Russian foreign policy in the post-Soviet ERA


The question "what does Russia want?" has been asked by politicians, policy analysts, and academics alike. Unfortunately, it has been answered in ways that we in the West have wanted to hear, yet the answers we came up with may not be completely accurate, as reflected by our own academic literature. Analysts like Ivan Krastev have argued that "Russia's foreign-policy goals seem less predictable than ever, designed to provoke the West and control its neighbors ... what does the. Kremlin really want?" He criticized realist and liberal perspectives alike and offered that Russian foreign policy is held hostage by the sense of fragility that niarked the· Russian experience of the 1990s. The position of one senior French diplomat was that the Soviet Union was easier to bargain with than Russia is today. Dealing with the Soviets was difficult, but they had a goal in mind. Putin's Russia is just hostile without a clear objective. My paper challenges such thinking. The purpose behind Russia's belligerence is found in the realist perspective that Krastev so casually dismissed. Much along the lines of Stephen Cohen's work, I use descriptive analysis to look at how the ideologies of the past left Russia and the United States at odds. Now that we essentially agree on market economics (with more or less government control of the markets) we can begin to have a compatible coexistence. I have found that in its search for a return to Great Power status, Russia felt betrayed by the United States and treated like a defeated nation. What some dismiss as "paranoia" in the Kremlin is actually a manifestation of balance of power logic. This is firmly grounded in the concept of Kenneth Waltz's defensive realism.


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Thesis Completion





Sadri, Houman A.


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences

Degree Program

Political Science


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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