Vol 21, No 1 (2021): Conceptualizing the Problems of World Politics through the Prism of IR Theory

THEMATIC DOSSIER
Postcoloniality in Global and Regional Dimensions
Neklessa A.I.
Abstract

The article reflects the results of research in the North-South Group focused on the development of the polycentric, personalized and mobile Universe, while the ensemble of interconnected influential concepts (postmodernity and postcoloniality) had been analyzed. The current view on globalization as a political and economic cohesion of the modern world, contrasts the view on global restructuring as a consequence of the crisis of institutions of world bureaucracy, collectivist ideo-party totality, others unifying administrative and sociocultural mechanics. Attention is drawn to the trends of individuation and privatization, substitution of subordination by subsidiarity, which reflects the crisis of the national statehood format. The complex reality that arises in the bosom of modern culture, implements its own polycentricity, based not on the etatist symphony, but on a distributed set of diasporas, corporate or personal sovereignty. Postmodernity, denying the former world order, reproduces the semblance of a post-colonial situation, which allows us to turn to the experience of countries that have gained political sovereignty and mastered their new status in its various versions. Coloniality is understood as the result of hegemony, which goes beyond the prevailing interpretation of colonialism, but as a repressive emanation of the hegemonic world, offering subaltern other two modus of behavior: submission or subjugation assimilation, denying the legality of alternative self-realization or resistance. Pathos of post-modern, post-imperial and post-colonial positions declares the right of the individual and the communities to realize their original identity, dissimilation of former loyalties and sovereign search for alternatives. The universal quest is for political, sociocultural and semantic counter-hegemony, which also denies the current world to be an instrument of the modal-assimilation complex “knowledge - power”. The urgency of this problem was confirmed by the riots that broke out in the United States and other parts of the world in 2020.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):9-19
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Securitization Theory or a Well Overlooked Old: On the Philosophical and Theoretical Premises and Origins of the Theory
Gaidaev O.S.
Abstract

More than 20 years have passed since B. Buzan, O. Wæver and J. de Wilde published their “Security: A New Framework for Analysis”, which has become a classic in the discipline of security studies. Although Russian scholars increasingly attempt to use the securitization theory’s conceptual apparatus in their research, the knowledge of the theory itself remains rather fragmentary. The overwhelming majority of existing papers refer to the so-called Copenhagen School’s (CS) intellectual heritage, while more comprehensive approaches and recent studies remain almost unknown among Russian scholars. The author attempts to fill this gap. This article is first in line of a series of studies, entirely devoted to the phenomenon of securitization: from the earliest milestones to the modern stage of development of the theory. The paper examines the theoretical and philosophical premises, as well as the ideas and assumptions of the securitization theory, first formulated by O. Wæver in the late 1980s. The author refers to the original texts of the main figures of the CS: O. Wæver and B. Buzan, conceptualizing the history of the concept of securitization and immersing the reader into the atmosphere of security studies field at the end of the 20th century. As a result, it becomes possible to determine the key elements of the early theory of securitization: security as a speech act, national security as a main focus of study, post-structural realism as a research agenda of O. Wæver, and the idea of security as a negative meaning. The article concludes that despite the shortcomings of the early theory of securitization noted by many critics, it was based on a valuable and fruitful idea - an attempt to go beyond the notion of security as an absolute good or a metaphysical entity, which was typical of traditional and many alternative approaches to the definition of security.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):20-32
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Regional Complex of Southeast Asia: A Case of Applied Analysis Focused on the Situation in Myanmar
Efremova K.A.
Abstract

