Well argued and balanced, Leichtova provides an alternative and more constructive understanding of what drives Russian foreign policy. The book is based on the concepts of constructivism and orientalism in international relations to analyse the policies of the Russian Federation. This book highlights that Russian foreign policy is a complex phenomenon constructed from internal as well as external developments, perceptions and expectations. At the same time, it also highlights that Western states are the most significant Other in construction of the Russian foreign policy and even Russian identity and, at the same time, actively create an 'image of Russia' in international politics which is widely based on their own Western assumptions about the country. The author introduces the reader to an alternate portrayal of relations between Russia and the West which all analysts should take into consideration before drawing conclusions.
Magda Leichtova is Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Her research focuses on the Russian transformation, Russian foreign policy and International Relations theories. She was the Project Leader for the ESF grant on modernizing teaching methods and the Principal Investigator in several research projects. She has been Deputy Head of Department since 2011.
’Current academic thought on the foreign policy of Russia, as well as the common understanding of the Kremlin's behaviour in international relations, is still dominated by realist or neo-realist IR scholars. This book importantly contributes to the perception of "the Russian phenomena" as it ambitiously adds new dimensions to the understanding of modern Russian foreign policy - a policy which cannot be reduced to the saying "Gde neft i gaz, tam pravda i vlast" (Where oil and gas - there is justice and power) anymore.’ Rok ZupanÄiÄ, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia ’This book is a refreshing approach to Russia since 1989, posing at the outset that in large, weak economies hard power policies may in fact reflect a basic weakness of political economy. Most foreign policy analysis rejects the impact of pressures stemming from changes or problems in the domestic environment, seeing foreign policy rather as an outcome of international games and strategies, where the first are chaotic, the latter at best prompt. In contrast Magda Leichtova emphasises domestic social constructions as much more than providing nuances to existing trajectories - domestic issues might be more formative than the international environment under certain circumstances, including those faced by Russia in recent decades. In this compelling account, Leichtova argues that the classical models of policy do not adequately address the ramifications of the differing configurations between domestic and international forces that resulted from late development.’ Ian Inkster, SOAS, UK