The mechanics of Russian foreign policy in the Caucasus and Central Asia: regional hegemony or neo-imperialism?
Hlosek, Andrea L.
Clunan, Anne L.
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Under President Putin, Russiab2ss foreign policy adopted the characteristics of Great Power Normalization, a pragmatic, economically focused model described by Andrei Tsygankov. Its tenets include cooperative economic and security relationships with the West, to include tolerance of Western military presence in the Former Soviet Union (FSU)a refocused foreign policy toward the FSU designed to secure regional hegemonyand a de-emphasis of large-scale integration efforts such as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in lieu of bilateral and regionally focused multilateral efforts that elevate geo-economic goals over military presence. Russian foreign policy during President Putin's second term of office however, appears to have become more assertive, characterized by increasing conflict with CIS member Georgia, renewed military presence in Central Asia and the Caspian Basin at the expense of Western presence, and an aggressive energy agenda that has secured Russia large stakes in FSU energy infrastructure and a monopoly on regional oil and gas pipelines that export raw materials to outside markets. This thesis analyzed Russian influence in diplomatic, cultural, economic and military efforts across two regions, the Caucasus and Central Asia, to determine whether Russia is merely pursuing regional hegemony or establishing neo-imperialistic ties in its backyard.
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