The Baltic Sea Region: From a Hinge Between Russia and the West to a Rhizomatic Information Channel
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This chapter discusses the transition of the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) from a hinge between Russia and the West to a rhizome—from a fixed and linear point of connection between two geopolitical areas to a polydimensional network of nodal interactivity. To this end, the chapter takes as its primary focal points the rhizomatic1 information channels and mechanisms that currently exist for both communication and conflict in the region, as well as the way in which the East–West dialogue can be fostered in the Baltic context, and the importance of rhizomatic technologies for future interactions in the BSR. In tracing this development, the chapter posits that (1) an ideological misunderstanding has emerged between the West and Russia, inflamed by the Ukraine war and exacerbated by the wave of refugees into Europe; (2) the media, especially social media in the information domain, play a significant role in compounding this misunderstanding, but also play a key role in keeping the information channels open, especially in the security domain; (3) the BSR countries may still have a role in resolving the misunderstanding thanks to their traditional hinge-like connection to Russia, ranging from geopolitics to information politics; and (4) the misunderstanding that exists not only poses a risk to the rhizomatic information networks but may also point the way to a new kind of mobile virtual neighbouring. Indeed, rhizomatic information hybridity and mobile virtual perspectives offer the possibility for more diffused and heterogeneous understandings than those that are confined within state boundaries (Browning and Joenniemi 2007, 17).
KeywordsEuropean Union European Union Member State Baltic State Syrian Refugee Shop Cross Border
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