Theory of International Relations and Image of Desired Future


The article seeks to utilize potential of International Relations Theory (IRT) for revealing and promoting national values and national interests. As demonstrated by the example of the United States, IRT develops in a particular social context and expresses national and historical characteristics. Critical dialogue among American realist, liberal, and constructivist theories is based on ideological beliefs in progressive nature of US values, understanding of global security, world order, economic development and human rights. Russia also possesses a rich experience of images of a desired future. Three traditions of Russian international theory – Westernism, Statism, and Civilizationism – have emerged from the country’s historical experience and may serve as foundations for formulating a vital image of a future. At the same time, progress of Russian IRT in the direction of development and empirical justification of such image meets with two serious obstacles. The first one has to do with lacking empirical research and new expert analyses of realities that must underpin a realistic national image of a future. The second obstacle results from weaknesses of Russian contemporary IRT. What is required for developing Russian IRT is a dual critical dialogue at both national and global levels. An idea of desired future formed on the basis of such dialogue will have strong national roots and will be protected from possible foreign interferences. Today, the image of a desired future must integrate an idea of strong Russia capable of defending its interests and values from outside interferences. In a longer run, such image must also include an idea of internal development in coordination with global trends and conditions. Russia must solve tasks of internal development under conditions of global instability and Western pressures. It should also continue the practice of limited cooperation with those who do not share its interests and values. Finally, such image should assume Russia that is both culturally autonomous and open to the outside world.


Russia; international relations theory; image of desired future; Westernism; Statism; Civilizationism; dialogue.

Authors: Andrei Tsygankov, Pavel Tsygankov

Read the article in PDF