Competing Strategies: The Russian Federation vs. the European Union and the United States through Georgia and Ukraine
Publication Type:Journal article preview
Source:Connections: The Quarterly Journal, Volume 22, Issue 1, p.53-65 (2023)
Keywords:European Security, European Union, foreign policy, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, United States
This article analyzes the shaping and transformation of the post-Soviet security thinking of Georgia and Ukraine in the context of the post-Soviet Russian foreign policy in the near abroad, often designated as a legitimate sphere of Russian influence, and the competition between Russia and the EU and the US in the region. After the Rose Revolution of Georgia and the Orange Revolution of Ukraine, these two countries’ independent/pro-Western orientation became the main issues securitized by the Russian Federation. Correspondingly, the preservation of territorial integrity became the top security issue for Georgia (since the early 1990s), and it became so for Ukraine after the Crimean occupation (March 2014) and the renewed armed hostilities across the entirety of Ukraine since February 2022. The changes in the internal politics of these countries were transposed into the international competition between Russia and the EU/US, expressed through the clash of “Sovereign Democracy” and “Color Revolution” paradigms for the future of post-Soviet states in the 2010s and transformed into active military measures in Ukraine since 2020s and through the so-called creeping annexation of Georgia since 2010s. Practically, these are the tools of maintaining the Russian influence on the one hand and opposing the Western values and power influence, supported firstly by the European Neighborhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership projects and secondly by granting candidate status to Ukraine in 2022. Russia’s military actions against Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2014-2023), a response to the soft power applied by the West, aimed at the creation of buffer zones in the shape of “frozen conflicts,” which could be used as indirect leverage in the hands of the Russian Federation to block the Western aspirations of Georgia and Ukraine.