Vol 17, No 2 (2017): The Ideology, morality and international relations: the experience of the East and West


“The West” and “Non-West” in the Space of International Relations Theory

Alekseeva T.A.


Recently the question of “pro-Western” orientation of the IR theory turned to become in the center of the academic discussions. Its critics as well as the adherents of “non-Western” theories are partly right. Really, during more than one and a half century the theory of international relations, born and developed mostly in the West had been mostly supporting the ideas, being forms first in Europe, later in the USA. The Anglo-Saxon authors are still dominating in the discipline, not only quantitatively (the huge scale of the publications of literature and professional magazines in English plus influence of the universities and scientific centers) as well as qualitatively (impressive financing opens the possibilities for the working out of the new ideas and the development of the ideas of different “schools” of thought - political realism, liberalism, constructivism, postmodernism, post-Marxism etc.). In the theories of IR was felt ideological biases. But on the wave of decolonization and later, in the context of the rising of Asian and other countries in world politics, the “Western” dominance was challenged by the IR-scholars from PR of Chine, India etc., who try to construct their own theories of international relations. The balance is slowly but continuously changing. But “Non-Western” theories are also not free from the ideological biases. Quite often they reject or severely criticize “Western” theories just because of their origin. Even more often they in fact continue to develop the same “Western” ideas, just adding to them the local thinker’s names or mentioning some national traditions or religious and cultural heritage. But if the Theory of international relations is a science, then, strictly speaking, in what country its main personalities were born and what language they were speaking, is not important. Obviously, the elements of ideology would be present. Just like any other social science, which deals not only with structures, but with human beings as well, it would be inevitably ideological. But it does not mean that theory may be identified with ideology. To solve this problem is possible through deconstruction of the theories, their “cleaning” of too obvious ideological moments - so the position of the IR scholar has to be a priori critical but preserving already achieved essence.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):217-232
pages 217-232 views

The October Revolution’s Foreign Policy Program: Origins and Results

Lantsov S.A., Lantsova I.S.


In this article, the ideological origins of Soviet foreign policy practice after the victory of the October Revolution of 1917 are analysed. The Marxist and Liberal concepts of international politics had common roots. It predetermined the similarity of peaceful settlement's proposals made by the Russian Bolsheviks after the October Revolution; they corresponded to the proposals of the US President W. Wilson. The authors pay attention to the fact that the October revolution’s leaders initially viewed it as an integral part of the world revolution. So, the hope for success of the world revolution was a factor determining the Soviet Russia’s domestic and foreign policy. It is noticed that the Leninist conception of the world revolution supposed a close link between the labor movement and national liberation movements in colonial and semi-colonial countries. That link founded an important direction in Soviet foreign policy. In different periods of Soviet history, the attention to national liberation movements depended on the Soviet Union’s foreign policy situation. Despite all the contradictions in the foreign policy of the USSR, which was conditioned both by ideological and geopolitical factors, it always had willingness to support the principle of national self-determination, which in fact belonged to the legacy of the foreign policy platform of the October Revolution. As a result, the Soviet Union made a significant contribution to the elimination of the colonial system and thereby contributed to a change in the nature of world politics and international relations in the 20th century.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):233-245
pages 233-245 views

Non-Western International Relations Theory: Myth or Reality?

Lebedeva M.M.


In recent years, Russian and foreign literature increasingly raises the question on national theories of international relations. A special interest is manifested towards non-Western theories of international relations. The article analyzes the reasons for such interest. It is noted that the main motive for scholars to search for national schools is the transformation of the political organization of the world that emerged in the West and was developing largely on the Western model. This transformation encompasses three levels of political organization of the modern world: the Westphalian system, the system of international (interstate) relations and the political systems of a state. Three levels of political organization of the world changing at the same time today reinforce each other and generate synergies. With such a large-scale transformation, when all three levels are “moving”, the world is facing for the first time, although the change of the second and especially the third levels were before. As far as the system of political organization of the world undergoes major changes, IR theories, which appeared in the West, are in crisis. Researchers’ attention to non-Western, primarily Asian TMO to find answers due to the following reasons: 1) the rapid economic growth of the region; 2) the development of scientific research in Asia; 3) the crisis of the Western model of political organization in the world that encourages the search for solutions in other civilizational structures. The article substantiates the necessity and possibility of “project activities” for reforming the political organization of the world and include practices that exist in different regions of the world. In order to implement such activities, the work of specialists from different brunches of social sciences is required.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):246-256
pages 246-256 views

Ethics of political responsibility in international relations

Tsvyk A.V.


