Throughout history Russia has had an ambiguous relationship with the Western world. Sometimes the West has been vilified as a threat or an enemy, and other times it has been held up by Russians as a model to emulate. Russia and the West have never treated each other with
indifference, and this love/hate relationship is in full force today. Historical memories and parallels abound in popular discussions. In this course, we will examine why this has been the case and what it means for Russian foreign and security policy today. Drawing on contributions from philosophers, historians and international relations scholars and practitioners, we will examine whether Russia’s interaction with the West has been driven by realist great power considerations, by a cultural cycle of Orthodox Slavic nationalism or “Eurasianism” vs. pro-Western internationalism, by domestic economic pressures, or by the idiosyncratic visions and interests of individual Russian leaders—and in turn, how choices made by the West have affected all of these things.
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