At War with the West: Russian Realism and the Conflict in Ukraine


  • Andrei P. Tsygankov San Francisco State University


Realism is the dominant worldview in the Russian foreign policy community. The paper analyzes the thinking of Russian ‘realists’ about the war in Ukraine through the lens of their various publications. ‘Realists’ support the Kremlin’s view by assessing the war as a globally significant military confrontation with the West rather than merely a regional conflict. They converge on the priorities of state sovereignty and security rather than empire-building. However, they diverge on tactics, as well as analysis of the conflict’s causes and the urgency of completing the military operation. They also disagree with respect to Putin’s conduct of the war and the prospects of completing its officially stated goals. 

Author Biography

Andrei P. Tsygankov, San Francisco State University

Andrei Tsygankov is Professor of International Relations and Political Science, San Francisco State University. His latest books include Russian Realism: Defending ‘Derzhava’ in International Relations (Routledge, 2022) and Russia's Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity in National Identity (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022).







Special Issue: War in Ukraine