi Germany during the Second World War.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Ideology Matters More – Science and Vaccine Scepticism in Light of Political Ideologies and Partisanship during the Third COVID-19 Wave in Hungary<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>As for the mitigation of the negative consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and the related crisis, governments should inter alia facilitate the willingness to vaccinate. However, related discussions became politicised, especially in countries with an extremely high level of partisan polarisation in opinions and media discourses, like in Hungary, which is the selected case of our study. As previous research about the United States shows, general trust in science is also influenced by the ideological alignment of individuals – people with conservative identification are more likely to question scientific results and recommendations, considering global warming, or the characteristics of the pandemic and the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. In our study we examine two main questions: first, whether the ideological orientation and partisan alignment of Hungarian citizens influence their general trust in science, and second, whether the same factors influence their opinion on scientists’ ability to develop effective vaccines against the coronavirus. Furthermore, we also investigate whether media consumption habits might influence these interrelations. According to the results of the representative online survey, the more conservative someone in Hungary identifies, the more likely they will be sceptical in terms of both questions. However, support of government or opposition parties does not determine whether they believe in the ability of scientists to develop effective vaccines, and it is influenced by their media consumption habits. We showed that (1) opposition supporters are much more different along their preferred media source than government supporters, (2) television watchers are of the same opinion independent of their party preference and (3) social media consumers are generally more likely to reject scientific results. The phenomenon that supporters of the conservative government and of the alliance of opposition parties are different in terms of their media consumption is a surprising finding in the polarised Hungarian context. We provide two main explanations for this. First, it is most probably the consequence of the government’s intensive campaign that encouraged vaccination. Second, the government used the issue of vaccination as a source of legitimacy regarding the effectiveness of their crisis management.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of the Parliamentary Debates: How Deliberative are Turkish Democratic Opening Debates?<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This study attempts to measure the deliberation quality of the Democratic Opening Debates in the Turkish Parliament through the Discourse Quality Index (DQI). The majority of studies have been conducted on the deliberation quality of relatively homogenised and developed Western societies and on less conflictual or contentious topics. In these countries, democratic culture has been institutionalised. On the contrary, Turkey is a developing country and has been going through an ethnic conflict involving violence for many decades. Thus, this case study aims to make an original contribution to empirical deliberation studies. Researchers have examined the 88-page stenographic records of the Democratic Opening Debates and put forward a DQI score. According to the findings, the controversial debates fulfill only 40% of high-level deliberative discourse ethics. This result demonstrates that the ideal deliberation process does not exist in Turkey even though a convenient atmosphere is created for deliberations by means of official procedures. Ethnic division in the society has a profoundly negative impact on the quality of deliberations.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Descriptive Representation: Slovenia in the Spotlight<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The failure to ensure descriptive representation is one of the challenges facing democracy. In the literature, it is suggested that, among others, imperfect descriptive representation is connected to insufficient legitimacy as well as low trust in political institutions. This paper analyses the link between descriptive representation and both people’s satisfaction with the way democracy is working in practice and trust in political institutions in Slovenia which, despite 30 years of democratic rule, are characterised by persistent low trust and satisfaction levels.</p> <p>Considering longitudinal public opinion data and a database on the composition of the Slovenian parliament (eight terms) in terms of gender, age groups and education, we find that also in Slovenia especially women, the young, the elderly and those with a basic education are underrepresented, with this being reflected in trust in the parliament and people’s perception of the way in which democracy is working. Still, the fact such underrepresentation has continued for some time (regardless of certain changes) means these findings are only part of the explanation.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue European Union’s Transformative Power in the Countries of the Eastern Partnership<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article examines the Eastern Partnership (EaP) as the initiative of the European Union (EU) through the prism of the constructivist concepts of soft power, normative power and transformative power. The research focuses on the assessment of the EU’s transformative strength in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus, based on the analysis of declared EU policy goals and instruments and the real results of political reforms in partner countries. The results of the study show that the EaP has little transformative impact and needs further revision. The analysis of empirical indicators in the field of political transformation of the EaP countries shows that since its inception, as well as after the signing of Association Agreements with three countries and the renewal of the European Neighborhood Policy in 2015, no radical changes have been made, and the EU’s influence on the course of reforms has been insignificant. Institutional and geopolitical constraints and challenges that complicate the EU’s ability to influence its eastern neighbours are addressed. The article analyses prospects for strengthening the effectiveness of the EaP in the context of its latest update after 2020.