, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 345–361 | Cite as

Realism Versus Constructivism in Their Competition for Dominance in Politics: The Case of Russia

  • Alexey AlyushinEmail author
  • Helena Knyazeva
Original Paper


This article focuses on the general theoretical issue of realism versus constructivism (or normativism) in politics, with a case of the present-day Russia as the main and most telling (but not the only) example. We present four assertions that we are going to defend. First, we claim that in the sphere of international relations, political realism of the offensive type, after decades of more tempered USA–USSR relations, is again challenging its opponent: political constructivism. Second, political realism is winning in the sphere of domestic politics and policy in the leading countries as well. Third, we touch upon theoretical issues and discuss the ontological nature of political realism in comparison with political constructivism and the kindred of the latter with normativism, legalism, constitutionalism and liberalism. Political constructivism as a concept is underestimated and rarely used. Our article explicates the concept of political constructivism, which is a novel contribution to political theory and political philosophy. Fourth, we show that political constructivism, being the most advanced achievement of political civilization compared to archaic realism, has not lost the game so far and should be upheld in its battle with the remnants of the wild political past. Sliding back to political realism would turn humankind into another degraded animal species instead of making it the pilot in continuing human progress.


Political realism Political constructivism Authoritarianism John Locke Russia Ukraine USA Refugees State borders Power 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PhilosophyNational Research University ‘Higher School of Economics’MoscowRussia

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