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Revanchist Russia? Russian perceptions of Belarusian and Ukrainian sovereignty, 1990-2008

Nilsson, R.; (2010) Revanchist Russia? Russian perceptions of Belarusian and Ukrainian sovereignty, 1990-2008. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The theme of this thesis concerns post-Soviet Russian foreign policy perceptions of Belarusian and Ukrainian sovereignty between 1990 and 2008. In the thesis I argue that Russian perceptions became increasingly revanchist in nature during this period, and that we may distinguish between two different types of revanchism, the consequences of which for Belarusian and Ukrainian sovereignty are quite different. I argue that all Russian perceptions of international affairs are constituted by perceptions of Russia. Thus, perceptions of Belarusian and Ukrainian sovereignty may be divided into three categories, or paradigms, each of which centres on a specific concept that legitimises the existence of Russia, and determines how Belarus and Ukraine are viewed. The three central concepts are the concepts of Law, Power, and Nation, respectively. In the introduction, I outline these paradigms, both in abstract terms and in relation to Russian foreign policy in general, as well as Russian foreign policy towards Belarus and Ukraine. Subsequently, I present my methodology and my literature review, together with a discussion of the theoretical assumptions, which provide the foundation for my argument. Then, I briefly outline Russian foreign policy making during the period relevant for my thesis, before the four main chapters of my thesis outline in roughly chronological fashion how the relative significance of the three paradigms has changed over time. Overall, I find that whereas the paradigm of Power has generally dominated perceptions, the paradigm of Law has gradually lost influence, whereas the influence of the paradigm of Nation has gradually increased. Since I define both the paradigm of Power and the paradigm of Nation as “revanchist,” I conclude that Russian perceptions of Belarusian and Ukrainian sovereignty between 1990 and 2008 gradually became more revanchist in nature.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Revanchist Russia? Russian perceptions of Belarusian and Ukrainian sovereignty, 1990-2008
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > SSEES

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