Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
tel. +358-(0)50-563 63 07

Eeva Korteniemi
tel. +358-(0)50-4150 571

aleksanteri-fellows [at]

Aleksanteri Institute
P.O.Box 42 (Unioninkatu 33)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

aleksanteri [at]
firstname.lastname [at]

Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2013-2014

Andrei Tsygankov, San Francisco State University, Departments of Political Science and International Relations, USA

“The Discourse of Civilization in Russia's Foreign Policy”
(October-November 2013)

Andrei P. Tsygankov is Professor at the departments of Political Science and International Relations at San Francisco State University. Tsygankov is a contributor to both Western and Russian academia. In the West, he co-edited several collective projects and published multiple books, including Russia’s Foreign Policy (2006, the second edition, 2010, the third edition, 2013), Anti-Russian Lobby and American Foreign Policy (2009), and Russia and the West from Alexander to Putin (2012), as well as many journal articles. In Russia, his best known books are Russian Science of International Relations (2005, co-edited with Pavel Tsygankov, also published in Germany and China), Sociology of International Relations (2006, co-authored with Pavel Tsygankov, also published in China), and Russian International Theory (2013). Tsygankov also contributed to policy and media publications, including Asian Survey, Moscow Times, Politique étrangère, Russia in Global Affairs, Russian Analytical Digest , and others. Tsygankov consulted various publishers and state agencies, and he served as Program Chair of International Studies Association (ISA), 2006-07.

Abstract of current research:
The central objective of the proposed project is to understand the growing shift of Russia toward the language of a local civilization or distinct values and self-sufficient culture as opposed to the earlier emphasis on values similar to the West or state sovereignty in international politics. Today, the vision of Russia as a civilization in the world of competitive cultural visions is increasingly advocated in public speeches by prominent officials. Behind the policy emphases on building the Eurasian Union, resisting Western interventions in the Middle East, or turning to Asia-Pacific region are not only considerations of economic development and balance of power, but also those of Russia’s resurgence as a state-civilization. 

Russia’s turn to the language of civilization should be understood in the context of several inter-related global, regional, and domestic developments. Globally, Russia confronts the ongoing efforts by the United States to spread democratization across the world and present the Western values as superior to those of the rest of the world. Regionally, Russia is threatened by the fear of radicalized and militant Islam. The collapse of the Soviet state ended the appeal of the communist trans-national idea and created a vacuum of values. The growing influence of Islamist ideologies, rising immigration from Muslim-dominated former Soviet republics and desolation in the North Caucasus have created a dangerous environment. 

In researching the topic, I would like to (1) deliniate key elements of Russia’s civilizational thinking as established in the country’s intellectual currents; (2) conduct a discourse-analysis of main speeches by Russia’s officials from the perspective of their emphasis on distinct values of a special civilization; (3) select several case-studies for a closer investigation. While at Aleksanteri Institute, I plan to conduct interviews with experts on Russia’s international policies and take advantage of the University of Helsinki’s libraries.

Email: andrei[at]

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Markku Kangaspuro and Hanna Smith