Russian national interests formation
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This master’s thesis aims to unpack the discourses on Russian national interest (RNI) formation. Referring to the timeframe from 2012 to 2017, this thesis tries to answer questions regarding the construction of Russian national interests and seeks to understand how the annexation of Crimea changed discourses on national interest formation. As a territory represents one of the most important constitutive parts of each state, when a government decides to change the borders, it goes through the process of legitimisation for the particular move. This legitimisation is usually done through the reference to national interests therefore additional focus of the research is on the discursive coherence behind RNI. Rejecting the realist assumptions on national interests, and by combining a constructivist approach in foreign policy analysis and poststructuralist methods of discourse analysis, this thesis seeks to offer a comprehensive understanding of the RNI during Putin’s third term. The main analysis refers to the official speeches and interviews of the Russian President, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. This thesis finds that several changes have occurred. Firstly, Russia has changed discourses on national sovereignty. Secondly, Russian world doctrine in its expansionist form has played an important role in national interests redefinition. Thirdly, discursive portrayal of Russia as a great power after the annexation of Crimea went into status maintainer direction. Finally, the annexation of Crimea has accelerated Russian devotion to Eastern dimension of foreign policy. Russia has moved into uncertain direction both internationally and domestically with no clear idea of its nation which leaves the concept of national interests as vague and uncertain.