This paper uses the method of applied analysis of regional complexes developed at the Centre for Comprehensive Chinese Studies and Regional Projects, MGIMO University (Moscow, Russia). Its scientific relevance is defined by the importance of understanding the international and political situation in and around Myanmar. The aim of this study is a scientific exploration of the Rohingya crisis by means of applied methods of regional analysis, designed by the author. This methodology aims to trace scenarios of the development of international and political situations in the region based on the types of interactions within the Southeast Asian regional complex. The article offers the author’s own definition of regional complex that builds on the works of Alexei D. Voskressenski, introduces an algorithm of scenario analysis, outlines six “ideal” types of regional complexes, and defines stable and unstable types of regional complexes. The first part of the article is devoted to current approaches in the study of regional problems in International Relations and World Regional Studies; the second part describes the author’s conception of applied international political analysis of regional complexes; and the third part contains an example of the application of scenario analysis to specific regional and domestic affairs - in this case, the contemporary situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The research yields the following results: 1) by using a combination of the methods of news monitoring and event analysis, the author collected information on political processes in Rakhine over the last five years; 2) this information was arranged according to the matrix compiled by the author, which characterized the situation development according to the negative (-5…-1) and positive (+1…+5) scenarios; 3) based on the results of the aforesaid analysis, the author comes to a conclusion on the character and intensity of the Rohingya crisis and describes possible ways of its settlement.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):33-48
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“Europeanization” of Think Tanks in the EU Interest Group Politics
Pisarev I.I.
Abstract

The article reveals the characteristics of think tanks as actors of the interest group politics in the European Union (EU). In this policy, they inspire public debate, conduct research, encourage new legislation and more effective public administration. A large number of European think tanks is engaged in interest group politics both at the national and supranational level of the EU governance, encouraging integration processes among the EU countries and Europeanization, which is the subject of analysis of this study. The strengthening of the role and importance of interest groups in EU policy is largely due to the increased power of the Union’s institutions, since the introduction of new legislation and regulation common to all EU countries leads to the feedback from various groups that represent both public and private interests. Obviously, these groups, when interacting with the power institutions of the EU, strive for the most effective protection of their interests. For this purpose their representatives hold meetings with officials of the European Commission and the European Parliament, as well as other structures of the Union. This interaction, aiming at promoting their interests by means of lobbying and advocacy, has been regulated since 2011 by the Transparency Register, jointly created by the European Commission and the European Parliament. The purpose of this study is to analyze the quantitative performance of think tanks in the EU and to develop on its basis the Ranking of EU countries, according to the level of Europeanization of the think tanks representing them. From the research methods perspective, the study is based on the matching of statistical data from the Transparency Register and the Global Go To Think Tank Index, which serves the basis for this Ranking. The study of the ranking makes it possible to identify groups of countries with a high, medium and low level of Europeanization of think tanks in all EU countries as of January 31, 2019. The results revealed on the basis of the analysis demonstrate the heterogeneous nature of the Europeanization process of think tanks in different EU countries.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):49-63
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BRICS Countries in International Climate Policy
Kovalev Y.Y., Porshneva O.S.
Abstract

The article presents an analysis of the BRICS countries’ climate policies at the global and national levels. The authors consider the positions of these states within the framework of both international climate conferences (Conference of the Parties) held under the auspices of the UN since 1992, and the summits of BRICS member states in the years 2011-2020. The paper covers strategies and results of national climate policies implemented in these countries. Using structural, comparative, and content analysis methods, the authors emphasize that BRICS countries play a key role in stabilizing the climate of our planet today. It is impossible to achieve the main aim of the Paris Agreement without a comprehensive transformation of environmental practices in these societies. BRICS adheres to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” in its position towards international climate policy; the BRICS countries stand for sustainable economic growth through the introduction of new environmental technologies, and against restrictive measures that impede their economic development. At the same time, the Russian economy’s dependence on the extraction and export of fuel resources complicates environmental transformation. Russia is dominated by a negative narrative of climate change, where the urgent ecological modernization of the economy is seen as a threat to key sectors (oil and gas) of the economy. The implementation of international agreements to reduce the carbon intensity of the Russian economy, the creation of conditions for the transition to climate-neutral technologies, would contribute not only to the fight against global climate change, but would become a powerful incentive for the modernization of the economy, accelerating innovation and increasing its competitiveness.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):64-78
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Eurasian Concept: Central Asia in Russian and Chinese Foreign Policy
Zabella A.A., Katkova E.Y., Shabaga A.V.
Abstract

