Geopolitical Components of the Russian Foreign Policy

Document Type : Original Article


1 Regional Studies Department, University of Tehran

2 MA of International Relations, Islamic Azad University, Sciences and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran


Extended Abstract
After a period of instability and conflict with various problems in the 1990s, Russian foreign relations have reached a relatively balanced situation since 2000. With the arrival of Vladimir Putin, many analysts estimate Russian foreign policy is that Moscow seeks to revive itself as a major power by using its geopolitical advantages. With the indexation of Russian foreign policy, the present study attempts to explain why analysis of Russian foreign policy can be considered in terms of the components of geopolitics using the framework of neoclassical realism, without resorting to more macroeconomic views on geopolitics and international relations. Neoclassical realism has more power not only to weigh the components that affect Russian foreign policy, but also to explain the motives, goals, decision-making processes and foreign policy behaviors.
The choice of a specific theoretical framework in this research suggests that this research has been done by collecting library resources as a data analysis technique as well as using conceptual elements and the authors’ theoretical and experimental backgrounds.
Result and discussion
The most important estimates of this research are as follows:
1) The theory of neoclassical realism, which takes into account the number and ratio of variables affecting the state's foreign policy and behavior more carefully, is a more appropriate theoretical model for analyzing Russian foreign policy.
2) Russian foreign policy should be analyzed both within the framework of its historical and traditional policy during the Soviet era, and also in the framework of a new foreign policy inspired by historical experiences and adapted to the new conditions of Russia and the international system of implementation.
3) Moscow's experiences of the international system after the collapse of the Soviet Union has led to the fact that, although all the Russian political and security documents emphasize the priority of the former Soviet Union (the former geographical zone of the Soviet Union), but since 2011, and in particular since 2015, Russia has expanded its field of engagement with the United States into the Middle East and more issues.
4) Russian foreign policy, especially in the last decade, with Vladimir Putin's leadership; contains security perspectives on unilateral US actions in the world arena and the enlargement of NATO to the East; orientation toward the East; and strategic competition and interaction with China. Political-security-economic domination on the “Near Abroad”, which fully reflects geopolitical components on all three axes. The reason for the significance of these components is also influenced by various components such as the restructuring and the degradation of Russian position after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the systematic results, internal factors in Russia such as the perception of the leaders about a systematic stimulus, socio-political domains such as relations between the society and government, strategic culture, internal institutions, foreign policy responses and their international outcomes.
While Russian leaders have a security perception of structural changes and their systematic results, geopolitics not only has its own senses, that is, it depends on the territorial features and geographical location, but also is important in the outcome of the systemic developments and its implications in Russian foreign policy. From of Russian leaders’ point of view, the security interests of this country with geopolitical priorities should be secured using political-economic and even military means. At the same time, it looks at new international crises as opportunities and threats. The total of such factors makes the foreign policy approach a set of interactive and contradictory strategies, and the spread of the areas of these interactions and contradictions to various regions is expanding and reinforces the notion that geopolitical factors are very important in Russian foreign policy. The result of this paper is that new classical realism is the appropriate theory to analyze Russian foreign policy.