Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Recognition and Respect: Understanding Russia's Defense of Its Great Power Status
Authors: Elgin, Katherine Kjellstrom
Advisors: Friedberg, Aaron L
Contributors: Public and International Affairs Department
Keywords: China-Russia relations
Foreign policy
Great power relations
U.S.-Russia relations
Subjects: International relations
Political science
Public policy
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, Russia has pursued a foreign policy that has, at times, surprised observers with its risky adventurism. While domestic politics and geopolitics have both been offered as explanations for Russian behavior, each of these theories falls short in important ways. In this dissertation, I instead argue that contemporary Russian foreign policy is best understood if one assumes that the Russian political elite believes that Russia is a great power and that the leadership acts to defend the country’s status when it senses that Russia is not being treated as such. I propose the ‘status-identity model’ to explain contemporary Russian foreign policy choices: when Russian policymakers perceive that the status that others give the country does not match the country’s identity as a great power, they engage in adventurist foreign policy behavior in the hopes of compelling other states to recognize and respect Russia’s great power status. Importantly, this framework emphasizes the Russian leadership’s perception of the country’s status, not how other states believe they are treating Russia – while some literature sees Russia as a status overachiever, Russian leaders consider the country a status underachiever, with important policy consequences. By testing the status-identity model and explanations based on domestic politics and geopolitics in the cases of the annexation of Crimea, the Russian intervention in Syria, and the interference campaign in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, this dissertation sheds new light on how policymakers and analysts alike should understand contemporary Russian assertive foreign policy behavior. The dissertation also contributes to scholars’ understanding of how status and identity interact, how states may behave within a hegemonic hierarchy, and the foreign policy decision-making of contemporary authoritarian states.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Public and International Affairs

Files in This Item:
This content is embargoed until 2022-12-23. For more information contact the Mudd Manuscript Library.

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.