Changing relations: Russia's relations with Ukraine and Belarus

McMahon, Margery A. (2000) Changing relations: Russia's relations with Ukraine and Belarus. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In the period of transition which followed the collapse of the USSR, the states of that region were forced to make many political and economic adjustments. A crucial part of the processes was the restructuring of relations among these formerly fraternal republics and as they became in 1991, independent states. For most states structuring relations with Russian became a priority since it is the largest and most dominant regional actor. Such relations are shaped by a number of factors including historical development, economic legacies and geopolitical concerns.

These issues have impacted upon the evolving relationship between Russia and its Slav neighbours, Ukraine and Belarus. Drawing on a common background in terms of historical political, economic and cultural development, Russia's relations with these states developed to the point where they were formalized in a Russian Belarusian Community (1996) and a Russian Ukrainian Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation (1997). The impetus for Russia to renegotiate its relations with the states on its western borders was strengthened by the proposed eastward expansion of NATO. Belarus and Ukraine however benefited from this. Belarus was guaranteed cheap supplies of Russian natural resources, vital for its economy, even if this came at the cost of ceding a degree of sovereignty. Ukraine, still excluded from European political and economic organizations was recognized by Russia as an independent state with significant regional influence. Russia secured a buffer zone on its western borders.

Russia's relations with Ukraine and Belarus are now qualitatively different. Ukraine has emerged as a potential ally and even future rival to Russia while Belarus has opted to become a Russian client state with, it appears, the ultimate goal of union with Russia.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Slavonic Studies
Supervisor's Name: Frisby, Mrs Tanya
Date of Award: 2000
Depositing User: Elaine Ballantyne
Unique ID: glathesis:2000-2457
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2011
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:55

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