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue to follow and Study Through the Sites and Situations of Expert Knowledge Diffusion in International Politics: Research Challenges and Methodological Responses<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The central aim of this article is to consider tools and methods for studying expert knowledge (EK) diffusion in international politics. What we need are methodological devices to enable research of the object in motion and to study small or multiple sites, and even global scales in time, as well as the object of inquiry at different levels of analysis. Based on the marriage of network analysis and mobility research this article discusses the research potential of several methodological tools: bibliometrics, QHA, SNA techniques, topology, topography and biography. I conclude that despite these methods being imperfect, they 1) make possible the bridging of traditional IR dilemmas, such as the level­of­analysis problem, the micro­macro gap, and the agent-structure debate, 2) enable to collect and evaluate a much richer class of evidence and contextualization than methods usually used in IR offer, and 3) make possible to be much more ethnographically sensitive than IR research traditionally is.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Orbán regime as the ‘perfect autocracy’: The emergence of the ‘zombie democracy’ in Hungary<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>All ECE countries have covered the same historical trajectory of ‘the third-generation autocracy’, but Hungary has been reaching its ‘perfection’, since the two-thirds, constitutional supermajority in the Hungarian case has allowed for the Orbán regime to complete this ‘reverse wave’ in all fields of society and turning it into a zombie democracy. The conceptual frame of this paper is that the decline of democracy and the turn to autocratisation can be presented in ECE in the three big stages of the Easy Dream, Chaotic Democracy and Neoliberal Autocracy in the three corresponding decades. The paper concentrates on the third stage in its three shorter periods taking 3–4 years as the De­Democratisation, Autocratisation and De­Europeanisation. The Hungarian case has been presented in this paper in a comparative ECE view as its worst-case scenario that also sheds light on the parallel developments in the fellow ECE countries.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue about Integration or Political Posturing? Political Elites and their Impact on Half-hearted Europeanisation in Bosnia and Herzegovina<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper deals with the sluggish Europeanisation efforts of the current political elites of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A typical explanation for the lack of progress would be the complex structure of consociational democracy of the specific Bosnian confederation. The authors, however, claim that the structural obstacles could have been bypassed given the real will of political elites of all three nations to cooperate. The authors examine the role of the structure of the peculiar political system in comparison with the influence of the agency of Bosnian elites on the integration process. The empirical analysis focuses on the situation after the general elections in 2018. The authors discuss the contrast between the official declarations of consistent support for a European future with the real political performance of the various Bosnian party elites. These elites often misuse the institutional settings of the political system to block reforms. They also prefer the politics of obstruction to cement their leading positions within their constituent nations. More than a quarter century after the Dayton Peace Treaty and adoption of the Constitution, the lack of genuine intrinsic motivation to pursue Europeanisation has remained the main reason for the reluctant rapprochement of Bosnia to the European Union.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Deliberation to Pure Mobilisation? The Case of National Consultations in Hungary<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>National or supranational consultations on general policy questions are unusual phenomena. Nevertheless, they seem to play an important role in the political life of the community either because they might be considered as rudimentary forms of deliberative practices or because they are important strategic tools in the hands of political actors. Given this salience of consultations from both normative­deliberative and descriptive-strategic perspectives, it is surprising that academic analyses of national consultations are scarce. This paper tries to fill this gap in the literature by focusing on one of the most well­known examples of nation-wide consultations, the series of national consultations in Hungary. It aims to present why national consultations gradually lost their deliberative character and how they have been transformed into a strategic instrument for mobilising supporters.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue the Discourse on the Eurozone Crisis in the Czech Republic: Presidents Václav Klaus and Miloš Zeman Compared<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article investigates the discourse of two Czech presidents, Václav Klaus (2003–2013) and Miloš Zeman (2013–incumbent), vis­à­vis the salient issue of the Eurozone crisis. Having adopted the general orientation of the discourse historical approach to discourse analysis, and working with a corpus of data on Klaus’ and Zeman’s public utterances on the Eurozone crisis in the 2010–2018 period, the central research question that the article addresses is: How was the Eurozone crisis discursively constructed in the presidential rhetoric of Václav Klaus and Miloš Zeman? Building on the crisis literature, the article answers the question by exploring the presidential discourse within three persuasive narratives of the crisis causes, resolution and consequences.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue a Referendum Change the Local Party System? Discussion of the Referendum’s Consequences in the Context of Cleavages<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The local policy is sometimes degraded by this opinion: in the small village, there is no policy, self-government is based on the personal character without the political context, it is mainly oriented on the technical side of the government. However, different researches confirm that despite this claim local policy contains political (and ideological) fights. These researches focus on different topics and different attitudes in cleavages or conflict study. However, only a few research types mentioned the importance of local civic activism in connection with the local policy trends. It is interesting because civic activism, values and attitudes are the main points in the cleavage topic. In this research, we will discuss the term cleavage (concept by Deegan­Krause) in the context of four Czech municipalities which have experience with civic activism – the referendum. In our research, we will focus on four municipalities, on which we will present the application of the Deegan­Krause model. Based on the application, we will discuss if civic activism in the form of a referendum could lead to changes in the local party system.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue