Testing the Limits of Realism and Liberalism: Andrei Kozyrev and Russian Foreign Policy, 1990-1996.

Lannon, Gregory, Government - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Lynch, Allen, As-Dept Of Politics, University of Virginia

This dissertation examines the foreign policy of Andrei Kozyrev, who served as the foreign minister of first the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, and then of the Russian Federation, 1990-1996. This dissertation reconsiders the prevailing view of academic scholarship on Kozyrev’s foreign policy, with the aid of recently opened archival material in the United States, the Czech Republic, and in Russia. Although my research interest stems primarily from the experience of Russia in the post-Soviet period, the phenomenon of creating a new foreign policy in the context of political transition has far greater applicability than just Russia, as the creation of new states following the Arab Spring has made clear. This work is also important in terms of political science international relations theory, because while it does show that the traditional realist-liberal binary approach does have great explanatory power in describing Russo-Chinese and Russo-Japanese relations, it actually hinders the ability to understand Kozyrev’s policy of defending the rights of ethnic Russians and Russian-speakers in Estonia.

In this dissertation, I argue that the prevailing view in the academic literature on Kozyrev’s foreign policy—that Kozyrev was an unqualified liberal, that his policies failed, and that in general his policies failed because he as a liberal—is in serious need of revision. Based on a simple analytical framework based on the failure of Kozyrev’s policy in relation to Japan, this dissertation examined Russo-Chinese relations, Kozyrev’s policy of defending the rights of ethnic Russians and Russian-speakers, and re-visits the question of Russo-Japanese relations based on data derived from the first two case studies. The overall findings of these case studies shows that in relation to China, Kozyrev’s foreign policy can only be described as realist and pragmatist, and that in relation to defending the rights of Russian speakers and ethnic Russians in Estonia, his policy orientation was actually a blending of institutionalist and realist features. In relation to Japan, Kozyrev’s policy did not fail because he was overcome by domestic enemies or other institutional actors, but rather because he lacked sufficient counterweights to overcome President Yeltsin’s intervention in the diplomatic process.

The three case studies examined in this dissertation were approached using theory-oriented process tracing, allowing me to rigorously trace the causal process in each case study, and identify both the ideational foundation of the policies being examined and the relationship of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the Russian President, Boris Yeltsin—which emerged as the most important variable in the success of foreign policy outcomes. This dissertation and its findings helps shed light on Russian foreign policy making in the early to mid-1990s, and shows the importance of Kozyrev’s ability to “manage” President Yeltsin in the often chaotic Russian political process in order to achieve success. Based largely on recently available documents from both the United States, the Czech Republic, and the Russian Federation, which to my knowledge have yet to be exploited by any scholar, this study seriously challenges existing scholarship on who Andrei Kozyrev was and how he conceived, formulated and implemented foreign policy. After examining each of the case studies, this dissertation shows that while the traditional binary realist-liberal orientation in international relations theory does have explanatory power in relation to both Russo-Chinese and Russo-Japanese relations, it actually hinders scholarly efforts to describe Kozyrev’s foreign policy in relation to defending the rights of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in the Near Abroad. This work then shows that in relation to Kozyrev’s foreign policy, the international theory ideas of British scholar Martin Wight have far more explanatory power than the traditional binary, realist-liberal approach that characterizes traditional American political science scholarship.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Russian Federation, Foreign Policy, Andrei Kozyrev, Russo-Chinese relations, Russo-Japanese relations, Russo-Estonian relations, Realism, Liberalism, Institutionalist Theory, International Relations Theory, Martin Wight
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