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Russia’s foreign policy from the Crimean Crisis to the Middle East: great power gamble or biopolitics?


Casula, Philipp (2017). Russia’s foreign policy from the Crimean Crisis to the Middle East: great power gamble or biopolitics? Rising Powers Quarterly, 2(1):27-51.

Abstract

The Crimea Crisis of 2014 and the subsequent conflict in Eastern Ukraine have brought to the fore the troubled relations between Putin’s Russia and the West. Observers have been oscillating between disbelief and alarm, trying to figure out Russia’s conduct in foreign affairs by referring to imperialism, a new Cold War, or to an inherently autocratic character of Russia to explain its foreign policy. The 2015 Russian intervention in Syria has further buttressed these interpretations. Instead, this paper investigates Russia’s foreign policy along three key types of modern power in political history: sovereignty, reason of state, and biopolitics. It highlights how their respective instruments are fielded by Russia in four different cases: South Ossetia (2008), the conflicts in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine (2014 and ongoing) as well as and during the Syrian civil war (esp. since 2015). The aim of the paper is not to explain the reasons underlying Russia’s foreign policy but rather to highlight its formal mechanisms, which often resemble those of traditional great powers, including sovereignty and reason of state. However, in the context of global governance, biopolitics plays an increasingly important role for Russia.

Abstract

The Crimea Crisis of 2014 and the subsequent conflict in Eastern Ukraine have brought to the fore the troubled relations between Putin’s Russia and the West. Observers have been oscillating between disbelief and alarm, trying to figure out Russia’s conduct in foreign affairs by referring to imperialism, a new Cold War, or to an inherently autocratic character of Russia to explain its foreign policy. The 2015 Russian intervention in Syria has further buttressed these interpretations. Instead, this paper investigates Russia’s foreign policy along three key types of modern power in political history: sovereignty, reason of state, and biopolitics. It highlights how their respective instruments are fielded by Russia in four different cases: South Ossetia (2008), the conflicts in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine (2014 and ongoing) as well as and during the Syrian civil war (esp. since 2015). The aim of the paper is not to explain the reasons underlying Russia’s foreign policy but rather to highlight its formal mechanisms, which often resemble those of traditional great powers, including sovereignty and reason of state. However, in the context of global governance, biopolitics plays an increasingly important role for Russia.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of History
Dewey Decimal Classification:900 History
Uncontrolled Keywords:Russia, Crimean Crisis, Syria, foreign policy, biopolitics, sovereignty
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:16 Jan 2019 14:58
Last Modified:07 Apr 2020 07:14
Publisher:Rising Powers in Global Governance Project
ISSN:2547-9423
OA Status:Closed
Official URL:http://risingpowersproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/vol2.1-Philipp-Casula.pdf

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