Putin Confronts the West

The Logic of Russian Foreign Relations, 1999–2020


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About the Book

Russia’s surprising return to the world stage since 2000 has aroused the curiosity—if not the fear—of the West. Gradually, the Kremlin went from a policy of deference to foreign powers to acting with independence. The driver of this transformation was President Vladimir Putin, who with skillful caution navigated Russia back into the ranks of global powers. In theaters of conflict such as Georgia, Syria and Ukraine, the Kremlin won significant victories at little cost to consolidate its decisive position. Following a chronological approach from the fall of the Soviet Union to the present, this book draws on new documents to describe how Russia regained its former global prominence. Clear accounts of key decisions and foreign policy events—many presented for the first time—provide important insights into the major confrontations with the West.

About the Author(s)

René De La Pedraja, PhD, University of Chicago, has researched and written numerous publications. He is a professor of history at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.

Bibliographic Details

René De La Pedraja

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 297
Bibliographic Info: maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8499-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4240-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1

Part I. The Age of Illusions
1. The Collapse of an Empire 5
2. Turmoil and War in the “Near Abroad” 15
3. The West and the First Chechnya War 28
4. The New Architecture for Relations with the West 33
5. Ukraine: Deceptive Calm 43
6. The Turning Point: Kosovo 51

Part II. From Acquiescence to Resistance
7. The Second Chechnya War and Islamic Radicalism 61
8. Bridges to the West 69
9. Russia and the U.S. Invasion of Iraq 76
10. Seeking Friendships 81
11. Russia in the Middle East 89
12. The West on the Offensive 96
13. Response to the Color Revolutions 105
14. Skirmishes with the West 113
15. Countdown to Collision 120
16. The Five Day War with Georgia 128
17. The Response of the West to the War 140
18. Friends in the Caucasus 147

Part III. Russia Ascendant
19. A Foreign Ministry for a World Power 157
20. The Reset in U.S. Relations with Russia 165
21. The Reset in the Near Abroad 172
22. Growing Divergences with the West 181
23. Crisis in Ukraine 190
24. Reprisals Over Ukraine 204
25. Russia on the Offensive 211
26. The Russian Diplomatic Campaign 221
27. The Rollercoaster of U.S.-Russia Relations 229

Chapter Notes 237
Annotated Bibliography 279
Index 281

Book Reviews & Awards

• “As Russia is increasingly seen as taking an adversarial approach toward the West, there is a growing literature attempting to analyze and explain the country’s foreign policy evolution under Vladimir Putin. This book by De La Pedraja is a valuable addition to this scholarly enterprise. …this book provides empirically rich and detailed historical contextualization of contemporary Russian foreign policy’s strident turn beyond the simplistic and conventional explanation of ‘Putin’s aggression.’ …a welcome contribution that enhances the understanding of the evolving relationship between Russia and the West, especially the US….recommended”—Choice

• “A fascinating overview of Russian foreign policy informed first and foremost by Russian logic and narratives of international relations. Such a Russian-centric approach is arguably rare in Western academic writing, and in it lies the value of the book as a guide to the Russian view of the world and international relations.”—Europe-Asia Studies