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Ideational Threats in Russian Security Policy

Thursday March 24, 2011, from 14:00 to 16:00
Room 4 - IBEI
Research seminar
Javier Morales (St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford / IBEI)

Russia’s views of its own role as a great power have caused many observers, both inside and outside the country, to fear an increased confrontation with other states over world influence. These political rivalries have been often defined in security terms, presenting Moscow and the West as having incompatible identities and goals, therefore becoming a threat to each other. In this paper, we adopt a conventional constructivist approach to analyse the relationship between Russia’s own identities as an international actor and its attitudes toward the West. We will explore the ideational component of the Kremlin’s threat perceptions, in order to show how questions of status and prestige have been ‘securitised’ to become national security issues, to the same extent as traditional defence against armed attacks. Finally, we will try to assess the prospects for a shift in mutual perceptions as a result of President Medvedev’s rapprochement toward the US and Europe.