Institute of East European Studies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
This article analyses Russian endorsement of the CFSP and the ESDP. Employing two competing paradigms, it presents two very different sets of arguments to explain this policy. First, relying on neorealist assumptions, it argues that Russian support for the CFSP and the ESDP has to be viewed in a context of Russia’s relative decline: working to restore its former position of influence in the international system, Moscow is encouraging the EU to continue development of the CFSP and the ESDP in the hope that these will eventually help undermine the so-called ‘unipolar trend’ led by NATO and the USA. Second, using constructivist insights, the article argues that post-Soviet Russia has undergone a fundamental transformation, which has given it a more ‘Western’ or ‘European’ identity. This has led Moscow to draw still closer to the EU – the organization widely regarded in Russia as the epitome of ‘Europe’ – and to welcome the continued development of the CFSP and the ESDP. The rationale behind this policy, then, is not to cause a weakening of the USA, but to build on the inclusive nature of the EU to help protect the norms now shared between ‘us’ and the former ‘them’.