Russian domestic politics has long been both labyrinthine and pragmatic, at once both inordinately complex and breathtakingly dynamic. The same can be said of Russia's foreign policy, in particular in relations with former Soviet republics. Any study of Russian foreign policy comes back to the intriguing question of why Russia, long perceived as an inveterate imperial power, would refuse to take back a handsome portion of its former empire - a portion that offers a bridge to Europe and an advantageous geostrategic position. Despite formal declarations, Russia has made little progress in achieving union with its ex-Soviet neighbour, Belarus. Linking Russia's foreign policy to its domestic politics, Alex Danilovich clarifies this paradox and explains why specific attempts to reunify Russia and Belarus failed, contrary to the desires of significant forces on both sides and to certain theory-based expectations.
Contents: Foreword; Preface; Introduction; Explaining Foreign Policy - Domestic Politics Linkage: Explaining foreign policy - domestic politics linkage; Integration Under President Yeltsin: The 1994 Monetary Union Treaty; The 1995 Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation; The 1996 Treaty on a Community of Sovereign Republics; The 1997 Union Treaty; The 1998 Treaty on Equal Rights of Russian and Belarusian citizens; The 1999 Union State Treaty. Vladimir Putin and Integration: Facing the ballot; 2002-03: years of quarrels and reconciliations; Integration: business as usual. Conclusion; Bibliography; Appendix; Index.