An introduction to the special issue on Russian foreign policy prepared by a team based at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. We begin with an overview of some of the contesting views about the dynamics and drivers of Russian foreign policy and some of the key theories. We then present the substantive arguments of the contributors, assessing how they fit into the overall pattern of understanding the key issues in Russian foreign policy and larger global concerns. The Introductions ends with some broader considerations, noting the tension between ‘declinist’ and ‘revivalist’ approaches to Russia today, and suggest that the contributions on the whole steer a cautious path between extreme representations of these two perspectives, while warning of the dangers of triumphalism. We argue that Russian and Russian-based views can make a specific and important contribution to larger debates about the dynamics of Russian foreign policy and Russia’s contribution to the resolution of some of the pressing issues facing humanity.