Russia and Peaceful Change: From Gorbachev to Putin

Andrej Krickovic*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Over the last four decades, Russia has been at the very center of peaceful change in international relations. Gorbachev's conciliatory New Thinking (NT) fundamentally transformed international relations, ending the Cold War struggle and dismantling the Soviet empire and world communist movement. Contemporary Russia is at the forefront of the transition away from American unipolarity and toward what is believed will be a more equitable and just multipolar order. Over time, Russia has moved away from the idealism that characterized Gorbachev's NT and toward a more hard-nosed and confrontational approach toward peaceful change. The chapter traces this evolution with a particular emphasis on the role that Russia's unmet expectations of reciprocity and elevated status have played in the process. If they are to be successful, future efforts at peaceful change will have to find ways to address these issues of reciprocity and status, especially under circumstances where there are power asymmetries between the side making concessions and the side receiving them. Nevertheless, despite its disappointments, Russia's approach to change remains (largely) peaceful. Elements of NT, including its emphasis on interdependence, collective/mutual security, and faith in the possibility of positive transformation, continue to be present in modern Russian foreign policy thinking.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of peaceful Change in International Relations
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780190097356
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cold War
  • Gorbachev
  • Putin
  • Russia
  • reciprocity
  • status


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