Vol 23, No 3 (2023): Peacekeeping and the Global South


Non-Western Peacekeeping as a Factor of a Multipolar World: Outlines of Research Program

Adu Y.N., Bokeriya S.A., Degterev D.A., Mezyaev A.B., Shamarov P.V.


This paper describes the contours of a research program on peacekeeping and peacebuilding, representing the interests of Non-Western countries (the world’s majority). The article is based on both individual developments of its expert authors in the theory and practice of peacekeeping, international law and development cooperation, as well as on generalized conclusions of eight international workshops on Non-Western peacekeeping, held by the Department of Theory and History of International Relations of the RUDN University in 2020-2021 with the participation of leading Russian and international experts. Particular attention is paid to the current moment in international peacekeeping associated with the “power transit” (from the United States to China, and more broadly, from the West to the Non-West) and the power vacuum observed in a number of regions. Conclusions are drawn about the crisis of humanitarian intervention and the system of liberal peacekeeping in general. At the same time, the remaining instruments of Western structural power in the field of peacekeeping are examined in detail, covering both personnel representation in the UN and the practice of ‘penholding,’ as well as the discursive hegemony of the “Collective West.” The main directions in the development of Non-Western academic discourse in the field of peacemaking and peacebuilding are explored in the context of building a multipolar world. Special attention is paid to the problems of regional human rights systems in the context of the protection of civilians and post-conflict peacebuilding. The study concludes that Non-Western countries have a significant influence on the formation of international norms in the field of peacekeeping (rule-changers), but so far do not act as norm-setting actors in world politics (rule-makers).

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):415-434
pages 415-434 views

UN Peacekeeping in Africa: Nature, Scope and Development

Bokeriya S.A., Khudaykulova A.V.


The hybrid nature and scope of contemporary conflicts, the terrorism threat, and the dramatic increase in competition for resources, global militarization and security challenges in Africa do not only carry the risk of state collapse, but have conditioned concerted efforts by national, regional and international actors to protect human rights and remedy the humanitarian situation. In many ways, the African continent with its unique and diverse nature of conflicts has become a platform for the renewal of the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping through the development of new operational and normative practices and strategies that, as a distinctive feature of the UN missions in the African continent, have gradually moved from the status of innovations to the category of quite commonplace global practice. This article attempts to assess UN peacekeeping in Africa from the 1960s till 2022. The authors examine the characteristics, nature and scope of peacekeeping operations (PKOs) as well as strategies for transforming peacekeeping mandates. Using a problem-chronological approach, comparative analysis and quantitative assessments of the UN peacekeeping missions, the formats of cooperation with regional organizations (the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)), gender composition of the UN missions, in particular, the authors come to the natural conclusion that the number of the UN peacekeeping operations and political missions in Africa remains high and their mandates have expanded and become more complex with increased activity of the leading world powers. The authors conclude that stabilization and conflict resolution in Africa will greatly depend on effective cooperation between the UN and regional organizations, as well as on the UN reforms and its ability to adapt rapidly to changing conflict scenarios in each African state.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):435-450
pages 435-450 views

African Solutions to African Problems: Peacekeeping Efforts of the African Union and African Regional Organizations

Denisova T.S., Kostelyanets S.V.


In the course of its postcolonial development, the African continent has faced many challenges, ranging from socio-economic crises to political instability and the proliferation of terrorism. The lack of security, which remains a source of constant concern for Africans, and the gradual disengagement of the international community, primarily the United Nations (UN), from armed involvement in the resolution of military conflicts on the continent in the 1990s, led to the emergence of the concept of “African solutions to African problems.” The phrase, which reflects the determination of Africans to solve their problems without the participation of external actors, has become a source of their pride; however, the possibility and ability of the inhabitants of the continent to implement this approach still raises justified doubts for a number of reasons that are to be discussed in this paper. The concept of “African solutions to African problems” has now become the main principle that determines the level and nature of the peacekeeping activities of the African Union (AU) and African regional blocs; the verbal adherence of the AU member states to this maxim has been noted by many Russian and foreign researchers. However, a comprehensive analysis of the reasons for the unsuccessful implementation of this concept has not yet been carried out by Russian scholars, so the present article aims to fill this gap. In particular, the paper examines attempts of Africans to solve their problems in the field of security independently. The study allows us to claim that the African continent, primarily due to its insufficient integration and lack of consensus on a number of issues of political development and security, is not yet ready to carry out full-fledged peacekeeping operations without external support, although the gradual acquisition of relevant experience, the decrease in economic dependence on the West, and the diversification of foreign policy will contribute to laying a solid foundation for the idea of “African solutions to African problems.”

