A little bit of Constructivism by the example of Northern Europe

Constructivism seems to be also a relatively new approach comparing to geopolitics ether political realism. Constructivists suppose that international relations depend not only upon certain objective processes (cooperation, for example) but also on perception of the concept of it (A.Wendt[1]). Sometimes such definitions may seem to be vague. But despite this fact the approach stresses the importance of concepts, of ideas that people think and talk about. What people say – definitely exists. People talk about cooperation in the Northern Europe, about BEAR, about Northern Europe in general and if they talk about it, then it is real.

Here, we are concentrating on one of the most significant Northern European construct which is Northern European identity. Well, if we take into account particularly this moment, we will find out that north-western Russia is excluded. In Russian regions  there is no common perception of Northern European identity. However, after the World War II Northern Europe aimed at deepening of cooperation which was treated as a way “to rich more, that the countries could reach»[2]. The Nordic Council of Ministers[3] is one of the most important organization in the region with the activity embracing a wide range of issues: ecology, demography, welfare, labour market, education, information technologies, foreign trade, culture – everything which helps to construct common northern European identity[4]. Despite the fact that north-western part of Russia (the Republic of Karelia, St.Petersburg, Murmanskaya oblast, Leningradskaya oblast) is not a member of the Nordic Council of Ministers, organization’s activity is still aimed at cooperation with Russian units, for example, there are contact offices of the Nordic Council of Ministers located in Petrozavodsk and St.Petersburg. The main goal of such centers is to promote interests of the Nordic Europe in the north-western Russia as well as to promote cooperation between Nordic Countries and North-western part of Russia[5]. Another significant organization which aims at constructing Northern European identity is The Baltic Sea States Council. It includes Nordic Europe together with Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Poland and the European Commission. The goal of organization is to protect environment in the Baltic sea region as well as to promote economic development and innovative education.  There is also the Arctic Council aimed at cooperation developing between the following countries: the Nordic, Russia, Canada and the US.  Another important organization to be mentioned here is the Barents Euro-Arctic Council embracing Nordic Countries and north-west of Russia aiming at social, economic development of the region[6]. All these organizations help to construct and promote Northern European identity.


[1] Wendt A. Anarchy is what states make of it: the social construction of power politics //International organization, vol.46, N2, 1992.

[2] Nordic Statistical Yearbook 2007 [Electronic resource]/ Nordic Council of Ministers – Electron.art. –http://www.norden.org/fi/julkaisut/julkaisut/2007-001/at_download/publicationfile ,free.  – Screen title. – Eng. lang.

[3] About Nordic co-operation  [Electronic resource]/ Nordic Council of Ministers – Electron. art. –http://www.norden.org/en/about-nordic-co-operation , free.   – Screen title. – Eng.Lang.

[4] Nordic Statistical Yearbook 2007 [Electronic resource]/ Nordic Council of Ministers – Electron art. –http://www.norden.org/fi/julkaisut/julkaisut/2007-001/at_download/publicationfile ,free.  – Screen title. – Eng. lang.

[5] Nordic Council of Ministers’ Contact Centers in Barents Region [Electronic resource]/ Nordic Council of Ministers. – Electron. art. – http://www.norden.ru/Article.aspx?id=81&lang=en , free  – Screen title. – Eng. lang.

[6] Barents Euro-Arctic Council [Electronic resource]/ Barents Euro-Arctic Council. – Electron. Art. –http://www.beac.st/in_English/Barents_Euro-Arctic_Council/Secretariats.iw3 , free  – Screen title. – Eng. lang.

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