The CIS Factor in Russia-West Relations: Origins of Conflict

Author: Nadezhda ARBATOVA

Abstract. This article is devoted to the role of the CIS factor in the relations between Russia and the West (USA/NATO and the EU). The causes of the current crisis are rooted in the evolution of these relations in the previous two decades, which were marked by differences in two interconnected spheres. These are diametrically opposite views of the two sides on the post-bipolar system of European security and on the place of the CIS countries in this system. As the Caucasus crisis of 2008 and the conflict around Ukraine in 2014 showed, the post-Soviet space has become an apple of discord and an arena of rivalry between Russia and the West. The analysis of the causes of this phenomenon, primarily the mistakes of Russia and its CIS partner countries, as well as of the West after the collapse of the USSR, is the main objective of this article. Looking into the sources of the current crisis has intransient significance for the future of Europe. The Ukrainian conflict has demonstrated the danger of new dividing lines appearing in Europe. Russia's policy in the post-Soviet space has been and remains the main factor that will influence the development of Russia's relations with the West. Conversely, Western policy on the territory of the CIS will determine its relations with Russia.

Keywords: CIS, Russia, GUAM, European Union, European Neighborhood Policy, Eastern Partnership, Caucasian crisis, Ukrainian conflict, NATO expansion, the USA, models, scenarios, security strategy, defense, foreign policy.

DOI: 10.31857/S013454860005118-7

N. Arbatova, D. Sc. (Political Science), Head of Department at Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IM-EMO). E-mail: This article has been prepared within the project "Formation of a Polycentric World Order: Risks and Opportunities for Russia", Program of Fundamental Research of OGPMO RAN No. 22 "Analysis and Forecast of New Global Challenges and Opportunities for Russia." It was first ...

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