Saving Russian compatriots: imaginative geographies, representations of the self and other(s) in Russian discourses of military interventionism
The dissertation incorporates poststructuralist discourse analysis and critical IR perspectives to analyze Russian discourses on military interventions pertaining to the Post-Soviet/ Near Abroad region. It tries to answer the following question: How did Russian diplomats and politicians discursively construct Russia’s military interventions in Georgia and Ukraine? To that purpose, I propose a two-fold theoretical and analytical framework informed by poststructuralist and critical IR insights. First, I choose to interpret Russian contradictory legal discourse of military interventionism by referring to the literature on the subaltern empire. Accordingly, Russian discursive construction of intervention can be situated within a hybrid subaltern context, wherein Russian politicians and diplomats must replicate the hegemonic discourse of new interventionism, albeit in a subversive manner, to articulate the country’s subaltern agency and make sense of Moscow’s violations of neighboring countries’ sovereignty. Secondly, to examine the discursive construction of Russia’s military interventionism, the dissertation attempts to ‘read’ Russian interventions in Georgia and Ukraine in terms of the production of the Self/Other essential to the discourse of post-Cold War new interventionism. To facilitate the analysis of Russian intervention narratives, the subject of scrutiny is broken down into three major components: representations of the Subject, representations of the Others and imaginative geographies of the intervention. Subsequently, the dissertation applies this analytical framework to deconstruct the official discourses pertaining to Russia’s interventions in South Ossetia and Ukraine. Structurally, the dissertation is divided into a theoretical part and an analytical part. The first section of the theoretical part offers an overview of the development of Russia’s approach to normative issues regarding humanitarian intervention and R2P in the post-Cold War context. The second section furnishes a critical review of the literature on Russia’s discourses of humanitarian intervention and R2P informed by the English School and norm-oriented constructivist IR theories. Building from this critical review, a case for the application of the postcolonial theory-inspired subaltern empire theory is then made. The last section of the theoretical part is spent to elaborate the poststructuralist framework concerning the analysis of how Russia’s humanitarian intervention narratives produced the Self, Other and imaginative geographies. In the analytical part, composed of the subsequent three chapters, I employed the designated analytical framework to analyze the discursive construction of Russia’s military interventions in the cases of Georgia and Ukraine.