Practicing diplomats, improvising regions: paradiplomacy in the Russian Federation

Authors: Thomas Jackson*, University of Cambridge
Topics: Political Geography, Russia
Keywords: Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Russia, Regions
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Chairman's Boardroom, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

As scholars increasingly shine light on the plurality of diplomatic actors and practices, cracks continue to emerge in the state monopoly of legitimate diplomacy. This paper examines one such perforation in the established diplomatic order; sub-state regions in the Russian Federation, their forays into the international sphere (paradiplomacy), and the subsequent reworking of centre-region relations. Empirically it is based on a nine-month period of qualitative research conducted across multiple Russian and European cities, primarily focusing on three case-study regions in Russia: St Petersburg, Tatarstan, and Karelia. Offering a practice-based account and drawing on critical geopolitics scholarship, it is argued that regional diplomatic practice can be conceptualised as a series of improvised performances which, in part, constitute the contested emergence of both the region and the state. Based on contrasting geopolitical spatialisations of the world and their place in it, different regions have developed distinct international strategies which shape their relationship with the Russian central government and, more specifically, their role in the co-production of Russian foreign policy.

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