Changing Paradigms: International Relations in Post-communist Russia

  • Alexandr A. Sergunin


The extinction of the USSR and its Marxist ideology, the restoration of Russia as an independent, autonomous entity and changes after the end of the Cold War have compelled Russia to redefine its national interests and make substantial adjustments in its foreign policy and conceptual base of international strategy.
The essay discusses the discipline of international relations in Russia in the course of the 1990s. The author attempts to distinguish and describe the major theoretical approach and foreign policy schools in the country, to outline the problems dealt with in the Russian discussion on international relations and represent the institutional dimensions of post-communist international studies.
In post-communist Russia there have been and still are several schools of foreign policy thinking, differing in their conceptual foundations and in their approach to practical international problems. In the second section of his essay, the author deals in practice with neo-Marxism, right-wing radicalism, post-modernism and with an attempt to achieve a foreign policy consensus in this field. He arrives at the following conclusions: 1) Russian international studies underwent a very rapid and dramatic transformation in the 1990s. 2) While a realist geopolitical school dominates in this discipline at present, certain alternatives are nevertheless emerging for the dominating paradigms. 3) Russian scholars are achieving outstanding results, especially in compiling the history of diplomacy and current Russian foreign policy. 4) International studies have changed their status and have transformed from an elitist into a normal discipline. 5) Thanks to the democratization, demonopolization and normalization of the international relations discipline, there has been an increase in the number of research centres dealing with international studies (including regional ones). 6) Many universities and non-governmental research centres are progressing at a dynamic pace, but certain institutional sections (such as the Russian Academy of Sciences or the archive/library system) are still not capable of coming to terms with current problems. In addition, even their coordination creates problems.

Author Biography

Alexandr A. Sergunin



Research Articles