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.
The second decade of the 21st century is characterised by Russia's active involvement in Middle Eastern issues. Unexpectedly, Russia decided to return to the Middle East, and Damascus appeared to be the gate to the region. Russian policy in the Middle East ceased to be ideological following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and no longer followed a messianic narrative. The State has become more pragmatic, neither "pro-Arab" nor "pro-Israel" and, in principle, serves its own interests without adhering to a specific camp. Russia has repeatedly changed its vision and respective narrative of the events taking place in the Arab world since the onset of anti-government protests in the region in 2011. In fact, Russian policy in the Middle East has taken a u-turn during the past eight years: from near total disinterest to direct military intervention.
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 article explores the correlation between Russia’s formal alliance obligations and the patterns of its actual military and political cooperation. Using a number of quantitative indicators of cooperation between Russia and other countries of the world the research tests the hypothesis of whether Russia’s formal obligations are associated with the scope and stability of its actual cooperation with the partners. Four indicators are used to measure the levels of the actual military and political cooperation: the share of the Russian armaments in the total amount of the country’s arms imports, the number of joint military exercises with Russia, the deployment of Russia’s military bases on the country’s territory and the UN General Assembly affinity scores. The level of formal alliance obligations is measured based on the Alliance Treaty Obligations and Provisions project data. The multiple regression analysis shows no significant association between the level of formal alliance commitments and the actual military cooperation, but demonstrated that the level of formal obligations does significantly correlate with the UN General Assembly affinity scores. Based on the results of the analysis, the article further hypothesizes that Russia uses formal alliances as tools to enforce bargains in which its close partners are expected to provide Russia with international political support in exchange for its military resources. Moreover, the article presents an attempt to divide all the countries in the world into four groups based on the levels of their formal and actual affinity to Russia, showing that the majority of Russia’s formal allies does not actively cooperate with it in terms of military cooperation or political support.
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.
From the incident at Pristina airport (1999) to the annexation of Crimea (2014), Moscow is trying to demonstrate that it will not abide by rules set by others, nor resign itself to the place of a second-tier power. Beyond an expansionist itch, this reaction displays Russia’s difficulty in defining itself and constituting a nation unto itself. In reality, the country is trying to isolate itself as a political entity; Moscow’s revisionism is aimed, first and foremost, at Russia.