Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2018

Academic Department

Politics, Philosophy, and Legal Studies

Faculty Advisor(s)

Oya Ozkanca


The partition of post-Soviet Union territory ignited numerous border disputes, ethnicrelated human rights concerns, and security dilemmas; these issues have intensified in the last twenty years, provoked by Russia’s rising power in the international system. The argument is that, despite citing abuses on ethnic kin as the reason for invading the Crimean peninsula, the decision to invade Crimea was a systematic effort to settle post-USSR grievances and rebuild a stronger, hegemonic Russian Federation. By reviewing motivations for Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula—and integrating subsequent action in the Middle East, the United States, the Balkans, and Israel—findings from this research reject multiple theories of improvisation, defense, and ethnic irredentist motivations as a sponsor of aggressive action towards Crimea, and instead supplies evidence for an argument of imperialism, rooted in security concerns, Russia’s growing power, and long-term aspirations to assert itself as a the sole hegemonic superpower. This research analyzes Russia’s armed offensive force, use of soft, hard, and sharp power, hybrid warfare tactics, and exploitation of Western failures and underlying regional pressures in its campaign to destabilize enemy states and delegitimize weaker neighbors, spread influence, convert key US alliances, prevent NATO expansion, and regain domestic popularity, in an attempt to instigate superpower status within the international power hierarchy.


Written for: INT 465, Directed Research Capstone.