Submission note: A thesis submitted in total fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy [to the] School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora.
This thesis attempts to explain the transformation of EU-Russia relations between the Kosovo War and the end of the Putin presidency. Shortly before the outbreak of the Kosovo War, President Yeltsin had lamented that Russia was not an EU member state and began to cooperate with the EU. During the early years of the Putin era, EU-Russia relations were characterised by the emerging collaboration in energy policy and cooperation in the struggle against international terrorism. But by the end of Putin’s presidency, EU-Russia relations had deteriorated. Their summits were manifestations of clashes over Russia’s reliability as a supplier of energy resources to the EU, the withering away of Russia’s democracy and the stagnation in negotiations concerning the renewal of the EU-Russian Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. In Russia, the EU was increasingly perceived as a hostile power. The purpose of this thesis is to explain this reversal from courtship to confrontation in EU-Russia relations. The argument of the thesis revolves around the notions of 'actorness' and 'normative power'. On the one hand, this thesis seeks to demonstrate how the EU's increasing 'actorness' in the former Soviet space provoked increasing tensions with Russia. On the other hand, the thesis illuminates the contradictory effects of the EU's 'normative power.' This phenomenon served as a catalyst for closer ties under Yeltsin, who publicly advocated Russia's membership of the EU. But it provoked bitter clashes as the Putin regime tried to impose its hegemony in the post-Soviet space.
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