Foreign Policy Orientations of the Russians: a New Turn

Foreign Policy Orientations of the Russians:
a New Turn

Gorshkov M.K.,

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Academician, Director, Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences. Moscow, Russia,

Petukhov V.V.,

Cand. Sci. (Philos.), Head of the Center for Comprehensive Social Studies, Institute of Sociology, Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences,

elibrary_id: 664339 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2015.02.02

For citation:

Gorshkov M.K., Petukhov V.V. Foreign Policy Orientations of the Russians: a New Turn. – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No. 2. P. 10-34. (In Russ.).


The authors’ research interests are focused at the analysis of the actual views of the Russians on the international reality and the place of Russia in it. The scholars pay special attention to the long-term dynamics of foreign policy orientations and views of citizens that have undergone serious transformation during the last few years under influence of the revaluation of Russia’s place in the world and the character of its relations with the states of near and far abroad as well as of the revaluation of the international status of the state in the 21st century, as changes in the domestic politics. In order to achieve this goal, the authors gradually solve several research tasks, studying – on the basis of extensive sociological data – the Russians’ core values in the sphere of the country’s foreign policy strategy, its relation to the Western states, cooperation and collaboration. The authors formulate an important idea: if some 10‑15 years ago, the category of the “West” was associated largely with the United States, nowadays, Europe as presented by NATO and the EU is perceived by Russians as an integrated with the U.S.A. symbiosis that is antagonistic to Russia. While backing the foreign policy course of the state leaders, the Russians, however, worry about the escalating tensions with the West. Most of them believe that Russia and the United States are coming back to the Cold War times. It was revealed that the level of mass confidence to the Europe, especially to the EU, is decreasing, that eventually leads to an increase of the number of Russians who doubt in ability of our state to be part of the European civilization and believe that modern Russia has a special vector of development. While speaking on the goals of the global policy of Russia, citizens tended to support the idea of Russia’s revival as a great power. But this idea is not associated with the revanchist sentiments or the nationalistic hysteria. The bulk of Russians consider that the status of the leading world power should be achieved by Russia not by means of an aggressive foreign policy, but by solving political, social, economic, and cultural problems, by guarantying of welfare and safety to its citizens. Evaluating the impact of the recent foreign policy developments on the mass Russian consciousness, the authors draw a conclusion that the myth of the “Russian imperialism,” triggered by events in the Crimea and South-Eastern Ukraine, is seriously excessive. Today, we are witnessing a dropping number of those Russians who believe that the goal of Russia’s revival as a superpower is realistic. Today, Russians tend to stick to a more realistic goal for Russia to join the most economically developed and politically influential world states. Post-reform generation of our citizens actually have no illusions about the real intentions of some Russia’s international partners in the world. At the same time, they are devoid of a “besieged fortress” syndrome. The vast majority of Russians support the idea of international cooperation, but only such a cooperation that has a positive impact on the well-being of the state. This attitude seems to remain dominant in the near future.

Russia; sociological survey; public opinion; foreign policy priorities; Cold War; the West; the East; Europe; great power; global threats.

Content No. 2, 2015

See also:

Sakwa R.,
The Crisis of World Order: Russia’s Impasse and Resistance. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No6

Kolosov V.A., Zotova M.V., Popov F.A., Gritsenko A.A., Sebentzov A.B.,
Russia’s Post-Soviet Borderzone in Between East and West (Analysis of Political Discourse). Part II: Looking East. – Polis. Political Studies. 2018. No5

Kazarinova D.B.,
Cold War and Peace: “Russia Against the Rest” and Four World Orders of R. Sakwa. – Polis. Political Studies. 2018. No4

Kolosov V.A., Zotova M.V., Popov F.A., Gritsenko A.A., Sebentzov A.B.,
Russia’s Post-Soviet Borderzone in Between East and West: Looking West (Analysis of Political Discourse). – Polis. Political Studies. 2018. No3

Karaganov S.A.,
Departure of Military Superiority of the West, and Geo-Economics. – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No6



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