The article is devoted to the consideration of the moral factor in international relations. The author considers the issue of ethical evaluation of the responsibility of the actors of international relations in the ideas of a number of foreign and Russian thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries. The author notes that the process of analysis of the ethics of responsibility in the framework of socio-political thoughts, as well as the mechanism of the impact of morality on international relations gives reasons to conclude that it is possible and necessary to specify the concept of “responsibility ethics”, which can be interpreted as “ethics of political responsibility” in the sphere of international relations and foreign policy. Thus, in the author’s point of view in the system of international relations there has emerged the most important category, which researchers characterize as the “ethics of political responsibility”. Relying on the idea of the Russian political scientist A.S. Kapto that the core of the “ethics of political responsibility” is a synthesis of political and moral responsibility, the author analyzes its structure and classification. The author comes to the conclusion that it is necessary to form the universal aspect of political responsibility among the actors of international relations.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):257-264
pages 257-264 views

Interpretive sociology of foreign policy: “agent” model of state behavior on the international arena

Timofeev I.N.


The article revisits the utility of sociological theories for the students of international relations. The failure of IR scholars to predict Ukrainian crisis revealed the limits of realism, which still remains most influential IR theory. These limits make rethink the prospects of convergence of IR and sociological theories. Pros and cons of holistic constructivist theory are examined. The article results in making an “agent-focused” model composed of the concepts of Max Weber’s interpretive sociology, Graham Allison’s typology of models of decision making and Mark Haas’s model of ideological origins of great powers’ politics. In doing so, it also revisits the concept of identity as a mean to understand “social facts” and their influence on foreign policy. The emphasis on the “agent” though not the “structure” is approached as an alternative to holistic constructivism of Alexander Wendt and his epigones. The “agent” model is supposed to be more capable for studies of great powers’, which play an active role in setting up the “structure’s” parameters. Three different approaches to “agent” are considered - “agent” as a state, as a bureaucratic body or structure within the state and as decision-makers and their staff. The model is designed for further empirical research of the Russian foreign policy.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):265-278
pages 265-278 views

“Oppressed - oppressors” dichotomy in shiʻite perception of international relations

Chikrizova O.S.


The article deals with “oppressed - oppressors” (mustadʻafun - mustakbirun) dichotomy. It was proposed inside Shiʻism and became an important element of International Relations (IR) theory and practice of such countries as Iran and Lebanon. The author discovers peculiarities of the Muslim states’ IR perception and also explains differences between a process of world view formation in the West and the Islamic world. The most important aspects of “oppressed - oppressors” dichotomy that underlies Shiʻite interpretation of IR and Influences on foreign policy of Iran and Lebanon, were elaborated by such Shiʻite religious scholars as Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, Musa al-Sadr, Ruhollah Khomeini, and Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah. Their world views are based on the interpretation of the most important sources of Islam - the Qurʻan and hadiths. Thoughts of Shiʻite religious authorities took a wide distribution and popularity at different countries of the Islamic world in 1970’s. It was determined by the fact that these thoughts became a reaction on discontent of the Middle Eastern countries’ population on interference into their domestic affairs by the Western states, monopolization on the region’s natural resources by the Western companies and also negligence of the local governments that allowed neo-colonialism. Moreover, by that time the Middle Eastern countries had disappointed either in Socialism or in capitalism that both couldn’t resolve problems which impeded the Muslim states’ development. Shiʻites as a part of the Islamic world that during their long history were nearly always persecuted by Sunni majority, expressed that the oppressed Muslim nations didn’t need to adopt any Western ideology because the only Islam could become the answer on all the questions and a key weapon in the struggle against the oppressors.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):279-289
pages 279-289 views

Buddhism as a resource of “soft power” of China

Ponka T.I., Dzhanaeva A.E., Zhao Jielin -.


Now the concept of “soft power” introduced by the American political scientist Joseph Nye Jr., is of particular interest in the theory of international relations. Among the Asian countries special attention paid to China, which currently has not only extensive economic and political resources, but also sources of non-power influence. In the article, the authors explore a concept as “Buddhist diplomacy” and its role in China's foreign policy activities. It also examined the historical formation of Buddhism and its development as a resource of “soft power” by way of the one of state Chinese religions that is part of the syncretic complex, along with Confucianism and Taoism, in different periods of Chinese civilization, from the pre-imperial period to the modern framework. In this study were examined the views of Russian and foreign experts on the directions and spheres of the definition of the “Buddhism diplomacy” and the peculiarities of its implementation by the Chinese government. This research based on the using on using the historical approach and general scientific methods, such as analysis, synthesis, deduction, etc. In the article, the authors revealed the current state of religion on the example of Buddhism in China's foreign policy strategy both on the world stage and at the regional level and main aspects within which Chinese Buddhist diplomacy is developing.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):290-300
pages 290-300 views

Reparation a morale justice for Africa: the Benin (Nigeria) in perspective

Idahosa S.O., Onimhawo J.A., Ikhidero S.I.


