Ideological Foundations of Russian Foreign Policy


  • Vasil Mirakishvili Free University of Tbilisi


politics, ideology, Russia, constructivism, Ukraine.


The article discusses the influence of the ideological and cultural characteristics on Russia’s foreign policy, which are the main features of Russian society and which were formed by the ruling forces over a long period at the different stages of the development of the Russian Empire.

Before Russia’s large-scale military aggression in Ukraine, international relations researchers mainly discussed Russia’s foreign policy in terms of the theory of political realism and the influence of ideological and cultural factors on Russia’s foreign policy behavior was either entirely rejected in their works, or they were given very little importance.

According to the representatives of the school of political realism, Russia would be satisfied with the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and the establishment of control over the eastern regions of Ukraine. Further large-scale aggression was not expected, as it would not be a rational and beneficial action for Russia itself. At the same time, the steps taken by Russia were viewed as a coercive response to the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance and the European Union, carried out to ensure security.

Contrary to the above-mentioned assertion, the political leadership of the Russian Federation still decided on a large-scale military invasion of Ukraine and, as it turned out later, had been preparing for a long time to take this step. Accordingly, the practical action of the Russian Federation revealed the weaknesses of the theory of political realism and showed that it is impossible to discuss the foreign policy behavior of the states only in realistic and rational frameworks, and there are other important factors influencing the foreign policy decisions of the states. Such factors are ideological and cultural features, beliefs, ideas, and opinions, which are widely shared by the population of a particular country and, at the same time, represent the mechanism of self-identification of the nation. Therefore, when discussing the foreign political behavior of states, it is more relevant to use “constructivist” approaches, according to which international politics is a human creation, not physical and material, but purely intellectual and ideological, while the international system is a collection of ideas, certain thoughts, systems of norms that are organized by certain people at a certain time and place. And if the thoughts and ideas that make up the international system change, then the system itself will also change because it exists in thought and ideas.

The discussion of the system of international relations and the behavior of states in this system in terms of “constructivism” sheds light on Russia’s seemingly irrational decisions and self-damaging actions, which in turn provides an opportunity to predict the foreign policy activity of revisionist states.



How to Cite

Mirakishvili, Vasil. 2023. “Ideological Foundations of Russian Foreign Policy”. Free University Journal of Asian Studies, no. 5 (December). Tbilisi.