The importance of status concerns on Russia’s foreign policy agenda has been increasingly observed. This preoccupation with status is particularly visible in Russia’s relations with the West. Although strong claims about status in Russian foreign policy are frequently made in public and private by researchers, journalists, politicians, diplomats and other commentators, such claims often lack any closer theoretical or empirical justification. The aim of this introductory article is, therefore, to outline the basic components that form the research agenda on status. Status, if properly examined, helps us understand not only Russian foreign policy, put also present-day international politics and its transformation in a broader sense.

In a first part, we identify the theoretical voids concerning the study of international status. In a second part we outline the drivers and logic of status concerns, considering in particular identity theories, psychological approaches and existing research regarding emotions. The presented research agenda on status, derived from International Relations and related theories, provides a well-structured tool-box for investigating the link between status, identity and emotions in Russian foreign policy vis-à-vis the West. In a third part we present the key questions rose by the contributors to this Special Issue and summarize their main findings.

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