نوع مقاله : مقاله پژوهشی
1 دانشیار روابط بینالملل، دانشگاه علامه طباطبائی
2 کارشناسی ارشد مطالعات آسیای مرکزی و قفقاز، دانشگاه علامه طباطبائی
عنوان مقاله [English]
Russia, as one of the republics left from the Soviet Union prior to its collapse, used to define its identity as a superpower and the life plan of its nation was based on Communist teachings. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a change in the geography of Eurasia. The Soviet was divided into 15 countries and Russia succeeded the Soviet in international system. Although this country did not enjoy the same authority as the Soviet, it was still of great importance due to three reasons: possession of nuclear weapons, having veto power in the United Nations Security Council, and unique geographical situation. This collapse, once again, made the people of Russia face the problem of defining their identity or “self”. Russians had to present a new face through which the world would identify the performance of this country as the heir to the Soviet Union in international scene. Just like any other government, the identity of Russian government is composed of two parts: the identity of the Self and the identity of the other. The identity of the other (the outside world) had not undergone change; therefore the government of the new Russia had to redefine itself once more. This redefinition of Russia took the shape of something in between being Western or not. But why was the West important for the definition of Russia’s new identity?
Historical analysis shows that Russia has always been under attack by Western governments including the attack by Sweden after putting an end to the domination of Mongols, Napoleon war, World War I and World War II. The collapse of the Soviet Union was an opportunity for Russia to settle in the West but it did not happen. Russian leaders believed that the ideological fight was over. But Russia was a different nation than Europe. The four elements of Orthodox religion, Russian heritage, political system and the geography of Russia which constitute a great power have formed the identity of Russian government. Russian leaders decided to determine their identity at a time when they found their identity sources were being attacked by the western world. Russia and the west experienced a period of collaboration and tension, but these collaborations did not continue. Some analysts of mainstream theories believe that the tensions between these two have a political and economic basis, but years of economic collaboration has not led to any convergence between Russia and the west.
Therefore, even though the Soviet lost its influence after its extermination, it inherited an entity which was still searching for a new position and was looking to preserve its historical and political legacy. The new Russia had to express its identity foundations apart from those which used to be expressed by the Soviet Union. For instance, why Russia did not interfere in Kosovo but, in the case of Georgia, it went into war with Georgian government even though there was the possibility of United States’ support from Georgia? Why Russia separated Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia? Why it insisted on interfering with Georgia’s case despite the fact that Russia knew it was running the risk of being sanctioned by the west? Why did Russia, given the possibility of a military war against the West, decided to separate Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine? And why the heavy sanctions of the West, which based on annual statistics would undermine Russia’s economy for 40 billion dollars, could not stop Russia from interfering in Ukraine? Why did Moscow decide to involve in Syria’s war against the West? These measures stand in contrast with Russia’s physical security. In fact, it needs to be pointed out that with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia could see itself as a nation for the very first time in history. The Russian government should re-depict its identity in order to make itself known to others. Depicting this identity, stabilizing and guaranteeing it would imply social actions which would protect the identity security of Russian government. The question is how do social actions affect the foreign policies of the Russian federation and what is the reason for these actions? The research hypothesis is that doing social actions would guarantee Russia’s identity security. Although ethical and philanthropic action is costly and against Russia’s strategic benefits and can weaken its physical security, Russia’s identity security is guaranteed through these actions. Actions such as aiding the United States in Afghanistan war and allowing the establishment of military bases in the commonwealth of independent countries were some of the ethical and philanthropic actions to show good will in collaboration to the fight against terrorism, but the results were unfavorable for Russian government. This led to the west trying to undermine the influence of Russia through revolutions in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia. Russia has protected its ontological security by sending troops to Tajikistan, disagreeing with the military presence of the United States in Iraq, Georgia’s war and the independence of Southern Ossetia and Abkhazia, annexing Crimea and participating in Syria’s war. In fact, the Russian government has taken a series of military actions by centralizing ontological security, a military action that has often been met with inaction by the West. It should be borne in mind that Russia, by introducing its identity components, has shown its importance to the West while the West has withdrawn from provocative measures by recognizing this identity. For example, the survival of the Assad regime has shown public opposition to US policies outside the traditional Russian borders. The policy of full-fledged presence in the Syrian war depicted the component of great power and showed the Western world that they had to recognize Russia’s role in all world affairs as a great power.