Russia: The Importation of Western Concepts and Their Effect on EU-Russian Relations
The main research question of this chapter is whether, in the post-Soviet era, Russian and Western usages of several essential political terms -- globalization, civilization, Europeanness, democracy, and human rights -- signify a convergence in political expectations, or whether they increasingly manifest divergence, turning some basic categories into what constructivists call “empty signifiers.” The Introduction to this book presents three levels of regime change: national changes, changes within international organizations (pertinent to Europe), and international changes. Greater attention is paid to the first and the third levels, given that the terms in question are applied regularly by Russia and the European Union to both the national and international levels. The chapter focuses on how Russia’s discourse about these five terms has evolved at the international level. Important to this study are the five editions of The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation (hereinafter FPC), which are barometers of changes in the views of both the political elite and the grassroots in Russia.