The paper offered a review of Africa’s moral call for reparation. It emphasized among other things that the continued underdevelopment and marginalization of the African continent today, is not unconnected with the trilogy of slavery, imperialism and colonialism. From the perspective of the British expedition of the Great Benin Kingdom in 1897, the paper highlighted how the African continent had been brutalized to strengthen the economies of their colonial overlords. The paper anchored its call for reparation on the premise that, reparation is not only recognized in international law, it has been paid to countries of the world whose dehumanizing experiences are not even as pathetic as those of Africa’s over 500 years of abject treatment, damages and destruction occasioned by slavery, imperialism and colonialism. It unveiled also the scholarly argument opposed to reparation. The work thus proposes that reparations from the western countries to Africa should be on cooperative and partnership basis. This should be in favour of development through deliberate international efforts in recompensing Africa for all the ills visited on her by the west.
Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):301-311
pages 301-311 views


Human Security Concept in the UN Practice

Bokeriya S.A.


This article is devoted to the theme, scientific actuality and practical relevance of which is not in doubt, and is caused by a new wave of interest in human security. The human security concept has been the subject of active discussions on national and international security forums for the past 10 years. This article is focused on the human security concept evolution in the framework of the UN in conditions of the growing challenges and threats as well as polycentric world and international relations transformation. The author turned to the analysis of human security issues in the UN human rights dimension, as this organization performs a key role in the application and implementation of the concept on a global scale. The detailed periodization of human security development within the UN is presented for the first time. The analysis of the situation with Syrian refugees in Lebanon is carried out in the format of a case study. Author has made an attempt to undertake not a comprehensive analysis of the concept within the UN, but re-evaluation of new trends and dominant problems in practical application of human security idea and its impact on the effectiveness of international organizations.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):312-324
pages 312-324 views

The Journal “Geopolitica” and Formation of the Italian Geopolitical School

Shepelev M.A.


The article reveals the origins, methodological features and the process of institutionalization of Italian geopolitical school, place and role of the journal “Geopolitica” in this process. The article analyzes the characteristics of Italian geopolitical perception of the world and its geostrategic priorities, formulated by the representatives of the Italian geopolitical schools in the period of its formation in 20-40-ies of the XX century (the Mediterranean - Mare nostrum, Euroafrica). The source of the formation of the Italian geopolitical school was the intellectual influence of irredentism un the age of the Risorgimento. The process of its formation was correlated with the formation of the modern national school of geographical science, in which was dominated the perception of geography as “utilitarian science” and developed the direction of “dynamic political geography”. Its specifical features was the “antideterminism” and “geographic humanism”, the recognition that the environment does not have absolute power over society, but political will is a determining factor in anthropogeographical area. The institutionalization of Italian political school promoted the creation of several research centres in the 20-30-ies and publishing from January 1939 to December 1942 magazine “Geopolitica”. The draft edition of this magazine received support from the minister of national education Giuseppe Bottai, it was headed by Professor Giorgio Roletto and his disciple, Ernesto Massi. Italian geopolitics maintained close ties with their German colleagues, but they were theoretically justified differences between “Latin” and “German” geopolitical worldviews. Unlike the German geopolitics, the concept of “living space” was used primarily in the economic sense, but it was not used in a racial-demographic sense. Italian geopolitics acted against the world order enshrined in the Treaty of Versailles, because it was protected only a “rich nation” and discriminated “the proletarian nation”, which include Italy. They considered England as the main enemy of Italy, as “new Carthage”. For fighting against England was proposed to build friendly relations with Spain, Turkey and the Arab world, which should create conditions for the implementation of an ambitious project Euroafrica as a large space under the auspices of Italy. This project was considered as the Italian version of the “Monroe doctrine”. First of all, italian geopolitics sought to regain control of Italy over the North-Eastern Africa and on Terra irredenta (both shores of the Adriatic with Dalmatia and Albania, Malta, Corsica, Nice, Savoie and the Swiss Canton of Ticino, where many Italian compatriots was lived).
Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):325-338
pages 325-338 views

The role of cybersecurity in world politics

Tsakanyan V.T.


