Heterogeneity of the Notion of Interest in Accordance with the International Relations Theory: A Study of Russia’s National Interests

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Abstract

The category of a national interest is one of the most popular notions used in international relations. It has a polysemic character and is differently interpreted by various scientific perspectives. The purpose of this article is to provide a brief analysis of selected approaches of the theory of international relations to defining interests and correlating the interpretations of national interests of the Russian Federation performed on their bases. The choice of case study concerning the foreign policy of the Russian Federation is not accidental because in countries aspiring to gain world power the concept of national interest is raised while explaining the motives of decisions taken by their leaders exceptionally often. In this article, Russia’s interests will be discussed in reference to the annexation of the Crimea and Russia’s actions towards Ukraine. Those events vividly show the specificity of defining the national interests, based on one hand on the pursue to being a powerhouse and understanding the interests in the category of power and, on the other hand, resulting from the political identity of Russian elites. As a result, an assessment of the scientific utility of selected theoretical paradigms and their use in the analyses of Russia’s foreign policy will be outlined.

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