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Exploiting Marginality: The Case of Russia

David, M (2008) Exploiting Marginality: The Case of Russia In: The Geopolitics of Europe's identity. Centers, boundaries and margins. Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, pp. 67-84. ISBN 1403982058

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This chapter examines the progress of Russia’s foreign policy after 1991 to discover how Russia managed to extract concessions and compromises within Europe not simply there for the taking. I employ Hermann's concept of foreign policy, whereby 'the essence of foreign policy is a sequence of exchanges' (1995:256). This is in the tradition of the early Snyder, Bruck and Sapin (1954) work on action-reaction-interaction modeling, which emphasized the importance of understanding the way actors define their situation. With foreign policy a 'sequence of exchanges', how other actors define Russia's international position in relation to them is as crucial as how Russia defines its position. I argue that where Russia's foreign policy objectives are at stake, the European definition of self sets the context for Russian maneuvering. In choosing to seek influence within Europe, Russia finds its right for influence is not necessarily acknowledged by 'Europe', since its Europeanness is disputed. Russia may consider itself to be an integral part of Europe, but does Europe concur? I first set out my main hypotheses, claiming that Russia has found in relative weakness a high degree of strength, maneuvering effectively in Europe, taking advantage of opportunities to achieve its foreign policy objectives. Next, I discuss the treatment of ‘Europe’, seen as representing a post-modern order where traditional norms and values are challenged (Cooper, 2004). Russian maneuvering in relation to the EU is then examined in respect of economics, political strategies and norms. The final section examines Russia-NATO relations during the 1999 Kosovo Crisis, arguing that Russia successfully walked a fine line between traditional loyalties and the necessity of keeping the door open in its relations with NATO. It was revealed to be as weak relative to NATO, but demonstrated nonetheless that it could still have an important role in Europe.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Politics
Authors :
Date : 5 February 2008
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 25 Sep 2013 15:25
Last Modified : 09 Jun 2014 13:19

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