The purpose of this paper is to investigate a significant and increasing role of cybersecurity in world politics. Cybersecurity threats are one of the main national security, public safety, and economic challenges every nation faces in XXI century. Cyberspace is a defining feature of modern life. Individuals and communities worldwide connect, socialize, and organize themselves in and through cyberspace. The existence of numerous cyber security issues on various spheres of life naturally increase political interest in resolving them. The need for cybersecurity is growing ranging from particular cases to national and international - becoming the main problem of diplomacy and world politics. Based on the different national approaches, cybersecurity is seen as the instrument to gain national interests. All countries believe that cybersecurity is an instrument to achieve state’s national interest, since more of the modern theories are focus in the material gain. Meanwhile, some countries see cybersecurity as the tool to influence the adversaries’ perception. This condition build based on the enormous destruction power of cyberattacks. In contrast with the two main approaches, the national security institutions emphasize to the idea, not the material gain. The difference between these national security approaches is the way to use this instrument is used in order to gain the objectives. Indeed, cybersecurity has an important and special role in the world politics.
Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):339-348
pages 339-348 views


Russia in G20: Factors of Success and Objectives for the Future

Larionova M.V.


Globalization and technological changes of the recent decade led to powerful transformations in the society, creating huge opportunities for economic and social development. Simultaneously these political, economic, social and technological shifts bring new challenges: enhanced mutual vulnerability of states; growing inequality; macroeconomic and financial instability; rise of terrorism; unbalanced growth of population and employment; waves of migration; increased rate of pandemic diseases diffusion; climate change and growing competition for resources. To prevent and manage the threats it is vital to ensure efficiency of the global governance system. Though lacking in legitimacy G20, set up in response to the global economic and financial crisis, has proved its efficiency in crafting and implementing consensus based decisions with a catalytic impact for global governance. Russia has a very strong track record in the G20 and it is vital to build on the success. The article reviews the G20 role in the global governance system and examines the factors of Russia’s success in the G20. Looking into the future, the author outlines G20 future agenda; proposes a strategy and a set of measures which would maximize G20 utility for Russia. Content analysis of the G20 documents, Russia’s national G20-related documents, interviews and statements is carried out to track whether Russia’ priorities in G20 have been achieved. Historical overview of G20 performance and Russia’s work in the G20 is undertaken to identify success factors. The G20 SWOT analysis is applied to reveal G20 strengths and opportunities and identify weaknesses and threats. Results of the SWOT analysis are used to develop a proposal for Russia’s strategy with regard to the G20. Drawing on the long-term forecasts, assessment of the G20 performance so far and its engagement with the other international organizations, the author makes an assertion that G20 agenda will deepen in the long-term, the demand for a cross-cutting approach to the new challenges will grow, alongside with the demand for the forum’s leadership in global governance. The article highlights decisions, recommendations and provisions spelt out in G20 key documents (including national growth strategy and employment plan) and G20 commitments on financial regulation, trade, infrastructure investment, energy and innovations which can contribute to development of a new model of the country growth and its integration into the world system. The author proposes a strategy which should maximize G20 effectiveness for Russia consolidating significant diplomatic, expertise and political assets Russia has already accrued in the G20 process, arguing that though such strategy will require organizational, financial and human resources mobilization, it will allow overcome existing and potential risks for promoting Russia’ priorities, such as declining share of the world GDP, geopolitical tensions, rise of new powers, aggravation of tensions between developed and developing countries and sliding level of consensus in the G20.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):349-371
pages 349-371 views


Stereotyped Visual Symbols as a Mean of Public Consolidation in Context Of International Genocide Recognition

Ivanova E.A., Kulikov S.V., Sulzhenko A.A.


