The Legacy of Empire For Russia

The Legacy of Empire for Russian Foreign Policy

On June the 28th we hosted an online panel discussion with distinguished academics across the EU and Russia on the Legacy of Empire for Russian Foreign Policy.

Russian Foreign Policy has often been heavily intertwined with that of its neighbours, be they part of a formal empire, a union, or within spheres of influence. However, with a growing understanding of post-socialist and post-colonial studies in the region, we take another look at the Legacy of Empire and its influence on contemporary Russian policy abroad, with interventions in almost all neighbours in the post-soviet space.
We were proud to present:
  • Professor Viacheslav Morozov: Professor of Eu-Russia Studies at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu
  • Dr. Aude Merlin, Lecturer at the Department of Political Science at the Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Professor Vladislav Zubok: Professor of International History at the London School of Economics
We were extremely happy to host them for this roundtable and you can find the full recording of the event here and on YouTube.

Event Recap by Stephan Raab

Looking at the map it is hardly possible to overlook the Russian Federation, a country spanning over two continents, connecting the Baltic Sea and the Pacific Ocean, extending from the Artic up to the Black Sea. However, nowadays, the heydays of old Soviet times seem to be gone. Where does Mother Russia locate itself in a global post-cold war world? Discussing the legacy of empire for Russian foreign policy, the Institute for Greater Europe has organized a new event as part of the Europe Lab in corporation with the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum.

This panel was joined by distinguished academics and renowned practitioners in the field of EU-Russia studies, including Professor Viacheslav Morozov, professor for EU-Russia studies at the Johan Skytte Institute Tartu, as well as Professor Vladislav Zubok, professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Dr. Aude Merlin, lecturer at the Department of Political Science at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Each panelist provided an individual insight into the trajectories of Russian foreign policy, emphasizing the still geopolitical importance of Russia. Facing the demand for energy supply as the European Union depending upon, the Russian Federation and its abundance of natural resources those are still important factors to be considered, when dealing with this area of international relations.

Besides that, the discussion revealed the importance of contemporary history such as the Soviet Union and its demise, still shaping the perception and the behaviour of Russia in setting up its foreign policy. Considering the turbulences and ruptures of globalization after the end of the cold war, this discussion revealed the external demands and internal discussions of the Russian Federation, presenting the geographically speaking biggest country on the globe, searching for its position in that global map, in other words searching its strategy between the legacy of an empire and the desire to be considered as a global player. Facing rising interest in post-socialist and post-colonial studies, it can be assumed, that those debates about Russia´s global approach will be continued.