Looking for the border between east and west. Ationalism and potential territory claims in Eastern Europe

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* criterion 2 corresponds to grade 3;

* criterion 3 corresponds to grade 2;

* each criterion out of the 4th group corresponds to grade 1. If several out of criteria a, b, c, d, e take place all together, the final grade stays 1.

Possible Territorial Claims in Eastern Europe

Prior to determining the areas of greater or smaller tension of possible territorial claims in Eastern Europe it is necessary to expose the subjects of these claims and the claims themselves potentially coming from the subjects. As it was determined earlier, the subjects of possible territorial claims are nations - ethnoses, affiliating themselves with some territory and having the articulate political demands including the ones in regard of the territory. In this case the political demands are seen as the inspiration for creation of the independent national state, for strengthening its political, economical and military might. For each nation we need to determine the territories, control over which could be desired within their nationalism. What are these territories and how valid is the desire for their control will be determined based on mentioned above criteria and 4 grade scale.

As subjects of claims we chose the nations having their own sovereign bodies, as having in major part realized their political demands, as well as the nations which do not have them, but aim to have, where we noticed active mass actions in that direction2. To such subjects and zones of possible nationalistic territorial claims we attributed: 1. Austrians and Germans, 2. Albanians, 3. Bulgarians, 4. Bosnians, 5. Hungarians, 6. Greeks, 7. Danish, 8. Italians, 9. Latvians, 10. Lithuanians, 11. Macedonians, 12. Norwegians, 13. Polish, 14. Rusins, 15. Romanians and Moldavians, 16. Russians and Bielorussians, 17. Serbs, 18. Slovaks, 19. Slovenians, 20. Crimean Tartars, 21. Kazan Tartars, 22. Turkish, 23. Ukrainians, 24. Finns and Karels, 25. Croats, 26. Czechs, 27. Swedish, 28. Estonians.

Having determined the borders of possible territorial claims for all outlined subjects, we plot them on the map3. On each of listed above nations there is a layer of information in a geo-information system (GIS) in regard of possible nationalistic territorial claims. As an example of such a layer map-diagrams 1-3 are enclosed. Then we overlay the cartographic layers for all the nations. As a result the studied territory has been divided on 388 areas, borders of which are the borders of possible claims crossing each other. For each area we sum all the grades that are assigned according to the hierarchy of possible claims of interested in this area subjects. Having counted these sums, that is having determined the tension indexes of the possible territorial claims for each area, we group these areas conforming to the index value. Sums or tension indexes of the possible territorial claims are ranging from 0 ( Northern Urals area, for example) to 24 (in the Carpathians). Map-diagram 4 conveys all 388 areas, colored with intensity according to the index value of total tension of possible nationalistic territorial claims.

The Border Between East and West?

It is obvious from Map-diagram 4 that almost all the territory of Eastern Europe is subject to the possible if not territorial claims but propagandistic use by the potential nationalistic ideologies. The general look on the resulting map shows that there exists a sort of a "mountain chain" of the highest tension of claims from Baltic to the South dividing on two straps leading to Adriatic and Black sea. On both sides from it the tension of possible nationalistic territorial claims considerably drops. What does this "chain" correspond to in reality?

Based on the method of our study two facts can be maintained with much of a confidence. First, this zone is at maximum risk of potential nationalistic territorial-political conflicts. Second, it follows the maximum intensity zones of ethnic-political opposition in the past and at present.

Thus, our main finding is, as follows: our resulting map seem to point at what can be thought as historical boundary zone between East and West. This zone is by no means only history-geographic one - it can actually transfer into contemporary European politics bringing about significant revisions in plans of united Europe and conflict free world creation.

Looking at the map one can notice that the areas with maximum tension, they can be defined as tension knots, in the world of actual politics are subject of close attention. These are the areas of particular political tension up to the armed conflicts - territory of former Yugoslavia, Dniester area. Based on the map it can be tried to foresee the areas of possible toughening the political conflicts up to transformation into the stage of armed conflicts. In this regard we could mention Macedonia, Trans-Carpathians, Bukovina.

Beside the tension knots we can outline the opposite phenomenon, which can be defined as the cores of resistance to the claims. These are the areas with lower tension in contrast to the surrounding territory. There stand out the cores which can arbitrary called: "German", "Scandinavian", "Polish", "Czech", "Hungarian", "Montenegro-Serbian", "Romanian", "Greek", "Bulgarian", "Lithuanian", "Estonian", "Russian", "South Ukrainian" and "Albanian". The causes for these cores can be:

1. Concentration of the resistance forces to the control from outside;

2. Difficulties to take control caused by physical-geographical conditions in the area;

3. Less political value in comparison with other areas (note, the timeframe under consideration was since 9th to 20th century).

In our case the first cause looks as most important. The majority of the outlined cores of resistance to claims can be considered as consolidation centers of some nations we outlined.


There is no doubt that nationalism of various forms is actively reshaping boundaries in Eastern Europe and the rest of the former "Eastern Block". In many cases the World Community seems to be not prepared to face the challenges of the nationalistic territorial claims and conflicts. Facing the dramatic events that follow some of the nationalistic territorial conflicts we have to find the tools to predict and to warn of emerging new ones.

In this paper we tried to find the uniform rational grounds for possible (potential) territorial claims in case nationalistic movements arise from any East European nation. In other words we offered the method to measure the potential ideological significance of Eastern Europe territories for all possible nationalisms. This index can also serve as the indicator of nationalistic territorial claims relative risk for different parts of the territory under the study. It needs to be stressed once again that we were in the least interested in the analysis of the real existing nationalistic movements and ideologies, claims and conflicts. It is not a surprise that the strap of maximum risk is found right in the zone of historical contact of two civilized integrities called East and West.

We understand that our method is rather subjective and we obviously could not find all the important historical-geographical material. Nevertheless, we would like to note two facts.

The more subjective part of the study is concerned with the determination of possible claims hierarchy and the choice of criteria to qualify the areas for one or the other stage of the hierarchy. However, to exclude the subjectivity while choosing any other hierarchy and criteria is hardly possible. The result will not differ too much from that of ours.

Possible limits of historical material are compensated by absolute clearness and simplicity of the proposed method. The proposed material can be easily added or extended.

We would consider our task fulfilled, if our proposed method helped to forecast and to warn of emerging seats of tension on the new reshaping political map of Europe.

Authors Konstantin Axenov, Victor Koloskov

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