Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

NEAR ABROAD: Putin, the West and the Contest over Ukraine and the Caucasus by Gerard Toal

  • Written by  Vitali Vitaliev
  • Published in Books
NEAR ABROAD: Putin, the West and the Contest over Ukraine and the Caucasus by Gerard Toal
07 Aug
2017
In a small section on the first floor of Stanfords Travel Bookshop in London, one can see on display a handful of road and railway atlases, recently published in Moscow

Significantly, most are not the atlases of just the Russian Federation, but those of ‘Russia, Countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltics’. To those not sure, the so-called ‘Commonwealth of Independent States’ (CIS) is a purely tokenistic ‘union’, formed in 1991, straight after the dissolution of the USSR, comprising ten former Soviet Republics. Taken together, the countries of the CIS plus the three Baltic republics: Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania – now part of the EU and fiercely independent – constitute what is known in Russia as blizhnee zarubezh’ye – the term, rather crudely rendered in English as ‘Near Abroad’, whereas ‘Russia’s sphere of influence as seen by the Kremlin’ would be a more geopolitically correct translation.

Near Abroad is an extremely important and topical book, for it explains to the Western reader the morality (or lack thereof) of Russia’s current ‘geopolitical culture’. As Toal correctly points out, the term near abroad ‘simultaneously named... an old familiarity, a long-standing spatial entanglement and a range of geopolitical emotions.’ Toal’s conclusion is that the recent annexation of the Crimea, the ongoing war with Ukraine, as well as the failed invasion of Georgia, may all be part of Putin’s attempts to recreate ‘The Great Russia’ under the less aggrandising name Novorossiya (the New Russia) and as such they require ‘the international community to make a concerted effort to address the unresolved political conflicts in Ukraine, Moldova and the Caucasus.’ Easier said than done...

The main attraction of Near Abroad is that it offers a fascinating and long-awaited look under the lid of Putin’s aggressive and dangerously imperialist mentality.

Click here to purchase Near Abroad: Putin, the West and the Contest over Ukraine and the Caucasus by Gerard Toal

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

Subscribe to Geographical!

University of Winchester

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Winchester

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Human Game – Tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    Hung out to dry
    Wetlands are vital storehouses of biodiversity and important bulwarks against the effects of climate change, while also providing livelihoods for mill...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    The Nuclear Power Struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Exhibitions

Four new galleries at Royal Museums Greenwich explore Britain’s maritime…

Books

by John Foot • Bloomsbury • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Deborah Baker • Chatto & Windus • £25 (hardback)

Books

By Lucy Seigle • Trapexe • £12.99/£6.99 (hardback/eBook)

Books

by Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin • Pelican • £8.99 (paperback)

Books

by Christoph Baumer • IB Tauris • £30 (hardback)

Books

by Charles Lane • River Books • £40 (hardback)

Books

by Graham Hoyland• William Collins • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Dr Lucy Jones• Doubleday Books • £19.99 (hardback)

Books

by Daniel Pinchbeck• Watkins • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Jasper Winn • Profile Books • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Nathan H Lents • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £16.99…

Films

This hard-hitting marine conservation film – part of the Ocean…

Films

Here are the newest non-fiction offerings to satisfy that craving…

Exhibitions

The Society’s Earth Photo exhibition captures the planet’s natural riches…

Books

by Alanna Mitchell • Oneworld • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Christopher J Preston • The MIT Press • £20.95…

Books

by Jamal Mahjoub • Bloomsbury • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Joanna Kafarowski • Dundurn Press • 15.99 (hardback)

Books

by Peter Dauvergne • Polity Books • £9.99 (paperback)