In a truly contemporary analysis of Moscow's relations with its neighbors and other strategic international actors, Gvosdev and Marsh use a comprehensive vectors approach, dividing the world into eight geographic zones. Each vector chapter looks at the dynamics of key bilateral relationships while highlighting major topical issues—oil and energy, defense policy, economic policy, the role of international institutions, and the impact of major interest groups or influencers—demonstrating that Russia formulates multiple, sometimes contrasting, foreign policies. Providing rich historical context as well as exposure to the scholarly literature, the authors offer an incisive look at how and why Russia partners with some states while it counter-balances others.
Chapter 5: The Eurasian Space
The Eurasian Space
The near abroad is a term used by Moscow to refer to those countries, now independent states, that were once a part of the historic Russian Empire or that were union republics of the Soviet Union. Because of the close enduring cultural, political, and economic ties between post–Soviet Russia and these states, the Russian foreign policy establishment believes that Russia ought to pursue close relationships with the other states that also emerged from the USSR. Whether the intent of such behavior is benign or malevolent, however, is hard for anyone to determine, including some of the states themselves. As articulated by former foreign minister Igor Ivanov, the “former Soviet Union's geopolitical space” forms “a ‘special interest zone’ for Russia.”1 In ...