Ontological Security Dynamics in Russian Foreign Policy

  • Datum: –17.00
  • Plats: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES) Gamla torget 3, 3rd floor, IRES Library
  • Webbsida
  • Arrangör: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES)
  • Kontaktperson: Jevgenija Gehsbarga
  • Telefon: 018 471 1630
  • Föreläsning

with Dr. Jonas Gejl Kaas (Aarhus University)

In the seminar “Ontological security concerns in Russian foreign policy,” Jonas Gejl Kaas addresses why and how Russia renders foreign policy decisions meaningful, despite significant risks of undermining material security and international reputation. Kaas employs the concept of the inner self-self dialogue to provide inside insights on foreign policy decisions seemingly puzzling from the outside. Kaas argues that the self-self perspective offers a new dimension of foreign policy analysis focusing on the inner dialogue among relevant foreign policy agents that renders otherwise puzzling decisions meaningful. Unlike conventional self-other perspectives explaining foreign policy from key assumptions about maintaining material security and status of national self from a foreign other, Kaas’ analytical point of departure for his self-self explanation is ontological (in)security concerns about authenticity. Authenticity is understood as discrepancy between performed and envisioned foreign policy.

Listening carefully to the inner Russian dialogue rendering its intervention military intervention in Kosovo (1999) meaningful, Kaas demonstrates that an interplay of ontological security and status concerns played important roles. The main contribution of listening carefully to the inner self-self dialogue preceding a foreign policy decision is an inside out explanation of what from an outside vantage point seems unintelligible, irrational or deceptively straightforward. Looking into the inner Russian dialogue preceding its intervention in Ukraine (2014), Kaas highlights the material, status and ontological concerns used to render intervention in Ukraine meaningful and –less.     

Jonas Gejl Kaas is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Aarhus University, Denmark. Dr. Gejl Kaas specializes in Russian foreign policy. He defended his Ph.D. dissertation "The Russian Quest for Ontological Security" examining the role of the Kosovo and Ukraine crisis for the reconstruction of Russia’s post-Soviet national identity in March 2019. Currently, Dr. Gejl Kaas’ research agenda primarily focuses on the implementation of what he defines as Russia's disruptive foreign policy. Dr. Gejl Kaas’s research primarily focuses on two aspects of Russian foreign policy. (I) The first aspect focuses on the dynamic interrelation between national identity and foreign policy in Russia after the Cold War. Particularly, how Russian elites use foreign policy crises to reconstruct national identity and subsequently revise foreign policy. (II) The second aspect focuses on how Russian foreign policy is developing increasingly disruptive. Disruption here is defined as a second-best strategy. Knowing Russia does not have sufficient means and resources to realize its foreign policy goals, Russian decision-makers focus on hindering other states from realizing their foreign policy goals. The special focus here is on how the disruptive foreign policy is implemented (e.g., mobilization of pro-Russian groupings) throughout the post-Soviet area.