Signs of a Democratized Foreign Policy? Russian Politics, Public Opinion, and the Bosnia Crisis

By Masker, John Scott | World Affairs, Spring 1998 | Go to article overview

Signs of a Democratized Foreign Policy? Russian Politics, Public Opinion, and the Bosnia Crisis


Masker, John Scott, World Affairs


The Bosnian war was the first foreign policy challenge for the new Russian state. During the period from 1992 to 1995, as the world community watched and listened with horror to tales of atrocities and wanton destruction in the former Yugoslavian republic, Russia's leaders struggled to establish their country's policy toward the war. Although other countries were also involved in trying to end the war, Russian politicians confronted issues that directly affected their country in ways that the other countries did not because the problems of extreme nationalism and ethnic minorities, which were the issues in Bosnia, also beset multiethnic Russia. President Boris Yeltsin had to find a way to reconcile the international and domestic constituencies surrounding these questions while remaining true to the promise of the new democratic institutions of the post-Soviet Union Russian state.

Analysts of events in Russia commonly remark on the changes that the end of the Soviet Union has brought to the country. Most tell us that the changes have not all been for the better, for this "democratic transition," with its multicandidate elections and open parliamentary debates, has been accompanied by an increase in the crime rate, an increase in the unemployment rate, major disruptions in the economy, and a host of other social ills.

Frequently lost in discussions of Russia's transition to democracy is any analysis of the foreign policymaking process of the Russian Federation. Is it, too, becoming "democratized"? In short, what has changed, and what has not?

This article focuses on the effects that democratization has had on Russia's policy toward the Bosnian war and on the foreign policymaking apparatus itself. It is not a day-to-day account of events. First, I present the broad outlines of Russia's Bosnia policy during the period from 1992 to 1995. Second. I discuss how the politics of Russia's democratic transition influenced the institutions and the process of foreign policymaking in the country. Finally, I offer some predictions about the future of an increasingly democratized Russian foreign policy.

RUSSIA AND BOSNIA, 1992-1995

Bosnia was a sensitive issue for the government in Moscow for reasons that overlapped and influenced each other. Russia's Bosnia policy was the intersection in which questions of the fights of ethnic minorities, extreme nationalism, and of Russia's role in the international community collided. Nationalism and international objectives were the major themes that the new policy process had to address and, when they conflicted, had to reconcile. In this section. I examine the positions and actions that the Yeltsin government took concerning Bosnia and the effects that those decisions had on Russia's domestic politics and Russia's relations with other countries and international organizations.

The Effects of Russian Nationalism

Like the governments in Bosnia and other parts of the former Yugoslavia, the Russian government was facing separatist demands from many of the non-Russian nationalities that lived in the Russian Federation. The Chechen war that began in 1994 was only the most visible dispute. The Crimean Tatars. the Volga Tatars. Bashkirs, Yakuts, and many others all have grievances with Russia's government. The Russians themselves also face discrimination in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, former Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs) of the old Soviet Union. The nationality problem influenced the Russian government's policy in Bosnia in many ways, since even a simple slip during a press conference could inflame tensions at home and in Bosnia. Obviously, the situations in Bosnia and the rest of the former Yugoslavia, on one hand, and the Russian Federation, on the other, were not completely analogous. Still the government had to be aware of the ways in which its domestic and foreign policies were linked.

In addition to these ethnic particularist problems, Russian nationalist sentiments played a part in the calculations of the Yeltsin government. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Signs of a Democratized Foreign Policy? Russian Politics, Public Opinion, and the Bosnia Crisis
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.