This article presents the results of the study devoted to stereotyped visual symbols as a part of the corporate identity complex of anti-genocide organizations aimed to reach an international genocide recognition as a part of their strategies. The relevance of the stud y is justified with the similarity of modern tools for visualizing the unique characteristics of organizations and centuries-old practice of opponents opposing each other, what was discovered in the investigation process. The effectiveness of the usage of stereotyped visual symbols as the means of public consolidation in combating the genocide, which is the purpose of this study, is proved. Using the method of structural and semiotic analysis, the authors studied visual symbols used as the means of broadcasting the public opinion coded into a key message within the framework of the anti-genocide organizations’ activities. The studied visual symbols were identified as the means of stereotyped influence aimed on the mass audience, which allowed us to conclude about the effectiveness of such symbols in solving problems in mass communications. During the generalization and systematization of the data obtained, the most frequently used symbols which enclose the codes of certain cultures were identified, which led us to the conclusion that such symbols are stereotypically used in the context of combating genocide and bringing the public forward the recognition of such conflicts.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):372-382
pages 372-382 views


Ideology and International Relations: Russian View. Interview with Academician, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor, Director of Center of The Situational Analysis at RAS V.G. Baranovskiy

Nikulin M.A.


Vladimir G. Baranovskiy is one of the leading specialists in the field of international relations in Russia. He was born on December 30, 1950 in Moscow. In 1972 he graduated from the Moscow Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1973-1976 he studied at the graduate school of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Since 1976 he works in the structure of the IMEMO Academy of Sciences of the USSR. In 1982-1988 - Head of the International Security Sector of the IMEMO Academy of Sciences of the USSR. In 1986he defended his doctoral thesis on “The European Community in the System of International Relations”. In 1988-1992 - Head of the Department of Western European Studies, IMEMO USSR Academy of Sciences (IMEMO RAS). In 1992-1998 he was the chief research fellow at IMEMO RAS. In 1992-1996 he led the project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Since 1998 - deputy director of IMEMO RAS. Since 2005 - Professor of the Department of International Relations and Foreign Policy of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Since 2011 - full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In his interview, V. G. Baranovsky talks about ethics and morality in international relations, multipolarity and the role of ideology in foreign policy.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):383-390
pages 383-390 views


Jesuit strategy in Japan and India in the 16th Century as a precursor to modern Western “Soft Power”

Volosyuk O.V., Nesterova O.A., Solodkova O.L.


The principles of “soft power”, within the context of the historical development of international relations both on the worldwide and regional levels, had been applied in the East and in the West long before the aforementioned theories appeared. It was the Jesuits in the 16th Century who developed strategies of influence and were pioneers in the introduction of “soft” methods of leverage in international communication practice. In today’s world, which is witnessing an increase in the role of the religious factor in international relations, it is important to understand how to identify these achievements, and correct the mistakes of these early strategies, based on the practices of Francis Xavier in Japan and of Antoni de Montserrat in the Mughal Empire. An attentive and thorough study of the Jesuits’ experience is of great importance in understanding contemporary processes of international interaction from a “soft power” point of view.
Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):391-401
pages 391-401 views

Françafrique and Ethics in International Relations

Filippov V.R.


The article discusses the corruption ties between the political elites of France and a number of sovereign African states that were part of the French colonial empire until the middle of the last century. An analysis of the reasons is given that prompted the first President of the Fifth Republic, General Charles de Gaulle, to begin the formation of a special military and political phenomenon, later named “Fransafrique”. The nature of this phenomenon is revealed as a special combination of latent lobbyist networks of the military-political and economic influence of the Elysee Palace in the countries of the Black Continent, on the one hand, and as a specific mechanism for implementing the French version of neocolonialism in political practice, on the other hand. The point is made that the threat of the loss of all military and strategic, political and, in particular, economic preferences of France in the newly independent African countries, prompted the Elysee Palace to semi-legal, illegal, and often criminal methods of defending the interests of France in the region. In practice, this meant the construction of a system of integral dependence of the formally independent countries of Tropical Africa from the former metropolis, the formation of a tuple of client-states with corrupt power elites. The latter were designed to provide the French energy giants with virtually unlimited access to strategic natural resources, control over the political parties of these countries. The main emphasis in this French model of neocolonialism was made on the total bribery of the emerging political elites of African countries. The French special services used such methods maintaining control over the situation as blackmail, political assassinations or direct military aggression when the direct bribery of African politicians proved impossible or insufficient. Particular attention is paid to the problem of the influence of corrupt African leaders, in their turn, on the political class of France at different stages of the history of the Fifth Republic. It is concluded that the post-war policy of the former metropolis in the now sovereign states of Africa has led not only to the corrupting of dependent African leaders, but also to the corrupt decay of the leaders of the French political system.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):402-415
pages 402-415 views


pages 416-424 views

Review of the book: Voskressenski, A.D. Non-Western Theories of International Relations: Conceptualizing World Regional Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. - 271 p.

Grachikov E.N.


Review of the book

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2017;17(2):425-431
pages 425-431 views

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