Russia and Peacekeeping Operations: Conceptual and Practical Components of Russia’s Policy
Historically, the central principles of international peacekeeping have been formulated by western powers due to their political and ideological domination in international institutions, including the United Nations (UN) family. It is only recently that emerging powers, among them Russia and China, have started to formulate their own policies of peacekeeping and to implement them in practice. While the general objectives of peacekeeping as understood by western nations and emerging powers are similar, there are differences of emphasis. Recent developments in Syria and the active involvement of Russia in these events have underscored the nuanced views these two approaches hold on peacekeeping in general and on outside involvement in peacekeeping operations.
For the United States and many European countries, the goal of peacekeeping and conflict resolution is to protect individual rights and freedoms and to accomplish a “democratic transition” by replacing authoritarian regimes with liberal-democratic alternatives. For Russia as well as many other emerging powers, the goal of conflict resolution and peacekeeping is to preserve and strengthen the local state structures so that they can support law and order on their territory and stabilize the situation in the country and the region. The western approach assumes that donor countries know better what to do with regard to local problems, while a “rising powers” approach is far less dogmatic and recognizes the right of actors to make mistakes along the way.
This article focuses on Russia’s approaches to peacekeeping as they are defined theoretically and practicall