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International Relations Theories and Russia Russia’s Tragic Great Power Politics

Robert E. Hamilton, 2019, Foreign Policy Research Institute
Many Western scholars studying Russia and policymakers dealing with Russia have long found it an exhausting and bewildering endeavor. Winston Churchill famously described it in 1939 as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” More recently, Bobo Lo noted that Russia’s enduring characteristics include “an abiding sense of greatness and strategic entitlement; suspicions toward outside influences; an imperial mentality; and a profound political and moral conservatism.” Olga Oliker has observed that Russia will always have a definition of its minimal security requirements that is out of the norm for a 21st-century European power. …