Liaisons dangereuses - political relationships in the NATO, Russia and Ukraine triangle
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This study investigates the political interactions between three crucial actors on the European security arena: NATO, Russia and Ukraine. The point of departure is that Russian-Ukrainian relations are heavily dependent on the policy of NATO. Russia-NATO relations are likewise dependent on the position of Ukraine, and finally Ukraine-NATO relations are strongly influenced by Russian foreign policy. The term triangle is used in the report to illustrate this interdependence. In chapter one the dynamics of the security considerations in the triangle are analysed in a chronological manner from 1991 until today. Chapter two analyses Ukrainian foreign policy from 1994 until today, with a special emphasis on the relationship between foreign policy identity and dominant domestic economic interests. Chapter three analyses the absence of a coherent Russian strategy for how to prevent Ukraine – NATO rapprochement despite the domestic Russian consensus on this issue. We reach three broad conclusions in this study. First, geopolitical predicaments establish the frames within which states can act, but they are insufficient to predict foreign policy. This is especially the case in Russia. Second, economics is at least as decisive as security politics for forming the relations between the corners of the triangle, but both Russia and Ukraine seem to be able to handle contradictions between their economic and political orientations by operating according to contradictory logics simultaneously. And third, the NATO and the Western governments’ logic of integrating to stabilise is often not understood, neither in Russia nor in Ukraine.