EU and NATO's relationship with Russia between 2000 and 2016. How realism and constructivism help explain the deterioration during the Putin and Medvedev presidencies

Bachelor Thesis, 2016

68 Pages, Grade: 12


‘’Tensions and contradictions among normative principles in international life mean that there is no set of ideal political and economic arrangements toward which we are all converging. There is no stable equilibrium, no end of history’’ [1]

The following paper scrutinizes the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO in the last 16 years during Putin’s (and Medvedev’s) presidencies. The main aim of the thesis is to understand the extent to which the relationship between the parties has deteriorated and the decisive factors, events, that have impeded a mutually beneficial cooperation. In order to provide a clear and comprehensive understanding of the comlex topic, an empirical case study approach is applied. Dividing the case in three different dimensions, (1) the political relationship between the EU and Russia, (2) miltary cooperation between the EU/NATO and Russia and (3) economic relationship between the EU and Russia, the paper also intents to elucidate the effects of the deterioration for the three respective areas. As a theoretical background, the international relations theory Neorealism (defensive; offensive) and the social theory Constructivism are consulted and constrasted with each other. While Neorealism mainly explains how EU/NATO have used their (economic and military) power capabilities to diminish Russia’s influence in Europe in the last sixteen years (and after the fall of the Soviet Union in general), Constructivism has been mainly helpful to illustrate how normative and value differences between Moscow and Brussels have hampered a beneficial cooperation. Using the empirical knowledge of the 90s., when Russia embarked on an integrative path with the EU/NATO, the paper contrast those experiences with the relationship of the last sixteen years in order to facilitate the understanding of Russia’s ressurgence from a broader historical perspective.

The paper found out that prior to the current Ukraine crisis, EU’s/NATO’s policies such as their enlargements or support for colour revolutions in Russia’s close neighbourhood have led to a gradual increase in distrust, insecurity and a zero sum logic in the Kremlin. Therefore, after many other crises prior to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, a serious conflict between the parties was only a matter of time since the balance of power has shifted to the detriment of Russia’s national interests.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction.. 1

2. Methodology.. 3

3. Theoretical Framework.. 6

3.1. Neorealism.. 6

3.2. Constructivism.. 9

3.3.Neorealism and Constructivism: NATO’s survival, the EU’s integration project and their relationship with Russia in general.. 11

4. Historical Background: NATO/EU – Russia relationship in the 90s.. 13

5. Analysis.. 16

5.1. Political relations between Russia and the EU (2000-2016): neorealists’ interpretation.. 16

5.2. Political relations between Russia and the EU (2000-2016): constructivists’ interpretation.. 20

5.3. Political relations between Russia and the EU (2000-2016): summary of main results.. 24

5.4. Military Partnership between Russia and NATO (2000-2016): neorealists’ interpretation.. 25

5.5. Military Partnership between Russia and NATO (2000-2016): constructivists’ interpretation.. 30

5.6. Military Partnership between Russia and NATO (2000-2016): summary of main results.. 34

5.7. Economic relationship between the EU and Russia (2000-2016): finding principles of neorealism .. 35

5.8. Economic relationship between the EU and Russia (2000-2016): constructivists’ interpretation .. 38

5.9. Economic relationship between the EU and Russia (2000-2016): summary of main results .. 40

6. Discussion.. 40

7. Conclusion.. 44

8. Bibliography.. 46

8.1. Primary Sources.. 46

8.2. Secondary Sources.. 49

8.2.1. Literature.. 49

8.2.2. Academic papers.. 51

8.2.3. Internet articles.. 52

9. Appendices.. 56

1. Introduction

When Russian president Boris Yeltsin signed the Belavezha Accords [2] in 1991, hardly anyone could imagine the consequences of this agreement. The dissolution of the Soviet Union was accompanied by the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Russian Federation’s recognition of fourteen new independent countries. The capitalistic liberal democracies emerged victorious in the Cold War and especially the citizens of the former Soviet Empire faced a completely new reality. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the unstable years of the 1990s, Russia has found itself in a position to choose between cooperation with the democratic institutions of the European Union (EU) and to accept NATO enlargement or to follow its own path by creating a competitive pole which differs with the EU’s and NATO’s values and interests, the Eurasian path. Since most of Russian territory is located on the Asian continent but the Russian majority lives on the European side, Russia is a country of different mentalities. Under the Communist rule the different nations were all united by one ideology; after the USSR’s fall [3], the Kremlin has faced a new political and ideological reality with much less military power than it held during the Cold War.

Despite the fall of the Soviet Union, EU’s largest and with its huge arsenal of nuclear weapons still powerful neighbour is the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) veto power Russia. Russia is enriched with vast amounts of resources. Oil and gas exports play a crucial role for its economy and predominate trade between members of the European Union and Moscow. After the 1990s and Yeltsin’s resignation, European democratic leaders followed Russia’s presidential inauguration of Vladimir Putin with huge political and economic interest. His election in 2000 meant a change from a well-known and pro-democratic leader Boris Yeltsin to a new, almost unknown former KGB official Vladimir Putin. Although, in the beginning of Putin’s presidency, the EU/NATO and Russia were optimistic about a mutually beneficial partnership, only after some years, they have become wary of each other’s geopolitical interest. Critics of both NATO and EU enlargement felt vindicated that Russia is neither to integrate with the liberal democratic institutions, nor to accept EU’s and NATO’s democratic principles after Putin’s blunt speech at the Munich Security Conference in 2007. Putin’s legal election term ended in 2008 and his close friend, Anatoly Medvedev, became president. Four years later, Putin was elected for a third term again. This time his presidency lasts six years since Medvedev changed the constitution, which extended the presidential term.

The current situation in Ukraine, accompanied by mutual economic sanctions, the suspension of cooperation after Russia’s actions in Crimea and its support for the separatists in the Donbas can be classified as the most severe crisis between Russia and the EU/NATO after the end of the Cold War. It is therefore time to understand in detail how this relationship could worsen to such a point that Russia’s Premier Minister Medvedev argues Russia and NATO are ‘’rapidly rolling into a period of a new cold war’’ and NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg asserts Moscow ‘’is destabilising the European security order’’. [4]

In application of a case study approach, the following thesis aims to scrutinize the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO during Putin’s and Medvedev’s presidencies. I mainly focus on the time period between Putin’s first inauguration in May 2000 and today, end of March 2016. With help of the theories Neorealism and Constructivism I intend to understand the extent of the relationship’s deterioration between the EU/NATO and Russia. I apply these two theories because their divergent assumptions enable me to analyse and discuss different kinds of aspects relevant for the understanding of the topic. For example, while the traditional international relations theory neorealism highlights power and the effects of anarchy on the behaviour of states, constructivism as a social theory focuses on how identity and values influence foreign policy. Moreover, the latter theory disapproves neorealists’ claim that the international system is anarchical asserting that interaction depends on the interpretation of subjects (here: EU, NATO and Russia) and that the international system is exposed to changes due to the power of agencies.

To fully understand Russia-EU/NATO relationship of the years between 2000 and today, I outline the most crucial events of the 1990s. The main purpose of this part is to identify differences and similarities between Putin’s political views and of his predecessor Yeltsin and to comprehend whether events of the 90s had any impact on the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO during Putins’s and Medvedev’s presidencies. The core analysis is divided in three major themes: (1) The political relations between Russia and the EU, (2) the military cooperation between EU/NATO and Russia and (3) the economic relations between Russia and the EU.

The thesis is subject to this central research question:

To what extent has the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO deteriorated under Putin’s (and Medvedev’s) presidencies during the last 16 years?

Furthermore, I reflect upon three distinct sub-questions:

1. What are the reasons (factors/events), which led to the relationship’s deterioration between Russia and the EU/NATO?

2. How can Neorealism and Constructivism help explain the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO?

3. What are the consequences of the relationship’s deterioration between Russia and the EU/NATO for the political and economic partnership between Russia and the EU and the military cooperation between Russia and the EU/NATO?

In the discussion, I sum up the argumentative strengths and weaknesses of the international relations theory neorealism and the social theory constructivism in regard to the topic. Finally, I conclude the paper with a summary of the main results of the analysis referring back to both the central research question and the three sub-questions.

2. Methodology

To answer the main research question and the three sub-questions, I apply a qualitative case study research. In this regard I use the concepts of the researchers Yin (2009), Stake (1995) and Lincoln/Guba (1985), which Creswell (2013) outlines in his book ‘’Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design - Choosing Among Five Approaches’’. Yin and Creswell argue this type of inquiry is a comprehensive and helpful methodology to examine ‘’a case within a real-life, contemporary context or setting’’. [5] The core advantage of this approach is its ability to provide an in-depth understanding of (a) particular case/s (or issue/s in (a) case/s) taking various different sources (primary sources: e.g. documents, interviews; and secondary sources: e.g. theoretical/academic literature, reports, audiovisual material etc.) into account. In general, a case study inquiry facilitates the understanding of a complex topic by means of a structured, chronologic explanation.[6]

Following Creswell’s theories, Case Study research is most applicable to my thesis as I analyse the case ‘’the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO during Putin’s (and Medvedev’s) presidencies’’. The following thesis is deductive since I study the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO within a bounded time (2000-2016) using multiple sources, both primary and secondary literature, and already elaborated theoretical concepts to assess their applicability in regard to the topic. Since the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO describes a real life complex case, my main intent is to provide an in-depth understanding of the topic in a clear, structured and easy understandable way, which the case study approach provides the most comprehensive tools for. [7]

Although I consult some quantitative data (e.g. statistics on trade between EU and Russia and military expenditure), the analysis is mainly based on an explanatory qualitative inquiry. The unit of analysis is a within-side study since I scrutinize the topic’s issues in one single case. The topic represents a less concrete level. However, given the fact that I specifically focus on the time from Putin’s first presidency (2000) until today (March 2016) I set concrete boundaries and analyse the issues within certain parameters. Following Stake’s (1995) criteria, the intent of my analysis can be classified as intrinsic, since the topic represents a ‘’unique case {…} {of} unusual interest {…} and needs to be described and detailed’’.[8] I intend to scrutinize the entire relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO and explain, to what extent it has deteriorated during the last sixteen years.

I consult multiple forms of (mainly qualitative) data. I use primary sources such as interviews, audiovisual material, records, transcripts, statements and speeches given by the Russian President, the Russian Premier Minister, NATO Secretary General, EU High Commissioners, EU member states leaders and other top officials in the last sixteen years. A BBC interview with Vladimir Putin in 2000 or speeches at the Munich Security Conference (Putin, 2007, Medvedev 2016, Stoltenberg, 2016) can be considered as primary sources. Furthermore, I examine official treaties and documents of the European Union (e.g. the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the official declaration on the Four Common Spaces, the Partnership for Modernization etc.), NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty, 1949) and the Russian Foreign and Defence Ministry (e.g. The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, 2000), which can be all found online at the web-side of the respective institution. For secondary sources, I consult literature in English by academics with Russian, European and international background. The authors of the books, I gathered the main information from, are Janusz Bugajski, Cold Peace – Russia’s New Imperialism (2004), Dmitri Trenin, Getting Russia Right and Post-Imperium (2007), Robert Kagan, The Return of History (2007), Aurel Braun, NATO-Russia Relations in the Twenty-First Century (2008), Janina Sleivyte, Russia’s European Agenda and the Baltic States (2010), Stephen White et. al., Post Soviet Politics (2012), Bobo Lo, Russia and the new world disorder (2015), Alexander Dugin, Last War of the World-Island-The Geopolitics of Contemporary Russia (2015) and Stephen Wegren, Putin’s Russia (2016).

Furthermore, on the one hand, the theoretical framework is mainly guided by the defensive neorealist Waltz (1979, 2000), the offensive neorealist Mearsheimer (2001) and the neorealist Grieco (1993), on the other, by the constructivists Onuf (1989), Wendt (1992), Finnemore (1996), Katzenstein (et. al.) (1996), Hopf (1998) and Ruggie (2004). I combine the theoretical part with neorealism’s and constructivism’s general understanding of NATO’s survival, the EU’s integration project and the institutions’ relationship with Russia.

Following Yin’s criteria (2009), the data is analysed holistically, meaning that the paper focuses on the entire case. Having acquired extensive knowledge due to thorough data collection, I start the analysis with a historical background part where I outline the events after the Cold War, namely the 1990s, to generally understand whether any decisions made (by the EU/NATO/Kremlin) at that time had any effect on the EU/NATO-Russia relationship of 2000 until today. After that, I continue with the core analysis. I divide the case in three themes: (1) The political relations between Russia and the EU; (2) The military cooperation between the EU/NATO and Russia; (3) The economic relations between Russia and the EU. This approach aims to bring order to the material and my general argumentation. Furthermore, it facilitates the understanding of the topic’s complexity. All three themes are scrutinized in the context of the research question and the respective sub questions. In this regard, I apply constructivism and (both defensive and offensive) neorealism on each theme to analyse the topic from a theoretical perspective and to examine how applicable the theories are concerning the research question and the topic in general. Therefore, all three themes are further divided in two subunits: (1) how defensive/offensive neorealism explains the political relations between Russia and the EU and, respectively, how constructivists analyse it; (2) how defensive/offensive neorealists interpret the military cooperation between EU/NATO and Russia and, respectively, how constructivists illuminate it; (3) how defensive/offensive neorealism considers the economic relations between Russia and the EU and, respectively, how constructivism defines them. I choose these two theories mainly for two reasons: Firstly, neorealism and constructivism are in many aspects in contrast to each other which makes the analysis more interesting and comprehensive. Secondly, as a recognized international relations theory, neorealism has advantages in explaining the logic of state’s foreign policies and can make predictions for the future. On the other hand, constructivism focuses on the social dimension in international relations and can explain how ideology, values and culture shape state’s interaction. To understand the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO, the factors value and ideology might be of huge importance. However, the theories entail advantages and disadvantages, which makes the use of both of them necessary to cover different dimensions and facilitate the understanding of the case’s complexity.

I argue, that the case is of unique importance because of the decreased level in partnership amid the current Ukraine crisis, which started in 2014. The main intention of the thesis is to understand the reasons for and the extent of the relationship’s deterioration between Russia and the EU/NATO during the last sixteen years in detail. The thesis resulted out of the question, whether other factors prior to the Ukraine crisis might have exacerbated Russia’s cooperation with the EU/NATO. In this regard, I am aware of the differences between NATO and the EU as for example Finland or Sweden are members of the EU but are not part of NATO. On the opposite, Norway or Iceland are members of NATO but not part of the EU. However, from the broader geopolitical perspective, especially after the Ukraine crisis, the EU and NATO have developed a common view on many aspects in regard to Russia. To explain to which extent the cooperation between Russia and the two western institutions has decreased, in my opinion, it is inevitable to take both organizations’ relationships with Russia into account. But, I do not assume a priori that NATO and the EU represent one political entity with the same interests. This analysis is based on the knowledge that NATO is mainly a military organization while the EU’s role is rather political and economic. NATO, with hard power capacity serves as a security provider in Europe, while the EU is mainly characterised as an economic soft power [9] institution. However, both institutions promote free trade, human rights and the rule of law.

Furthermore, I take NATO into account because it includes the most crucial actor in global politics, namely the United States of America, who plays a significant role in NATO and eventually influences also EU’s foreign policy [10]. However, the primary intent of the paper is not to focus too much on the US’s influence on the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO but only to mention its powerful role where it is necessary for the general understanding of the topic. Therefore, the main focus is set on ‘’Europe’’ [11]-Russia and not on US-Russia relations.

Having applied the theories on the three themes and scrutinized the extent to which the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO has deteriorated, I continue the analysis with a discussion. There, I debate the argumentative strengths and weaknesses of the international relations theory neorealism and the social theory constructivism in regard to the topic. Finally, in the conclusion, I provide a summary of the main results of the analysis referring back to both the general research question and the three sub-questions. According to Lincoln and Guba (1985), the last part of the thesis aims to ‘’report {…} the meaning of the {intrinsic} case’’.[12] Furthermore, on the basis of the thesis’ results, I give a general outlook for the future relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO.

The main challenge of a case study research is to assess how applicable this type of inquiry is to illustrate the topic and to answer the research question/s, which determine/s the paper. However, In regard to my topic, this issue is solved without any sever complications, since the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO represents a case, which a case study approach is able to clarify in a clear, structured, comprehensive way. The rather more difficult question, I encountered, was which type and amount of data to select. Setting boundaries means that one need to narrow down the vast amount of collected data in order to achieve a focused, structured but still in-depth paper. I also faced language difficulties during data collection. This problem became apparent when I considered including Russian sources. To solve this problem, I decided to focus only on sources in English although this entails another disadvantage, namely the aspect of subjectivity. I faced this issue by considering Russian English-speaking experts such as Trenin or Dugin, whom the first is rather critical about Russia, the latter negative about the EU/NATO. To keep academic and objective standards, namely not to judge but rather to analyse the real relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO from a neutral, academic point of view, has been challenging throughout the entire analysis.