This article focuses on the reasons for both increasing attention to Eurasian ideology among political and scientific circles in Russia and the Chinese interest in Central Asia. Given a realistic paradigm, the authors analyzed aspects of Russian and Chinese foreign policy in the context of strengthening their influence in the region. Based on traditional values the ideology of Eurasianism is considered as a basis of Russia’s foreign policy in Central Asia. The authors paid attention to an analysis of the effectiveness of the Russian concept of Eurasianism and the Chinese initiative “the Belt and Road Initiative”, reminiscent of the Silk Road, in Central Asia. The paper covers theoretical-analytical and systemic-historical methods that offered an opportunity both to analyze the approaches of Russia and China to strengthen their influence in Central Asia and to examine the possibilities and contradictions of cooperation between Russia and China in Central Asia. The authors consider an interface among the EAEU and “the Belt and Road Initiative” as an opportunity to increase the efficiency of Russian-Chinese interaction, to create significant benefits to the countries in the Central Asia, and to expand the Russian and Chinese presence in the region. The authors pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of Russia and China in their interaction with the countries of Central Asia. Although Russia enjoys significant advantages, China is strengthening its presence in the region by its investments. The main hypothesis of this article is that the interface among the EAEU and “the Belt and Road Initiative” initiatives may curb competition between Russia and China in Central Asia, but the authors do not rule out the Shanghai scenario, which demonstrates a gradual strengthening of China’s position.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):79-90
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“The World is Bigger than Five”. Turkey’s Emergence as a Global Actor in World Politics: Prospects and Challenges for Russia
Irkhin A.A., Moskalenko O.A.
Abstract

The foreign policy realized by Turkey’s president clearly evidences the fact that Erdogan does not accept today’s world order as a model for the near future. This has led to the proposition of The World Is Bigger than Five formula since 2013. At least in several key regions, Ankara attempts to change the world order through more than emotional declarations; it uses both hard and soft power in the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East, Black Sea region, Caucasus, and Central Asia. The main indicators of Turkish soft and hard power (military, economic, technological factors, and attractiveness of mass culture) are examined to identify possibilities of Turkey to change the balance of power in key regions and on a global scale. From 2007, the vision of Turkey as an influential actor globally has been propagated by the Turkish elite of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Geopolitical, civilizational, and systematic approaches are used. The research process is carried out within the paradigm of classical and critical geopolitics. During the AKP’s time in power, moderate Islamists gave Turkey a new impetus - a return to its civilizational roots. One must note the state’s development of its economy, military-industrial complex, and the new national position globally as a patron of every Muslim. Modern Turkey can be considered a great regional power with sectoral global leadership in its military attainment, and due to the attractiveness of its model of development. Ankara invests heavily in soft power, its success is based on the Turkish development ideology, which represents a synthesis of neo-Ottoman, neo-Pan-Turkic and pan-Islamic ideas. The revival of Turkey as a regional power and its desire to become a world power will inevitably increase the space of contradictions in Russian-Turkish relations, reducing the sphere of cooperation between the two countries.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):91-107
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PEACE AND SECURITY
U.S. Migration Policy Radicalization (2017-2019): Case of Mexico and Central America
Eremin A.A.
Abstract

This article is an attempt to critically analyze the policy of the 45th President of the United States Donald Trump regarding the southern border of the USA with Mexico. The paper analyzes the approach of Washington under the administration of D. Trump to the problem of the joint border between USA and Mexico, as well as conducts a comprehensive assessment of the main programs underlying the most pressing changes in D. Trump’s policy in this area. In particular, the paper focuses on the structure of migration flows between 2017 and 2019, as well as on the reasons behind those changes. The author looks at the root causes of the unprecedented increase in the flow of potential migrants and refugees, and correlates them with the ongoing political, economic and humanitarian crises in the Central American sub-region. An important focus is given to the increasing role of Mexico in the settlement of this issue, as well as to the potential impact of such cooperation between the authorities of the United States and Mexico on the situation in Central America and Latin America in general. The significance of this paper is determined by the objective necessity of academic evaluation of the Donald Trump’s administration impact on the United States governmental and foreign policy course. The author argues that the approach of the 45th president of the United States regarding traditionally sensitive issues like US - Mexico border control and migration has been mostly based on coercive tactics with obvious disregard towards social basis and root-causes of the issue at hand. One of the most distinguished traits of this approach is the practice of “outsourcing” managing the problem of refugees from Central America to the border-country, which in this specific case is Mexico.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):108-118
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INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC RELATIONS
Venezuelan Aspect of “Emerging Partnership” between Turkey and Latin America: Factors, Dynamics and Risks
Piatakov A.N.
Abstract

