Self-Portrait of Russian IR Theorists: Results of a Survey

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2014-9-92-102

A. Tsygankov, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, HSS 363 San Francisco, California 94132 (
P. Tsygankov, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 27/4, Lomonosovskii Prosp., Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation (

Abstract. The article contributes to the recent discussion of roles played by the global core and periphery in forming knowledge about the world. As the world moves away from the U.S. political hegemony, the global scholarship on international relations too reflects a greater cultural diversity. The recent attempts by International Relations scholars to create room for knowledge from the perspective of the “non-American” and “non-Western” periphery have implications for Western, particularly American, intellectual hegemony. While inviting a dialogue across the globe, new voices from Asia, Africa, and Latin America are challenging the position of the West’s ideological and cultural dominance. The increasingly multipolar world may be becoming multicultural as well. The (re)emergence of discussion in International Relations theory on roles played by the global core and periphery in forming knowledge about the world raises important questions about the potential of “non-Western” cultures to contribute to global academic developments. If the world is indeed moving away from the U.S. political and intellectual hegemony, what role would local cultures have in knowledge formation?

As a “semi-peripheral” nation, Russia may speak on behalf of both the center and peripheral parts of the world, thereby becoming an important voice in the global conversation. This paper reviews discussions among Russian scholars by identifying the dominant schools as Universalist and Pluralist. Both are in favor of Russia’s continued integration with the global IR community, but stress different sides of such integration. While Universalists argue for the ontological and epistemological unity of the world, Pluralists emphasize social, cultural, and intellectual diversity. Based on a survey among those teaching IR theory in Russian educational institutions, the paper also reviews development of the discipline as viewed by the Russian academic community. Russian academics assess the state of IR theory as a crisis relative to intellectual developments in the country’s recent past and abroad. The progress of Russian IR depends on its continued global integration and the development of indigenous Russian political thought.

Keywords: Russian theory of international relations, global core and periphery in IR theory, globalism, pluralism, progress and crisis of knowledge development

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For citation:
Tsygankov A., Tsygankov P. Self-Portrait of Russian IR Theorists: Results of a Survey. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2014, no. 9, pp. 92-102.

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