This article suggests that both the EU and Russia sought to achieve the great power status by enhancing their presence in the post-Soviet space. Conflict has arisen as the status seeking efforts of the two have been transformed into a dangerous zero-sum game. Moscow’s actions in Ukraine prompted the EU to adopt a more conflictual attitude, where it now actively aims to counteract Moscow’s influence. This transformed Russia and the EU’s status seeking efforts into a deep security dilemma. Both actors perceive that maintaining their influence in the region is crucial for maintaining their status. Rather than seeking a mutually and sustainable agreement that would give equal importance to Ukraine’s interests, the EU and Russia draw more red lines, and revert to cold war rhetoric. In the short term this behaviour will put their status seeking efforts even more at odds with each other and deepen the conflict.
Global Affairs (May 2016)
Russia and the EU’s quest for status: the path to conflict in the post-Soviet space
by Cristian Nitoiu (2016)
About the author
Cristian Nitoiu is a Dahrendorf Postdoctoral Fellow on Europe-Russia relations.