"The student of politics who looks only at patterns of behavior but leaves out the meaning that actors give to their own and to each other's conduct turns into a specialist of shadows." Robert Legvold The Question of Russia's International Motives From a weak and inward-looking nation in the 1990s, Russia has emerged into a power that is increasingly capable of defending its international prestige using available economic and military means. Throughout the 2000s, it has exploited its energy clout to expand Russian business relations abroad and cemented its military presence in the strategic area of the Caucasus by defeating Georgia's attack on South Ossetia. In a world that is increasingly post-American and post-Western, Russia is likely to remain an influential power in the critically important Eurasian region. Even the unprecedented rise of China does not change the fact that Russia possesses a large arsenal of nuclear weapons, abundant supplies of natural resources, and the longest geographic border in the world. With a seat on the United Nations Security Council and membership in international organizations such as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Russia will continue to play a prominent role in world affairs. The global financial meltdown revealed Russia's economic vulnerability, but did not principally undermine its capabilities to export energy to both Europe and Asia"--Provided by publisher. "Since Russia has re-emerged as a global power, its foreign policies have come under close scrutiny. In Russia and the West from Alexander to Putin, Andrei P. Tsygankov identifies honor as the key concept by which Russia's international relations are determined. He argues that Russia's interests in acquiring power, security and welfare are filtered through this cultural belief and that different conceptions of honor provide an organizing framework that produces policies of cooperation, defensiveness and assertiveness in relation to the West. Using ten case studies spanning a period from the early nineteenth century to the present day - including the Holy Alliance, the Triple Entente and the Russia-Georgia war - Tsygankov's theory suggests that when it perceives its sense of honor to be recognized, Russia cooperates with the Western nations; without such a recognition it pursues independent policies either defensively or assertively"--Provided by publisher.