Exam Essay Russian Foreign Policy

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Exam Russian Foreign Policy 25/I/2010

PART I : Write an essay

Discuss the elements of continuity and change in the foreign policy of post-Communist Russia, comparing it with the policies of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire.

Globally seen, the goals of the current Russian foreign policy are completely different than the goals the Russian empire or the Soviet Union were wanting to achieve. Nowadays, the main interest of Russia is nothing but Russia itself and this is completely different than the interest of the Soviet Union or the empire. And this of course changes the ways Russia is striving towards achieving its goal. But this doesn’t mean there are still some similarities between the foreign policies of on the one hand Russia, and on the other the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire.

A big continuity with the Russian Empire (at least since the time of Peter the Great) is the willingness to cooperate with the European mainland. Because America back then wasn’t the great power it is now, it wasn’t a big player on the international scene. And as now, Russia’s plans weren’t to integrate in Europe, but more a matter of security. During the time of the Russian Empire, Russia was a member of the ‘concert of powers’, a concept that was used for a sort of alliance between the big states in Europe to control the security and the balance of power in Europe. Today a lot is changed in Europe, the issue of European security is still Moscow’s most acute foreign policy concern today and Russia searches to be a great player in the European security. Just think of its strong support to European security organizations like CFSP and ESDP.

This more look to Europe is then again a big discontinuity with the foreign policy of the Soviet Union. For the Soviet Union America was the main focus of the foreign policy. In matters of the USA, there is both continuity and discontinuity in the present foreign policy in comparison with the Soviet Union (as said before,

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