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):451-465
pages 451-465 views

Participation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation in Enhancing African Police Personnel Peacekeeping Capacity

Tishkov S.A., Tishkova D.S.


The peacekeeping became actual agenda of international relations due to increased number of internal conflicts with mass human rights violations in different regions of the world including Africa. The problems of ensuring peace and security have become priority for United Nations (UN) and regional organizations involved in constant search of conflict resolution best practices. Peacekeeping actors admitted the key role of law-enforcement agencies, and first of all the police, in ensuring security in conflict or post-conflict reconstruction. Therefore, the UN actively developing the strategy of police methods usage in peacekeeping operations. Because of this process, the number of member states contributing police contingents to the UN including formed police units increased. Joint activity of police officers from different countries with different education, professional experience and specialization requires high-quality training of candidates for peacekeeping operations. The purpose of this article is to analyze the needs of African police officers in professional development and the capabilities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation in training of African police officers for the UN peacekeeping operations. The study is based on insights from non-participant observation, interviews and analyses of the UN official documents, policies and training materials. Actual Russian and foreign scientific publications were used. Results confirmed that Russian Federation has many years of experience in African policemen training for the UN peacekeeping operations. The promising areas of Russian Federation participation in the development of the peacekeeping potential of African police, along with the provision of standardized pre-deployment training based on the UN certified programs, can be training in the crime investigation methodology and the training of special police units of the UN member states.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):466-479
pages 466-479 views

OUIS and MINUSCA in the CAR: The Effectiveness of Realist and Liberal Peacekeeping Paradigms

Bovdunov A.L.


The conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) has attracted international attention since the early 2000s. The African Union, the United Nations (UN) and the French Republic have all been involved in trying to help resolve the conflict. Since 2018, Russia has been actively involved in resolving the conflict in the Central African Republic. The government and people of the CAR have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the functioning of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) contingent and, conversely, expressed their appreciation for the Russian military specialists stationed in the CAR. The author attempts to compare the effectiveness of the UN peacekeeping contingent (MINUSCA) and Russian military specialists operating under the auspices of the Officers Union for International Security (OUIS), based on the essential unity of purpose of these forces. Based on an analysis of data on state control in the CAR and violent incidents from 2014 to 2022, the author concludes that the Russian contingent is more effective in providing security and strengthening the state in the CAR (tasks also outlined in the MINUSCA mandate). The author also analyzes the problems in the functioning of the UN peacekeeping contingents, highlighting their systemic and structural shortcomings. The main shortcoming, however, in his view, is the UN’s commitment to a liberal approach that challenges the sovereignty of the host state. The Russian realist approach, by contrast, focuses on sovereignty and its power component. Thus, the actions of the Russians in the CAR can be studied within the paradigm of “illiberal” peacekeeping.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):480-496
pages 480-496 views


The UN Charter is our rules! Interview with Anna M. Evstigneeva, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Evstigneeva A.M.