3. Theoretical Framework

3.1. Neorealism

This international relations theory’s most well known exponents are Kenneth Waltz, Joseph Grieco and John Mearsheimer. While the latter represents offensive neorealism, the first two argue for defensive neorealism. The main assumptions, which both variants of neorealism agree on, are: (1) The international system is anarchical. Lawlessness predominates since there is no authority, which any actor of the international system is accountable to.[13] Examples, which confirm this principle, are NATO’s breach of international law during the ‘’Operation Allied Force’’ in Yugoslavia in 1999 or Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. (2) It is the structure, which shapes states’ actions, states’ agencies, its norms, its identity. All unit-levels and agencies, both exogenous and endogenous, are bound by it. Neorealism is therefore also called structuralism. [14] (3) States act rationally. They are the primary actors in the international system and their policies can only be understood if anarchy is taken as the main determinant factor of their actions into account. [15] States calculate the costs of their policies rationally and compare their position in the system relative to others constantly. [16] Matching both its own current and future capabilities with those of other states is of huge importance not to loose its place in the system in the long run. Therefore, foreign policy is always future orientated and based on the assessment of others capabilities in the system. [17] In this regard, Grieco argues that states treat gains as relative rather than absolute making win-win cooperation almost impossible because states are always wary about loosing to others when cooperating with them. [18] Hence, most calculations are based on zero-sum game scenarios in which one actor profits from the other actor’s loss. The security dilemma is the basis for assessing the effects of ones own policies on others. [19] The zero-sum ratio is also visible in many aspects in regard to the relationship between Russia and especially NATO. The most evident example is the current Ukraine crisis, which has led to a new arms race between NATO members and Moscow. Moreover, EU/NATO enlargements diminished Russia’s influence in Eastern Europe so that the Kremlin has felt losing both military and economic power to NATO and the EU. (4) Since states can never be sure about other states’ intentions in a world of anarchy, all their actions are also highly influenced by the factor uncertainty and fear. It is a system in which mutual distrust predominates. [20] (5) States’ main goal is survival. To survive in an anarchical egoistic system, states are to help themselves first, which is known as the principle of self-help. [21] In fear of Ukraine’s possible NATO membership after the ousting of the pro-Russian president in 2014[22], this logic explains Russia’s support for separatists in Eastern Ukraine for example.

However, defensive and offensive realists differ in their view on power. Since no international authority exists, Mearsheimer argues that states are aggressive power seekers and treat power not as a means, as defensive neorealists do, but as an end. Their eternal goal is to achieve a hegemonic position in the system.[23] Contrary to this assumption, for defensive neorealists, anarchy does not motivate states to maximize their power but to struggle for a position in the system which they feel best assured about their security with. Only if states feel secure enough, they can pursue more assertive policies and care about extending its power, Waltz asserts. [24] Another important difference between both variants is expressed by their view on balance of power. For Waltz, balance of power emerges automatically in an anarchical system. Given state’s main aim, national survival, they become members of an alliance, which is capable of defending itself from stronger enemies. The alliance’s sole interest is defence, not aggression. A balance of power with relative security ensues in which nobody is interested in attacking the other. If such a status were achieved, states would prefer to maintain it as it serves their primary interests, namely survival and security. [25]

On the other hand, Mearsheimer is more pessimistic about the emergence of balance of power. Even if balance of power were possible when a powerful adversary counters another great power, the status quo would be still extremely fragile. Since in anarchy no one can be sure about how much power actually leads to a stable balance, great powers always try to extend their position in the system. Moreover, if a weak state considers joining one of them, the system is eventually outbalanced. [26] His reasoning can be applied on the Eastern European countries like the Baltics or Poland, who joined NATO and eventually led to an unstable balance of power in Europe between the US-led NATO and Moscow.

Although Mearsheimer asserts that every state’s eternal aim is to become a global hegemon, he further concretizes that this will never happen, as there are simply limits in terms of capabilities. In this regard, it is helpful to take his distinction between global and regional hegemony into account. While the utopian view would be to achieve global domination over the system, the more real situation is regional hegemony, which refers to domination over a particular geographical space. [27] Regional powers intent to preserve their status, which might conflict with other capable states’ interest, who do not accept the hegemon’s rule. This can eventually lead to a ‘’fierce security competition’’ between them, which endanger the current balance of power and can change the status quo. [28] In this regard, NATO has always presented itself as a solely defensive military alliance, which does not intend to do harm to Russia. However, NATO enlargements to Russia’s borders and NATO’s actions in e.g. Yugoslavia are arguments, the Kremlin uses to consider NATO rather as an offensive than a defensive organization which diminishes Russia’s military power in Europe. With Mearsheimer’s theoretical concept in mind, one can understand the arising competition both between Russia and NATO in military terms and between the Kremlin and the EU in economic terms.

3.2. Constructivism

This social theory emerged after the end of the Cold War. Evolved mainly out of opposition to neorealism, constructivism covers not only the factors structural and state power, but also the influence of the society and agencies in general. The main exponents of the theory are Alexander Wendt, John Ruggie, Martha Finnemore, Ted Hopf, Nicolas Onuf and Peter Katzenstein.

Onuf defines anarchy as the ‘’absence of society and thus of effective rules’’.[29] For Constructivists, anarchy is not a natural determinant of state’s actions but emerges when states are unable to institutionalize and cooperate. Therefore, Wendt argues that ‘’anarchy is what states make of it’’. [30] Wendt explains, that it is mainly the process, which shapes states’ actions, and not only structure.

For constructivists neorealist’s core concepts become only reality when states or, in general, subjects, interact with each other. For example, self-help can only be identified as one principle of state’s actions, if states compared their actions, identities and norms with other ones and understood that they cannot trust each other. Self-help, just as anarchy, is an institution, which is mutable. [31] Wendt defines institutions as ‘’a relatively set or ‘’structure’’ of identities and interest {…} {which} do not exist apart from actors’ ideas how the world works.’’ In this regard, institutionalization is considered ‘’a process of internalizing new identities and interest’’. [32]

Contrary to the pessimistic view of neorealists, constructivists do not associate institutions solely with positive cooperation. To their mind, institutions might facilitate cooperation, but can also entail conflicts. [33] Neither do they exclude the possibility of security dilemmas nor self-help. When already institutionalized, the states’ perception of each other is difficult to change but the point, constructivists stresses, is that it can mutate. For constructivists, distrust and alienation are neither preconditions nor a constant, unchangeable factor of any relationship. [34] Socialization can assure states about their sovereignty, which Onuf defines as ‘’the exercise of independent national power – {…} {that} is the most important means of achieving national ends’’. [35] This assurance might make the concept of relative gains less important. [36] In this regard, ‘’distribution of knowledge’’ is the main reason why states can assess the others’ power capabilities. And this knowledge is acquired by intersubjectivity, namely the process of interaction and constant comparison.[37] As well states identities and norms originate and develop due to process and are not given by structure. Due to ‘’reciprocal interaction’’ and constant mirroring, ‘’collective meanings’’ about oneself and others emerge which enables states to identify others either as a friend or enemy. [38] Self-help system and security dilemma can therefore only be causes of state’s egoistic or competitive identities and not solely the result of structure.

Constructivists interpret the balance of power differently, too. For them, structure does not force states to automatically balance against other powers but it is states themselves who reflect upon different kinds of power. Having identified certain threats to their national survival they form alliances as the military alliance NATO. [39] However, Wendt argues, that cooperation between enemies might still be possible in some areas because ‘’identities and interests are relationship-specific’’. This means that while in many interests they contradict, in others they might share the same view and cooperate. [40]

Contrary to neorealists’ assertion that all unit-levels (both domestic and foreign actors) are defined by anarchy due to structure and that both identities and norms are only sub-aspects of power, Finnemore and Katzenstein weaken this claim by stressing the mutability and importance of norms to explain state’s actions. They define norms as ‘’collective expectations about proper behaviour for a given identity {held by a community of actors}’’.[41] For them norms constitute state’s interest and influence states’ views of national security.[42] Therefore, also identities, defined as ‘’the images of individuality and distinctiveness (‘’selfhood’’) held and projected by an actor and formed {…} through relations with significant ‘’others’’ ‘’ [43], do not hold forever but are mutable.[44]

Finnemore argues even further and explain why states adhere to laws and become part of collective social structure. They do it both out of rational reasons and because of the process of socialization, which made them accepting certain ‘’values, rules and roles‘’. [45]

For Ted Hopf, knowledge of the other actors’ identities lessens insecurity in the system. He even goes so far to assert that ‘’{n}o identity is more dangerous than anarchy’’ because nobody can predict the actions of a state which is unsure about its role in the system. [46] Applying this concept on Russia, one could say that the liberal democratic EU and NATO members are afraid of Russia not only because it destabilizes the European security by annexing Crimea and reinforces anarchy but mainly because it has not found yet an identity after the fall of the communist empire.

Today, as John Ruggie asserts, there is a ‘’new global public domain’’, which include much more influential actors with multiple identities. Neorealism would consider all of them by the same logic, namely that all unit levels are bound by structure. Ruggie’s concept includes both traditional actors such as states but especially transnational, global, public and private agents, which have arisen due to the process of global socialization.[47] However, constructivists do not underestimate the structure’s influence on agency. ‘’We cannot understand what states want without understanding the international social structure of which they are a part’’, Martha Finnemore theorizes.[48] In this regard, Wendt himself argues, that he is a statist and a realist to some degree.[49] It is not that constructivism assumes identities and interests to change easily. However, its general logic holds that agencies are able to collectively shape the course of history.[50]

All in all, while neorealism and constructivism share the same initial concepts, be it structure, anarchy, power or survival, they interpret of all of them differently. The core difference between them is the structure agency problem and the possibility of change. Constructivist attribute agency a higher value and do not exclude the possibility of change of the international system. For them facts are not transhistoric or bound by the structure’s power but are mutable. Identity, norms and values are not only created on the basis of materialism but are discursive. [51]

3.3. Neorealism and Constructivism: NATO’s survival, the EU’s integration project and their relationship with Russia in general

Neorealists have difficulties to explain the end of the Cold War and the emergence of the European Union, which promotes democratic integration by pooled sovereignty and the rule of law to prevent war. During the Cold War neorealism was the main theory to explain the two block policies. The balance of power was especially exemplified in NATO and the Warsaw Pact. After the end of the Cold War, the Warsaw Pact was disbanded but NATO survived and even extended.

Waltz argues, from this point on NATO has been transformed from a ‘’treaty of guarantee’’ to an old-style military organization because its old enemy, the Soviet Union, has vanished. [52] For him, NATO represents perfectly, how powerful states egoistically exploit institutions for their own national interests. NATO expansion does especially favour US’s interests as the transatlantic power tries to maintain its regional hegemony in Europe, and following Mearsheimer’s logic of offensive neorealism, even to extend it to Eastern Europe. [53] Hence, the balance of power in Europe needs to be defined anew. While some realists as Robert Art explain NATO’s survival by the logic of containment of European powers, which is aimed at preventing a ‘’security competition between great European powers’’, to Waltz’s mind, NATO’s survival destroys the European balance of power and eventually endangers the European security, especially taking Russia’s opposition towards NATO extension into account. [54]

Moreover, in regard to the integration of the European Union, neorealists see cooperation still in terms of relative gains. For example, UK and France were actually opposed towards Germany’s reunification since they were afraid of loosing economic and political influence in Europe. When the Maastricht Treaty was negotiated, UK’s, France’s or Italy’s motivation for a deeper integration was not out of positive reason but out of fear of Germany’s economic might, one can argue according to neorealist’s logic. [55] Shared sovereignty and integration into an interdependent organization assure great European powers about their national security.

For Waltz, (economic) interdependence, which can promote both peace and war, is the result of political cooperation. [56] The relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO proves his claim. First, the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) institutionalized the political relationship between Russia and the EU and afterwards close economic cooperation followed. More important is Waltz’s argument, that close integration in the international system effect national policies. [57] This might also explain why Russia has been hesitant to integrate with the EU/NATO as too close integration would weaken the Kremlin’s power monopoly over domestic politics. From the neorealist perspective, for Russia, EU and NATO enlargements represent threats to its national survival. With the loss of former allies, from Moscow’s point of view, NATO and EU enlargement are accompanied with a sever decrease of material capabilities and the loss of (hegemonic) power in general. Both NATO’s campaigns in Yugoslavia and the EU’s support for the Orange and Maidan revolutions confirmed the Kremlin’s belief that the international system is still anarchical and that states do not uphold laws but interpret them for their own national interest. Hence, Russia is forced to react aggressively to these policies, to re-establish a balance of power, neorealists would argue. Offensive realists would assert that Russia as a great power intents to regain its regional hegemony back after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

On the other hand, to explain the end of the Cold War, constructivists stress the importance of agency. For them, the authoritarian system of the Soviet Union came to an end because of Gorbachev’s [58] good will. His introduction of ‘’Glasnost’’ and ‘’Perestroika’’ exemplify that states’ actions are mutable and identities are not predetermined by structure. Moreover, when constructivists explain the survival of NATO they highlight the common democratic norms and values which ‘’reinforce an acquired collective identity’’ within its members. [59] Although the Soviet Union as the main enemy disappeared, the collective defence organization still exists because of its members’ common will to cooperate equally on European security matters. [60]

In this regard both the European Union and NATO share almost the same ideology[61] and have the equal intent to promote democratic values in order to deepen European identity.[62] Ruggie argues that the EU is ‘’the first truly postmodern international political form’’. [63] Although EU member states’ policies are still based on rationality and self-interest, the EU could only deepen its integration because it unites all EU member states under the same European identity. [64] The member states’ vision consolidates both national and international actors operating within them and also influence actors linked to them. [65] Hence, both the European Union and NATO are examples for how identities shape national interests and how structure is mutable. Moreover, over the time, based on the principle of isomorphism, the member state’s institutions adhere to common principles, which means that the democratic environment assimilates the people’s views on norms, values and identity. [66]

Using Wendt’s concepts of predator and alter [67], in recent years Russia has become a contrary pole to the EU and NATO, which helped the liberal democracies to consolidate their identity. [68] The EU and NATO enlargement are signs for this consolidation. On the other hand, Russia has embarked on forming its own military and political institutions after the end of the Cold War. In opposition to NATO it has established the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) [69], which serves as an opposite pole to the Transatlantic military organization. Furthermore, for political and economic interest, the Eurasian Union was created in opposition to the European Union. These developments are signs for a new emergence of a balance of power after the Cold War, involving the dimension of ideology. It is as two different blocks have emerged again, the EU/NATO block on the side promoting liberal democratic values and the rule of law and on the other, Eurasia, under the lead of Russia highly centralized and based on traditional values where the ‘’narod’’ [70] is more important than the individual.[71]

Applying Wendt’s argumentation, Russia has become wary of integration and too close political interdependency with the liberal democratic institutions of the EU and NATO because it felt ending as ‘’the sucker’’, namely to be exploited and disrespected by the EU/NATO due to their enlargements in a time when Russia was economically and militarily weak. [72] Therefore, for constructivists, interdependency does not always lead to positive outcomes since alter (here: Russia) can see cooperation still in terms of relative gains.[73]

4. Historical Background : NATO/EU – Russia relationship in the 90s

Although the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Cold War ended almost peacefully bringing about new freedoms to former Soviet citizens, such as the freedom of press or rights of holding private property, most Russians associate the time before Putin’s first presidency with chaos and Russia’s weakness. It is not without reason why Putin called the fall of the USSR ‘’the greatest geopolitical catastrophe’’. [74] 25 million Russians ‘’woke up on the wrong side of the border’’, which explains the amount of Russian people living in the Baltics and especially in Eastern Ukraine today.[75] The collapse of the Soviet Union was as much a political issue as it was an economic problem for the Kremlin (and many other former Soviet republics) since most economies of the newly independent countries were still highly linked with each other. Especially in regard to energy, they were extremely dependent on Russian gas and oil. In order not to lose completely its grip on the countries in Russia’s close neighbourhood, Russia established the Commonwealth of Independent States in 1991. Apart from the Baltics and Ukraine, ten newly independent states [76] became members of the political union.[77] With the Budapest Agreement, a denuclearization process was introduced in the former Kremlin’s western satellites Belarus and Ukraine with Russia assuring these countries’ of their territorial integrity. [78] Moreover, in terms of military, before 1994, ca. 700.000 former Soviet troops had left the former Soviet controlled territories. [79]

The first democratically elected Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, introduced vast economic reforms, which were based on free market capitalism. In the beginning of the 1990s, the Russian government intended to integrate with its western partners as its application for NATO membership, the Partnership for Cooperation Agreement with the EU or Russia’s will to join the international economic institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, demonstrate. [80] For its demilitarization, acceptance of former satellite countries’ sovereignty and first NATO enlargement after the end of the Cold War with Germany’s reunification, Russia expected to be awarded quickly with a powerful role in the international system. [81] However, the EU and NATO made Russia’s integration with their institutions conditional: Russia had to reform its ineffective state institutions fully based on democratic principles. According to The North Atlantic Treaty of 1949, the 1995 guidelines of NATO’s Study on Enlargement and the EU Copenhagen Criteria, Russia neither met the conditions for NATO nor EU membership. [82] Hence, once can say that Russia was left with a choice: Either it accepted the EU’s and NATO’s requirements for further integration (without any definitive prospects for EU/NATO membership) or Moscow would be internationally isolated and would have to accept EU’s and NATO’s policies anyhow.

