Hedging and Wedging: Strategies to Contest Russia’s Leadership in Post-Soviet Eurasia
Consecutive Russian leaderships have attempted to project power and influence in its “near abroad”. From Moscow’s perspective, all post-Soviet countries only have limited sovereignty. However, Russia’s declining economic power and the interest of the ruling elites in the Eurasian countries to consolidate sovereignty lead to different contestation strategies. The success of these strategies depends on the countries’ resources, their geographic proximity to external players, and their elites’ bargaining abilities. In this chapter, the author illustrates the attempts by secondary or tertiary states in Eurasia to contest Russia’s leadership ambitions and identifies the key motivations behind Eurasian contestation. The chapter categorizes the different types of contestation strategies. The more Russia tries to dominate its post-Soviet neighbors, the more it will push the countries further away.
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