Rusland og Ruslands udenrigspolitik

Mathias Kjær Jakobsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Russia and its foreign politics Russia is the largest country in the world; it stretches over more than 11 time zones and is, geographically, a vital part of both the European and the Asian continents. Allthough Russia is a part of both Europe and Asia, the Russian people only consider themselves as Russians, neither Europeans nor Asians. For decades, Russia has been in conflict with the Western world – a conflict that has re-escalated within the last ten years. Russian foreign politics have always been represented by an extreme form of self-assertive behavior. The main purpose for this behavior has of course been to demonstrate power towards the rest of the world, but mainly to the surrounding countries, as well as the Russian population. Demonstration of power is an issue that stretches back into Russian history, and the population shares the Kremlin’s desire for power. The weak years Russia experienced, after the Cold War, were particularly humiliating for Russia and the Russian people; therefore, the desire for power was greater than ever when Putin took charge of the country in the year 2000. This thesis will examine Russia and its foreign politics: it will focus on the great demand for power, which Russia always has had, and address the question of how Russia sees itself in the international community. Allthough there will be references back to the USSR, the focus will be on Russia, after 1991. Problem formulation How is Russia’s self-image portrayed through Russian foreign policy? Russian poet, Fyodor Tyutchev, once said: You cannot understand Russia with your brain, you can only believe in it. Whether this is true or false, one has to be Russian to decide; however, it is hard to argue that the Russian people most certainly believe in Russia. This great belief in the country has resulted in the self-assertive behavior that this thesis examines. There are a lot of reasons for the Russian behavior, but these reasons have to be seen in a cultural and historical context. Russia’s behavior also has to be seen in a realistic context, as there are many of the core concepts in the realistic theory that Russia feels safe about. Before it is concluded that Russia always will be Russia and that Putin took the country back to USSR standards, it is important to understand why Russia acts as it does. As mentioned, Russia has always had a great interest in its surrounding countries. Therefore, it was regarded as a geopolitical disaster when the Baltic countries entered NATO in 2004. Prior to the 2004 extension, Russia had seen Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary become members of the organization, and the loss of control, in what Russia regards as its protective zone, amounted to a huge defeat in Russia. For years, NATO has talked also about making Georgia and Ukraine members of the organization, which would mean the end of Russia as a great power. Therefore, Russia early in the stage proclaimed that Georgian and Ukraine memberships would never happen. When discussing Russian foreign politics, one needs to understand how these Western interactions were received in Kremlin. As mentioned, Russian foreign politics have always been self-assertive, when Russia has had the power. When Georgia entered the two breakout states, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in 2008, Russia answered with raw military power. The Georgian attack gave Russia a chance to show the world that it was back on track and Georgia was aggressively bombed. With the Georgian conflict, Russia regained some of its former, dominating reputation in the international community, and it can only be regarded as an ironic tragedy, that Russia was hit extremely hard by the financial crisis, only months after its much needed victory.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages73