Those who have to cross "hard" borders face many problems on their way, including arbitrary and unjust treatment by consular and border guard officers, protracted and nitpicking inspections and extortion by customs officers, and huge traffic congestions. This article examines the extent to which various categories of people crossing the European Union-Russian border can self-organize in order to act together and be heard better for solving these and other issues. Tourists, shuttle traders, and truck drivers working for international cargo carriers are taken as three case studies for the research. I argue that all of the three mentioned categories of border crossers are capable of self-organizing in various ways: tourists - by exchanging best practices within thematic networks, shuttle traders - by taking advantage of their ability to gather in their common places of residence and (as well as truck drivers) near checkpoints when traffic congestions arise, truck drivers - also by taking advantage of support from influential business associations. It is also important that the audibility of border crossers' voices can be seriously amplified by mediators, among which officials, politicians, business structures, and the mass media are the most efficient. At the same time, the capability of these three kinds of border crossers to make their voices heard is very limited, since their interactions are typically weak and instable and since officials are much more powerful.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations