The construction of ‘geopolitical spaces’ in Russian foreign policy discourse before and after the Ukraine crisis

Journal of Eurasian Studies. 2016;7(2):129-140 DOI 10.1016/j.euras.2015.11.002

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Journal of Eurasian Studies

ISSN: 1879-3665 (Print); 1879-3673 (Online)

Publisher: SAGE Publishing

Society/Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center

LCC Subject Category: Geography. Anthropology. Recreation: Geography (General) | Political science

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, ePUB

 

AUTHORS

David Svarin

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 8 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

Focusing on discourses by the ruling elite, this article examines the construction of ‘geopolitical spaces’ in Russian foreign policy. Based on a critical geopolitical analysis, suggesting that territory, space and geographies are being actively (re)formulated by those in power, this article analyzes how policy-makers define and articulate the importance of a particular geographical region for their foreign policy. It analyzes how the three ‘geopolitical spaces’ – Eurasia, the Euro-Atlantic and the Asia-Pacific – are defined by Russia's political leaders and how each space fulfils a particular function for the pursuit of Russian interests abroad. In a second part, this article takes into account the events in and around Ukraine starting in late 2013 and analyzes how Russia's discourse toward the traditional ‘geopolitical spaces’ changed as a result. It is argued, that while Russia previously strived for membership in each of the three ‘geopolitical spaces’, the Ukraine crisis and its impact on Moscow's relation with the West led to a reorientation of Russia's geopolitical vision toward the East and most importantly toward Eurasia. The establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union was instrumental for the promotion of a new vision of wider Eurasian integration.