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Causal Factors of Russian Aggression Against Former Soviet Republics

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Technical Report

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Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center Montgomery United States

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This study seeks to build a more complete perspective on the reasons for Russian aggression in its geopolitical region. The author distinguishes three main contributing factors to the aggression Russias cultural propensities Russian Idea, the worsening relations with the West, and the rise of Russian nationalism. To gain an insight into the Russian cultural propensities, the study turns to the works of the distinguished Russian philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries Nicolai Berdyaev, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. They emphasize such fixtures of Russian Mind as messianism, universalism, the juxtaposition of Western and Russian values, and the tradition of suffering in the hands of Western powers. Russias cultural propensities are that of a superpower, an independent player, a leader not a follower. However, when Russia lost its superpower status after the Cold War, the attempts of converting it to the follower of the liberal hegemony resulted in a backlash of the resurgent nationalism. Nationalism, boosted by the state propaganda machine, introduced irrational components into Russias foreign and domestic policies and justified a consolidated image of an enemy in the face of the US. The ensuing tacit approval of authoritarianism under the conditions of a perceived war, domestic opposition vilification as the agent of the enemy, the outward aggression in an attempt to save Russians and allies are the consequences of the nationalistic narrative born of Russias failure to enforce its status on the world stage after the collapse of the Soviet Union. To avoid further aggression and the worsening of the US-Russia relations, the offshore balancing strategy is the most appropriate US response.

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  • Government and Political Science

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