The essay argues that Western scholars can improve their understanding of the post-Soviet Russia by studying the discipline of new Russian international relations (IR). The other objective of the essay is to move away from the excessively West-centered IR scholarship by exploring indigenous Russian perceptions and inviting a dialogue across the globe. The essay identifies key trends in Russian IR reflective of the transitional nature of Russia’s post-Soviet change. It argues that Russian IR continues to be in a stage of ideological and theoretical uncertainty, which is a result of unresolved questions of national identity. For describing Russia’s identity crisis, the authors employ Erving Goffman’s concept of stigma defined as a crisis of a larger social acceptance by Russia’s ‘‘significant other’’ (West). The essay suggests that, until this crisis is resolved, much of Russian IR debates can be understood in terms of a search for a national idea. It also introduces the authors of the issue and summarizes their contribution to our understanding of Russian and Western IR.

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