After the debacle of the Soviet Union in 1991 and its dissolution, the loss of its sphere of influence in Central an Eastern Europe, the economic and political woes of the 1990’s as well as lowed failures in its foreign and security policies (the 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo and the First Chechen War), Russia has begun quite forcefully to assert itself again as a great power in the international system. It has become evident that Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin is no longer the sick man of Europe, but on the contrary we are now dealing with a different Russia, one that has managed to put an end to its internal instability, has become quite prosperous and has an active foreign policy that befits a great power.
In this article I will argue that EU’s relations with the Russian Federation are at a crossroads, with the latter gaining leverage while the former has trouble finding an adequate response to this challenge.
The differences between two actors stem from two quite different perceptions of world politics and diplomacy. Russia sees international politics from a realist perspective emphasising power politics and strategic cooperation while the EU is advancing a post-Westphalian agenda of international politics based on shared norms and values. These different approaches and understandings of the international system have lead to an impasse in EU-Russian relation.