• Christine Gammelmark Muurholm
4. semester, Udviklingsstudier, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
This thesis aims to determine which factors drive Ukraine’s foreign policy in the direction it has taken since independence. Ukraine’s history since independence in 1991 is taken into account, and, thus, presented in the background chapter, but the framework of analyses is foreign policy since the Orange Revolution in 2004. The thesis is going to use a theoretical approach, via four different theories, in order to determine the factors which can explain and determine Ukraine’s foreign policy choices, which either pulls the country towards the EU and West or towards – and back – to Russia.
The aim of the four theories is to explain in which direction Ukraine’s foreign policy has taken Ukraine since independence as it is vivid from the background presented that Ukraine is a country of division. The president of Ukraine is a representative of the country, and as presidents are replaced so is Ukraine’s foreign policy. Ukraine has clearly had a fluctuating interest in cooperation and partnership with the EU and Russia respectively and, thus, this leads to questioning why that is.
Interdependence theory aims at explaining the power balance and interdependence between Ukraine and respectively the EU and Russia. Here it is found that asymmetrical interdependence plays the biggest role in terms of Ukraine’s relationship with Russia, and, consequently, that the bargaining relationship, which is in Russia’s favor, is a determining factor in explaining Ukraine’s foreign policy. Within liberal theory, modernization is also used. However, contrary to interdependence, modernization does not help describe Ukraine’s development within foreign relations. Instead modernization indicates that Ukraine’s culture and economy have not followed the same path, and thus social transformation has been unstable because the political system and economic institutions are not ‘healthy’. Additionally, realism highlights the aspect of Ukraine acting on own best interest, but as it is concluded that the best interest must be to side with Russia in many cases, the issue of complete sovereignty falls short. Furthermore, realism lacks the issue of identity, culture and history which is then found in social constructivism. Thus, constructivism is found to be a solid basis for understanding choices made by Ukrainian presidents, and understanding how decisive Ukraine's divided identity is when looking at the relationship with respectively Russia and the EU.
None of the theories alone can describe Ukraine’s foreign policy, and, thus, it is concluded that the important factors of describing the path of Ukraine’s foreign policy can be found in interdependence theory, but with the role of identity and acting in own best interest. The identity division in Ukraine is a determining factor which ensures that Ukraine continues being Russia’s little sister instead of moving towards the EU.
Keywords: Ukraine, Russia, EU, Interdependence Theory, Modernization Theory, Realism, Social Constructivism, Power, Sovereignty, Identity.
Udgivelsesdato20 dec. 2012
Antal sider70
ID: 71841169