Cover Osteuropa 1-2/2020

In Osteuropa 1-2/2020

Political consultancy and its limitations
Lessons from three decades of research into Eastern Europe

Hans-Henning Schröder

Deutsche Fassung


In a complex world, politicians are in constant need of valid information and knowledge in order to identify problems, develop solutions and make decisions. During decision-making processes, politicians and civil servants draw on information provided by scientists and academics. However, the transfer of knowledge is a difficult process, and only succeeds under specific conditions. A subjective reflection, based on participant observation and personal experience, shows that the contribution made by academic political consultancy to German foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia is extremely limited, as demonstrated during the war in Chechnya, the eastward expansion of NATO, in debates about a modernisation partnership with Russia and a new security architecture in Europe. The principles that drive academic research and those who drive politics diverge too widely.

(Osteuropa 1-2/2020, pp. 141–164)