Publications of Broeders, D.

Kurowska X. What Does Russia Want in Cyber Diplomacy? In: Broeders D, van den Berg B, editors. Governing Cyberspace: Behavior, Power and Diplomacy. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers/Rowman & Littlefield International; 2020. p. 105-26.

What Does Russia Want in Cyber Diplomacy?

The standard analytical narratives regarding Russia’s behavior in global diplomacy, today, revolve around great power aspirations, revisionist power games, and a threat to liberal democracy as we know it. The Russian discourse can also, however, be parsed with reference to resentment, resulting from the sense of “being betrayed” by the West (Kurowska 2014), or to anger over apparent disrespect received from other international actors (Larson and Shevchenko 2014). Demand for status recognition is a key factor in Russia’s international conduct (Krickovic and Weber 2018; Schmitt forthcoming; Neumann 2016, 1996), which finds its expression in Russia’s regular insistence on acknowledging its indispensability to the international order (Lo 2015, 47). Despite declarations of pragmatism in foreign policy (Omelicheva 2016; Casier 2006), this status-related rationale often overshadows what would appear more rational courses of action. Demands for recognition may also result in embarrassment. One vivid example of the latter involved the emotional outburst by the acting Russian representative to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, towards the UK representative during a Security Council session in April 2017: famously, “Look at me!” and “Don’t you dare insult Russia again!” (RFE 2017). Many looked away mortified, but Safronkov’s superiors in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs commended his behavior, as part of resistance towards Western attempts at hegemonic imposition (Schreck 2017).