The article provides an analysis of Turkish-Venezuelan relations amid Turkey-Latin American ties enhancing. In 2015-2019, this way of intercontinental cooperation has reached a peak. This was reflected in the intensification of trade and economic relations, as well as in the strengthening of diplomatic ties. The author analyzes the causes and international factors of the ongoing rapprochement. The analysis is carried out by tracking the trajectory of the changes in Turkey's foreign policy from the perspective of its gradual departure from the pro-Western course. The main emphasis is placed on the evolution and current stage of the Turkish-Venezuelan relations. After periods of recession and boom by 2016 relations between Venezuela and Turkey had come into a turning point. In recent years, their bilateral partnership has been markedly distinguished on the background of Ankara’s relations with other states of the region. Venezuela has a record frequency of interstate official visits and a high degree of mutual understanding with the Turkish leadership on fundamental issues. The author carried out a comparative analysis of the two states’ political and historical special characteristics. The author comes to the conclusion that the format of Turkish-Venezuelan partnership is built on the basis of responding to common to the two states current external challenges. Both states are under sanctions pressure, although with a varying degrees of severity; both economies are experiencing crisis moments. These factors contribute to the development of economic interaction between the states on a mutually beneficial basis. For Venezuela, its economic cooperation with Turkey is a significant factor mitigating the negative effects of the permanent economic crisis. The supply of Turkish foodstuffs helps to reduce a food shortage, while Ankara's purchases of Venezuelan gold contribute to the replenishment of the Venezuelan budget with currency assets. We can talk about the existing geostrategic partnership, which has, if not long-term, then medium-term potential.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):119-135
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Political Economy of Cross-Strait Relations
Nakhatakyan E.O.
Abstract

The article provides a comprehensive analysis of the interrelation of political and economic factors in Cross-Strait relations. The main political factor considered in the study is the policy of the ruling party in Taiwan towards the Mainland, its acceptance of Beijing’s “One China” policy and “1992 Consensus”, put forward by Mainland China as a political basis for building Cross-Strait dialogue between the parties. Key economic factors include economic cooperation and exchanges between the two sides in such fields as bilateral trade, international capital flows and tourism. The relevance of the study refers to the settlement of the so-called Taiwan issue and the implementation of the complete reunification of the People’s Republic of China that embodies one of the fundamental interests of Mainland China. The aim of the research is to examine the impact of political cycle in Taiwan on the economic cooperation between Beijing and Taipei, the further intensification of which could lead to the peaceful reunification through economic integration. The study provides a broad overview of the development of relations between Taiwan and Mainland China, focusing on the policies of the Taipei administrations from 1949 to 2019 and its impact on economic cooperation between the two sides. The methodological framework of the paper is mainly based on international political economy. The results of the research suggest that political cycle in Taiwan has almost no impact on Cross-Strait trade and investment. Meanwhile it has quite significant influence on Cross-Strait tourism, especially from the PRC, as it has the administrative means of regulation of the number of Mainland tourists wishing to visit Taiwan.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):136-147
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HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
The Role of the Cyprus Issue in the Greek-Soviet Relations (1956-1960)
Tasoulas A.
Abstract