Being harshly criticised for its military response to Chechen separatists by the EU and NATO, the Kremlin got more and more sceptical about the prospect of integration. For Russia, the Chechen fighters represented terrorists who endangered the survival of the Russian Federation as a whole. Moreover, the market-orientated liberal economic reforms perpetuated corruption and lead oil and gas oligarchs to benefit mostly at the expense of the Russian majority. [83] Russia was heavily dependent on loans from American and Western European banks without it could not have been able to run its state budget. The Russian people’s frustration with the western orientated government materialized in the parliamentary election 1995, when the communists and nationalists won most of the seats in the Duma. [84] One year later, in the presidential elections, only in the third round, Boris Yeltsin achieved a slight win over the communist Zyuganov. [85] The elections were a turning point for Russia-EU/NATO relations in the 90s since Yeltsin was forced to collaborate with more conservative, anti-EU/NATO officials. This explains the installation of foreign minister Primakhov, who vigorously opposed any NATO enlargement at the expense of Russia’s national interests. He warned NATO not cross a ‘’red line’’ if it were to enlarge to the Baltics.[86]

Despite Russian resistance, at the time of Moscow’s weakness, NATO used the power vacuum to expand further to the East and could pursue policies without fearing any Russian military response. The bipolar world order ended with US unipolarity, materialized in NATO’s actions in former Yugoslavia and its Eastern enlargement with e.g. the admission of Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. [87] The 1997 initiated Permanent Joint Council (PJC) between NATO and Russia, intended to improve mutual understanding and resolve the Kremlin’s fears about NATO’s will to ‘’isolate’’ Russia, did not hold long. [88] After NATO’s Kosovo campaign, in which Russia supported NATO’s enemy, Serbia, Moscow stopped all cooperation in the PJC. Even Yeltsin called NATO’s actions ‘’a genocide against the Serbs’’.[89] This shows the PJC’s weak institutional character and Russia’s further grown opposition towards the western military alliance. The Russian government felt betrayed referring back to the negotiations on Germany’s reunification when its partners promised NATO was not to move ‘’one inch farther to the east’’.[90]

All in all, the 1990s are highly important to understand the policies of the next president, Vladimir Putin. Russia was financially highly dependent on western money, did neither have the military nor the economic capabilities to counter NATO enlargement and had to accept its power to shrink in its traditional sphere of interest. Because of EU’s constant criticism on Russia’s war in Chechnya and especially NATO’s broken promise not to change the balance of power in Europe, the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO started to deteriorate seriously. [91] Although Russia thought to integrate easily with the EU and NATO, this proved to be naïve. Not being fully accepted by the western Europeans on the one side, and having voluntarily surrendered its Soviet great power status on the other, Russia suffered a serious identity crisis. Aleksei Pushkov, the head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia's lower house of parliament, summed up the 1990s quite precisely: ‘’On 26 March 2000, Vladimir Putin inherited a weak, corrupt, and paralysed country on the verge of disintegration…Putin’s strategy was to get Russia back on its feet’’. [92]

5. Analysis

5.1. Political relations between Russia and the EU (2000-2016): neorealists’ interpretation

The political partnership between the EU and Russia is built upon three agreements. Until today, the most fundamental one is the ‘’Partnership and Cooperation Agreement’’ (PCA), ratified by Russia in 1997. It stipulates the common political aims such as improvement of political, economic and cultural cooperation between the EU and Russia. [93] Until recently, one of the EU’s main aims was to democratise Russia and to profit economically from this partnership in the context of a free trade agreement in the long run. Although the PCA was aimed at achieving mutual, absolute gains in the context of a united Europe [94], the program has mainly failed due to Russia’s opposition to some of its core democratic principles. From a neorealist perspective, Moscow considers the PCA a pressure tool of the EU to extend its political leverage on Russia’s domestic policies due to closer integration and sees it in relative gain terms as an imposition of EU’s policies on Russia. To protect Russia’s sovereignty but still to profit economically from the EU, following the anti-EU tone of Primakhov, Putin’s Russia has not hold the PCA agreement but, alternatively, signed other rather ‘’apolitical’’ [95] documents with less focus on political integration: the ‘’Four Common Spaces’’ (2003) and the ‘’Partnership for Modernization’’ (2010). The core difference between the PCA and these two agreements is that the latter two focus on economic cooperation than on political integration as it was set out in the PCA. [96]

After Putin was elected president in March 2000 [97], one of his first main goals was to maintain Russia’s territorial integrity. Despite all criticism of the EU about human rights abuses during Russia’s second military campaign in Chechnya, Putin did not halt his strategy of self-help but proceeded. For Russia, a victory of the Chechen separatists would have implied a further possible spread of separatist movements to Dagestan or Tatarstan and at worst Russia could have fallen apart in small independent republics. On the other side, the EU accused Russia for ‘’hyperterrorism’’ and demanded from Moscow to solve the conflict diplomatically. [98] This was the first crisis of many to follow between Russia and the EU during Putin‘s (and later Medvedev’s) rule. As a consequence, for a short time, Brussels imposed sanctions against Russia suspending political cooperation and limiting the TACIS program. [99] However, the sanctions were short-lived since the EU rationally calculated the gains, which its partnership with Russia would bring, not only in political terms but especially economically. For that reason, the EU pursued a policy of ‘’rapprochement through interlinkage’’ to profit most from cooperation with Russia.[100]

Emerged victorious from the war, the Russian president’s next priority was to revive the political ties with the EU in order to benefit from foreign direct investment and know-how, which Russia heavily needed to modernize its old industry.[101] Another important aspect, why Putin oriented towards the EU was his rational calculation to counterbalance the US hegemony in Europe. Putin aimed to weaken the US-NATO dominance in Europe while extending Russia’s influence in the long term instead. It was not without reason why Russia’s foreign policy agenda of 2000 called ‘’the EU as one of its main political and economic partners {whom it} will strive to develop {…} an intensive, stable and long-term cooperation {with} {…}’’. [102] Furthermore, as Sleivyte argues, Russia, in a period of weakness, exploited good relations with the EU to regain its powerful status back. Putin wanted to be seen as an equal global player between other equals. [103] Therefore, the orientation towards the EU was only out of self-interests and rationally calculated. In fact, in its Foreign Policy Concept, many aspects of the former anti-EU/NATO foreign minister Primakhov were still visible, such as the stress of Russia’s ‘’independent’’ foreign policy, the criticism of ‘’EU expansion’’ or its determination to be the main power in regard to the CIS countries.[104] According to Mearsheimer’s offensive neorealist logic, Russia represents a typical great power that strives to extend its power capabilities by regaining control over former lost allies without taking care of its neighbouring states’ newly gained independence. [105] This great power reasoning has shaped the relation between Russia and the EU from the beginning of Putin’s presidency.

After three years of cooperation, both parties were dissatisfied with the pace of the political reforms. On the one side, the EU criticised Russia for its slow progress of democratic reforms and its drift towards more authoritarian policies such as the biased Russian parliamentary elections and the monopolization of private media by the state showed in 2003. [106] On the other, Russia became more wary about the EU when it outlined its new European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). This policy was aimed at enhancing political and economic cooperation between the EU and individual European countries to help reform their institutions so as they might join the EU in the long term. As a great power, Moscow felt disrespected by Brussels since the ENP treated all participating countries equally, be it Russia, Moldova or Belarus.[107] It did not want to be an object of a policy but rather a subject to shape the policy’s outcome.[108] On top of that, rationally calculating and comparing its economic capabilities with the EU, the ENP’s aims conflicted with Russia’s national interests. Traditionally closely linked countries with the Kremlin were attracted to turn to the EU and to embark on democratic reforms. Although the EU’s commissioner Prodi spoke of a ‘’ring of friends’’ [109] when presenting the ENP, in neorealist logic, there is no friendship in international politics, especially when the other partner gains more than oneself. The expansion of the ENP through its regional cooperation initiative of the Eastern Partnership to Russia’s close allies as Armenia, Belarus or Ukraine was one of the major reasons, which has lead to a ‘’permanent conflict of interest’’ between Russia and the EU. [110] A zero-sum ratio has developed in which the participating countries in the ENP were forced to decide either for integration with the EU or Russia (and later the Eurasian Union).[111] This is also one of the reasons why the PCA agreement has not been renewed but only a ‘’Four Common Spaces’’ document was signed. Given the ENP, all Kremlin’s policies towards the EU were less focused on political integration than on economical cooperation as Moscow was wary of losing sovereignty and therefore control over traditionally close neighbours.

The economic and political balance of power shifted to the benefit of the EU after eight former Soviet satellites became members of the democratic political and economic Union in 2004. Russia’s national interests were at stake due to the introduction of the Schengen regime, which especially disadvantaged Russian citizens in Kaliningrad. [112] Various Russian high rank officials spoke of a new ‘’dividing wall’’, compared Schengen ‘’to the Berlin wall’’ and called it an impediment with the democratic principle of the ‘’freedom of movement’’. [113] In neorealist’s logic, the level of uncertainty and distrust towards the EU rose within the Russian government due to the EU enlargement in 2004, naturally, as Europe’s status quo and balance of power changed.

The rather cooperative Putin during his first presidency (2000-2004), became much more assertive in his second (2004-2008) and later in his third (2012-) presidential term. One of the most crucial reasons for his assertiveness was EU’s involvement in Ukraine. Historically, this country is closely linked with Russia and has served as a security buffer zone between Russia and the EU/NATO for Moscow. [114] Especially the Eastern part of Ukraine and the peninsula Crimea, where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is stationed, are highly populated by ethnic Russians. As set out in the Foreign Policy Concept of 2000, Russia insisted on its right to ‘’protect compatriots abroad {…} and to maintain and develop comprehensive ties with them and their organizations’’. [115] Taking into account that ca. 17.3% of Ukrainians are ethnic Russians, for the Kremlin, Ukraine presents a country of Russian special national interest. [116] If its Western neighbour turned towards the democratic EU, Russia’s national interest would be severely at stake as democratic revolutions could spread to Russia itself.

After the Ukrainian elections in autumn 2004, the EU together with the United States accused Putin of manipulating the election result and intervening into a sovereign country due to his active personal support for the pro-Russian candidate Yanukovych. [117] The ‘’Orange Revolution’’ took place on the Independence Square in Kiev, where thousands of people gathered to demonstrate against (election) fraud. [118] The first Ukrainian revolution exemplifies the core principle of neorealism, namely anarchy. [119] From the Kremlin’s point of view, the revolution proves the international system’s lawlessness as Putin accused the EU (and the US) to have initiated and sponsored the uprisings for their own interests. [120] Since the pro-EU candidate Yushchenko finally won the Ukrainian elections after the constitutional court had ruled out the first election results, naturally, the Kremlin’s uncertainty rose. Neither wanted Russia to loose the next close trading partner after the EU enlargement in 2004 nor a historically important security buffer zone. For Russia, Ukraine’s turn away from the Kremlin automatically meant a turn towards NATO and the EU, which would tremendously change the balance of power, aggravate the security dilemma and force Russia to act more aggressively to defend its national interest in self-help manner with the final aim of ensuring its national survival. This does also explain why Russia has supported separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions militarily and annexed Crimea after the ‘’Maidan’’ revolution in 2014, in which once again due to the EU’s (and the US’s) support a pro-Russian president (here: Yanukovych) was ousted in breach of the Ukrainian constitution. [121] Therefore, Ukraine is the core problem for EU-Russia relations to deteriorate to such an extent that all political cooperation has been halted since 2014.

The Ukraine crisis accompanied with two revolutions has demonstrated that anarchy is a core determinant of structure, which especially shaped the foreign policy of Russia and hampered the relationship between Brussels and Moscow. For the reason of huge mutual distrust [122] and broken principles, the Partnership for Modernization, which had been discussed on the EU-Russia Summit on a yearly basis before Russia and the EU introduced mutual sanctions, has been cancelled for indefinite time. [123]

Besides the Ukrainian factor, another ‘’colour revolution’’, supported by the EU and the US, changed the balance of power in the Caucasus and played a detrimental role for EU-Russia relations, too. In Georgia, president Shevardnadze was ousted and replaced by the US educated and pro-EU candidate Saakashvili in 2003. [124] The Russian Federation, therefore, rationally concluded that it has to counterbalance the development of democratic pro-EU and anti-Russian geopolitical policies in Europe. For that purpose instead of integration with the EU, Russia pursued its independent, anti-EU policies as the creation of the Eurasian Union demonstrates.

Furthermore, following EU/NATO members like Germany’s, France’s, UK’s or Italy’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence in 2008 [125], which Medvedev compared with the illegal character of the Iraq war [126], Russia exploited and perpetuated the frozen conflicts from the 90s in Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia for its national security interest. For defensive neorealists Russia’s policies have a natural, structural cause as Russia aims to create a new balance of power in fear of further disempowerment after the end of the Cold War. The newly established Eurasian Union as a counterbalancing organization to the EU supports this claim. Offensive realists would argue that both the EU and Russia with its Eurasian Union desire to maximize their hegemonic power in Europe.

While the EU is ‘’expansive {…) in a postmodern way’’ [127], Russia, presents a typical great, ‘’old-fashioned {…} power’’ [128], which tries to extend its dominance and prevent other hegemonies (especially the US) from arising in the traditional area of Russian interests. For the reason of survival it does not rule out the use of military power as one could see in its military support in Eastern Ukraine or the annexation of Crimea.

5.2. Political relations between Russia and the EU (2000-2016): constructivists’ interpretation

Putin’s interpretation of the 90s is crucial for his political and later ideological vision of Russia. While the EU’s main aim has been to democratise Russia, Putin rejected this integration mainly due to Russia’s detrimental experiences with democracy in the 1990s. Krastiev (2007) explains the reasons for the ideological differences between the EU and Russia quite precisely: ‘’Europe’s nightmares are the 1930s; Russia’s nightmares are the 1990s. Europe sees the answer to its problems in transcending the nation-state and power. For Russians, the solution is in restoring them’’.[129] The relationship between Russia and the EU during the last 16 years can therefore only be understood, if the historical experiences and a normative perspective are taken into account. Since Putin inherited an economically weak, and crumbling power which has lost its great power identity, his subjective interpretation of Russia’s situation was to restore Russia’s greatness. In the beginning of his first legislature, due to various intersubjective meetings with EU officials, both parties developed a collective meaning of each other. Under the question where the relationship between Russia and the EU should lead to, by constant mirroring, they tried to improve their knowledge about each other’s foreign policy goals.

When Putin spoke of a ‘’greater Europe’’ he envisaged a Europe in which Russia is treated as an equal partner. [130] Neither anarchy nor security dilemma were institutionalized between the EU and Russia at that point and the relationship was open to be either friendly or conflictual. Contrary to structuralists’ assertion, Russia did not feel threatened by the EU, naturally. However, while Putin from the beginning of his presidency, stressed the importance of Russia’s ‘’sovereignty’’ on the one side, and on the other the ‘’universal observance of human rights and freedom and impermissibility of double standards in this respect’’ [131], the EU believed in integrating Russia into the European value family on its own terms. This has been the core problem in the relationship between Russia and the EU. It started to deteriorate because Russia felt to be treated as EU’s ‘’associate’’ who, unconditionally, must accept democratic values. [132] During the 43th Munich Security Conference Putin complained that Russia was ‘’constantly {…} taught about democracy’’. [133]

In the process of constant mirroring, the EU’s interpretation of Russia’s identity was wrong since Putin embarked on a different path compared to Yeltsin. Putin’s and his ‘’protégé’s’’ [134] four year president Medvedev’s definition of democracy differed crucially from the EU. The second Chechnya war, various restrictions on the freedom of press as the monopolization of private media by the state, manipulated parliamentary elections and the centralization of power after the Beslan [135] catastrophe exemplify these differences. Putin introduced these policies to extend the Russian state’s control over its territory and consolidate the nation in the belief that Russia would disintegrate just like the Soviet Union without the centralization of power. [136] He changed structure by establishing a ‘’power vertical’’ [137] in Russia. In this regard, he has acted as the primary actor who shaped structure in favour of the Russian state’s power. As Bugajski (2004) argues, Putin ‘’pursu{ed} a policy of ‘’derzhavnost’’ and ‘’gosudarstvenost’’, or authoritarian statism that would restore Russia’s great power status{…}’’. [138] After Yeltsin’s rather pro-democratic policies and the hopes of the EU to democratise Russia, for Putin, Russia would loose its sovereignty from too close interdependence, not only economically but especially geopolitically. Putin’s phrases ‘’managed democracy’’ and ‘’dictatorship of the law’’ symbolize Russia’s own interpretation of democracy meaning that the Kremlin decides about Russia’s democratization but not the EU. [139]

While on the one side Russian authoritarian domestic policies were criticised by the EU as they contradicted the democratic principles set out in the PCA agreement, on the other, EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy, EU’s enlargement and the EU’s supported colour revolutions hampered the socialization process between Russia and the EU. One need also to include the fact that historical adversaries of Russia, especially the Baltics and Poland brought new anti-Russian sentiments after the EU enlargement and influentially shaped the Eastern European Neighbourhood Policy to the detriment of Russia’s national interest. These countries lobbied for democratization of the European East and played a significant role in both Ukrainian revolutions, in Moscow’s view. [140]

Even if Putin’s previous policies were guided by the principle of self-help and security dilemma because of the negative experiences of the 1990s to some degree[141], after the loss of close allies in Georgia and especially Ukraine, these principles became the main determinant factor of Russia’s foreign policy towards the EU. Mutual distrust was not an a priori factor in EU-Russia relations due to structure as neorealists would argue, but because of the EU’s and Russia’s negative reciprocal interpretation of each other’s actions. From the Russian point of view, the EU intervened in its sphere of interest where Moscow’s goal was to ‘’develop an integration process within the Commonwealth of Independent States that meet the interest of Russia’’. [142] Hence, the Kremlin, interpreted the ENP and colour revolutions as conflicting with its interest.

