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Atoms for Peace? Explaining Variance in Rosatom’s Behaviour from an Ontological Security Perspective
Международные отношения в Евразии
Theories abound on the role of energy as a lever of influence in Russian foreign policy. Despite this, relatively little attention has been paid to nuclear energy in the same context. In Ukraine and Turkey, the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation – Rosatom – defied its goal of staying out of politics. A similar paucity of research exists into the Russian state’s pursuit of ontological security. This dissertation seeks to answer the puzzle of Rosatom’s unusually assertive behaviour by identifying the causal factors which drove the corporation’s engagement in Ukraine and Turkey. It is hypothesised that this behaviour is explained when viewed as a response to a challenge to Russia’s great power status. This explanation is reached in three stages, through an ‘explaining-outcome’ research design. First, the constituent parts of Russia’s great power status as it relates to Ukraine and Turkey are unearthed. A challenge to this status is identified in both cases, and the utilisation of Rosatom is located within the Russian response to this challenge. In Ukraine, the Maidan Revolution crystallised the challenge to Russia’s civilizational narrative which was initially brought forward by the EU’s Eastern Partnership programme. In Turkey, the downing of a Russian jet challenged Russian strategic autonomy in the Syrian conflict, forcing the state to re-evaluate its perception of Turkey as a reliable economic partner. In both cases, Rosatom represented a channel of potential influence which could be applied with minimal economic damage. This dissertation argues that, where Russian great power status is not respected, the state responds in a manner which balances its ontological security needs against the potential damage to its material interests.
Текст работы (работа добавлена 14 мая 2017г.)