Russian foreign policy has undergone tremendous transformation over the post-Soviet period. While Moscow initially sought closer cooperation with its former Cold War enemies, especially with the US, a quarter of the century later Russia’s relationship with the West has dramatically deteriorated, with a large number of analysts on both sides describing the tensions as a new Cold War. To understand this major change, this chapter will begin by examining how Russian foreign policy works. It will then proceed to look at how Russia’s understandings of the international environment and of its foreign policy priorities have evolved since 1991. The third part will focus on major shifts in Russia’s foreign policy. The chapter will then discuss Russia’s dilemmas in its relations with key international actors. Finally, the chapter will conclude by considering possible explanations of change and continuity in Russia’s foreign policy.
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