- ロシア・東欧研究 (ISSN:13486497)
- vol.2020, no.49, pp.62-81, 2020 (Released:2021-06-12)
This essay sheds light on Soviet and Russian Foreign Policy through use of the “critical geopolitical” concept of the “geo-code.” A state’s “geo-code” refers to the construction of narratives regarding its own space and history over time. Borrowing from Klaus Dodd’s ideal-type categories, which he uses to explain geo-coded narratives of British policy (“little England,” “cosmopolitan,” “European” and “American”), this paper proposes to utilize combinations of four ideal-type categories, “Atlantic/European,” “ethnic Russian,” “Eurasian” and “super power,” in order to analyze and explain Soviet and Russian foreign policy.The first section applies the metaphor of a photograph to the memoirs of several foreign policy leaders: Andrei Gromyko and Eduard Shevardnadze in the Soviet-era; and Andrei Kozyrev, Evgenii Primakov and Serghei Ivanov in contemporary Russia. The paper shows how the composite image of Russia held by these individuals shaped the state’s foreign policy. It also stresses that different concepts of sovereignty have been sustained or reconstructed within Soviet/Russian international law theories in dialogue with changes in images held by the foreign policy leader.The latter half of the paper further develops this theory in order to apply it to Putin’s current Russian foreign policy perception of Northeast Asia, and particularly of China and Japan. From the late Soviet period under Gorbachev to the early Russian period of Yeltsin, Japan was considered as one of the “rising” powers able to aid Russia’s political and economic transition, and it was widely recognized that the relationship would be facilitated by a peace treaty resolving the territorial issue between the two countries. However, following reconciliation between Russia and China, China became the more important partner for Russia, not only in Northeast Asia but also throughout Eurasia.Following its disengagement with the West after the Ukraine crisis in 2014, Russia’s image of itself as close to “Europe” slipped, while that of the state as “ethnic Russian” and “Eurasian” that must become a “great power” to oppose the US was emphasized. This has meant that Japan is no longer an essential partner from the viewpoint of Russia’s dominant foreign policy images. In turn, the significance of China has increased and developed for Russia beyond the two countries historical “love-hate” relationship. Not only policy makers but also ordinary people look to China as Russia’s “No.1” partner, while the United States is its indefatigable “enemy.” There is no room for Japan in this picture while Japan remains so dependent on the US for security matters.In the conclusion, the paper debunks the myths associated with “classical geopolitics,” which associate foreign policy solely with perceptions of state power and geography. It shows that a “geo-politics” which links the positivist and constructive approaches, and which seeks to account for various analytical scales—from micro to macro, below/beyond the state—can analyze foreign policy change more effectively.