عنوان مقاله [English]
The struggle for recognition is one of the reasons of conflicts in world politics which affects the behavior of international actors. National culture and identity are very important in the process of shaping acountry’s foreign policy discourse. Basic philosophical beliefs about the self-image of the country, perceptions of friends and foes, and assumptions about the history and nature of international relations shape foreign policy ideas and concepts. Indeed, Actors’ identity is formed through the recognition or non-recognition of ‘others’ and is constantly redefined by others. This article seeks to answer the question of what role identity politics and recognition policy play in Russia’s foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. From this perspective, the escalation of tensions between Russia and the United States often involves the lack of recognition from the West for Russia’s “great power” status and equal partnership in the international system. The main argument of the paper is that the discrepancy between the “great power” image and the Western image of Russia, along with the Russian aspiration to achieve great power status in the world order, has shaped the main narrative of Russia’s foreign policy discourse.
From a historical perspective, Russia has sought to strengthen its position and security by using a variety of strategies as well as maximizing existing potentials and to enhance its capacity to play a major role in international politics. Since Russia’s rise in international politics, it has considered itself as a major power in world politics. But this understanding of the ‘self’ and its position was not recognized by other international actors except for brief moments. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has sought to achieve the status of “great power” and to influence global equations by redefining its role and identity in international politics. In the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia went through a period of dramatic domestic political change and uncertainty in the foreign policy arena. A country that was once a superpower in a bipolar world began to doubt its place in the international system. This, coupled with frequent changes in the scope and orientations of foreign policy, apparently made Russia’s foreign policy unstable.
The relative improvement of Russian economic conditions, the US inactivity in global and regional policies alongside the aspiration of great power rooted in Russia’s national identity and history have provided the country with an opportunity to pursue a revisionist foreign policy. Vladimir Putin’s rise to power in 2000 led Russian politics to move into a completely different direction from the Yeltsin government and other Westernizers in Russia. Putin’s foreign policy doctrine, while emphasizing the status of great power, created a geopolitical discourse that contrasted Russia with the United States. Putin is the manifestation of the emergence of a new identity in Russia, an identity that is not purely Western or Eurasian, but a genuine identity based on Russia’s unique characteristics.
With the adoption of an aggressive foreign policy, especially in Ukraine and the Syrian crisis, Russia seeks to consolidate its position in the international system and fight against the US unilateralism in international crises. For the Russian elite, its status in the world order has equal or even greater value than security and economic concerns. Therefore, Russia is currently seeking to achieve equal status with the United States in the international system with an active and decisive presence in international and regional crises, emphasizing that without Moscow’s role it is impossible to come up with a solution to the international crisis. In this regard, one of the main goals of Russia’s military presence in the Syrian crisis is to affirm its position as a major world power.
This article suggests that using recognition policy alongside the constructivism theory will provide a better understanding of Russia’s efforts to promote its global position and make it easier to understand its foreign policy incentives. Accordingly, Russia’s identity and its aspirations for a position of great power have played an important role in shaping national interests and, consequently, in foreign policy, especially in Putin's time. The main claim of the paper is that understanding Russia’s foreign policy with realistic approaches cannot be achieved. Therefore, in order to fill the existing vacuum, this study uses the politics of recognition in the framework of constructivism to analyze Russia’s foreign policy in the Middle East. The findings of this paper indicate that the main purpose of Russian foreign policy discourse, along with maximizing power and wealth, is to identify and restore the position of great power in the international system. The Syrian crisis has provided Russia with an opportunity to consolidate its position in the emerging global and regional order after years of active and widespread presence in the Middle East in addition to countering US unilateralism. In this regard, the authors believe that the question of recognizing Russia’s position in the international system by the West has played a major role in shaping its national interests.