Whose Playground Is It, Anyway? Power Rivalries in Post-Soviet Space
In many respects the ongoing conflicts between Russophones and the Ukrainian government in south-eastern Ukraine, between the governments in Kyiv and Moscow, and between the Russian Federation and both the United States and the European Union represent the culmination of the struggle to redefine spheres of influence in post-communist Europe. When the Soviet Union collapsed almost a quarter of a century ago US President George H.W. Bush envisaged the emergence of a ‘new world order’ in which states would resolve their differences through negotiations (Bush, 1991) and Russian President Boris Yeltsin spoke of Russia joining ‘the community of civilized nations’ (Yeltsin, 1992). The differences that had divided Russians and Americans, many expected, would be resolved, as the new Russian Federation became a full-fledged member of the Western-centred international system — the very system against which the Soviet Union had so long struggled. In the 1970s, then Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev had regularly spoken of the ‘changing international correlations of forces’ and the emergence of a new global international system that would soon bypass a declining international capitalist system (Mitchell, 1978). Less than two decades later Russia seemed to be on the verge of embracing that capitalist system.
KeywordsForeign Policy Orange Revolution Ukraine Crisis Colour Revolution Foreign Policy Tool
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