For Nygren (2006), the Orange Revolution In Ukraine presented a ‘’showdown between the ‘European’ and the ‘Asian’ and the normative differences between the two {…}.’’ [143] Analysing this quote, one can say that the Ukrainian revolution helped to disclose the value gap between Russia (here: rather ‘’Asian’’) and the EU (here: ‘’European’’). A ‘’conflict of interest’’ has institutionalized and has worsened due to further EU’s anti-Russian and Russia’s intensifying authoritarian policies. The EU’s support for democratic endowments in Russia to influence Russia’s domestic policies in the benefit of the EU and Brussels’ offer to Ukraine, Moldova and Armenia to sign an Association Agreement were all factors which have reinforced the institutionalization of anarchy, mutual distrust and security dilemma. On the other hand, Russia’s restriction of the rights of transnational non governmental organizations fearing their exploitation by the EU for democracy promotion as it was the case during the colour revolutions, its breach of international law when the Russian president Medvedev ordered to attack the sovereign country Georgia in 2008, and the most current example, Russia’s military support for separatists in Eastern Ukraine including the annexation of Crimea, were signs to the EU that Russia is neither willing to accept integration with the EU nor to loose its traditionally close allies to it.

Due to the EU’s introduction of sanctions in 2014, one can say that the socialization process has failed in the political sphere during Putin’s (and Medvedev’s) presidencies. Although three different agreements were signed, none of them has resulted in Russia’s democratization. After the colour revolutions Russia strived for cooperation instead of integration. Putin identified that too close interdependence conflict with Russia’s national interest and could transform the Russian society at the expense of the Russian elites.[144] When Putin was rather cooperative in the first presidency hoping to find compromises with the EU on democratic principles, his second and especially third term are characterised by much more assertive and egoistic policies. The more the EU intensified its cooperation with the CIS countries, the more unlikely Russia become to integrate with the EU and embarked on its own path. After the colour revolutions and the EU’s financial support for democratic foundations in Russia and its allied countries, reciprocally, the Kremlin exploited anti-EU and pro-Russian political parties to destabilize Brussels. The nationalistic parties ‘’Front National’’ in France, ‘’Jobbik’’ in Hungary or Greece’s ‘’Golden Dawn’’, all represented in the EU parliament, exemplify Russia’s exploitation of influential agencies.[145] Furthermore, as a counter pole to the European Union, Moscow established the Eurasian Union in 2015 [146], which serves mainly two goals: (1) To counter balance and halt the expansion of the European Union with its democratic value system by pursuing its own economic integrative union and (2) to restore and strengthen Russia’s great power identity with a focus on traditionally Eurasian values.

After Medvedev’s rule (2008-2012), which was mainly in line with Putin’s second term’s assertiveness and egoism as exemplified in the Georgian war in 2008, in his third term, Putin started to stress a civilizational dimension: ‘’Russia's foreign policy {...} reflects the unique role our country has been playing over centuries as a counterbalance in international affairs and the development of global civilization’’. [147] The Eurasian Union aims to strengthen Russia’s sovereignty and to ‘’serve as an effective link between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region’’. [148] While the EU’s foreign policy has always been guided by liberal values as the PCA or ENP showed, Russia had been searching for an ideological and normative concept to legitimize and explain its foreign policy agenda after it had lost its great power communist identity in the beginning of the 1990s. The ideology of Eurasianism emerged not because structure has produced it but due to the Russian president’s embrace and realization of his postulates. With the Eurasian normative foreign policy agenda, Putin has provided the Russian people and its close allies such as Belarus, Kazakhstan or prior to the Maidan revolution, Ukraine, an alternative ideology to the EU. The political and economic union is the last indicator for Russia’s unwillingness to accept integration with the EU. Therefore, the Eurasian Union has to be interpreted as a huge symbol for the deterioration of the Russia-EU relationship.

The ‘’Anglo-Saxon model of liberal governance’’ [149] or, as the nationalistic Russian philosopher Dugin argues, the ‘’civilization of Sea’’ was rejected in favour of ‘’the civilization of Land’’. [150] According to Dugin, the bourgeois values and norms of the ‘’civilization of Sea’’, the liberal democracies of the EU and NATO, conflict with Russia’s Eurasian identity. For him, the pro-‘’civilization of Sea’’ policies of the 90s under Gorbatchev and Yeltsin exemplify Russia’s downfall and only the ‘’phenomenon’’ Putin has been able to reverse these policies for the good of Russia’s or Eurasian’s wellbeing. [151] With the establishment of the Eurasian Union, Putin saved Russia as an Eurasian ‘’Heartland’’ based civilization with its traditional ‘’values of faithfulness, asceticism, honour and loyalty’’ from invasion of liberal democratic values, Dugin argues. [152] The current Ukraine crisis has further exacerbated this relationship because the EU has wanted to integrate Ukraine into the European Union against Russia’s will in the long run, that seek to integrate the country into the Eurasian sphere of interest. Hence, the Ukrainian crisis is the most obvious example for Russia’s and EU’s normative divergence.

However, although Putin’s project of the Eurasian Union significantly demonstrates the deterioration of relations between the EU and Russia, it is important to mention that Russia does not exclude cooperation with the ‘’Euro-Atlantic states’’ with whom it has ‘’deep-rooted civilizational ties’’.[153] Despite the failed normative integration and sozialization process, Russia and the EU are willing to find a compromise for a more pragmatic economically based partnership. Cooperation between both parties is especially possible with regard to the common fight against terrorism and regarding trade. Only recently, Germany, the most important actor in the European Union and a huge lobbyist for sanctions after Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, resumed Putin’s offer of a customs union between Lisbon and Vladivostok, the EU and the Eurasian Union. [154] Hence, constructivists are right to say, that while cooperation in some areas might fail, in others parties might still agree on common policies. This differs constructivism from neorealism, as the latter theory does not include the possibility of positive cooperation in a conflicting partnership because anarchy and structure determine all actions to the detriment of the whole relationship.

5.3. Political relations between Russia and the EU (2000-2016): summary of main results

The extent to which the relationship between Russia and the EU has deteriorated is severe. In application of (offensive) neorealism, the main reasons for this deterioration are the EU’s and Russia’s will for maximization of power, the anarchical structure, especially exemplified in the colour revolutions and the resulting zero-sum game scenario. (Defensive) neorealists would argue that structure and the natural cause of anarchy forced Russia to counter balance the EU’s actions. The establishment of the Eurasian Union exemplifies this new balance of power. From a constructivist point of view, the relationship between Russia and the EU deteriorated because of their divergent interpretation of values. EU’s agency institutionalized self-help, uncertainty, anarchy and a security dilemma. Due to the negative experiences from the 90s and the failed socialization process during Putin’s first presidency, the Russian government considered too broad interdependence with the EU as conflicting with Russia’s national interest. The Eurasian Union is therefore a sign for this failed socialization and exemplifies the severe extent to which the relationship between Russia and the EU has deteriorated. However, cooperation is still possible in regard to the fight against terrorism and in trade matters[155]. In general, the effects of the deterioration for the political relationship between both parties are: (1) Suspension of all political cooperation after the introduction of mutual sanctions amid the Ukraine crisis, resulting in an unprecedented rise of mistrust and insecurity on the European continent after the end of the Cold War; (2) Institutionalization of anarchy and security dilemma between Russia and the EU which will be extremely difficult to reverse; democratisation of Russia under Putin became almost impossible; (3) EU’s further identity consolidation due to the identification of Russia as a common enemy (alter)

5.4. Military Partnership between Russia and NATO (2000-2016): neorealists’ interpretation

For Russia, the military alliance NATO has presented a much bigger threat to its national survival than the EU as an economic soft power union. Since the EU’s military capabilities are weak, Russia has not felt threatened by EU enlargement militarily but mainly economically. However, congruent with Kagan’s argument, that NATO ‘’guarantee{d}’’ the EU’s security and enabled the EU’s integration into a economic soft power union, in neorealist logic, for Russia, EU extension directly correlates with NATO enlargement or vice-a-versa.[156] One of the core preconditions for EU membership is political stability and security. For this reason, NATO membership has often preceded EU accession. This is exemplified in Hungary’s, Poland’s and Czech Republic’s accession to NATO in 1999, before becoming EU members in 2004. In general, all central and eastern European former Soviet Republics, that gained independence after the fall of the USSR and are part of the EU now, followed this path.[157]

Although NATO and Russia cooperated within the Partnership for Peace Agreement (PfA)[158], the Russia-NATO Founding Act (Permanent Joint Council, PCJ) and the NATO-Russia-Council (NRC) after 9/11 [159], this cooperation has been highly dominated by mutual distrust and suspicion. In neorealist logic, NATO increased Russia’s wariness especially after NATO’s enlargement to former Soviet allies Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary and its actions on Russia’s ally Yugoslavia in 1999. [160] The organization conflicted with Russia’s national interests as it diminished Russia’s military influence in central Europe and the Balkans, increased uncertainty on the European continent and reinforced anarchy. Therefore, Russia claimed in its National Security Concept of 2000: ‘’NATO's shift to the practice of using military force outside its zone of responsibility and without UN Security Council authorization is fraught with the danger of destabilizing the entire strategic situation in the world’’. [161]

Putin’s legacy already started with huge distrust towards NATO, a zero-sum mentality and a security dilemma. With the NATO-Russia Founding Act being suspended after NATO’s ‘’Operation Allied Force’’ in Yugoslavia, the relationship between NATO and Russia did not have any institutional basis. [162] Putin’s plans to establish a common European security structure within the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) framework can be interpreted as a policy to counter balance the US-led-NATO dominance in Europe. Moreover, his remarks about Russia’s possible entry into NATO during a BBC interview in 2000 were based on rational calculations. [163] The main reason why Putin wanted to see Russia in NATO was to destabilize the organization from within and marginalize it in the long run, from neorealism’s point of view. [164] With a veto power in NATO, Russia could block further NATO enlargement and prevent liberal democratic hegemony from expanding further East. However, since states are rational actors, neither did NATO accept Russia’s full membership nor were Putin’s plans of a closer military cooperation with the EU realized.

After the terror attacks of 9/11, in opposition to the Russian military elite, Putin offered NATO his support and was ready to cooperate in the fight against international terrorism. [165] This cooperation included the exchange of intelligence and the permission for NATO vehicles to reach Afghanistan through Russia. Although Putin’s policies do mainly contradict with neorealist logic as Russia accepted new NATO bases in former Soviet ruled countries like Uzbekistan, Slejvyte argues that they were based on rationality and pragmatism. [166] Cooperating with NATO and especially the US, Putin hoped to elevate Russia’s international image.[167] Moreover, Putin expected to find a compromise with NATO on enlargement and in the long run, Russia and the US would agree on a new balance of power, similar to the Yalta agreement in 1945. [168] On top of that, a common war on terror would legitimize Russia’s actions in the Chechnya war. [169] In this context, NATO offered Russia cooperation within the NATO-Russia-Council. In fear of Russia’s future capabilities, however, NATO did not empower Russia with a veto right. This was detrimental to the NRC’s success since Russia was excluded from important NATO decision-making. Claiming equal status with NATO as a whole and not just with one NATO member, Russia was disrespected by NATO’s reluctance to provide the country a veto right. [170] On the other hand, NATO wanted to gain own advantages by this cooperation, using Russia’s military support on the fight on terror and trying to slowly integrate the country into the organization on its own terms.

In neorealist logic, the NRC was deemed to failure since structure makes mutually beneficial cooperation between great powers impossible. This assertion is perfectly proved after the establishment of the NRC, as the military alliance continued to demand Russia’s democratisation and incorporated seven new former Soviet ruled countries in 2004. Although Russia was invited to participate in NATO’s anti-terror mission ‘’Operation Active Endeavour’’[171], most cooperation was rather symbolical. For example, it took several years until the Russian marine actually took part in the counter terrorism mission in the Mediterranean Sea. [172] Russia’s rejection of NATO’s Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), which is aimed at reforming the defence sector of participating countries and enhances integration with NATO [173], is comparable with Moscow’s scepticism towards too close integration with the EU. Since IPAP also demands democratic reforms to the benefit of NATO’s interests, it was natural that Russia would not accept too close integration with NATO on the adversary’s terms.

After 9/11, to the detriment of Russia’s national interest, the ESDP became obsolete since NATO’s role increased in the fight against terrorism. The US provided the necessary infrastructure and was the only global power with the same value system, which had the capabilities to secure the EU member states’ national interests. Putin’s idea of a common European security architecture within the ESDP on Kremlin’s terms has not materialized mainly because of US’s/NATO’s opposition. Washington feared Russia’s relative gains by too close military cooperation between Moscow and the EU member states. Another crucial reason for ESDP’s failure was EU’s resistance to give Russia a veto right within the military organization distrusting Moscow’s political intents. [174] This does also explain why Brussels ignored Russia’s plans to subordinate the NRC to the EU-Russia Council.[175]

The Berlin Plus agreement between the EU and NATO in 2003 was the last sign for Russia to shift its military focus primarily on the US and NATO since this agreement allowed the EU to use NATO infrastructure in EU-led crisis operations.[176] Hence, Berlin Plus demonstrates that NATO won over Putin’s proposal of a closer military cooperation between Russia and the EU. It also proves that NATO and Russia have been in competition over European hegemony since Putin’s inauguration. While Russia wanted to regain influence over lost territories after the end of the Cold War, especially in the CIS countries, NATO wanted to extend its political leverage to Eastern Europe in order to weaken Russia militarily and force its democratisation to take economic benefits in the long run.[177]

The Iraq war was another major reason that worsened the relationship between Russia and NATO. [178] Washington heavily criticised Russia’s opposition against extending the fight on terror to Bagdad. More precisely, the US was wary about Russia’s (successful) diplomacy with France and Germany that both shared Putin’s criticism on the Iraq war. The so-called ‘’Paris-Berlin-Moscow-axis’’ [179] destabilized NATO unity. Further cooperation between the three states, however, did not materialize since the rather pro-Russian presidents Schröder (Germany) and Chiraq (France) lost both their elections to the more pro-American candidates Merkel and Sarkozy during Putin’s second term. [180] For Russia, after NATO bombings in Belgrade in 1999, the Iraq war presented another example of US’s abuse of international law in the context of democracy promotion around the globe. Moreover, it proved the international system’s anarchical structure since the highest international authority, the UNSC, could not stop the US from intervening into a sovereign country without a legitimate mandate. The Iraq war, although not on the European continent, had detrimental effects on the relationship between Russia and NATO. It made Moscow more wary about the US’s unipolarity, its projection of power in Europe in form of NATO and its future foreign policy intentions under the principle of responsibility to protect. [181] For Russia, the Iraq war reinforced a security dilemma in Europe. This is proven in Russia’s huge increase in military expenditure after 2003. [182] While Russia spent $ 9228 mio. in 2000, five years later it was ca. three times more, $ 27337 mio. .[183]

Furthermore, the US’s withdrawal from the AMD treaty [184] and its intentions to deploy a missile defence system in Poland [185] in close proximity to Moscow reinforced the zero-sum game mentality. NATO enlargements to former Soviet ruled countries such as Bulgaria or Rumania in 2004 and 2007, NATO’s permanent bases in Bulgaria in breach of the CFE treaty [186] and talks about further possible NATO enlargement to Ukraine and Georgia on the NATO-Summit in Bucharest in 2008[187] were all factors which help explain the worsening of NATO-Russia relations prior to the Maidan revolution in 2014. Russia’s reactions to counter balance NATO’s expansive policies are therefore natural, in neorealist logic. One of these counter actions were Russia’s withdrawal from the CFE treaty in 2007, its resumption of long-range strategic bomber flights and Putin’s Cold War reminiscent speech on the 43rd Munich Security Conference in which he publicly criticised the US unipolar foreign policies and questioned NATO’s survival after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. [188] At that time, the speech was the best evidence that Russia-NATO relations have deteriorated severely. Putin signified that Russia is not going to accept further NATO enlargement without any response. More importantly, in opposition to the last 17 years of US unipolarity and Russia’s military weakness, his speech was a sign of Russia’s new resurgence in a mulitipolar world. This also explains why Russia highly criticised NATO’s ambitions ‘’of admitting Ukraine and Georgia to the membership in the alliance, as well to bringing the NATO military infrastructure closer to the Russian borders’’ in the Russian Foreign Policy Concept of 2008. [189]

Consequently, the Russia-Georgia war can be interpreted as a new red line setting after NATO had already overstepped Primakhov’s criteria from the 90s. various times. Since the Georgian president Saakashvili intensified its cooperation with NATO within IPAP and wanted to reintegrate the Moscow backed separatist territories South Ossetia and Abkhazia into Georgia, the Russian president Medvedev used Georgia’s aggression on the Russian peace keeping forces as a pretext for intervention. [190] As a consequence, formal meetings within the NRC were suspended for some time [191], NATO-Russia relations were on record low, but Russia achieved its aim of hindering Georgia from NATO accession in the near future.

