Human Rights and Comparative Foreign Policy

By David P. Forsythe | Go to book overview

6
Russian foreign policy and human
rights: Conflicted culture and
uncertain policy
Sergei V. Chugrov

Two political myths concerning human rights in Russia are widely aired in the West. According to one of them, Russia historically followed the lead of the West towards liberalism, and only the 1917 Bolshevik revolution resulted in mass repressions and the negation of all human rights in the Soviet Union. The other myth stipulates that Russia has never developed the conditions for human rights and is hardly able to develop them now. Both arguments appear to be wrong. For centuries, Russia was torn by two cultural traditions. One of them, the Westernizing one, considers rights of the individual to be its cornerstone. The other, Slavophile, one accepts authoritarian government and severe restrictions on human rights, while seeing the source of the country's further development in its own particular traditions. The Westernizing tradition embraces universal rights, while the Slavophile tradition emphasizes cultural relativism and national particularism.

The first tendency pushes Russia towards the West, while the second one results in Russia pursuing a policy of self-isolation. The Westernizing tradition has always been weaker than the Slavophile one. This does not mean, however, that the seeds of liberal freedoms were eradicated from the national political culture; they were always there and remain so today. Rather, they are emerging from their suppression.

-149-

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Human Rights and Comparative Foreign Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes 18
  • Part I - Some Liberal Democracies of the Oecd 19
  • 2 - Us Foreign Policy and Human Rights: the Price of Principles after the Cold War 21
  • Notes *
  • 3 - Trials and Errors: the Netherlands and Human Rights 49
  • Notes *
  • 4 - British Foreign Policy and Human Rights: from Low to High Politics 87
  • Notes *
  • 5 - Japan's Foreign Policy towards Human Rights: Uncertain Changes 115
  • Notes *
  • Part II - Some Other States 147
  • 6 - Russian Foreign Policy and Human Rights: Conflicted Culture and Uncertain Policy 149
  • Notes *
  • 7 - India's Human Rights Diplomacy: Crisis and Transformation 178
  • Notes 204
  • 8 - Iran and Human Rights 206
  • Notes *
  • 9 - Human Rights and Foreign Policy in Central Europe: Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland 224
  • Notes 245
  • 10 - Human Rights and Foreign Policy in Post-Apartheid South Africa 250
  • Notes *
  • 11 - Latin American Foreign Policies and Human Rights 276
  • Notes 307
  • 12 - An Overview 310
  • Notes *
  • Postscript: the Kosovo Crisis 335
  • Contributors 342
  • Index 343
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