Tuesday, 10 March 2015 00:00

Russian Politics in Times of Change: Internal and External Factors of Transformation

Written by  Denis Alexeev

The first few months of 2014 brought an unprecedented collapse of the Russian Federa-tion’s image on the world stage, the worst since the end of the Cold War. The events in Ukraine and the reaction to them by a significant number of countries in the interna-tional community, quickly demoted Russia to that group of countries whose foreign policy provokes harsh condemnation. For the first time in decades, international sanc-tions have been put in place against Russia, adopted by a large number of the world’s largest countries, de facto downgrading Russia to the rank of a rogue state; these sanc-tions are intended to exert pressure on the elite, who are responsible for implementing certain foreign policy decisions. For many experts, the events are associated with a new and sudden sea-change in Russia’s foreign policy. However, it appears to us that the cur-rent stage of cooling relations with the West is a logical consequence of the way in which the Russian state was constructed in recent years; in fact, a different scenario could hardly have been anticipated. This article presents the author’s view of the mecha-nisms and logic that shaped Russia’s foreign policy course, which has evolved through several iterations in the last three years. The below analysis could facilitate a fuller un-derstanding of Russian motives in international relations, and help find opportunities and mechanisms for dialogue between Russia and the West.