Furthermore, Kosovo’s partly recognized independence reinforced anarchy and provided Russia the legal base to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as official states and most currently to hold a Russian backed referendum in Crimea. Russia’s counter balancing policies against NATO can also be seen in Transnistria (Moldova) where, until today, 1500 Russian troops are still stationed.[192] Similar to the Kozak plan, which included the federalization of Moldova and the empowerment of the regional government of Transnistira to the benefit of Russia’s interest[193], one can interpret the Minsk II agreement [194] concerning the current Ukraine crisis. Both documents are intended to hinder NATO enlargement since the federal pro Russian governments in Transnistria and in Eastern Ukraine, Lugansk and Donezk people’s republics, would be empowered to block any NATO membership. Due to uncertainty about NATO’s actions and for the reason of national survival, Russia has destabilized pro NATO/EU governments in its close neighbourhood by backing separatists. Frozen conflicts have perpetuated and new ones as in Eastern Ukraine have emerged. In this regard, Russia’s indirect support for militants in Eastern Ukraine is not the sole example for Russia’s resurgence and counter balancing against NATO enlargement.

However, while during Medvedev’s rule a ‘’reset’’ policy was launched with the US/NATO and Russia to rebuilt trust and the NRC was reactivated [195], today, during Putin’s third term due to the Ukraine crisis and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, all NATO cooperation is suspended for indefinite time. While NATO general secretary speaks of a ‘’new reality with Russia’’, the Russian Prime Minister Medvedev compared the current crisis with the Cold War in his speech during the 52nd Munich Security Conference in February 2016[196]. The various military exercises on both sides and NATO’s increased defence budget are a sign for a new possible arms race due to the anarchical international structure, which both parties have reinforced: NATO, due to enlargement, its actions in Kosovo and Iraq, on the other, Russia, due to its war in Georgia and its annexation of Crimea.

5.5. Military Partnership between Russia and NATO (2000-2016): constructivists’ interpretation

Putin’s presidency did already start with a severe crisis between both parties after the negative experiences form the past, mainly due to NATO’s illegal air campaigns in Yugoslavia and normative differences between them concerning Russia’s military actions in Chechnya. However, contrary to neorealism’s assertion that structure is immutable, Putin demonstrated the opposite before his official election.

When he was asked about his opinion on NATO in a BBC interview, he opposed the idea of the military alliance representing an enemy to Russia: ‘’{...} I cannot imagine my own country in isolation from Europe and what we often call the civilised world. So it is hard for me to visualise NATO as an enemy. {...} We believe we can talk about more profound integration with NATO but only if Russia is regarded an equal partner.’’ [197] Although he stressed difficulties in the relationship between NATO and Moscow, for him, a ‘’strategic partnership’’ [198] was still possible. In this regard, Putin did even include the possibility of Russia’s membership in NATO ‘’if and when Russia's views are taken into account as those of an equal partner’’ [199]. The core reason for a conflicting relationship between Russia and NATO, for him, were NATO ‘s ‘’attempts to exclude us {Russia} from the process {NATO’s decision-making}.[200] Hence, the main precondition to deinstitutionalize mutual distrust was to include Russia in the decision making process of NATO. Putin wanted to challenge the further institutionalization of ‘’alter’’ [201] by presenting a friendly, cooperative Russia with its own national interests. On the other hand, from NATO’s point of view, mutual distrust could only institutionalize, because Russia has not managed to democratise and accept NATO’s principles.

NATO’s policy has been based on liberal democratic values and the respect of human rights as set out in the preamble of the Washington Treaty 1949. [202] Since NATO highly contributed to the development of the EU, one can say that both organizations share the same liberal democratic values. The normative similarities between the EU and NATO explain why both organizations have cooperated that closely and why the EU rejected Russia’s offer for a common European security architecture within the ESDP. Both NATO and the EU want to see Russia to democratise and to have Moscow as a reliable, strong partner on its side to create a stable, democratic Europe. [203] However, given the crucial experiences of the 90s, when Russia suffered from economic crisis and its military power decreased tremendously, Putin interpreted too close integration with NATO and liberal democracies as detrimental to Russia’s national interest. For him, Russia would loose its sovereignty, its independent foreign policy and great power status if it were to accept NATO’s policies without any right to be heard. Putin’s vision was different to the beginning of the 90s, when Russia’s norms and values rapidly changed to the benefit of the NATO/EU’s interests. He wanted to cooperate with NATO on security issues but did not strive for integration and rejected NATO’s/EU’s liberal democratic values.

The effects of 9/11 perfectly illustrate Putin’s strategy and how the negative experiences of the past impeded conflict-free cooperation. Offering the US and NATO his support in the war on terror in Afghanistan, he sought to elevate Russia’s image and challenge the concept of ‘’alter’’. Russia was presented as a cooperative and friendly country to NATO. Having shared the same fate in Chechnya, Moscow’s sympathy with the US after the 9/11 attacks was a sign that Russia commits itself to almost the same values and is united with the liberal democracies in the fight against terror. NATO’s main ‘’predator’’ [204] was not Russia anymore but international terrorists. Russia and NATO joined forces in the fight against a common enemy. [205] Putin’s policies contradict neorealists logic in this sense since Russia was acting against its national interests when it accepted new US/NATO bases in its proximity. It proves that structure is mutable and depends on agency. On the other hand, in this new intersubjective situation, NATO’s reciprocal action was to offer Moscow a new cooperation forum, the NRC in 2002. It upgraded the former mutual agreement, the PJC, and extended the cooperation to areas of ‘’struggle against terrorism, crisis management, non-proliferation, arms control and confidence-building measures, theatre missile defence, search and rescue at sea, military-to-military cooperation, and civil emergencies’’.[206]

Despite these new policies in order to deinstitutionalize security dilemma, distrust and anarchy, the NRC could not satisfy Russia’s national interest fully. Denying Russia a veto right, NATO still pursued a relative gains policy. This also explains Russia’s offer to the EU to mirror the NRC by the EU-Russia Council. [207] But, the EU rejected Moscow’s offer because it shares a closer identity with the liberal democratic NATO and therefore trusts the organization more than Putin’s Russia. For its security, the EU was left to decide either between NATO or Russia and finally hold to NATO as the Berlin Plus agreement and its refusal to provide Russia a veto right within the ESPD prove.

From the beginning of NRC’s establishment, the success of this organization has to be questioned, as a trustful relationship between NATO and Russia was impossible. Although the NRC was aimed at converging the interests of ‘’alter’’ (Russia) and ‘’ego’’ (NATO) and vice-a-versa, the concept of alter has further institutionalized throughout the last years. According to the constructivist logic, NATO saw Russia still in Cold War terms and distrusted Moscow’s foreign political intents due to negative experiences from the past. Russia’s slow pace with democratic reforms, which NATO and the EU strongly demanded, influenced NATO’s decision not to give Russia a powerful voice within the NRC. For constructivists, the identification of alter’s interests and the resulting divergence were major reasons why NATO Russia relations have deteriorated.

Contrary to NATO, Russia sought a demilitarized buffer zone between NATO and its allies so that countries like Poland or the Baltics would not create any military threat to Moscow. [208] Knowing Russia’s opposition, however, NATO enlarged after the NRC’s establishment twice, arguing that any democratic country has the right to voluntarily join the defensive security alliance. [209] It has stressed that its actions are not directed against Russia. [210] Nevertheless, enlargement proves NATO’s reluctance to respect Moscow’s national interests. With new NATO members like Russia’s historical adversaries Poland or the Baltics, the anti-Russian coalition has strengthened and hampered NATO-Russia relations. More importantly, they reinforced the ego and alter concept. Therefore, one can say that NATO’s enlargement and Russia’s opposition towards it institutionalized anarchy, a security dilemma and self-help. It is not that Russia and NATO were a priori adversaries but they became enemies due to a failed socialization process, which had already started prior to Putin’s and Medvedev’s presidencies. Other factors, which catalyzed the institutionalization of anarchy and security dilemma were the divergent interpretation of the Iraq war, NATO’s closer cooperation with Ukraine and Georgia, Kosovo’s partly recognized independence and NATO’s actions in the context of the ‘’Arab Spring’’ in Libya.

Wanting to demonstrate the international society that Russia’s and NATO’s interests severely differ, Putin’s speech on the 43rd Munich Security Conference was a sign that ego and alter would finally institutionalize if NATO were not to change track and respect Russia’s national interests. The speech was also hold in the context of the previous colour revolutions, where US’s and EU’s sponsored soft power agencies (NGO’s) have played a crucial role in toppling the Georgian president and the Ukrainian pro-Russian leader. [211] Anarchy and security dilemma further institutionalized because the liberal minded presidents Saakhashvili and Yushchenko embarked on a close cooperation with NATO with the aim of changing its Soviet/Russian identity by joining Moscow’s adversary.

Having failed to build up a common European security architecture within the ESPD and the NRC, Putin strived to counter balance NATO with a new foreign policy agenda. Although Medvedev replaced him as president, Putin continued to serve as Russia’s Prime Minister. The 2008 Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation proves the continuation of Russia’s assertiveness due to the worsening relationship with NATO. In comparison to former concepts, one can read the first ideas about a civilizational integration project of the CIS and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) that would counter balance NATO/EU: ‘’Russia actively develops interaction between the CIS Member States in the humanitarian sphere by preserving and increasing common cultural and civilizational heritage {…} Russia will {…} take steps to ensure further realization of the potential of the CIS as a regional organization {…} {and} promote in every possible way the CSTO as a key instrument to maintain stability{…}’’. It marks the beginning of Putin’s identity-building project ‘’Eurasian Union’’. Russia’s Foreign Minster Lavrov’s statement about the emergence of ‘’a real competitive environment’’ with different ‘’value systems and development models’’[212] in 2007, indicated Russia’s new world view in terms of multipolarity. [213] Together with Brazil, India, China and South Africa, the Russian president Medvedev hold the first BRICS Summit in 2009 [214], which proves Russia’s previous tendencies of constructing a multipolar world to counter balance the spread of liberal values of US-led-NATO and the EU. When during Putin’s first two presidencies, Russia did not have the military strength to respond to NATO enlargement militarily, after eight years of failed socialization, president Medvedev set a new red line for NATO in the Russia-Georgian war in 2008. It was also a sign to Ukraine that further integration with NATO would lead to sever consequences.

The following US initiated ‘’reset’’ policy and its agency failed since mutual distrust was too much institutionalized after the past events within Medvedev’s and Putin’s government. [215] NATO’s active participation in the killing of Libya’s president have further exacerbated the relationship and led to the cancellation of the reset policy. NATO’s military campaign and the US’s and EU’s sponsored agencies’ actions during the Arab Spring once again reinforced anarchy and distrust, from Moscow’s point of view. With the experience from the past, for Moscow, NATO’a actions in Libya had the same illegal character and detrimental effect for Russia-NATO relations as NATO’s bombing in Yugoslavia or the Iraq war because both times the military alliance breached international law. Putin’s speech during the 70th session of the UN General Assembly proofs this argument as he publicly criticised the liberal democracies’, NATO’s and especially the US’s hypocracy and its actions in the Middle East (including the Iraq war and the Arab Spring): ‘’do you at least realize now what you’ve done? {…} {T}hey have never abandoned their policy, which is based on arrogance, exceptionalism and impunity. Power vacuum in some countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa obviously resulted in the emergence of areas of anarchy {…}.’’ [216]

At that time and today, relations between Russia and NATO have been as bad as never before in the post-Cold-War period. Because of Russia’s and NATO’s further institutionalization of distrust and self-help, the conflict in Ukraine was the last straw for Russia-NATO/EU relations to deteriorate. Ukraine, which shares a long sensible history with Russia [217], has always played a core part for Russia’s national interest. Economically and culturally closely linked with each other, it was the key country for Putin’s project of the Eurasian Union as a counter pole to the liberal democracies of NATO and the EU. In this regard, the former counsellor to the US president, Brzezinski (1997), argued that ‘’{w}ithout Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire’’.[218] Seeing this integrative civilizational project endangered due to the liberal democracies’ active support in the coup’ d’état in Ukraine, Putin decided to annex Crimea, recalling the precedent of Kosovo, and to support militants in Eastern Ukraine. In constructivist logic, this conflict is a perfect example for how normative differences have hampered the socialization process of NATO and Russia during the last sixteen years.

While the NRC was quickly activated after the Georgian war as NATO hoped to restore trust at that time, amid the Ukraine crisis, all cooperation within the NRC has been halted and Russia was even excluded from the G8. [219] Given its actions, Russia is isolated internationally and Putin’s project of the Eurasian Union as a normative counter balance to the EU/NATO is heavily at stake due to the loss of the former ally Ukraine and the current economic crisis. The Ukraine crisis unresolved and Putin staying in power, a deinstitutionalization of anarchy, security dilemma and self-help in the relationship between Russia and NATO will be hardly possible since both parties crucially differ in their interpretation of past events. Alter and ego have finally institutionalized. However, in constructivist logic, thanks to agency’s power, structure is mutable. The relation between Russia and NATO/EU can improve in the long run, if the Russian government changed comparable to the end of the Cold War, and a liberal democratic, pro-NATO/pro-EU course would be chosen again.

5.6. Military Partnership between Russia and NATO (2000-2016): summary of main results

Due to constant mirroring and reciprocal interpretation of alter’s actions, Russia and NATO have identified their normative differences by process. The relationship between NATO and Russia was not a priori conflictive as Putin’s policies after 9/11 demonstrate. However, NATO’s rejection of a veto right for Russia within the NRC and especially its enlargement conflicted with Russia’s national interest. It subsequently led to an institutionalization of a security dilemma, distrust and self-help. The Ukraine crisis was only the last straw in this regard and cannot be considered as the core reason for the deterioration of NATO-Russia relations. However, given the current rise of terror attacks in NATO countries, limited cooperation might still be possible. Germany’s request to reactive the NRC proves constructivist logic that despite conflict the parties might agree on some mutually beneficial policies. [220] In general, the effects of the deterioration for the military relationship are: (1) The suspension of all cooperation within the NRC (and G8) and introduction of sanctions, which have lead to Russia’s isolation in the international community; (2) Consolidation of NATO/EU in their view on Russia as the main ‘’predator’’ and risk to European security; vice-a-versa: Russia’s consolidation as Putin’s high ratings after the annexation of Crimea have shown[221]; (3) Mutual increase in Cold War reminiscent rhetoric and military activity; with a new balance of power emerging, the European continent faces the most severe crisis after the end of the Cold War

5.7. Economic relationship between the EU and Russia (2000-2016):finding principles of neorealism

While progress in the political sphere has been low, EU-Russia trade relations had been very dynamic before the imposition of sanctions in 2014. Russia is EU’s third biggest trade partner after China and the US with a total trade value of 284.583 Mio. € in 2014. [222] 75,4% of all EU’s imported goods from Russia were minerals (oil/gas) in 2014. In return, Russia mainly imported machineries and appliances with a value of 33.384 Mio. €.[223] The fact that the EU is by far Russia’s most important trade partner with 48,2% of total trade turnout (2nd China: 11,3%) indicates an asymmetric interdependence between the EU and Russia. [224] With raw materials constituting Russia’s main trade goods, its economy is much less diversified than the EU’s. Oil/gas revenues contributed with 50% to Russia’s budget in 2013. In the beginning of Putin’s presidency it were only 10%.[225]

After the end of the Cold War, Brussels wanted Russia to liberalize its economy on EU’s terms. The 1st article of the PCA agreement stresses the importance of the liberalization of Russia’s economy in order to fulfil the necessary conditions for a free trade area between the EU and Russia in the long run. [226] The EU sought huge economic benefits with Russia’s democratization as the country offers the largest oil and gas reserves on earth. [227] Although Brussels has stressed the advantages of a liberal deregulated economy, during Putin’s and Medvedev’s rules, the Kremlin has opposed full integration with the EU. In fear of loosing power and sovereignty, contrary to the liberal policies of the 90s, Putin has re-established state control over the most important energy companies Gazprom and Rosneft and under Medvedev, Russia withdrew from the Energy Charter Treaty. [228] Russia has been wary of too deep cooperation with the EU and opposed its liberal economic model as foreign investors might buy up its most important companies and gain a political leverage over the Kremlin. Hence, one can say that Russia’s strategy was based on rationality and pragmatism during the last 16 years.

