Russia's quest for international status during Vladimir Putin's third presidential term
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The following thesis aims to research Russia’s status-seeking strategy after Putin’s return to power in 2012, which marked the emergence of state’s aggressive foreign policy. Shortly after the annexation of Crimea, Russia made an extraordinary move and first time after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow projected its military power outside of post-Soviet region – in Syria. In addition to this, during Putin’s third term as president, discourses about Russia’s unique civilizational identity and state’s commitment to defend traditional values worldwide appeared in the Russian politics and public space. Drawing upon the social identity theory, this thesis seeks to examine whether Russia’s recent military campaigns coupled with resurgence of civilizational and conservative discourses can be considered as the main constituencies of its desire to enhance state’s international status and standing. The following work pays a particular attention to socio-psychological factors, such as need for positive social identity and national self-esteem, subjective perceptions, status-related emotions, while analyzing Russia’s status-seeking behavior. It also tries to address the current debates about the status markers in a contemporary international system and the concluding part of thesis sets out to review the specific markers of Russia’s international status from the point of view of its ruling elite. The overall implication of this work is to research and unpack the foundations of Russia current assertiveness that can contribute to a better understanding of its goals and future activities.