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The article challenges the view that Russia’s goal in the post-Soviet space is to make the region an exclusive zone of Russian influence and keep other world powers out entirely. In fact, Russia has two policies towards the influence of other powers that are active in the region: a ‘business as usual’ approach, applied to China and Turkey; and a securitized ‘New Cold War policy’, applied to the US and West (especially towards their presence in Ukraine). Growing Chinese and Turkish influence has not been ‘securitized’, although the presence of both powers creates clear obstacles to the reintegration of former Soviet countries around Russia. The article draws on three bodies of literature (Realism, Liberalism and Constructivism) to explain this variation. While Moscow perceives growing Western influence in Ukraine as a threat to its domestic regime and identity as a great power and regional leader, it finds common ground with Beijing and Ankara in its concerns about the Western liberal democracy promotion agenda and views both powers as potential allies in the construction of a ‘multipolar world’.

In: Russian Politics