Which factors drive Russia’s grand strategy adjustment: pressure, perception, power
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Relations between Russia and the West, mainly the US, EU and NATO, have continuously deteriorated in the past decades due to several crises and differing answers to these by the relevant players, e.g. in the cases of Ukraine and Syria. Whereas there are numerous works which deal with the phenomena of Russian foreign policy conduct in those crises from a realist point of view, there are remarkably few that take a neoclassical realist perspective. This paper does, looking at such international crises as part of a bigger picture: Russian grand strategy. In short, the thesis finds that perceived pressures from the IS, moderated by relative material power capabilities, drive Russian grand strategy adjustment. The results of the case study enhance our understanding of Russian foreign policies and grand strategy, and demonstrate the flexibility and applicability of neoclassical realism as a theoretical framework to explain various phenomena in international politics.
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