After the economic hardship of the 90s when Yeltsin’s government introduced EU’s reforms and embarked on a liberalization of its economy, Russia seek a middle course: Open trade relations with the EU and the world but limited access to the (state controlled) energy market for foreign investors and no economic integration on Brussels’ terms. Rationally calculating the future benefits of a closer economic cooperation with the EU in order to regain military strength and the lost great power status after the end of the Cold War, the Kremlin monopolized its energy market. The Yukos case [229] and the politically motivated Khodorkovsky’s trial exemplify Russia’s strategy and its opposition towards EU’s demands for market liberalization. However, these actions have not significantly hampered the economic relations between Brussels and Russia, which is proven by the steady growth rates (after the case).[230] EU’s technological expertise was traded in return for Russian raw materials. With this strategy, Russia’s main goal has been to make the EU more dependent on Russian energy so that Moscow gains a bigger political leverage on Brussels and can destabilize the close transatlantic (economic) relationship between the EU and the US. In offensive neorealist logic, Russia acted in typical great power mentality, as it wanted to maximize its capabilities. Hence, from the beginning of Putin’s rule, the relationship has been based on relative gains thinking as Putin was wary of the EU’s conditionality which weakened Russia’s economy during the 90s.

Although a EU-Russia energy dialogue was established in 2000 and extended in 2005[231], a zero-sum mentality has remained. While the Kremlin continued Yeltsin’s policy of establishing a Customs Union with the CIS and realized the project within the EU counter-balancing project Eurasian Union in order to regain and maximize its (economic) power after the end of the Cold War, the EU aimed at extending its own capabilities. For the Kremlin, EU enlargement conflicted with its national interest as it resulted in higher tariffs and new restrictions on Russian goods. More importantly, its political/economic leverage on these countries weakened as Russian sanctions or other embargos could not destabilize the historically anti-Russian countries and hinder them from NATO membership that much anymore as when they were previously out of the EU.

Due to EU’s support for the liberal-minded candidate Yushchenko during the Orange Revolution in 2004, Russia started to use energy as a counter balance tool. Another important reason for Russia’s resurgence was the rise of oil prices and its economic growth rates of around 6-7% annually. [232] Rapidly recovering from the economic hardship of the 90s, with its rising capabilities, Russia became more assertive and took military action both in Georgia and most currently in Ukraine. Furthermore, seeing its power further shrinking in its traditional area of the CIS due to the EU’s ENP, Russia acted in self-help manner. Exploiting the state owned company Gazprom and Rosneft for foreign policy goals, Russia stopped gas and oil transits through Ukraine before the (parliamentary) elections in 2005 and in 2009 to destabilize its pro-EU/pro-NATO neighbour [233]. While the first gas dispute has not that much hampered trade relations because EU member Germany with the pro-Russian president Schröder selfishly profited from a lucrative energy deal with Russia [234] and interest in the EU’s plans of a united energy policy was low, the second heavily worsened Russia’s reputation as a reliable energy partner and resulted in the EU’s third energy package. [235]

The EU’s ENP, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area agreement (DCFTA) with each partner, led to a conflictive competition on resources between Russia and the EU and challenged the European status quo/balance of power. It explains why on the one side, Russia brought up energy facilities on the EU’s open market to gain a higher political leverage (as it e.g. controls 20% of Germany’s refinery capacities today [236]) and on the other the EU wanted to decrease Russia’s economic power by hindering the South Stream project[237] and building the Nabucco pipeline (later Trans-Adriatic pipeline). [238]

Today, the (economic) relationship between the EU and Russia is at record low. In neorealist logic, the EU supported the Maidan revolution in 2014 in order to force the pro-Russian president Yanukovych to sign the association agreement with the EU, which would have lead to the DCFTA at the expense of Russia’s national interests. Since a pro-EU president was elected after the Maidan revolution and Ukraine finally signed the DCFTA, Russia was naturally forced to counter balance the EU’s expansionist policies in self-help manner in order to keep its economic sovereignty and national interests alive. Russia’s € 15bln credit offer and a huge discount on gas and oil to Ukraine demonstrates the country’s importance for Russia’s national interest prior to the Ukraine crisis. [239]

The loss of its former ally, a sharp drop in oil prices and EU sanctions have impeded Russia’s counter balancing project Eurasian Union. Russia’s economy is much more hit by sanctions than the EU. Although Gazprom and most energy trade are not covered by sanctions because the EU rationally knows that it cannot find an alternative to Russia’s cheap oil/gas in short term, EU-Russia trade fell by more than 10% in 2014. [240] Russia’s economic outlook remains rather negative for the coming years. [241] Moreover, its actions in Ukraine have resulted in EU’s further diversification of energy as its current attempts in building LNG facilities and its search for other energy partners such as Algeria and Turkey prove. [242]

5.8. Economic relationship between the EU and Russia (2000-2016): constructivists’ interpretation

Due to the negative experiences of the 90s when Russia tried to fulfil the EU’s criteria of the PCA, including a liberalization of its economy, Putin decided to embark on a middle course between economic integration and cooperation with the EU. Institutionalization within the EU-Russia energy dialogues helped Russia and the EU to reciprocally understand each other’s economic interests. Even more, specific roles have developed: The EU has served as Russia’s technological know-how provider and in return Russia has supplied cheap oil and gas. Human rights abuses and the parties’ different interpretation of democracy had not been a significant barrier to a mutually beneficial economic partnership before 2014. Despite the nationalization of Yukos and the Chodorkhosvky trial in 2003, which was a sign of Russia’s different interpretation of values and democracy, trade was growing between the EU member states and Moscow. The reason for that were the EU’s continuing hopes to democratise Russia in the long run due to an interdependent trade relationship. This can be proved by the EU’s comments on the trial: ‘’The Yukos affair is of course a domestic and internal affair for Russia {…}. We have always been advocating with the Russian authorities ... for respect of human rights and respect of civil society as well, and this is what we will continue doing’’. [243] Furthermore, the Common Four Spaces (2003), the Partnership for Modernization (2010) agreements and EU’s support for Russia’s WTO membership indicate that the EU was still hoping to democratise Russia prior to the Ukraine crisis. However, the EU’s hopes could not materialize because Russian economy had been growing without the EU reforms especially during Putin’s second term. [244]

Detrimental to the socialization process, the EU-supported Orange Revolution resulted in uncertainty and was a major reason for the institutionalization of distrust and a security dilemma. Since more than 80% of Russian gas traversed Ukraine to the EU market prior to the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline and the Russian economy was highly linked with its neighbour [245], Russia did not want to loose one of its closest economic (and cultural) ally to the liberal democratic EU. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia has been trying to integrate the CIS countries into a Customs Union of which Ukraine was one of the core members. It searched for a new identity not only in the political but also in the economic sphere. Since neither the communist nor the liberal economic model of the EU were beneficial for the Russian economy, Putin shaped structure by introducing a middle course: nationalization of Russia’s most important energy companies in return for an almost open market for foreign investors.

Due to negative interpretation of alter’s actions (EU enlargement etc.) within the process of interaction and in comparison with the negative experiences from the 90s, Russia’s foreign policy became more and more assertive. Anatoly Chubais’s idea of creating a ‘’liberal empire’’ in order to raise Russian political influence in the CIS countries exemplifies the beginning of Russia’s assertiveness. [246] This can be also explained by the extreme rise of Russian gas and oil revenues combined with political events such as the EU enlargements in 2004 and 2007 and the EU’s ENP program with the DCFTA, which created the conditions for future conflicts in the economic sphere. In order to counter balance the EU’s expansion, the Kremlin introduced various embargos on CIS countries or neighbours such as Georgia as it thought they cooperate too closely with the EU (and NATO).[247] Especially Russia’s gas stops in Ukraine in order to destabilize the pro-EU government perfectly exemplify the security dilemma that resulted from EU’s agency.

Reciprocally analysing the current process, distrust towards Russia and uncertainty also started to institutionalize in the EU, which is exemplified in the EU’s energy diversification within the Third Energy Package in 2009. This agreement was a sign for the worsening relationship between Russia and the EU also in the economic sphere after the experiences of two Russian gas stops in Ukraine. Contrary to 2005, when the EU failed convincing the EU member states to embark on a common energy strategy, the 2009 gas dispute unified most EU members due to uncertainty about Russian gas deliveries and fear of Russia’s purposeful exploitation of energy for foreign policy interests in future. Brussels wanted to counter balance Russian attempts of creating a monopoly on energy in Europe as it recognized that Russia more and more had been drifting away from the liberal reforms of the 90s and had still neither fulfilled the PCA nor ratified the Energy Charter Treaty. [248] The same year, Russia has even terminated its participation in the Energy Charter Treaty also because of its discontent about the EU’s support for Ukraine during the second gas dispute. [249]

Afraid of the liberal values due to the bad experiences of the 90s and EU’s previous foreign policy agenda after 2000 and empowered by oil/gas revenues, Russia established a counter union to the EU. EU’s rejection of Putin’s ‘’greater Europe’’ concept arguing that ‘’you cannot at the same time lower your customs tariffs as per the DCFTA and increase them as a result of the Customs Union (here: CIS Customs Union) membership’’ [250], augmented Russia’s assertiveness as Moscow feared loosing more economic partners to the EU due to its ENP. Russia’s multilateralism and counter balancing to the EU is also visible in its closer cooperation with the emergent economies within the BRICS organization and the Shanghai cooperation. These member countries’ foreign policy is less based on conditionality and liberal norms, which make it easier for Russia to be recognized as an equal power.

Due to the current Ukraine crisis and the following mutual sanctions EU-Russia economic relations are on record low. Although most energy trade is exempted from sanctions, Russia has been trying to diversify its energy costumers as it e.g. tightened up its energy cooperation with China which is exemplified in the 400$ gas deal agreed between Moscow and Beijing in 2014.[251] Reciprocally, the current Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations[252] between the US and the EU is a further sign of how common value systems and identities can on the one side unite different parties and on the other turn away today’s illiberal Russia from the EU. With a free trade agreement between Russia and the EU becoming more and more unrealistic due to the Ukraine crisis, TTIP represents an attractive alternative for the EU to further diversify its energy relations and lessen its energy dependency from Russia. However, in constructivists logic a deinstitutionalization of distrust and anarchy is still possible to some degree. German chancellor’s offer to Russia of a common customs union between the EU and the Eurasian Union, if Russia stopped fuelling unrest in Eastern Ukraine and implement the Minsk agreement, proves this logic. [253]

5.9. Economic relationship between the EU and Russia (2000-2016): summary of main results

Despite huge disagreements and conflicts in the political and military sphere, trade relations have been dynamic until 2014. The reasons for the economic partnership’s deterioration are both parties will to maximize their power capabilities in Europe, offensive realists would argue. On the one side, the EU wanted to enlarge its economy by integrating Russia and its neighbours on its own terms, on the other, Russia wanted to regain its great power status by exploiting its gas and oil revenues as a foreign policy tool including the aim of weakening the US’ economic influence in the EU. For constructivists, the economic relationship started to deteriorate due to process, namely Putin’s negative interpretation of EU’s enlargement and the ENP (DCFTA). The negative experiences of the 90s, when Russian economy was in huge recession despite the implementation of liberal reforms, have often been used by the Kremlin as a justification for the controversial monopolization of Gazprom and Rosneft.

The effects of the current deterioration are as follows: (1) Although energy trade between EU and Russia continues, most other trade is fallen under sanctions[254], which lead to a mutual decrease in turnout. Russia cannot borrow any money from EU banks anymore and must modernize its economy on its own; (2) Russia’s economy has fallen in huge recession amid the Ukraine crisis; (3) Both EU and Russia try to diversify their energy partners. While the EU pivot more and more to the US and Mediterranean countries, Russia look out for new costumers in Asia, especially in China (although economically Moscow is still highly dependent on the EU).

6. Discussion

Within the analysis, I argued from two different theoretical perspectives in order to achieve an in-depth understanding of the topic and answer the research question/s as comprehensive as possible. The fact that I focused on three different dimensions helped to elucidate the complex topic and disclosed the correlation of political and military relationship with economic developments. In application of both theories on the three different dimensions, I indentified common events, which led to the deterioration between Russia and the EU/NATO. In this regard, however, neorealists and constructivists differ in their interpretation of core international relations’ concepts.

Since for neorealists the deterioration between Russia and the EU/NATO does mainly result from the anarchical structure, which naturally leads to uncertainty, distrust, a security dilemma and self-help, all mutually beneficial cooperation (PCA, NRC, Energy Dialogue etc.) between these parties has been deemed to fail. The fact that great powers are inclined to maximize their capabilities and strive to become a hegemon in offensive neorealist logic, explains why the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO has been conflictive during Putin’s and Medvedev’s presidencies. In the analysis, I found out that on the one side, especially NATO and EU enlargement have severely impeded trust and have been the best example for how great powers extend their power capabilities, while on the other Russia has been trying to increase its capabilities by means of integrating the CIS countries into the Eurasian Union. The historical background facilitated the understanding of the crucial effects of the 90s on Putin’s and Medvedev’s presidency and on the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO in the last 16 years.

In neorealist logic, I argued that Putin tried to re-establish Russia’s great power status which it had lost after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and during its pro-EU and pro-NATO course in the 90s. I also found out that Putin’s legacy already started with a crisis between NATO/EU and Russia due to NATO’s actions in Yugoslavia and EU’s criticism on Russia’s counter attacks in Chechnya. Especially NATO’s and EU’s support for the Ukrainian revolutions, NATO’s and EU’s enlargement and NATO’s actions outside of Europe such as the war in Iraq or Libya were the core reasons for the deterioration between Russia and the EU/NATO prior to the Ukraine crisis. In this regard, these events illustrate the anarchical structure of the international system, the zero-sum logic and prisoner’s dilemma, which have resulted in competition between the EU/NATO and Russia in Europe’s east.

Since neither the EU nor NATO wanted to provide Russia a veto right within any organization, it shows the egoistic reasoning of great powers (here: EU/NATO). Not being considered an equal partner but only an associate who has to abide by the EU’s and NATO’s policies and accept their leverage of conditionality has made Russia assertive and reaffirms neorealist’s claim that cooperation is always seen in relative gains. Moreover, EU/NATO Russia relations mainly deteriorated because of the parties’ inability to find a compromise on a new balance of power in Europe after the end of the Cold War. Since Europe’s status quo has further changed to the detriment of Russia’s national, conflict had become unavoidable. In defensive neorealist logic, this explains why Russia started to counter balance in Georgia and most currently in Ukraine using hard power.

To fully understand Russia’s resurgence under Putin (and Medvedev), the analysis of the economic dimension has been very helpful. For Putin, Russia could only regain strength and preserve its national sovereignty if it started to make use of its own resources. Rationally assessing the power capabilities, in the beginning of Putin’s presidency Russia was economically and militarily too weak to respond to NATO’s actions. This explains why it did not react on the first two NATO/EU enlargements. At that time the US used this unipolar moment to project its hegemonic power by means of NATO to the east. When oil and gas prices rose amid the Iraq war, however, Russia’s economy started to grow. Given the EU’s and NATO’s actions Moscow started to exploit its oil and gas resources as a foreign policy tool and for the first time after the end of the Cold War it was economically capable to counter balance the EU/NATO. Russia’s investment of oil revenues into military proofs another effect of the relationship’s deterioration, namely arms race. Especially today, after NATO’s and EU’s support for the Maidan revolution and the creation of the Eurasian Union as a counter balance organization to the EU, this concept entails more and more dangerous effects since NATO and Russia start holding Cold War reminiscent military exercises in fear of each others future actions.

Constructivism disclosed the minuses of neorealism. Contrary to the social theory, I found out that neorealism faces difficulties in explaining on the one side Putin’s cooperative agency in the beginning of his presidency and on the other US/NATO’s actions of de-escalation such as the reset policy during Medvedev’s legislature. Moreover, neorealism is too pessimistic about cooperation since according to its logic neither the Cold War could have ended nor an institutionalization within the NRC or the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue would have been possible. While in neorealist logic states act out of fear with each other, constructivism shows that this was not the starting point of the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO. One of Putin’s first interviews with an international broadcaster from the EU (BBC) shows his willingness to cooperate with both the EU and NATO. This cooperation however, ought to have been based on equality and respect towards each other’s national interests.

Furthermore, neorealism faces difficulties in explaining Russia’s cooperative actions after 9/11. Although I explained it as a rational calculation by Russia in order to elevate the international image of the country, the power of agency cannot be understood that much by realism as by the social theory. For example, the two Ukraine uprisings which changed Europe’s balance of power to the detriment of the EU/NATO-Russia relationship, demonstrate how today’s NGOs can influence structure in cooperation with governments for special national interests.

Contrary to neorealism, constructivism is able to cover the value and ideological dimension and considers history as mutable and not stable/transhistoric. With the social theory, I identified a major value gap as a reason for an increasing escalation in the relationship between Moscow and Brussels.

