The EU, Russia and the potential for dialogue – different readings of the crisis in Ukraine

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Series Details Vol.25, No.3, September 2016, p304-325
Publication Date September 2016
ISSN 0966-2839
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Recent developments in European security have shown the growing need for a better understanding of the security dynamics on the European continent. This article presents an analysis of differing Russian and European perceptions of European security in general, and concerning the crisis in Ukraine in particular. As much of the literature on these issues has been normatively driven, we aim to provide an impartial presentation and analysis of the dominant Russian and EU discourses. This we see as essential for investigating the potential for constructive dialogue between Russia and the EU. If simplistic assumptions about the motivations and intentions of other actors take hold in the public debate and policy analyses, the main actors may be drawn into a logic that is ultimately dangerous or counterproductive. With this article we offer a modest contribution towards discouraging such a development in Russia–EU relations. After presenting an analysis of the differing EU and Russian perceptions, we discuss the potential for dialogue between such different worldviews, and reflect on potential implications for European security. As the article shows, there are tendencies of a certain adjustment in the Union’s approach that may make a partial rapprochement between the two sides more likely.

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