The quest for status: how the interplay of power, ideas, and regime security shapes Russia’s policy in the post-Soviet space


The aim of this article is to analyze how power, ideas, and domestic factors contribute to Russia’s goal of status recognition. The article focuses in particular on Moscow’s policies and actions in the post-Soviet area. Toward this end, it looks at recent developments in Russia’s policy toward Ukraine, including the developments leading to the annexation of Crimea and events after the signing of the Minsk II agreement. Relatedly, it also addresses the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union. Finally, it looks at Moscow’s policy toward Georgia since the 2008 war. In short, the article seeks to understand how Russia’s status ambitions—underpinned by power politics, ideas, and domestic factors—shape its foreign policy behavior in the post-Soviet area.

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  1. 1.

    According to the SIPRI Report on World Military Spending (2017), Russia increased its military spending by 5.9% in 2016 to $69.2 billion, becoming the third largest spender in the world after the USA and China.

  2. 2.

    Polls conducted by the Levada Centre and the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM) converge on this assessment. VCIOM conducted a survey in December 2017, according to which 83.6% approve the work of the Russian president (VCIOM 2017). The Levada Centre poll points to a rating of 7/10 of Putin’s presidency (Levada Centre 2017).

  3. 3.

    To this day, the new designation has not been officially adopted.


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Correspondence to Maria Raquel Freire.

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Freire, M.R. The quest for status: how the interplay of power, ideas, and regime security shapes Russia’s policy in the post-Soviet space. Int Polit 56, 795–809 (2019).

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  • Russia
  • Status
  • Power
  • Ideas
  • Regime security