The Role of Irredentism in Russia’s Foreign Policy

This article examines the role of irredentism in contemporary Russian foreign policy and the future steps of Russian politics regarding territorial expansion and territorial disputes in the Soviet Union’s “near abroad.” It also examines the historical background of Russian territorial enlargement in order to explore connections between Russia’s current irredentist claims and the roots of expansionist Russian foreign policy. The article examines the case of Crimea through the lens of irredentism and discusses the future of Russia’s territorial expansion after the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula followed by Western sanctions. It debates whether irredentism acts as an effective tool in Russian foreign policy for the purposes of further Russian territorial expansion, that is, the acquisition of lands that Russia deems to be its own based on historical and ethnic ties.

Keywords: irredentism, Russia, Crimea, territorial claims, Near Abroad

Authors: Nina Miholjcic