Historical Aspirations and Russia’s Pursuit of International Status

What determined Russia's national interests and grand strategy in the first decade after the Cold War? This article uses aspirational constructivism, which combines social psychology with constructivism, to answer this question. Central to aspirational constructivism are the roles that the past self and in-groups, and their perceived effectiveness play in the selection of a national identity and the definition of national interests. This article explains why Russian political elites settled on a statist national identity that focused on retaining Russia's historical status as a Western great power and hegemon in the former Soviet Union and in engaging the country in bounded status competition with the United States.