An analysis of identity-based and security-oriented Russian foreign policy in relation to Syria

PhD thesis


Ermolaeva, O. 2017. An analysis of identity-based and security-oriented Russian foreign policy in relation to Syria. PhD thesis Middlesex University International Relations
TypePhD thesis
TitleAn analysis of identity-based and security-oriented Russian foreign policy in relation to Syria
AuthorsErmolaeva, O.
Abstract

The civil war in Syria has become a culmination of the Arab Spring, which transformed into a complex international conflict, involving many states not only from the Middle East region, but also Russia, the US, and some EU states. From the beginning of the civil war in Syria, Russia played the key role in the conflict, starting from serving as a mediator of the conflict, and ending with active military actions initiated in 2015. Intensive discussion, and sometimes a rather negative discourse developed over Russian foreign policy in relation to Syria, which shaped a demand in an in-depth analysis of reasons behind Russian foreign policy decisions. Apart from historically strong ties with Syria, geopolitical and economic interests between two states still matter. At the same time it seems that in regards to Syria, Russian foreign policy has been mainly security-oriented, and simultaneously identity-based. A primary contribution of this thesis is offered by an application of a theoretical synthesis of Neoclassic Realism and Constructivism for the Russian foreign policy analysis. It is argued that Neoclassic Realism provides a theoretical basis for explaining security-oriented Russian foreign policy in Syria, while Constructivist theory supports the argument that Russian foreign policy in Syria is also identity-based.
In case of Syria, domestic factors form an operational environment of Russian foreign policy-making. To Russia, the Syrian stability is seen as vital to the stability in the Middle East, and consequently to the Russia’s national security and territorial integrity. In particular, Russia is concerned about the rise of ‘Religious Extremism’ in the Middle East, because this development could potentially give an impulse to further political opposition and intensify insurgencies in the Russian Muslim-populated regions. Apart from that, Russian foreign policy in Syria is also motivated by the desire to sustain ‘the Great Power’ status by playing the key role in the Syrian crisis. This thesis is dedicated to the analysis of these developments, as well as their effects on Russian foreign policy in relation to Syria.

LanguageEnglish
Department nameInternational Relations
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print25 Aug 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited25 Aug 2017
Accepted05 Jul 2017
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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