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Title: Understanding Russian foreign policy after 1991 : a contextual analysis
Author: David, Maxine
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis seeks to understand Russia's foreign policy behaviour since the end of the Cold War. The primary objective is to discover whether there are grounds for considering Russia to be a values actor. A review of the Foreign Policy literature reveals the necessity of grounding any foreign policy analysis within the international and domestic contexts. Perceptions of Russian behaviour, however, too often lack any understanding of the specific circumstances of the Russian situation and this can result in a flawed analysis that reveals more about prejudices of Russia than Russia itself. This thesis seeks to correct this by providing a fully contextualised analysis. This objective requires new ways of analysing Russia. I first of all consider the possibility of applying a values approach to any actor. In a chapter on Values, I consider the role that values play in any actor's foreign policy, how they are formulated and at what level and what happens when there is a conflict between the values of the international community and those of one actor. With the significance of context already established, the research there shows that international-level values today cannot be understood without reference to the debate on whether we are now living in a modern or post-modern era. In another chapter, therefore, I juxtapose the values of the modern world with those of the post-modern and attempt to answer the question of whether Russia is modern or post-modem. These two chapters lead to a third one on Marginality. The Marginality framework is treated crucial to understanding the choices that lie before Russia and the West. Here, I show that despite its weakness and the failure of many of its post- Cold War objectives Russia has won gains that we would not normally associate with a 'defeated' state. Despite attempts to marginalise Russia within the European space, Russia has found much room for manoeuvre. In its relations with the EU particularly it has shown itself capable of adhering to certain standards of behaviour, which suggests the values gap between the EU and Russia is not as insurmountable as some analysis suggests. Finally, I apply each of these to Russia's behaviour throughout the Kosovo Crisis, testing hypotheses raised in the previous chapters to conclude that Russia does indeed show that it can be an important partner for Europe and that a discernible value set underpins many of its actions. The analysis is important in the context of perceptions of a stronger, more aggressive Russia that resulted in 2007-8 in much talk about whether a New Cold War was occurring. Since 1991, too many opportunities have already been lost to ensure that Russia commits to western values and conducts itself in a manner consistent with that of a European actor. This thesis shows that, when properly engaged, Russia has proved itself capable of being a reliable and cooperative partner and even of adhering to post-modern, European values.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available