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Russia's Ontological Security: Comparative Narratives of China in SCO and BRICS

Student: Olga Borgolova

Supervisor: Sergei Akopov

Faculty: Saint-Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Area Studies

Educational Programme: Business and Politics in Modern Asia (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2021

In my scientific inquiry, I focus on analyzing Russia’s position dedicated to bilateral cooperation with China. Russia-China bilateral relations are widely taken to be one of the critical synonyms to Eurasian interaction. Since both states promote closer and more open regional cooperation, such international formats as the SCO and BRICS have become platforms to implement the idea. To study the SCO and BRICS in my research, I pay attention to Russian foreign policy think tanks and their expertise. It should be noted that Russian narratives of China and the bilateral cooperation within the SCO and BRICS are not homogeneous. There is as much inspiration as there is anxiety. I use textual data from Russian major foreign policy publications think tanks to reveal discursive frames, narratives, and cognitive connections between them. Additionally, I compare the narratives about China’s role in the SCO and BRICS. Furthermore, I conduct interviews with experts from the think tanks to figure out whether they consider Russia ontologically secured or not when dealing with China in the SCO and BRICS. I come up with the idea that the narratives of China’s role in the SCO and BRICS serve the purpose of Russia’s ontological security. The concept relies on associating the sense of continuity and order in international relations with a state’s self-identity.

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