Borders from Below. Processes of Re- and De-Bordering within the Post-Soviet Space

Workshop

Beate Eschment (ZOiS), Sabine v. Löwis (ZOiS)
In Cooperation with the Viadrina Center of B/ORDERS IN MOTION
Carolin Leutloff-Grandits (Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION, Frankfurt/Oder)

While the globalisation discourse claims the creation of a 'borderless world' we observe the evolvement of a whole world of new and old borders within the post-soviet space with considerable effects on people living in border regions.

The fragmentation of the Soviet Union resulted in the creation of a number of post-Soviet states territorially based on former Soviet Republics, which suddenly transformed from internal into international borders. Further fragmentations and formations of de-facto states took place, as for instance in Moldova (Transnistria) or Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia). Finally, we have very recently seen the construction of an international non-recognised border between Russia and Ukraine due to the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014. Not only are we facing a number of new borders, which are sometimes internationally recognised and sometimes not, also the very status of borders changed. This includes for instance the EU external borders that now are drawn within the post-Soviet space, as for instance between the Baltic states and Russia. In other cases like the Central Asian Fergana Valley the transformation of internal borders of the Soviet era into international borders has not been possible, and considerable portions of the borders are still neither determined nor demarcated.

The ambiguities and inconsistencies of establishing state borders not only influence international relations, but also daily routines, family ties, trade or social relations that confronted with new borderlines and associated bordering regimes people have to cope with and which frequently are causing conflicts on different levels.

Borders, in this sense, are understood as continuously constructed and reconstructed entities of exclusion and inclusion. Usually they are inseparable from territory, which does not imply fixed bounded spaces, but a dispersed set of power relations mobilized for different purposes by different actors on the ground. Probably nowhere this can be mapped better in its variety and topicality as in the 'border laboratory' of the post-soviet space.

The intention of the workshop is thus twofold: to explore the variety of new realities of borders within the post-Soviet space not only on the level of international regimes, (1), but first and foremost through the eyes and voices of the people living in the border regions (2).


Programme

29. November 2018

6:00 – 8:00 pm

Public Lecture

Tatiana Zhurzhenko (Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Vienna)
Between state of exception and everyday banality: Precarious borders in the post-Soviet space


30. November 2018

09:30 – 10:15 am

Welcome and Introduction

Sabine v. Löwis (ZOiS), Beate Eschment (ZOiS), Carolin Leutloff-Grandits (Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION, Frankfurt/Oder)

10:15 – 11:45 am

Panel 1 – “Contested” Borders

Moderation: Beate Eschment (ZOiS, Berlin)
Discussant: Sophie Lambroschini (CMB, Berlin)

Anton Gritsenko (IGRAS, IKBFU, Moscow): Local actors in contested border realities: Northern Crimea and Russian part of Donbass after 2014

Saodat Olimova (Independent Research Centre Sharq/Oriens, Dushanbe): Transborder Informal Integration vs. Disintegration: How people live in the border regions of the Fergana valley?

11:45 – 1:00 pm Lunch Break

1:00 – 2:30 pm

Panel 2 – De-facto borders

Moderation: Sabine v. Löwis (ZOiS)
Discussant: Daria Isachenko (Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION, Frankfurt/Oder)

Ketevan Khutsishvili (Tiblisi State University): Crossing the de facto borderlines between Gali and Zugdidi municipalities

Mikhail Klyuchnikov (+ Nikita Turov) (Moscow State University): Transnistria: life despite the conflict borders

2:30 – 3:00 pm Coffee Break

3:00 – 4:30 pm

Panel 3 – “External” borders

Moderation: Carolin Leutloff-Grandits  (Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION, Frankfurt/Oder)
Discussant: Vladimir Kolosov (IGRAS, Moscow)

Rita Sanders (University of Cologne)
Farming beyond Borders. Economic Activities, Adventuresomeness and Daily Boundary Crossings of ‘Western’ Farmers in Russia’s Exclave of Kaliningrad

Tobias Holzlehner (University of Halle)
Subversive Economies: Informal trade in a Russian-Chinese Borderland

2:30 ‒ 4:45 pm Short Coffee Break

4:45 – 5:30 pm

Final Discussion

Moderation: Beate Eschment with inputs by Vladimir Kolosov, Carolin Leutloff-Grandits, Sabine v. Löwis, Tatiana Zhurzhenko

5:30 – 6:00 pm

Book Presentation

Moderation: Beate Eschment

Vladimir Kolosov (Ed.): Russian Border Regions: Neighborhood Challenges, Moscow 2018. (Российское пограничье: Вызовы соседства, Москва 2018)