Brandt School Universität Erfurt

Guest Lecture by Adriana Cuppuleri, University of Trento

On January 14, 2020, Adriana Cuppuleri of the University of Trento held a Guest Lecture at the Willy Brandt School, presenting empirical results from her ongoing PhD project “Russia’s Assertiveness in the Near Abroad: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Regional Primacy”.

Scholars usually map Russian foreign policy according to theoretical models that are respectively generated from the individual, the state, and the structural levels of analysis in International Relations. However, each of them, taken individually, fail to address Russia’s assertiveness across space and time. To account for the complex interplay between causal factors, which entail external threat – understood as prospects of membership of target states into a region-building project sponsored by other great powers or membership in a military alliance, status recognition, and state capacity, the study develops a neoclassical realist framework of assertive regional primacy. The project applies fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) on original data on 24 Russian policy responses in the near abroad between 1994 and 2016. The findings report the existence of multiple patterns toward assertiveness: they show that alliance and prospects of membership play a larger role compared to domestic and ideational factors, but only in combination with the absence of status recognition. Lastly, the analysis did not provide convincing evidence that a high state capacity has an impact on Russia’s assertiveness towards the near abroad.

Adriana Cuppuleri is a PhD candidate at the School of International Studies at the University of Trento. Her research interests include great powers’ neighbourhood policies with a focus on Russia’s foreign policy in the post-Soviet space. Besides that, she works on the comparative and qualitative research method of fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). She holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Research and Studies on Eastern Europe (University of Bologna and St. Petersburg State University) and a BA in Modern Languages (University of Bologna). Previously, she has spent one semester at Copenhagen University as Visiting Researcher working on Neoclassical Realism and International Order.

Since September 2019, she has been a Visiting Doctoral Student at the Willy Brandt School, under the supervision of Dr. Patrick A. Mello.