This article looks at the status conflicts between Russia and theWest and asks: why do these conflicts exist despite attempts to avoid them? If status conflicts refer to merely a symbolic recognition, then they should arguably be easier to solve than conflicts stemming from competition for power and resources. Yet, status conflicts can be difficult to solve evenwhen they were not conceived as zero-sum games. The article argues that status conflicts cannot be understood without the interplay of perceptions and emotions. First, what really matters is not objective status but perceptions thereof and there seems to be a gap how Russia and the West perceive status in general. Secondly, the perceptions of when status is gained or lost seem to be emotionally loaded. Russia is more willing to understand its relative status when military or economic issues are at stake, but if the dispute deals with international norms and questions of justice Russia is more likely to interpretWestern action as violating its status and conversely, it is more likely to interpret its own action as enhancing its status when it is defending such values differently from the West.

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