Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

International Relations

Reader 1

Hilary Appel

Reader 2

Larissa Rudova

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© 2012 Kelsey L. O'Neal

Abstract

Twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation has struggled to construct a new foreign policy paradigm in a world that is no longer bipolar. Instead of the Cold War era arms stockpiles, Moscow has signed multiple Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (START), and instead of physically taking over neighboring territories, increasing diplomacy and economic incentives have become Moscow’s primary tool to garner and maintain influence in its near abroad. Soft power initiatives, that can all roughly fit into a foreign aid model, from the Russian Federation to the near abroad come in different forms: oil subsidies, aid in kind, and direct financial investment. The Russian Federation has used all three of these strategies in Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Union in an attempt to keep the country in its sphere of influence. The use of foreign aid, be it oil subsides, aid in kind, or direct financial aid, all work towards the same goal of promoting Russian policies and interests in the near abroad. Ukraine, with its unique political, cultural and geographical importance, demonstrates the new struggle between Russia and the West. The struggle’s main actors are the Russian Federation against the eastern half of NATO and the EU, and the conclusion is unclear. Foreign aid and soft power are now playing a critical role in the outcome.

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