Russia in the Region

Authored by: Richard Sakwa

The Routledge Handbook of East European Politics

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138919754
eBook ISBN: 9781315687681
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315687681.ch27

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Abstract

The relationship between Russia and its former allies in Eastern Europe is one of the most troubled in the world, while relations with the post-Soviet states veers between the difficult to catastrophic. Already in August 2008 the Russo-Georgian war demonstrated the potential for strained relations to turn into outright conflict, and this became even more evident from 2014 when relations with Ukraine were conclusively disrupted. The picture, nevertheless, from Russia’s perspective is not entirely bleak. A number of the ‘new Eastern European’ countries, notably Belarus (and Armenia), are closely allied with Russia, and although the relationship is far from stress-free, the fundamental interests of these countries are aligned. There are also enduring solid relations with Serbia and some other South Eastern European states, and Russia’s declarations in favour of sovereignty, legitimism and, increasingly, conservatism, find an increasingly receptive audience in the region. In one way or another, Russia remains an important actor in the region, with a diverse pattern of interactions and relationships. This chapter will examine some of the key features of the diverse relationships in a historical and theoretical context.

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