Departmental Bulletin Paper Blocs, States, and Borderlands : Explaining Russia's Selective Territorial Revisionism

Alexseev, Mikhail A.

6 ( 1 )  , pp.1 - 23 , 2016 , Slavic-Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University
Variation in post-Soviet Russia’s borderland policies challenges empirical findings in International Relations that associate militarized territorial revisionism with economic and demographic incentives and the absence of border settlements. This study offers additional insights from game theory. First, iterated Prisoners’ Dilemma tournaments imply that state territorial value is interactive – i.e., dependent on interaction frequency across groups of states. Second, the collective action logic shows how a revisionist state may discount international constraints by engaging in “corporate raiding” of a status quo powers coalition. Finally, the minimal winning coalitions theory explains why military power may be restricted to producing controlled borderlessness to influence neighbors without territory holding costs. A model integrating these insights and a case study of Russia’s border policies with Georgia and Azerbaijan suggests that the interactive dynamic between the EU and the Eurasian Union could be decisive in shaping and reshaping Eurasia’s interstate borders over the coming decade.

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