Models of Regional Leadership in Eurasia: to the New Research Agenda

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-11-114-123
National Research University Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg), 123, anala Griboedova Nab., Saint Petersburg, 190068, Russian Federation;
I. Grigoriev (, 
National Research University Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg), 123, anala Griboedova Nab., Saint Petersburg, 190068, Russian Federation;
A. Dekalchuk (, 
National Research University Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg), 123, anala Griboedova Nab., Saint Petersburg, 190068, Russian Federation;
Y. Kabanov (, 
National Research University Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg), 123, anala Griboedova Nab., Saint Petersburg, 190068, Russian Federation;
S. Krivokhizh (, 
National Research University Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg), 123, anala Griboedova Nab., Saint Petersburg, 190068, Russian Federation;
E. Soboleva (, 
National Research University Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg), 123, anala Griboedova Nab., Saint Petersburg, 190068, Russian Federation

Acknowledgements. The article has been supported by a grant of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR). Project 19-014-00030 “Leadership Models in Multipolar World: Comparative Analysis of Strategies of Russia, China and the European Union in Eurasian Region”.

Abstract. One of the important tasks in the study of international politics today is the elaboration and empirical verification of new theoretical models for the coexistence of several regional leadership projects, simultaneously implemented by various countries and international organizations. Until now, the existing models, as a rule, have described this kind of leadership at the international arena in fundamentally hierarchical terms: either as a unipolar world with a hegemonic country dominating global politics, or as a bipolar system. These models unambiguously assume that the world either “belongs” to one hegemon, or is divided between two superpowers. In the latter case, there are practically no regions where both leadership projects would be carried out simultaneously, since such a geographical “overlap” would inevitably provoke conflict. Meanwhile, the task of understanding and explaining the internal mechanics of the simultaneous coexistence of several potential leaders on the same geographic territory for a fairly long time remains unsolved. In the modern world, such parallel (joint or competitive) leadership can no longer be regarded as an anomaly or a temporary phenomenon, it becomes a “new normality”, creating additional opportunities for international players, but at the same time imposing more substantial constraints on them. Thus, the relevance of the agenda put forward in the article is determined by a number of circumstances, the most fundamental of which is the crisis of the global governance system and the neoliberal model of globalization. Today, macro-regions become “building blocks” for the multipolar structure of the world, and the role of individual states or their groups, which begin to play a structure-forming role in “their” macro-regions, is increasing. These are potential leaders with special characteristics and special relations with their “followers”. The problem of leadership is most interestingly actualized in the Eurasian region, the internationalization of which is rapidly growing. In this region, several leaders are observed (such as Russia, China, the European Union) who compete for the same followers, offering them different agendas and using a wide range of power tools – from “soft” to “hard” power. It is in Eurasia that the variability of relations connecting the leader and followers is extremely high. In this article, the authors put forward and ground the possibility and necessity of developing a research agenda on regional leadership based on the material of modern Eurasia – the most important world macro-region where three leadership projects are being successfully implemented at the same time, the description and analysis of which in their interconnection go beyond the Eurasian theme only and can help advance our understanding of the nature of multipolarity in modern international relations.


Keywords: regional leadership, international relations, Eurasia, Russia, China, European Union


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For citation:
Busygina I., Grigoriev I., Dekalchuk A., Kabanov Y., Krivokhizh S., Soboleva E. Models of Regional Leadership in Eurasia: to the New Research Agenda. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2020, vol. 64, no. 11, pp. 114-123.

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