Institut for Statskundskab

Jonas Gejl Kaas

The Russian Quest for Ontological Security: The Role of the Kosovo Crisis for the Reconstruction of Russia’s post-Soviet National Identity

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskning

This paper argues that Russia’s decision to militarily intervene in the Kosovo crisis (1999) arose out of ontological, alongside material, insecurity. Whereas states’ material security essentially deals with national survival, ontological security concerns safety of the ‘national Self’. By supplementing the existing theories of geopolitics and regime security with the conceptual lens of ontological security, my interpretivist case study demonstrates why Russia, despite great risk and material costs, decided to militarily intervene and traces how Russian senses of ‘national Self’ were fundamentally reconstructed during intervention. I find that the anxiety arising from a future scenario of an already weak post-Soviet ‘Russian Self’ gradually being engulfed by a confident ‘Western Self’ played a significant role in Russia’s decision to occupy Slatina airbase. My analysis paradoxically shows how Russia’s material security decreased while its sense of ontological security increased. Thus, the intensified Russo-Western antagonism following intervention opened a ‘window of opportunity’ for Russian elite to reconstruct a more self-confident sense of ‘Russian Self’. The paper contributes to our understanding of how ontological insecurity, like material insecurity, can trigger military interventions and how such interventions can increase ontological security while simultaneously decreasing material security.
StatusUdgivet - 2017
Begivenhed11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations: The Politics of International Studies in an Age of Crises - Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals, Barcelona, Spanien
Varighed: 13 sep. 201716 sep. 2017


Konference11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations
Lokation Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals

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