The practice of the functioning of the United Nations and the actual mechanisms of peacekeeping differ significantly from the theoretical ideas about them. Anna Mikhailovna Evstigneeva, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations (UN), who has been dealing with peacekeeping issues for many years, answers a number of important questions about contemporary peacekeeping and peacebuilding in her interview. She argues that while the West is building a “rules-based order,” for Russia the rules are the UN Charter. The key to ensuring the effectiveness of an international organization, according to A.M. Evstigneeva, is the ability of the parties to reach mutually beneficial solutions and to take each other’s interests into account. The rest is a “superstructure,” which, however, is partially enshrined in the doctrine. Dozens of factors (dialogue with civil society, gender, climate, etc.) play a special role, which over time become universal. Often, the beautiful Western theories of liberal peacebuilding do not stand up to the harsh reality; and in a number of cases there is silence on the part of decision-makers about the real situation on the ground. This interview highlights the challenges of the existing system of international peacekeeping in the context of the formation of a multipolar world.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):497-505
pages 497-505 views


Statebuilding and the Origins of the “American Empire”: Towards the Problem of Legitimizing Sovereign Inequality in the 21st Century

Bogdanov A.N.


In recent decades, “statebuilding” policies in the Greater Middle East have been used by Washington as a tool for forging an “American empire” based on unequal relations between the U.S. and its dependent regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the same time, current research focuses mainly on the instruments for implementing these policies and ensuring the acceptance of new political and economic institutions by the local population. Unlike the established approaches, the author examines Washington’s statebuilding efforts as a specific practice of legitimacy aimed at entrenching sovereign inequality and institutionalizing the US political control over “client-regimes.” The study draws on the theoretical legacy of the English school, which views “legitimacy” as a phenomenon inextricably linked with “international society,” comprising a group of states bound by common goals, institutions, and values. The legitimation strategies adopted by members of this society involve the performance of various international roles through which states acquire recognized statuses, rights and obligations. Focusing on the US roles such as “imperial power” and “patron,” the author concludes that Washington’s statebuilding efforts were aimed at linking the US interventionism in Afghanistan and Iraq with the collective goals of international society, and thus served to legitimize inequitable relations with “client-states” under the formal legal equality of members of international society. Therefore, the application of the proposed approach helps to shed light on the underexplored aspects of the legitimizing instruments of the US dominance and the means of institutionalizing sovereign inequality inherent in the “American empire” in the 21st century.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):506-517
pages 506-517 views

US “Outposts” in Latin America: Military-Technical Cooperation, Military Bases and Joint Exercises

Piatakov A.N., Kodzoev M.A.


The authors analyze the forms of interaction between the United States and Latin America in the military sphere. The relevance of studying this issue is due to the aggravation of relations between the collective West and Russia, as well as between the United States and China, within the framework of which Latin America acts as a zone of competition between the world powers. In this regard, the analysis of Latin American vector of US policy in the military aspect from the point of view of Russia’s strategic interests is particularly important. The lack of domestic scientific research on this problem greatly adds to its relevance. As for the novelty, based on the review of the world market of arms and military equipment (AME), this article determines the dynamics and the share of the American producer in the total volume of arms trade. In the context of military-technical cooperation (MTC), the authors also consider the peculiarities of the American military power projection on Latin America, which is a zone of exclusive interests of the United States. Among the key formats of interaction and projection of influence, the authors include the following: arms and military-technical supplies to the armies and security services of the states of the region; training of military personnel in Latin American countries; financing of armies and military units; cooperation programs to optimize the managerial and organizational functions of the Latin American armed forces, establishment and maintenance of various types of military bases, conducting joint military exercises. Using new factual material, we examine each of the listed forms and show the systematic and geostrategic nature of the US influence on the Latin American region in the military aspect. As for military trade, the authors identify the main partners of the United States in South America.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):518-535
pages 518-535 views

Assessing India - United States Security Agreements: A Critical Analysis

Nisar R.D.


Asia is now a central part of world politics, where the interests of a number of global and regional actors have collided, including India, China, Japan, the United States and Russia. With the collapse of the socialist bloc and the end of the Cold War, the U.S. embarked on a new security policy, changed its priorities, promoting a new balance of power and defining a new role for itself in the post-bipolar world. India, on the other hand, has strengthened its position in the Asian region thanks to its rapid economic growth, huge domestic market, modernization of armed forces, and practice of democratization. Given India’s transformation and the strategic importance of the Indian Ocean and its maritime transport routes, Washington has become interested in strengthening ties with New Delhi. As a result, India - U.S. relations are moving from the estrangement of the past to the strategic engagement of the present. Since 2004, when the document entitled “Next Step towards Strategic Partnership” was adopted, the two countries have been experiencing a phase of deep strategic convergence. This is particularly true in the area of security and defense. In the present study the author argues that Indo-US defense agreements stimulate India’s offensive power, while negatively affecting regional security in South Asia and especially Pakistan’s security. In the milieu of research methodology, the author uses the methods of content analysis, event analysis, and problem-chronological method.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):536-546
pages 536-546 views

The Strategic Role of Iran for the SCO: Strengthening Eurasian Integration

Karami J.


