Visegrad Group and Relations with Russia

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This article refers to the Central European countries by meaning the Visegrad Group countries (V4) - Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia. The development of the Visegrad Group aimed on integration to the Euro-Atlantic structures fulfilled its promise, nevertheless, the membership in Western structures does not necessarily mean the loss of Russian influence in the region of Central Europe. On the contrary, the region’s connection to Russia developed in the past remained to some extent even after the process of political transition in particular countries. Such connections are responsible for foreign policy discourse with a plethora of questions and misunderstandings on issues related to the political attitudes of Visegrad members towards Russia and some contradictory stances of the V4 countries among themselves as well with respect to Brussels. The EU’s politics of sanctions towards Russia is having a direct, counterproductive effect in Visegrad, what is resulting in undermined relations and weakened coherence inside the EU with the emergence of anti-Western and pro-Russian political parties that creates the space for Russian foreign policy to achieve more influence in the region. This article is analyzing the background of such discourse and some of the reasons behind the pro-Russian sentiment or discrepancies and non-coherence of the EU members’ opinions on Russia. At the same time, the awareness of the outcomes of this article can be relevant in analyzing the possibilities to avoid the deepening of the conflictual foreign policy between the EU and Russia, or the Visegrad and Russia, respectively. The research is built on both, primary and secondary sources, related mainly to the evolution of relations in specific areas between both sides. The mentioned historical perspective creates the basis of the analysis and is further put into contemporary discourse to find the answers on the question: what are the reasons for non-coherence of the EU and Visegrad towards the policy against Russia? To achieve the above-mentioned results, the analysis is provided in chronological perspective using the mixed methods by exploring the official documents, scholarly articles published on the topic, and public polls as well.

About the authors

Radovan Višňovský

Saint-Petersburg State University

PhD student, International Relations and World Politics programme St. Petersburg, Russian Federation


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