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Russia and Its Central Asian ‘Near-Abroad’: Towards a Doctrine for the Periphery

  • Mohiaddin Mesbahi

Abstract

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union on December 9, 1991, and until very recently, the dominant view and conventional wisdom concerning Russian foreign policy indicated a belief that post-Soviet Russia would have a new foreign policy characterized by fundamental and irreversible changes, including the absence of great power ambitions and competition, a prolonged focus on domestic issues, an ‘isolationist’ external thrust characterized by close cooperation with the West, and the acceptance of the United States’ lead in the international system. According to this view, the new Russian foreign policy posture would be based on Moscow’s acceptance of Russia’s shrunken geopolitical space, especially in its historical Asian domain, i.e. Central Asia and the Caucasus, indicating a significant historical break with the Eurasian notion in Moscow’s world view, and a determined Western orientation towards Europeanization of Russia as a normal continental power. In a major international conference convened immediately after the Soviet collapse in March 1992 in Tehran, many prominent ‘Soviet’ and Western scholars echoed these views and especially identified Russia’s prolonged domestic weakness along with the collapse of the ideology of Communism as the twin pillars opening Russia’ s periphery to regional and international competition. Iran and Turkey, for example, were singled out as the ‘new kids on the block’ with considerable prospects for influence and domination in the former Soviet periphery in the south.

Keywords

Foreign Policy Foreign Minister Southern Periphery Regional Conflict Collective Security 
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Notes

  1. 5.
    Aleksey Arbatov, ‘The West Will not Defend Russia Against the West,’ Novoye vremya, No. 44, October 1993, pp. 22–26;and ‘National Security: Russia in 1994,’ Observatel, December 14, 1993, pp. 3–173; ‘The Position of Russia and Its national Interest’ (a report prepared by the United States and Canada Institute), Rossiya, No. 1, January 4, 1994, p. 5.Google Scholar
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    Andrey Kozyrev, ‘The Guideline Is Russia’s Interests: The New Tasks of Russian Foreign Policy,’ Rossiyskiye vesti, February 9, 1994, p. 3.Google Scholar
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    D.I. Mendeleev, K poznaniyu Rossii (St Petersburg, 1906)Google Scholar
  4. M.S. Gorbachev, Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World (New York: Harper & Row, 1987), pp. 191–198Google Scholar
  5. Igor Malashenko, ‘Russia: the Earth’s Heartland,’ International Affairs (Moscow), July 1990;Google Scholar
  6. Lectures by Ruslan Khasbulatov, Yevgeny Primakov, Sergei Stankevich at Moscow Institute of International Relations, in International Affairs (Moscow), Nos 4–5 April–May 1992; ‘Official draft of Russian foreign policy concepts’ in Interfax, November 2, 1992; FBIS in Central Eurasia, November 2, 1992, pp. 11–13Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Hafeez Malik 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohiaddin Mesbahi

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