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About this book

Written by two leading scholars, this cutting-edge textbook provides a comprehensive re-evaluation of Russian foreign policy in the 21st century, covering its historical development, key institutions and actors, and processes, principles and strategies. It integrates domestic and global perspectives to give a more rounded and balanced assessment of Russia's place in the world. This text will be essential reading on Russian foreign policy modules as well as on broader courses on Russian government and politics. It can also be used as supplementary reading on more general comparative politics and foreign policy modules which use Russia as a key case study.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction to Russia’s Foreign Policy

Abstract
Russia, officially known as the Russian Federation, is the world’s largest country. It is one of the top fifteen biggest economies in the world. It has a mixed economic system with both private and state ownership. It possesses nuclear weapons, a capable army, the air force, and the navy. It has a stable yet evolving political system. Russia has an educated population and a trained workforce. Russia’s contribution to the world’s culture is noticeable. The country plays a meaningful role in global economic and political affairs. Overall, Russia’s ability to influence international developments makes it a major player today.
Eric Shiraev, Konstantin Khudoley

Chapter 2. The Evolution of Russian Foreign Policy

Abstract
To understand any country’s current foreign policy is first to learn about its history. We have alluded to this subject briefly in Chapter 1. Not everything in Russia’s current foreign policy can be explained by the events that took place centuries, decades, or even years ago. Yet, if we apply our knowledge about past events judiciously and critically, history should teach us many valuable lessons. We can apply many of them today. With this general strategy in mind, in this chapter we shall look at the evolution of Russia’s foreign policy. We shall first review Russia’s foreign policy strategies, its institutions, and actors after Russia became an empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and then we shall focus on the key developments of the twentieth century.
Eric Shiraev, Konstantin Khudoley

Chapter 3. Institutions and Decision-Makers in Russian Foreign Policy

Abstract
Foreign policy institutions of the Russian government have been evolving for centuries. The most drastic changes took place about three hundred years ago when the Russian Empire emerged in the early 1700s and when the basic institutional foundation of Russian diplomacy was shaped. The next substantial change took place in 1917, when a new communist state was established. The dissolution of the Soviet Union, however, has brought only minor changes to Russia’s foreign policy institutions. We will discuss these historical events briefly and then focus on more contemporary developments.
Eric Shiraev, Konstantin Khudoley

Chapter 4. Players and Processes

Abstract
Which ideas influence Russia’s foreign policy? Where did these ideas and viewpoints come from and whose interests do they represent? How different are these viewpoints from those that influence foreign policy in other countries? This chapter discusses the ideological and political roots of Russia’s foreign policy. It also pays attention to the carriers of these ideologies – the political elites who directly and indirectly impact Russia’s foreign policy. This influence is exercised through at least two pathways. One is political communication: the general ways in which information related to politics, government, and foreign policy is distributed. This influence often requires political mobilization, or ways to preserve (or change) the existing political system and government’s policies.
Eric Shiraev, Konstantin Khudoley

Chapter 5. Principles and Strategies

Abstract
In the previous chapter we looked at some basic sources of Russia’s foreign policy. Now we will further detail them to better identify Russia’s foreign policy principles. The term principle refers to a fundamental idea or belief that becomes a base for other ideas that essentially derive from that principle. The term strategy means a general plan of action, the particulars of which are clarified in the process of a strategy’s implementation. During nearly the three decades after the disintegration of the Soviet Union an important evolution of principles and strategies of Russia’s foreign policy was taking place. The most significant changes occurred in the 1990s–early 2000s. In later periods a relative stabilization and consolidation of foreign policy strategies occurred. To explain the key principles and strategies of Russia’s foreign policy, we first need to ask at least three questions.
Eric Shiraev, Konstantin Khudoley

