Looking inside the Kremlin through the lens of identity, this study focuses on the relationship between Russia & Belarus. As an increasingly liberal identity made itself manifest throughout the Medvedev presidency, relations continually soured with Belarus. This book seeks to uncover the nature of this relationship, & in a broader context seeks to uncover the significance of identity in politics. More
On September 24, 2011, it was announced that Putin would run for president once again in 2012. The reaction in the West was that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” The Western conception of the post-Cold War Russia is often one of remarkable consistency since the turn of the century. This Western narrative focuses on an autocratic Putin reigning over his resurgent and confrontational Russia. Does this narrative tell the story of Russia today, or does it instead obscure it? To answer this I have elected to analyze Russian identity and how it relates to Russia’s foreign policy with Belarus, traditionally a close ally of Russia. Analyzing news articles from state-owned Russia Today, I look at changes in reporting and Russian identity over time. I argue that a shift in Russian identity towards a more liberal outlook between 2006 and 2010 motivated a degradation of relations with Belarus. I argue that once the simplified narrative of a resurgent Russia is peeled back, a closer look reveals competing identities and competing interest groups in Russia’s domestic arena. Finally I conclude that not only does identity play a pivotal role in Russia’s relations, but also that researching identity is important in that it gives us a window into a fairly closed regime that lies at the center of the global stage. Discovering how Russian identity reacts to and influences foreign policy can offer insight into the domestic framework of contemporary Russia, as well as offer us an understanding of how central ideas are to crafting the world around us.
I am a recent graduate from the University of Central Florida with a master's degree in political science/international relations. I specialized in the study of political violence and Russian foreign policy.