Secure or otherwise: Lithuania's ontological security after EU and NATO accession
This Master‘s Thesis analyzes the Lithuanian foreign policy narrative. The analyzed time frame begins with Lithuania‘s entry to the EU and NATO in 2004 and ends with the outset of the Euromaidan protest movement in 2013. It seeks to identify the principal drivers in the Lithuanian foreign policy narrative that lead to a persistently belligerent approach towards Russia. More specifically, this study examines why despite the favourable circumstances Lithuania chose to maintain a considerably sharper policy line towards Russia instead of following a more pragmatic path. This thesis is built on existing scholarship on ontological security which argues that physical security is not the only type of security states are concerned about. It suggests that states also seek for the security of consistent Self. The study reveals that despite a certain relief in the country’s immediate security concerns after the EU and NATO accession, Lithuania experienced deep uncertainty which threatened its identity. Thus, in order to increase cognitive and behavioural certainty, Lithuania routinized its relationship with Russia. Lithuanian foreign policy makers chose clung to a confrontational rather than a pragmatic policy line towards Russia, because such a routinization of adversarial relations helped to secure Lithuania’s identity. The findings confirm that Lithuania tends to pursue a value-based and morally driven foreign policy, where Russia is frequently portrayed through the Self/Other constellation and activation of memory politics. This becomes particularly visible in the analysis of Lithuania’s policies regarding attending Victory Day celebrations in Moscow and the demands to compensate for Soviet damages.