Chapter 6. Russian Policies toward Post-Soviet States

Abstract
After the breakup of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation shared borders with eight of its former republics, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania (via the Kaliningrad region), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan. Together with the six other former republics that did not share borders with Russia, such as Moldova, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kirgizstan, these countries are often called in Russia, “the post-Soviet space” or “the post-Soviet states”. Geographical proximity and a shared history have always been important factors influencing international relations. We will now briefly review Russia’s strategic interest in the region and then look at the relationships between Russia and the “near abroad” (how the post-Soviet space was often called in the past) from a historical perspective, which is closely connected to contemporary developments. The relations of Russia with Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) will be discussed in Chapter 8.
Eric Shiraev, Konstantin Khudoley

Chapter 7. Russia’s Policies toward the United States

Abstract
Over the past two centuries bilateral relations between Russia and the United States have always played a major, even decisive role in international affairs. At certain historical periods these countries were allies fighting a common enemy. During other periods they were partners. They were also, and quite often, adversaries. Great success stories of these countries’ cooperation were followed by no less significant setbacks. These days, while Moscow and Washington continue cooperating in some areas, they are competing in far more others.
Eric Shiraev, Konstantin Khudoley

Chapter 8. Russia’s Policies toward Europe and the European Union

Abstract
About one quarter of Russian territory is located in Europe and more than two-thirds of the country’s population lives there. Russia has had traditionally robust trade and multiple political links to European states. Yet – in the context of economic integration, government institutions, and ideology – is Russia today a part of Europe or not? How close is Russia to Europe politically and culturally? There are no simple answers to these questions. On the one hand, Russian leaders and ordinary people believe that they belong in Europe geographically and culturally. On the other hand, Moscow often distances itself from the continent and emphasizes deep disagreements between Russia and the West. Which process, toward Europe or away from it, will prevail in the near future? Or maybe Russia will idle for years before it chooses its path? You should make your own call after reading this chapter.
Eric Shiraev, Konstantin Khudoley

Chapter 9. Russia’s Policies toward China

Abstract
In the twenty-first century, when Moscow’s relations with Washington and Western European countries have been worsening, the relatively robust relations between China and Russia have drawn substantial attention from politicians, scholars, and journalists. How long will these good relations last? Will China and Russia form a new strategic alliance, or is this just a convenient partnership in trade, as some suggest (Ying, 2016)? Opinions have differed. Some believed in a long-term strategic political and military partnership. Others maintained that this is just a temporary business of convenience: both countries have less in common in terms of their fundamental interests than people might think. Yet others saw in this relationship a new trend of the twenty-first century when the political elites in a growing number of countries have decided to trade the promise of economic and social stability to its citizens for a share of these citizens’ fundamental political and personal freedoms.
Eric Shiraev, Konstantin Khudoley

Chapter 10. The Southern Direction of Russian Foreign Policy (Russia’s Policies toward the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia)

Abstract
Russia’s “southern” direction of its foreign policy is about pursuing relationships with predominantly Muslim states, except for India, Israel, and Nepal. Some of these countries have been Russia’s historical neighbors. Others were very much distant acquaintances. They all have played and continue to perform different roles in Russia’s foreign policy. Some of them were constant competitors and foes. Others maintained relatively smooth relations with Russia for many decades. Yet others were constantly balanced between cooperation and competition. Ideology, politics, and economic interests all played their roles in different times. They continue to play such roles in the twenty-first century.
Eric Shiraev, Konstantin Khudoley

Chapter 11. Russian Policy in Various Parts of the World: The Asia-Pacific Region, Latin America, and Africa

Abstract
Russia claims the role of a global power. Russia’s foreign policy has different areas of interest, not limited to the post-Soviet space, the United States, the European Union, or China. Russia considers its participation in Asia-Pacific integration as very important. Moscow explores new political and economic possibilities with countries in Latin America and Africa. Certainly, Moscow’s foreign policy in these regions has to be understood in different, often unique contexts. One of them is historical.
Eric Shiraev, Konstantin Khudoley
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