Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Julie George

Subject Categories

International Relations


Russia, foreign policy, Near Abroad, Putin, Yeltsin, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova


This master thesis sets out to explain the complex nature and variation in Russian foreign policy in Near Abroad states from the collapse of the USSR in December 1991 and the accession of Boris Yeltsin to the end of Vladimir Putin’s third term as President of the Russian Federation. I analyze Russian foreign policy through the lenses of cultural, external, domestic and institutional determinants. Due to the limit of the paper, I look at three “frozen” conflicts that Russia got involved into since the dissolution of the USSR – Transnistria (Moldova) in 1992, Abkhazia (Georgia) in 2008, Crimea (Ukraine) in 2014 (although there are more “frozen” conflicts: Nagornyi Karabakh in Azerbaijan, for example). The goal is to assess what affects the dichotomies of continuity and change, consensus and conflict, and variation in making foreign policy decisions in regards neighboring states, specifically Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. My argument is that the change in understanding the role of Russia in the world among Russian political elite and the formation of a new strong national identity during Putin administration led to a variation in Russian foreign policy in solving different conflicts in the same region of near abroad countries from being passive and indecisive in 1992 when an understanding of Russia’s national identity was conflicted, to being an assertive and insistent as the idea of Russia’s role in the world has strengthened among Russian political elite.