The foreign policy of post-soviet Russia: A quest for identity
This article examines the difficult search for identity in modern Russia amid debate over its future development. It explores practices in such countries as China and Germany, which have successfully adapted national identity to the need for modernisation and effective development in a new historical environment. The article analyses the risks that stem from Russia’s inclination towards focusing on the past and absolutising the factor of space. Finally, the piece offers suggestions on how to forge Russia’s new identity.
Both Russia and the United States consider the Asia-Pacific as the center of the world economy and politics and assume the active presence in the region crucial for their security and economic development. They did not have such sharp contradictions there as in Europe or in the post-Soviet space. Moreover, some of their interests in the Asia-Pacific Region coincide - such as preventing Chinese hegemony. In this regard, the Russian-American dialogue and cooperation in the APR could be an important pillar of the positive agenda of their relations and a factor in their sustainability. Due to foreign policy inertia, the inflexibility of the agenda of Russian-American relations and the inability of the parties to go beyond the usual pattern, such a dialogue has not even begun. Both sides demonstrated strategic myopia. This weakened the resilience of US-Russian relations in the face of new challenges and accelerated their deterioration and disruption to a new confrontation. The Asia-Pacific has become another theater of the US-Russian systemic confrontation. However, it is in the interest of both Russia and the United States to separate relations in this region from their general confrontation. This will create favorable conditions for Russia to build a balanced partnership system in the APR, which is necessary to consolidate its role as an independent global great power. In addition, the Russian-American dialogue on the APR, or at least the weakening of their confrontation in this region, will reduce its polarization and prevent tensions between the US and its Asian allies and partners.
The book comprehensively examines the current Russian turn to the East, opening up for the country, primarily for its eastern part, new development prospects. The published articles attempted an interdisciplinary review of these new trends. Its authors – geographers, economists – analyze the necessary measures that should be taken to effectively integrate the country into the Asian division of labor, to overcome its pronounced European eccentricity. The articles of the collection also speak about the space of opportunities in which these tasks will be solved. The book is addressed to a wide range of specialists, it will be of interest to anyone who wants to participate in one form or another in solving one of the main challenges facing the country in the 21st century.
The collapse of the USSR remains the dominant watershed for Russia’s elites in the early twenty-first century and, under their influence, for Russian society at large. The collapse is, as an event, not only a historical fact, but indeed a central element of today’s Russian politics—one that has conditioned the moods and interpretations of several generations of Russian thinkers and political actors. And it is these moods and interpretations that are the core of today’s contradictions between Russia and the West, which, three decades later, find themselves in a state of “hybrid confrontation”.
The conflict in Ukraine and Russia's annexation of Crimea has undoubtedly been a pivotal moment for policy makers and military planners in Europe and beyond. Many analysts see an unexpected character in the conflict and expect negative reverberations and a long-lasting period of turbulence and uncertainty, the de-legitimation of international institutions and a declining role for global norms and rules. Did these events bring substantial correctives and modifications to the extant conceptualization of International Relations? Does the conflict significantly alter previous assumptions and foster a new academic vocabulary, or, does it confirm the validity of well-established schools of thought in international relations? Has the crisis in Ukraine confirmed the vitality and academic vigour of conventional concepts?
These questions are the starting points for this book covering conceptualisations from rationalist to reflectivist, and from quantitative to qualitative. Most contributors agree that many of the old concepts, such as multi-polarity, spheres of influence, sovereignty, or even containment, are still cognitively valid, yet believe the eruption of the crisis means that they are now used in different contexts and thus infused with different meanings. It is these multiple, conceptual languages that the volume puts at the centre of its analysis.
This text will be of great interest to students and scholars studying international relations, politics, and Russian and Ukrainian studies.
The present article explores the current expansion of the influence of the USA as a global power in the Central Asian region, as well as the way American strategies affect Russia and China. After the collapse of the USSR, following the weakening of the geopolitical influence of Russia as a successor of the USSR and following the massive wave of the US global strategic offensive in the sphere of influence which previously belonged to the Soviet Union, the Americans began to promote their policy in Central Asia. After September 11, 2001 in consequence of the antiterrorist operation in Afghanistan, the USA managed to achieve growth of its geopolitical influence in Central Asia, but their intentions in the region raised concerns of Russia and China, as well as Central Asian governments. Russia and China are interested in the joint halting of proliferation of the US influence in the Central Asian region. The article is based on the analysis of official documents and official statements of the key States under consideration: the USA, Russia, China, Central Asia. The scientific novelty of the article lies in the fact that the US strategy in Central Asia is seen as a threat not only to the regional interests of Russia but also to the interests of China in the region. Moreover, the US strategy is a threat that can be considered common to Russia and China and can unite them in their regional security cooperation. The rivalry between Russia and China in Central Asia could become a low propriety and turn into cooperation in the face of a common threat - a non-regional power wishing to spread its geopolitical influence.
Realism- and geopolitics-inspired rhetoric was common currency in Russian foreign policy discourse throughout the 1990s. This led some commentators to adopt realism and geopolitics - realism’s more nationalist and strategic counterpart - as conceptual lenses for understanding Russian foreign policy. As a result, Russian foreign policy of the 2010s is still considered predominantly geopolitics-driven despite the fact that geopolitical vocabulary has virtually disappeared from foreign policy discourse while a desire to carve out spheres of influence have been officially pronounced utterly anachronistic and inappropriate, a “thing of the past”. Thus, a more nuanced interpretation views the rise of geopolitics in Russian post-Soviet foreign policy discourse as an attempt to tap into the symbolic and rhetorical power of geopolitics in order to reduce ontological insecurity brought about by the end of the Cold War. The chapter, therefore, advances a theoretical claim about the relevance of the constructivist and poststructuralist literature and very limited relevance of realism for understanding the twists and turns of Russian post-Soviet foreign policy. Methodologically, the chapter argues that an exploration of state identity rooted in the ontological security argument will benefit from employing discourse analysis. Empirically, the present study provides substantiation of the theoretical claim that the concept of hegemony captures well the historical trajectory of Russia’s relations with its ‘significant other’- Europe/the EU/the West – and provides important insights into the sources of Russia’s ontological insecurity in the 21st century.
Despite its traditionally reserved relations with other regions of the world and even its backwardness, the Balkan region has become visibly more dynamic in the last decade. This has been made possible by a combination of several factors: The growing transit value of the region, the crisis of the European Union (both internally and regionally) and thus the intensification of latent competition between different international forces. In addition, the territorial scope of the Balkans is also changing. Greece, for example, with its long membership in NATO, has been actively involved in recent years in the infrastructure of the Western Balkans (development of Corridor X and other routes) and in economic interdependence (Greek-Albanian and GreekSerbian relations). The extent of Greece's participation in the Macedonian question clearly shows its direct link with the region. Hungary and Romania should not be left aside either: Both are certainly linked to the Balkans from the point of view of logistics, ethno political problems and economic interests. As a result, the "current version of the Balkans" in my opinion may include 7 to 11 states – Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, the "Republic of Kosovo", Albania, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania.