Eurasia Rising: Democracy and Independence in the Post-Soviet Space

Eurasia Rising: Democracy and Independence in the Post-Soviet Space

Eurasia Rising: Democracy and Independence in the Post-Soviet Space

Eurasia Rising: Democracy and Independence in the Post-Soviet Space


Although the score of countries comprising Russia's near abroad (the former non-Russian Soviet republics) and far abroad (the former non-Russian Warsaw Pact states) are behaving with variably increasing independence in their domestic and foreign policies, Russia continues to regard them as remaining within the same core-periphery sphere of influence formerly exerted by the Soviet Union within the same geographic space. Russia misinterprets bids by these countries to adopt liberalizing structural reforms and to join Euro-Atlantic organizations as foreign-inspired and inimical to Russia's security. Whether Russia can learn to recognize that such bids are in fact natural developments of national self-interest will determine whether healthy and mutually beneficial bilateral relations can develop between Russia and the states of her near and far abroad in the 21st century.

No previous study of the dynamics of post-Soviet assertive sovereignty has as broad a geographic scope as Eurasia Rising, which considers the whole of Post-Soviet Space: DT Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania DT Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia DT Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan DT Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia


In the post–Cold War world, Russian politicians and analysts blame the United States and “the West” for trying to isolate Russia by co-opting countries of Central Europe and Central Asia into “the Western sphere of influence.” They point to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) “expansion,” Central Asian color revolutions, and the placement of U.S. bases and weapons in the area of “Russian traditional strategic interests,” and argue that Russia is being deliberately surrounded by a new cordon sanitaire.

On the other hand, some Western circles argue that Russia, after a period of disarray following the collapse of communism, is pursuing a neo-expansionist agenda across these same countries, to reestablish its past sphere of influence. From warnings of a “neo-imperialist Russia,” to fears of an imminent second Cold War, politicians and analysts in American and European circles fear the resurgence of a powerful, heavily militarized, and undemocratic Russia.

In between these typical balance of power arguments, there is little room for a third position: That Central European, Baltic, and Central Asian countries are no longer pushover pawns, acting or reacting to the tug of war between two superpowers. From Poland to Kazakhstan, countries of Eurasia show that they have minds of their own, and national interests they define and pursue in their own capitals, whether the traditional centers of power in the Kremlin, Washington, or Brussels approve or not.

This book takes the position that the concept of “assertive sovereignty” captures an emerging, interstate dynamic in this vast region since the end of communism in 1989. Without neglecting any of the nuances of democratic transitions developed by scholars throughout the nineties, assertive sovereign states define domestic and foreign policy priorities in home capitals. They do not conform to the traditional subordination to the Kremlin illustrated by the core-periphery approach and maintain a strategic relationship with Russia while pursuing integration in regional or global structures of their own choosing. The national interest is formulated at home, not in Moscow, nor in other centers of power, and is defined by popularly elected governments. The rise of assertive sovereign states is not monolithic, nor . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.