In the process of socialization and institutionalization Putin interpreted the EU/NATO’s integration proposals as conflicting with Russia’s national interests. Especially constructivism’s tools for analysing the influence of historical experiences on (foreign) policy decision making made it possible to link Russia’s negative experiences of the 90s with Putin’s (and Medvedev’s) policies in the last 16 years. Constructivism covers the importance of Putin’s role for the relationship between Russia and EU/NATO and improves the understanding of why the Russian president has considered most liberal democratic policies of the EU/NATO as detrimental for Russia. For him the 90s represent Russia’s weakness because it embarked on a pro-EU, pro-NATO course subordinating Russia’s sovereignty and the great power pride status of the communist time. Recognizing that neither the EU nor NATO accepted his plans of a common European security architecture, and seeing both organizations extending to Russia’s traditional sphere of interest, the CIS countries, the relationship between Moscow and Brussels started to deteriorate.

According to constructivist logic, there are no signs for Russia’s a-priori aggression towards NATO/EU. Contrary to Moscow, however, NATO carried out military campaigns in Yugoslavia exploiting Russia’s weakness in the 90s. Exactly this experience when NATO intervened in a foreign country without any legitimate mandate by the UNSC became more and more important during Putin’s second and especially third term. After Russia had made new detrimental experiences with NATO enlargement and NATO’s (US) breach of international law in the Middle East, these combined experiences institutionalized security dilemma and anarchy in Europe. It is important to mention that under Putin, Russia as one of the greatest military powers on earth, did not respond to EU/NATO enlargements by hard power until 2008, when Medvedev renewed the read line of Primakov in the Russia-Georgia war. In neorealist logic, however, the deterioration between Moscow and NATO should have resulted in a military conflict much earlier than 2008 (Georgia) or 2014 (Ukraine).

Another important fact, neorealism can only weakly cover, is the economic interdependence between the EU and Russia. Despite the negative experiences of the 90s and those during Putin’s first and second presidencies with the EU/NATO, EU trade with Russia had been very dynamic until the end of 2013. [255] According to realism, a mutually beneficial trade relationship could not have developed while these parties are in conflict with each other. Constructivism is not that predetermined as neorealism in this regard. While in some areas (political and military partnership) the relationship between Moscow and Brussels has been conflictive, in others (economy) the parties could find compromises on mutually beneficial agreements.

Even after the current Ukraine crisis, cooperation might still be possible in some areas such as in the common fight on terror or trade matters, in constructivist logic. To some degree, the fact that Germany argues for Russia’s return to the NRC proofs neorealism’s too deterministic character. Furthermore, the idea of a common customs union between the EU and Putin’s counter balancing value project Eurasian Union is only shelved but not put aside completely despite the most severe crisis in the post-Cold War period. Although the socialization process between Russia and the EU/NATO has mainly failed during the last 16 years, which is especially exemplified in the creation of the Eurasian Union, in constructivist logic, the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO can improve. If Putin and his government[256] were to leave office, a deinstitutionalization of distrust and security dilemma might happen. This would be comparable with the events of the 90s when a pro-EU/NATO government with an opposing interpretation of the political system came to power. However, in constructivist logic, the relationship is also open to be even more conflictive, if e.g. a nationalistic politician became president.

One can criticise my thesis for not having considered the different national interests of the NATO/EU member states and to some degree their disunity towards Russia. For example Germany’s, France’s or Italy’s role might have been treated more within my analysis in order to show the different views within the European Union/NATO in relation to Russia and how Moscow exploited multilateralism to the disadvantage of Brussels. However, within my thesis I found out that the EU and NATO (US) have more and more converged in their view on Russia during the last 16 years. The Berlin Plus agreement and their common interpretation of Russia’s aggression in Georgia and, most currently, in Ukraine with the introduction of sanctions evidence this point. More importantly, I argued that without NATO, the EU would not have existed in the way it does today. Therefore, most EU foreign policy in Europe has been in the interest of NATO. Within my analysis, I have demonstrated that if NATO-Russia relations are deteriorating, EU-Russia relations are conflicting, too. The effects of this logic for the relationship between NATO/EU and Russia have been that Moscow started to distant itself from any integration either with the EU or NATO and given Putin’s rejected proposals of a common economic and security space in Europe, Moscow has considered both organizations working in tandem to decrease Russia’s power economically (EU) and militarily (NATO).

7. Conclusion

Having answered the research questions by means of an empirical case study research, I can conclude that the extent, to which the EU/NATO-Russia relationship has deteriorated in the military and political sphere during Putin’s (and Medvedev’s) presidencies, is sever.

I found out that opposing policies have lead to a subsequent increase of conflict potential between Russia and the EU/NATO. The main reasons for the worsening relationship are EU’s/NATO’s and Russia’s different interpretation of Europe’s security/economic architecture, their different interpretation of common values and norms and in general their divergent national interests. Since the EU as an economic union and NATO as an military alliance have diminished Russia’s regional hegemonic power by means of EU/NATO enlargement and its active (financial) support of pro-democratic agencies in former Kremlin controlled countries, Russia’s assertiveness towards Brussels has grown. The red line setting of Medvedev in Georgia in 2008, the establishment of the Eurasian Union and the annexation of Crimea exemplify the negative extent to which the relationship between Moscow and Brussels has deteriorated. Neither EU’s efforts to democratise Russia as laid out in the PCA agreement nor NATO’s vision of Russia as a democratic partner of the alliance have been realized. Nevertheless, despite mostly negative experiences in the relationship between the parties, with constructivism I also identified some positive results that Moscow and Brussels achieved within the last 16 years. The tremendous increase of trade between the EU and Russia or Putin’s cooperative action after 9/11 in the fight against international terrorism with NATO are examples for that. However, Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its support for separatists in the Donbas have been unacceptable for business as usual for EU and NATO. The new reality between the parties is that all cooperation has been suspended. Even the economic relationship, the last area where cooperation was dynamic, suffers from mutually imposed sanctions severely, now. Europe’s security is at odds given an undefined balance of power between the EU/NATO and Russia.

In my opinion, the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO will never improve again so long as Putin remains president of Russia. The combined negative experiences of the last 16 years and especially Russia’s counter balancing actions in Ukraine finally demonstrated the EU and NATO that Russia under the Putin regime will not compromise on further NATO or EU enlargements any more. On the other hand, Putin’s idea of a new Yalta agreement will never be accepted by EU/NATO. Although Georgia or Ukraine will not become NATO members in the near future due to the Russian backed frozen conflicts, Brussels will continue supporting democratic movements and aim to democratize Russia in the long run. This might lead to a further escalation between the parties, especially in the military sphere. However, the fact that Russia and some NATO members possess nuclear weapons plays a deterrent role and will eventually prevent a real war. [257] Nevertheless, while Russia and NATO have heavily conflicted on normative matters in Europe, the current rise of international terror (mainly in form of ISIS) might lead to limited cooperation in the fight against terrorism, which has recently worked in Syria. The coming US elections are of huge importance for the future relations since most EU/NATO foreign policies are closely coordinated with the hegemonic power United States and Moscow considers the EU and NATO members satellites of Washington. Furthermore, it will be interesting to follow whether the EU decides prolonging economic sanctions in summer. The next NATO Summit in Warsaw will also be highly influential for the future relationship with Russia with a new military doctrine presented in response to Russia’s assertiveness.

In order to extend the knowledge on the relationship between Russia and the EU/NATO one could take a broader historical dimension into account and analyse the time before the fall of the Soviet Union. For further studies, to fully understand the cultural and value differences between Russia and the EU/NATO members, one could compare Russia’s history with that of Western European countries [258] and answer the difficult question whether Russia is a rather European, Asian or Eurasian country. Other researches could scrutinize the Putin system itself for the purpose of highlighting the cultural and normative differences that hampered the relationship between Moscow and Brussels.

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· MacFarlane, S. Neil. (2008). Russia, NATO enlargement and the strenghening of democracy in the European space. In Aurel Braun (ed.). NATO-Russia Relations in the Twenty-First Century . (39-54). New York: Routledge

· Mankoff, Jeffrey (2016). Relations with the European Union. In Stephen K. Wegren (ed.). Putin’s Russia: past imperfect, future uncertain. (257-276). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers

· McCann, Dermot (2015). Security in Europe: the triumph in institution-building. In Peter Hough, Shahin Malik, Andrew Moran, Bruce Pilbeam (eds.). International Security Studies: Theory and practice. (366-373). New York: Routledge

· Mearsheimer, John (2001). The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York: Norton

· Nygren, Bertil (2006). The implications for Putin’s policy toward Ukraine and Belarus of NATO and EU expansion. In Jan Hallenberg and Håkan Karlsson (eds.). Changing Transatlantic Security Relations. Do the US, the EU and Russia form a new strategic triangle? . (125-145). London: Routledge

·Nygren, Bertil (2008). The Rebuilding of Greater Russia: Putin's Foreign Policy Towards the CIS Countries . Routledge Contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe Series. New York. Routledge

· Onuf, N. (1989). World of our making. Rules and rule in social theory and International Relations. London: Routledge.

· Riasanovsky, Nicholas V. (1999). A history of Russia. (6th edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press

· Risse-Kappen, Thomas (1996). Collective Identity in a Democratic Community: The Case of NATO. In Peter Katzenstein (ed.). The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics. (chapter 10). New York: Columbia University Press

· Simon, Jeffrey (2008). Nato enlargement and Russia. In Aurel Braun (ed.). NATO-Russia Relations in the Twenty-First Century. (91-110). London: Routledge

· Skak, Mette (2005). The logic of foreign and security policy change in Russia. In Jakob Hedenskog, Vilhelm Konnander, Bertil Nygren, Ingmar Oldberg, Christer Pursiainen (eds.). Russia as a Great Power: Dimension of security under Putin . (81-106). New York: Routledge

· Sleivyte, Janina (2010). Russia’s European agenda and the Baltic States . London: Routledge

· Trenin, Dmitri V. (2007). Getting Russia right. Brussels: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

· Tsygankov, Andrei P. (2013). Russia’s Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity in National Identity . (3rd edition). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers

· Tsygankov, Andrei P. (2016). Foreign Policy and Relations with the United States. In Stephen K. Wegren (ed.). Putin’s Russia: past imperfect, future uncertain. (233-256). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers

· Wagnsson, Charlotte (2006). The alien and the traditional. The EU facing a transforming Russia. In Jan Hallenberg and Håkan Karlsson (eds.). Changing Transatlantic Security Relations. Do the US, the EU and Russia form a new strategic triangle? . (105-124). London: Routledge

· Waltz, Kenneth N. (1986a). Reductionist and Systemic Theories. In Robert O. Keohane (ed.). Neorealism and its critics. (48-69). New York: Columbia University Press

· Waltz, Kenneth N. (1986b). Political Structures. In Robert O. Keohane (ed.). Neorealism and its critics. (70-97). New York: Columbia University Press

· Waltz, Kenneth N. (1986c). Anarchic Orders and Balances of Power. In Robert O. Keohane (ed.). Neorealism and its critics. (98-130). New York: Columbia University Press

8.2.2. Academic papers:

· Art, Robert J. (1996). Why Western Europe Needs the United States and NATO. Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 111, No. 1

· Hopf, T. (1998). The promise of constructivism in International Relations Theory. International Security, 23 (1), 171-200.

· Luong, Pauline Jones (2012). The Domestic Limits of International Expansion: Russian National Oil Companies and Global Markets. PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo 238, no.2, 2

· Ruggie, J.G. (2004). Reconstituting the global Public Domain—Issues, Actors and Practices. European Journal of International Relations, 10 (4), 499-531.

· Waltz, Kenneth N. (2000). Structural realism after the cold war. International Security, 25(1), 5-41.

· Wendt, A. (1992). Anarchy is what states make of it: The social construction of power politics. International Organization, 46 (2), 391-425

· Hansl, Birgit (et. al.) (2016). World Bank Group. The Long Journey to Recovery. Russia Economic Report, No. 35, 1-71

8.2.3. Internet articles:

· BBC History (2016). Michail Gorbachev. Accessed on 9th March 2016

· Council on Foreign Relations (1994). Budapest Memorandum. Accessed on 10th March 2016

· Bershidsky, Leonid (2016). Bloomberg View. The Russian presidential elections in 1996. Accessed on 10th March 2016

· Golts, Alexander (1996). The Moscow Times. The Red Line at the Border. Accessed on 11th March 2016

· Encyclopedia Britannica (2016). Britannica Academic: Commonwealth of Independent States. Accessed on 12th March 2016

· Encyclopedia Britannica (2016). Britannica Academic: Vladimir Putin. Accessed 14th March 2016

· Ukrcensus (2001) in Radio Free Europe (2015). Radio Liberty. Russians in Ukraine. Accessed 15th March 2016

· BBC News online (2005). How the rose revolution happened. Accessed 15th March 2016

· Russia Today (2014). Beslan school siege. Accessed 16th March 2016

· Deutsche Welle (2008). Dmitry Medvedev: Putin's Successor. Accessed 17th March 2016

· BBC (2014). Putin signs economic union deal with ex-Soviet states. Accessed 17th March 2016

· Brinkmann, Bastian (2016). Süddeutsche Zeitung. Ukraine Konflikt. Merkel und Gabriel machen Putin ein Angebot. Accessed 18th March 2016

· Orenstein A., Mitchell (2014). Foreign Affairs. Putin’s Western Allies. Accessed 18th March 2016

· Boese, Wade (2002). Arms Control Association. U.S. Withdraws From ABM Treaty; Global Response Muted. Accessed 23rd March 2016

· Luchterhandt, Otto (2008). Are Moldova and Ukraine at Risk? Ex-Soviet States Fear Russian Aggression. Accessed 28th March 2016

· RT (2014). 15 years on: Looking back at NATO's ‘humanitarian’ bombing of Yugoslavia, Accessed 28th March 2016

· Nye. Joseph S. (2004). Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. Edited by Ikenberry, G. John. Accessed 28th March 2016

· The Guardian (2014). Agence France-Presse. Russia’s Ukraine actions ’’incompatible’ with G8 membership, west says. Accessed 28th March 2016

· Rose, Scott (2015). Bloomberg Business. Putin’s Approval Rating Rises to 88% in October, Levada Says. Accessed 28th March 2016

· Simon, Frédéric (2015). EU plans major offensive to diversify gas supplies. Accessed 30th March 2016

· Zeit Online (2015). Bundesregierung bietet Russland Handelsabkommen an. Accessed 2nd April 2016

· BBC News (2014). South Stream gas debacle seen as blow to Putin. Accessed 2nd April 2016

· Zeit Online (2013). Trans-Adria-Pipeline sticht Nabucco aus. Accessed 2nd April 2016

· Metelitsa, Alexander (2014). Independent Statistics and Analysis. U.S. Energy Information Administration,eia. 16% of natural gas consumed in Europe flows through Ukraine. Accessed 8th April 2016

· European Commission (2015). Trade. What is TTIP about?. Accessed 8 th April 2016

· Roche, Philip and Petit, Sherina (2009). Norton Rose Fulbright. Russia’s withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty. Accessed 8th April 2016

· BBC News (2014). Russia signs 30-year gas deal with China. Accessed 8th April 2016

· Pargan, Benjamin (2015). Deutsche Welle. Refugees. German Minister Roth: 'EU expansion is also in our interest'. Accessed 11th April 2016

· European External Action Service (2014). European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Overview. Accessed 11th April 2016

· Wikipedia (2016). Map of NATO expansion since 1949. Accessed 11 th April 2016

· Parliament UK (2009). Russia and NATO. Accessed 11th April 2016

· NATO (2016). NATO ON DUTY. Accessed 11th April 2016

· Levada-Center (2016). Yuri Levada Analytical Center. Approval of Putin. Accessed 11th April 2016

· RT (2011). Russiapedia. Russian history: Russia after the Soviet Union. Accessed 12th April 2016

· Presidential Library (2015). The Belavezha Accords signed. Accessed 12 th April 2016

· Deutsche Welle (2008). Europe. Medvedev criticizes West in Tough Foreign Policy Speech. Accessed 16th April 2016 3486571

· Gotev, Georgi and Kokoszczy Krzysztof (2014). EurAktiv. Poland’s stake in the Ukraine crisis: hawkish or insightful?. Accessed 17th April 2016

· Dewdney, John C. (2015). Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Historical state, Eurasia. Accessed 9th May 2016

· BBC News (2014). Ukrainian MPs vote to oust President Yanukovych. Accessed 10th May 2016

· BBC News (2008). Recognition for new Kosovo grows. Accessed 10 th May 2016

· NATO (2016). The Kosovo Air Campaign (Archived). Operation Allied Force. Accessed 10th May 2016

· Kucera, Joshua (2015). EURASIANET. Russian Troops in Transnistria Squeezed By Ukraine and Moldova. Accessed 10th May 2016

· Klein, Margarete & Major, Claudia (2015). Perspectives for NATO-Russia Relations. The Hub: International Perspectives. Accessed 10 th May 2016

· Collective Security Treaty Organization (2016). Basic facts. Accessed 12 th May 2016

9. Appendices

[Figures are omitted from this preview]

Figure 1:[259]

Figure 2:[260]

Figure 3: [261]

Figure 4: [262]

Figure 5: [263]

Figure 6: [264]

Figure 7: [265]

Figure 8:[266]

Figure 9: NATO enlargement (1949-2009): [267]

Figure 10:(members of NATO and NATO’s partner countries) [268]

Figure 11: [269]

Figure 12: [270]

Figure 13: GDP Growth projection for Russia (2016-2018) [271]

[1] Finnemore, 1996, p. 135

[2] Belavezha Accords: agreement on the dissolution of the Soviet Union signed by the Heads of State and Governments of the three republics: Boris Yeltsin and Gennady Burbulis (RSFSR), Stanislav Shushkevich and Vyacheslav Kebich (Belarus), Leonid Kravchuk,and Witold Fokin (Ukraine) in the Belarusian village of Viskuly,close to the Polish border;

Presidential Library:

[3] Union of Soviet Socialist’s Republics; northern Eurasian empire containing of 15 different states which were ruled by the central government in Moscow from 1917/22–1991; Britannica:

[4] The Russian Gorvenment:; NATO:

[5] Yin, 2009 in Creswell, 2013. p. 97

[6] ibid.

