Russia’s Foreign Policy and Strategic Culture: A Dialogue with William Wohlforth about the Research Paradigm

Keywords: Russian foreign policy; international relations theory; balance of power; strategic culture


This article contains a talk between Andrey Sushentsov, head of the MGIMO University Institute for International Studies and Professor William Wohlforth, a leading American international relations theorist and one of the founders of neoclassical realism. Having received his PhD in Yale, Wohlforth began his career as a specialist on Russia. One of his key works is the study of the driving forces behind the foreign policy of early USSR. His studies have also focused on the issue of the global balance of power and superpower dynamics. Overall, Wohlforth has authored or edited nine books and some 60 articles or chapters on a wide range of topics from US foreign policy strategy to the Cold War. Thus, the changes in Russian foreign policy and its global influence have always remained in the focus of Wohlforth’s attention. Wohlforth is currently a member of the Department of Government at Dartmouth College, mainly teaching and researching international security and foreign policy issues. Since 2018, he has been in charge of the Laboratory of International Trends Analysis at MGIMO which carries out applied research in the field of international issues. The talk considers issues concerning the strategic culture of Russian policy, focusing on the biographic and academic foundations of the scholar’s interest in Russia, and his collaboration with Russian specialists.


Author Biography

Andrey Sushentsov

PhD (Political Sciences), Associate Professor, Director of the Institute for International Studies, Director of the Laboratory for International Trends Analysis, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University).

76, Vernadsky Ave., 119454, Moscow, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0003-2076-7332


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Brooks, S., Wohlforth, W. (2015/2016). The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers in the Twenty-First Century: China’s Rise and the Fate of America’s Global Position. In Quarterly J.: Intern. Security. Winter. No. 40 (3), pp. 3–53.

Brooks, S., Wohlforth, W. (2016a). America Abroad: Why the Sole Superpower Should Not Pull Back from the World. N. Y., Oxford Univ. Press. 288 p.

Brooks, S., Wohlforth, W. (2016b). The Once and Future Superpower: Why China Won’t Overtake the United States. In Foreign Affairs. No. 95 (3), pp. 91–104.

Lind, J., Wohlforth, W. (2019). The Future of the Liberal Order is Conservative: A Strategy to Save the System. In Foreign Affairs. No. 98 (2), pp. 70–81.

Wohlforth, W. (1987). The Perception of Power: Russia in the Pre-1914 Balance. In World Politics. No. 39 (3), pp. 353–381.

Wohlforth, W. (1993). The Elusive Balance: Power and Perceptions during the Cold War. Ithaca, Cornell Univ. Press. 317 p.

How to Cite
Sushentsov, A. (2020). Russia’s Foreign Policy and Strategic Culture: A Dialogue with William Wohlforth about the Research Paradigm. Quaestio Rossica, 8(2), 369–381.
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