The Sources of Russian Foreign Policy after the Cold War

By Celeste A. Wallander | Go to book overview

One would expect that with the end of the Cold War and the disappearance of the Communist economic system, the most significant new influence on Russian politics and foreign policy would be the international economy. The political constraints of the Stalinist system, which severely limited foreign trade and repressed domestic political economic demands, have been lifted, so participation in the international economy should create new domestic interests in favor of trade and success should increase political resources for those groups. Matthew Evangelista writes in Chapter 8 that given Russian energy resources, we should see dramatic changes in the Russian energy sector and strong interest in that sector for participation in the international economy. However, he argues, such an expectation ignores the effect of preexisting institutions on domestic interests and political strategies. He shows that Soviet--and now Russian--coal miners have not lobbied to be free of state restrictions to participate freely in the international market. They have reacted to reforms for the most part by seeking to preserve state subsidies and social justice because they understand market competition in terms of the socialist "labor theory of value." Although the international economy has created new economic opportunities, the lack of market institutions at the domestic level has proven more significant for continuity in domestic interests and their relation to foreign economic policy.

Finally, in Chapter 9 I discuss the important connections in the arguments and evidence presented in this volume. I conclude that the key to understanding future Russian foreign policy is to understand two sets of linkages: those between ideas, institutions, and interests and those between domestic political power and the international environment.


Notes

I would like to thank Jeffrey Anderson and Lisbeth Bernstein for their helpful comments.

1.
Stephen M. Meyer, "Soviet National Security Decision Making: What Do We Know and What Do We Understand?" in Soviet Decision Making for National Security, ed. Jiri Valenta and William Potter ( Boston: George Allen and Unwin, 1984), pp. 255-297.
2.
These articles include Zbigniew Brzezinski, "The Premature Partnership," Foreign Affairs 73 ( March-April 1994): 67-83; Dmitri Simes, "The Return of Russian History," Foreign Affairs 73 ( January-February 1994): 67-82; Stephen Sestanovich, "Russia Turns the Corner." Foreign Affairs 73 ( January-February 1994): 83-98.
3.
These are familiar in international relations as the "third image" and "second image" respectively. Kenneth Waltz, Man, the State, and War ( New York: Columbia University Press, 1954).
4.
Adam Ulam, Expansion and Coexistence: Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917-1973 ( Fort Worth, Tex.: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1974).
5.
George Kennan [X, pseud.], "The Sources of Soviet Conduct," Foreign Affairs ( July 1947), reprinted in Foreign Affairs 65 (Spring 1987): 852-868.
6.
V. I. Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism ( New York: International Publishers, 1939).

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