[7] Creswell, 2013, pp. 104-105

[8] Stake (1995) in Creswell, 2013, p. 98

[9] soft power (in contrast to ‘’hard power’): ‘’the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion’’:

[10] here, I especially mean the US military bases in EU member states such as Germany or US led NATO bases in Poland, Bulgaria, Rumania or the Baltics

[11] here, the term Europe includes the liberal democratic member states of the EU, NATO and the countries Georgia and Ukraine

[12] Lincoln and Gaba, 1985 in Creswell, 2013, p. 101

[13] Mearsheimer, 2001, p.30

[14] Waltz, 1986, pp. 57, 63, 73 (ed. Keohane)

[15] Mearsheimer 2001, p.31

[16] Waltz, 1986, pp.101-102 (ed. Keohane)

[17] Waltz, 1986, pp.92-93; 105-106 (ed. Keohane)

[18] Grieco, 1993, p.127-128 (ed. Baldwin)

[19] Mearsheimer, 2001, pp. 34-36

[20] Mearsheimer. 2001, p.31

[21] Waltz, 1986, p.108 (ed. Keohane)

[22] BBC News:

[23] Mearsheimer, 2001, p.34

[24] Waltz, 1986, p. 127 (ed. Keohane)

[25] Waltz, 1986, p. 127 (ed. Keohane)

[26] Mearsheimer, 2011, pp. 34-37

[27] Mearsheimer, 2001, pp. 40-41

[28] Mearsheimer, 2001, pp. 41-42

[29] Onuf, 1989, p.185

[30] Wendt, 1992, p. 395

[31] Ibid.

[32] Wendt, 1992, pp. 399

[33] Ibid.

[34] Wendt, 1992, pp. 406-407

[35] Onuf, 1989, p. 279

[36] Wendt, 1992, pp. 415

[37] Wendt, 1992, p. 397

[38] Wendt. 1992, pp. 397; 406

[39] Hopf, 1998, p. 186

[40] Wendt, 1992, p. 409

[41] Katzenstein,(et. al.) 1996, p.18; see also: Finnemore, 1996, p. 22

[42] Finnemore. 1996, p. 26; see also: Katzenstein (et. al.), 1996, p. 17

[43] Katzenstein,(et. al.) 1996, p. 21

[44] Finnemore, 1996, p. 11

[45] Finnemore, 1996, p.29

[46] Hopf, 1998, p. 175; see also: Wendt, 1992, p. 398-399

[47] Ruggie, 2004, p. 504

[48] Finnemore, 1996, p. 2

[49] Wendt, 1992, p. 424

[50] Hopf, 1998, p. 177

[51] Hopf, 1998, p.181

[52] Waltz, 2000, pp.18-19

[53] Waltz, 2000, pp.19-21; see also: Mearsheimer, 2001, pp. 49-50

[54] Art, 1996 in Waltz, 2000, p. 25; see also Waltz, 2000, p. 26

[55] Kowert and Legro, 1996, p. 413 (ed. Katzenstein)

[56] Waltz, 2000, p. 14-15

[57] Waltz, 2000, p.15

[58] 8th General Secretary of the Soviet Union from 1985 till 1991; BBC News:

[59] Katzenstein (et. al.), 1996, p. 23

[60] Ibid.; see also: Risse-Kappen, 1996, pp. 313 (ed. Katzenstein)

[61] for differences between the organizations, see explanations on page 5

[62] Katzenstein (et. al), 1996, p. 23

[63] Ruggie, 1993 in Katzenstein 1996, p. 414

[64] Wendt, 1992, p. 417

[65] Kowert and Legro, 1996, p. 414 (ed. Katzenstein)

[66] Barnett, 2014, p. 163 (eds. Baylis, Smith, Owens)

[67] predator (lat. enemy); alter (lat. the other; the opposite actor)

[68] Wendt, 1992, p. 408

[69] members of the CSTO: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan;

[70] narod: (Russian: nation or people). Dugin uses this term from the German word ‘’Volk’’ to stress the importance of the Russian national community over individualism, which he associate with the EU/NATO/US or as he calls it the ‘’Civilization of Sea’’

[71] Dugin, 2015, pp. 7-8 (ed. Morgan)

[72] Wendt, 1992, 416; I apply Wendt’s term ‘’sucker’’

[73] Ibid.

[74] Trenin, 2007, p. 69

[75] Ibid.

[76] CIS’s main task was to coordinate the policies of the member states on top governmental level

[77] Encyclopædia Britannica:

[78] Coiuncil on Foreign Relations:

[79] Trenin 2007, p. 69

[80] Trenin, 2007, pp. 70-71

[81] Ibid.

[82] The North Atlantic Treaty (1949); see also Copenhagen Criteria (1993); consider also: Braun, 2008, p. 77

[83] RT Russiapedia:

[84] Bloomberg View:

[85] Ibid.

[86] Bugajski, 2004, p. 111

[87] Trenin, 2007, pp. 71-72

[88] Bugajski, 2004, p. 13

[89] Lynch, 2012, p. 323 (eds. White and Moore); see also: Adomeit, 2012, 102 (eds. Rowe and Torjesen)

[90] Adomeit, 2009, p.98 (eds. Rowe and Torjesen)

[91] Light, 2009, p. 85 (eds. Rowe and Torjesen)

[92] Pushkov in MacFarlane, 2008, p. 44 (ed. Braun)

[93] Light and Allison, 2006, p. 6

[94] in 2003, the EU introduced the ‘’wider Europe’’ concept in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy; Wider Europe:

[95] Lo, 2015, p. 182

[96] EU-Russia Roadmap for the Common Spaces, 2003; see also: PCA, 1997; consider also: Partnership for Modernization, 2010

Delegation of the European Union to Russia:

[97] Encyclopædia Britannica:

[98] Lynch, 2012, p. 261 (eds. White and Moore)

[99] Lynch, 2012, p. 246 (eds. White and Moore)

[100] Adomeit, 2009, p. 119 (eds. Rowe and Torjesen)

[101] Sleivyte, 2010, p. 45

[102] The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, 2000

[103] Slejvyte, 2010, p. 45

[104] The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, 2000

[105] as theorized on pp. 7-8

[106] Wagnsson, 2006, p.119 (eds. Hallenberg, Karlsson)

[107] Light and Alison, 2006, p. 11

[108] Trenin, 2007, p. 91

[109] European Commission:

[110] Allison, 2007, p. 91

[111] Mankoff, 2016, p. 267 (ed. Wegren)

[112] Sleivyte, 2010, p. 94

[113] Light, 2006, p. 51

[114] Aybac, 2015, p. 356 (eds. Hough, Malik, Moran, Pilbeam)

[115] The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, 2000

[116] Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty:

[117] Nygren, 2006, pp. 141-142 (eds. Hallenberg and Karlsson)

[118] Ibid.

[119] as explained on page 7, neorealism; Waltz (1986) and Mearsheimer (2001)

[120] Ibid.

[121] Tsygankov, 2016, p. 239 (ed. Wegren)

[122] as theorized on page 7, neorealism; Mearsheimer (2001)

[123] European Union, External Action:

[124] BBC News:

[125] BBC News:

[126] Deutsche Welle:

[127] European countries decide to join the EU voluntarily and are not forced, stressing the use of soft power (diplomacy); Kagan, 2007, p. 10

[128] using hard power (military), Kagan, 2007, pp. 19; 22

[129] Krastiev, 2007 in Kagan, 2007, p. 20

[130] Allison and Light, 2006, p. 9

[131] National Security Concept of the Russian Federation, 2000

[132] Trenin, 2007, p. 96

[133] Kremlin:

[134] Medvedev, one of the rare top rank officials without KGB background in Putin’s regime and with a rather liberal attitude, has demonstrated his loyalty towards Putin and was later nominated or ‘’hand picked’’ by Putin to run for Russia’s presidency – see: Sleivyte, 2010, pp. 48-49; consider also: Deutsche Welle:

[135] Islamic terrorists from Chechnya and Ingusehtia took hundreds of children hostage in a school to demand the departure of Russian military from Chechnya, more than 300 people died; Russia Today:

[136] Light, 2009, p. 88 (eds. Rowe and Torjesen)

[137] power vertical: often used to explain Putin’s hierarchical bureaucratical system, where the president decides all important political issues; despite Russia’s status as a federative state, Putin has changed the constitution various time to extend his presidential power

[138] derzhavnost and gosudarstvenost: ‘’strong, paternist, and to some extend expansionist state’’; Bugajski, 2004, p. 17

[139] Skak, 2005, p. 82 (ed. Hedenskog)

[140] EurActiv:

[141] especially in regard to NATO and the US but not to some much in regard to the EU

[142] National Security Concept of the Russian Federation, 2000

[143] Nygren, 2006, p. 125 (eds. Hallenberg and Karlsson)

[144] Russian elites: mainly siloviki (military, KGB background) and close business friends of Putin; Putin created this system to improve the Kremlin’s monopoly on power and in general, to secure Russia’s survival as an independent, federative state at the cost of huge corruption in the government and at the expense of Russia’s democracy

[145] Foreign Affairs:

[146] BBC News:

[147] Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation, 2013

[148] Ibid.

[149] Bugajski, 2004, p. 20

[150] Dugin, 2015, especially chapter 1 (pp. 1-11)

[151] Dugin, 2015, pp. 70-77; 97

[152] Dugin, 2015, pp. 4; 7-8

[153] Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation, 2013

[154] Süddeutsche Zeitung:

[155] consider third part of analysis: ‘’5.7. Economic relations between Russia and the EU’’

[156] Kagan, 2002, p. 18

[157] NATO:; see also: European Commission:

[158] NATO:

[159] NATO: and NRC:

[160] Trenin, 2007, p. 71

[161] National Security Concept of the Russian Federation, 2000

[162] NATO:; see also: Tsygankov, 2013, p. 110

[163] BBC:

[164] Braun, 2008, p. 57

[165] Godzimirski, 2005, p. 60 (eds. Hedenskog, Konnander, Nygren, Oldberg, Pursiainen)

[166] Sleivyte, 2010, pp. 38-39

[167] Ibid.

[168] Sleivyte, 2010, p. 83

[169] Sleivyte 2010, pp. 38-39

[170] Lo, 2010 in Sleivyte, p. 71

[171] Adomeit, 2009, p. 108 (eds. Rowe and Torjesen)

[172] Ibid.

[173] Simon, 2008, p. 104 (ed. Braun)

[174] Allison, 2006, pp. 79-80; 84

[175] Ibid.

[176] The Berlin Plus Agreement:

[177] consider third part of analysis: ‘’5.7. Economic relations between Russia and the EU’’

[178] Sleivyte, 2010, p, 41

[179] ’’Paris-Berlin-Moscow-axis’’, represents the common view on Iraq between Chiraq (France), Schröder (Germany) and Putin (Russia)

[180] Kagan, 2007, p. 88

[181] ‘’Sovereignty no longer exclusively protects States from foreign interference; it is a charge of responsibility that holds States accountable for the welfare of their people.’’ UN:; under this principle, NATO intervened in Yugoslavia. On the other hand, NATO criticised Russia for its actions in Chechnya; double standards, hypocrisy hampered the relationship

[182] consider Appendix, figure 2


[184] established in 1972, ABM Treaty prohibited the deployment of national defenses against long-range ballistic missiles to prevent a offensive-defensive arms race; Arms Control Association:

[185] Poland, Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

[186] CFE Treaty, aimed at demilitarizing NATO and Warsaw Pact members for the purpose of a stable military balance of power in Europe:

[187] Sleivyte, 2010, p. 72

[188] Kagan, 2007, p. 15; Washington Post:

[189] The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, 2008

[190] Nygren, 2008, p. 159; see also: McCann, 2015, p. 372

[191] NATO:


[193] Spiegel:

[194] BBC:

[195] Bugajski, 2010, pp. 94-95

[196] NATO:; see also:

[197] BBC:

[198] BBC:

[199] Ibid.

[200] Ibid.

[201] concept of alter (lat: the other) as explained on page 13; Wendt (1992)

[202] NATO:

[203] Allison, 2006, p. 82; see also:

[204] applying the wording of Wendt (1992); as theorized on p. 13

[205] Godzimirski, 2005, p. 71 (eds. Hedenskog, Konnander, Nygren, Oldberg, Pursiainen)

[206] NATO-Russia Council, Rome Declaration:

[207] Alisson, 2006, p. 79

[208] Kagan, 2007, p. 19



[211] Kagan, 2007, p. 18

[212] Russia in Global Affairs:

[213] Kagan, 2007, p 71

[214] BRICS: intergovernmental association for strategic cooperation on key issues of world politics and the global economy;; see also:

[215] Tsygankov, 2016, p. 234 (ed. Wegren)

[216] President of Russia:

[217] Kievan Rus: the historical origins of today’s Russia date from Ukraine; consider Riasanovsky, 1999, pp. 23-28

[218] Brzezinski, 1997, p. 46

[219] The Guardian:

[220] Stratfor:

[221] Bloomberg:

[222] see appendix 3rd figure

[223] see appendix 4th figure

[224] see appendix 5th figure

[225] Mitrova in Lo, 2015, p. 28

[226] PCA, 1997, p. 7

[227] Kagan, 2007, p 17

[228] Energy Charter Treaty: signed in 1994 by Russia but never ratified as it would have opened up the energy sector to foreign investors; Lough in Lo, 2015 p. 85; see also: MacFarlane, 2008, p. 39

[229] oil company owned by Khodorkovsky, overtaken by the Russian state: Trenin, 2007, p. 92

[230] see appendix 6th figure

[231] Light, 2006, p 65

[232] Lo, 2015, p. 23; see also Slejvyte, 2010, pp. 31-33

[233] Sleivyte, 2010, p. 91

[234] North Stream project: a gas pipeline built in cooperation with Russian and German businesses (Gazprom and BASF etc.) between 2011-2012 with the aims of transmitting Russian gas to Germany while bypassing the Baltics, Poland and Ukraine; see Sleivyte, 2010, p. 91

[235] EU’s ‘’Third Energy Package’’: aims to create a single EU gas and electricity market in order to make the EU energy policies more cohesive and to become less dependent on Russian energy;

[236] Luong, 2012, p. 2

[237] South Stream: failed gas pipeline project connecting South Eastern Europe with Russia. Comparable to North Stream it was intended to decrease Ukraine’s leverage as a gas transit country;

[238] Trans Adriatic Pipeline: pumps oil/gas from the Caspian Sea through Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and then to the EU; aims to decrease EU’s dependency on Russian gas; replaced the Nabucco project in 2013;

[239] Tsygankov, 2016, p. 249 (ed. Wegren)

[240] see appendix 6th figure

[241] see appendix 13th figure

[242] European Commission:; see also: EurActiv:

[243] Deutsche Welle:

[244] Slieivyte, 2010, p. 33

[245] US Energy Information Administration:; today: 55-60%

[246] Chubais in Sleivyte, 2010, p.53; Chubais: CEO of unified energy system of Russia at that time and one of the former liberal reformers in the beginning of the 90s; he became a close supporter of Putin

[247] Kagan, 2007, p.23

[248] the concept of alter (Russia) and ego (EU) have institutionalized more and more

[249] Energy Charter:; see also:

[250] European Commission:

[251] BBC:

[252] European Commission:

[253] Zeit Online:

[254] Official Journal of the European Union:

[255] apart from the year 2009 when trade was effected by the global financial crisis

[256] mainly siloviki and friends from Putin’s past as a KGB official: as explained on page 22

[257] this might be comparable to the Cold War

[258] from the Russian point of view, all countries western of the today’s Kremlin’ influence (staring from the Baltics, ending with Portugal)

[259] Ukrcensus (2001):

[260] Stockholm International Peace Research Institute:

[261] European Commission (2015):

[262] European Commission (2015):

[263] Ibid.

[264] European Commission (2015):

[265] Deutsche Welle:

[266] Globalsummitryproject (2013):

[267] Wikipedia:

[268] UK Parliament (2009):

[269] NATO (2016):

[270] Levada-Center (1999-2016):

[271] World Bank Group, Russia Economic Report, No. 35, April 2016, p. 34

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EU and NATO's relationship with Russia between 2000 and 2016. How realism and constructivism help explain the deterioration during the Putin and Medvedev presidencies
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