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Using theories to explain the annexation of Crimea by Russia

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ngọc trương

on 8 August 2015

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Transcript of Using theories to explain the annexation of Crimea by Russia

Using theories to explain the annexation of Crimea by Russia
by Ngoc Truong
- Each state is an actor in the arena of world politics.
- It is impossible to predict and explain an actor's actions.
- A range of theories is needed in an attempt to explain and conceptualize states' intentions
- Classical realism, the structural realism, the liberalism, and contructivism are being used to explain the annexation of Crimea by Russia
Using Theories in Explaining States' Actions
- Crimea was internationally recognized as territory of Ukraine. (BBC News)
- In March 2014, Russia used military force to annex Crimea into the land of Russia, causing strong reactions from the world, condemning the act as illegal and violating the world rules. (Macias)
- Ukraine at that time just went through a revolution that the president escaped to Russia. The political environment was instable. (Macias)
Historical Background
- It is a natural tendency for state to pursue power. (Lebow, 2013)
- Restrains that prevent states from going to war are power ratio, allies, and distance and size. (Lebow, 2013)
- Russia wants to achieve a hegemonic status in the region. Its status as a strong power in the past reinforces its desire to be a strong power now
- Ukraine was almost unable to defend, since it just went through a revolution and the political atmosphere was still chaotic.
Classical Realism Theory
- Russia and Ukraine were not allies.
- Ukraine is a neighbor of Russia

Advantages: The constrains did not exist in this case, annexation is an expected result.
Disadvantages: Other factors are not mentioned
Structural Realism Theory
- States that states pursue power because the anarchic structure of the world politics requires it to do so. (Mearsheimer, 2013)
- States can “inflict harm on its neighbour” and “States can never be certain about the intentions of other states”. (Mearsheimer, 2013)
- Russia did not know about the intention of Ukraine, and vice versa.
- Russia wants to show other states that it is powerful and is capable of defend.

Advantages: The theory can explain the motivation of Russia. Its main reason is for security in the area.

Disadvantages: It fails to take the current world politics into consideration, the world has rules and a system of check and balance to prevent a state from accumulate too much power.
Liberalism Theory
- States are capable of cooperating and achieving peace through participating in common international organizations, trading, and democratic governments. (Russett, 2013)
- Democracy: Corruption has been prevalent in Ukraine. Russia in the past was a communist state.
- Trading: Ukraine has to depend on the world for some financial assistance, so trading between Ukraine and Russia does not constitute a big fraction in Russian economy.
- Organizations: No common participation

Advantages: Successfully predicts that the lack of three restrains leads to conflict and war.

Disadvantage: Does not consider the power and the intrinsic drive of Russia.
Constructivism Theory
- “International relations is a social construction” (Fierke, 2013)
- The sovereinty of Russia and Ukraine was ocially constructed, and each state may construct and interpret differently.
- Russia: Crimea was part of it territory; therefore, claiming it back is rightful and justified.
- The rest of the world has its own idea construction and different interpretations of the action, which drive different responses.
- Offers a completely different analysis and inquiry method.
- Captures the dynamic nature of the states, that they do not follow a set of rules and they also have their own history that shape the action.

Disadvantage: Russia can make excuses for its wrong doing by asserting that it interprets the situation differently.
- Any single theory cannot adequately explain the intention and action of Russia.
- Classical realists are likely to predict that Russia will come to self destruction as states form allies to stop its power expansion.
- Liberals may think when Russia is more democratic, the trading between Ukraine and Russia improves, international organizations facilitate open communication between these two states, two states can be more peaceful with each other.
"Crimea Profile - Overview - BBC News." BBC News. BBC Monitoring, 13 Mar. 2015. Web. 8 Aug. 2015.

Fierke, K. M.. (2013-01-03). International Relations Theories. Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Lebow, Richard. (2013-01-03). International Relations Theories. Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Macias, Amanda. "A Detailed Look at How Russia Annexed Crimea." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 8 Aug. 2015.

Mearsheimer, John. (2013-01-03). International Relations Theories. Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Russett, Bruce. (2013-01-03). International Relations Theories. Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

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