The process of integration in the Eurasian region is important for all states and after the 2014 Ukraine crisis, Russia’s greater Eurasian policy and the expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the conditions for integration have become more suitable than before. After a decade and a half of observer membership, Iran has finally become an official member of SCO in 2022, and it seems that due to the wide territorial contiguity from the borders of Türkiye to Afghanistan, new possibilities for regional integration have been created. This article is written with the aim of discussing Iran’s role in Eurasian integration after the membership in the SCO. The main question in this article is that how Iran can contribute to Eurasian regional integration within the framework of this organization? The author’s idea is that Iran’s membership in the SCO, through the increasing expansion of the connections of the Eurasian region to South Asia and the Middle East, provides more opportunities for cooperation in confronting the sources of regional insecurity, cooperation in the field of trade and the expansion of regional transport and communications and this issue can contribute to economic development, security and broader regional integration in the region. The author has tried to use the theory of regional integration and the method of qualitative content analysis of documents, texts, reports and news related to the Eurasian integration to verify the hypothesis. The findings of this research show that the greater Eurasian region needs a wider integration in the fields of economy, trade, communication and transportation, and the solution to reduce its problems is possible through the cooperation of all effective regional actors, and Iran is also one of the effective countries that has been a missing linkage in Eurasian integration and any comprehensive security and economic integration in Eurasia requires its active participation, which an official member of the SCO has created this opportunity.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):547-561
pages 547-561 views

Great Powers Rivalry in the Indo-Pacific Region and Its Impact on Vietnam’s Strategy

Nguyen S.T.


At the end of the 20th century, many researchers had envisioned a world where countries shift from political and military competition towards economic competition. However, the prospect of a world without conflict was short-lived, as the concerns about political tensions were revived in the early 21st century. Great powers such as the United States, China and Russia, have all shifted their focus to Asia, in particular the Indo-Pacific region. As a developing country in this region, Vietnam has its reasons to pay close attention to the competition among these great powers. Based on the theory of defensive realism, the author examines the reorientation of the US, Chinese and Russian foreign policy towards the Indo-Pacific region from Vietnam’s perspective. It shows that the US pivot to the region is set to challenge the rise of China and to maintain the US position as the leader of the world, China’s expanding influence is to reclaim its historical position in the region and Russia seeks to diversify its political and economic relations. In this context, Vietnam should maintain its multi-vector foreign policy, balancing the interests of several countries. In addition, Vietnam needs to strengthen its position in the global economy through participation in new-generation free trade agreements, expand the scope and forms of its diplomacy, and play a more active role in the global community. All these, in the author’s opinion, will enable Vietnam to strengthen its position in the global economy and boost its diplomatic activities.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):562-574
pages 562-574 views


Book Review: Tudor, M. (2023). Blue Helmet Bureaucrats: United Nations Peacekeeping and the Reinvention of Colonialism, 1945-1971. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 337 p.

Oluwakayode O.E.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):575-578
pages 575-578 views

Book Review: Dorussen, H. (Ed.). (2022). Handbook on Peacekeeping and International Relations. Elgar, 408 p.

Adan M.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):579-581
pages 579-581 views

Book Review: Kuwali, D. (Ed.). (2022). The Palgrave Handbook of Sustainable Peace and Security in Africa. Palgrave Macmillan, 619 p

Etyang O.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):582-585
pages 582-585 views

Book Review: Glas, A. (2022). Practicing Peace: Conflict Management in Southeast Asia and South America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 243 p.

Ermolaev I.A.



Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2023;23(3):586-588
pages 586-588 views

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