Explaining Russian foreign policy towards the EU through contrasts

Abstract

This article looks at various theoretical approaches to Russia–EU relations and ways to explain the evolution and current rupture of the relationship. The article’s purpose is to assess the relevance of different explanatory factors and to what extent they are complementary rather than competitive. It is argued that the best way of assessing and organizing the various explanations is through a contrastive, counterfactual approach to causation. Moreover, the article suggests that pragmatic interests of knowledge should guide studies of Russia–EU relations and that scholars ought to strike a middle ground between parsimony and holism.

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Correspondence to Tuomas Forsberg.

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Forsberg, T. Explaining Russian foreign policy towards the EU through contrasts. Int Polit 56, 762–777 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41311-018-0166-9

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Keywords

  • Russia
  • European Union
  • Foreign policy
  • Contrastive explanation
  • Counterfactuals