The Russian Federation and the conflicts in former Yugoslavia, 1992-1995
The thesis examines the evolution of Russian policy towards the Yugoslav conflicts from the start of 1992, when the Russian Federation became an independent state, to the Dayton Accords that ended the Bosnian conflict in December 1995. In Part I, I discuss rival international relations theories in the post-Cold War world and apply them to the debate over foreign policy in Russia and Russian perceptions of the Yugoslav conflicts. Part II examines the evolution of Russian policy towards the Yugoslav conflicts until the end of 1993. January to autumn 1992 was the `liberal internationalist' phase of Russian policy, when the government promoted co-operation with the West in order to achieve a settlement of the Yugoslav conflicts, and a domestic backlash put pressure on the government to adjust its approach. A transitional phase followed, from autumn 1992 to the end of 1993, during which the government developed a more assertive great power policy based on relative domestic consensus. Part III shows this neo-realist policy in action. Russian policy makers used the Sarajevo crisis of February 1994 to demonstrate Russia's great power status. They also sought to prevent developments considered to be harmful to Russia's national interests, in particular military action by NATO against the Bosnian Serbs. For a period, other powers recognised that Russian opinions must be taken into account. But in summer 1995, Western policy makers ignored Russian objections and Russia played a secondary role in achieving a peace settlement. Russian policy makers attempted to use the Yugoslav conflict to demonstrate Russia's great power status and its independence from the West, but Russia lacked the power and influence for the policy to be effective. Russian policy contributed to the failure of the 'international community' to achieve a just settlement in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and added to the divisions developing between Russia and the West.