Dr. Götz will present a paper that maps the conventional explanations of Russia’s near abroad policy – a topic that has received increased scholarly attention over the last couple of years. The paper argues that it is possible to distinguish between four strands of explanations: individual-level, domestic-political, ideational, and geopolitical. It shows that each explanation can support its claims with anecdotal evidence. At the same time, none of these explanations can provide for a convincing stand-alone account of Russia’s near abroad policy. Therefore, it is necessary to develop synthetic accounts that elaborate on how different influence factors emphasized by the four strands interact in shaping Moscow’s actions and ambitions. Finally, the paper makes the case that a neoclassical-realist account provides a promising avenue for future research on Russia’s near abroad policy.
Elias Götz has only just joined the UCRS as a postdoctoral researcher. He has worked during the last two years as an assistant professor at the Political Science Department at Aarhus University in Denmark. His research interests span the fields IR theory, security studies, and Russian foreign policy.