The article examines the role of the Cyprus issue in the bilateral relations between Greece and the USSR in 1956-1960. It is based on primal archival research realised at the Constantine Karamanlis Archive (AKK) and at the Diplomatic and Historical Archive of the Greek Foreign Ministry (DIAYE) in Athens. The analysis of the recently declassified documents relate to the events which took place in 1954, when the Soviet Union supported the Greek claims for self-determination of the Cypriot people in the United Nations on the basis of the anti-colonial principles. This contributed to the impressive increase in trade between Greece and the USSR, especially after the unofficial visit of the Soviet Foreign Minister D.T. Shepilov to Athens in 1956. Against the backdrop of the deterioration of the international situation in 1957, Kremlin heavily criticized NATO’s decision to deploy the US Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs) in Europe and applied diplomatic pressures to NATO member-states including Greece. The shift from tensions to a peaceful offensive strategy, characteristic of the Soviet diplomacy towards Greece, proved to be a double-edged sword for Moscow in the long term. The author concludes that both countries exploited the Cyprus issue for their benefit. Thus, Moscow managed to take advantage of the Greek discontent with the NATO allies as a means of increasing its own prestige in the region, while the Greek governments capitalized on the Soviet tactics in order to increase its political leverage in confronting NATO on Cyprus.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):148-156
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BILATERIAL RELATIONS
Mutual Perception in Contemporary Relations between Russia and Iran: Image of Russia and Iran in History School Textbooks of the Two Countries
Zotova J.A.
Abstract

Russia and Iran have maintained continuous diplomatic relations since 1592. During the post-Soviet period, relations between the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran have strengthened significantly. The leaderships of both countries seek to turn their relations into a strategic partnership. However, the main obstacle to achieving this goal is the negative perception of the other by the peoples of both countries. The purpose of this study is to understand how modern Russians and Iranians see each other and the relations between their governments. This article examines data from sociological surveys, opinions of Russian and Iranian experts, and analyzes the images of Iran and Russia presented in school-level history textbooks of the two countries. We note negative stereotypes and a distrust of Russia among modern Iranians. Russia receives far more attention in Iranian history textbooks than Iran in Russian ones. For Iranians, the image of Russia as a neighbor is more important than the image of Russia as a great world power. However, the image of Russia in general is negative; Russia is seen as a country to be feared. The negative image of Russia among Iranians is formed through selective and often erroneous interpretation, rather than historical facts. Although opinion polls in contemporary Russia divulge a generally positive image of Iran, the country is not seen as important to respondents - it remains distant, exotic, and incomprehensible. Modern Russians have very faint ideas about their Southern neighbor, Iran. Persia and Iran receive so little attention in Russian school textbooks that it is difficult to talk about the image of this country as positive or negative.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):157-170
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REVIEWS
Books review: Voskressenski, A.D. (Eds.). (2020). China’s Infinite Transition and Its Limits. Economic, Military and Political Dimensions. Springer Global (Singapore): Palgrave Macmillan, 97 p.; Voskressenski, A.D. (Eds.). (2019). Model of Contemporary China Development: Appraisals, Discussions, Prognostications. Moscow: MGIMO, Strategicheskie izyskaniya publ., 736 p. (In Russian)
Belchenko A.S., Vasilev D.V.
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Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):171-175
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Book review: Mamdani, M. (2020). Neither Settler nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities. Cambridge: The Belknap Press, 416 р.
Morgunova (Petrunko) O.A.
Abstract

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Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):176-178
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Book review: Tella, O., & Motala, S. (Eds.). (2020). From Ivory Towers to Ebony Towers: Transforming Humanities Curricula in South Africa, Africa, and African American Studies. South Africa: Jacana Media, 563 p.
Oluwakayode O.E.
Abstract

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Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):179-182
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Book review: Williams, P.D. (Eds.). (2018). Fighting for Peace in Somalia: A History and Analysis of the African Union Mission (AMISOM), 2007-2017. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 366 p.
Adan M., Mugabi B.
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Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):183-185
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Book review: Abdolmohammadi, P., & Cama, G. (2020). Contemporary Domestic and Foreign Policies of Iran. London, Denver: Palgrave Macmillan, 251 p.
Belov (Yurtaev) V.I.
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Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):186-190
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Book review: Mtembu, Ph., & Mabera, F. (Eds.). (2021). Africa-China Cooperation. Towards an African Policy on China? Palgrave Macmillan, 242 p.
Deych T.L.
Abstract

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Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):191-194
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Book review: Adiong, N.M., Mauriello, R., & Abdelkader, D. (Eds.). (2019). Islam in International Relations. Politics and Paradigms. London, New York: Routledge, 236 p.
Chikrizova O.S.
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Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2021;21(1):195-198
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