One Europe or None: Involution and Multipolarity

One Europe or None:
Involution and Multipolarity

Sakwa R.,

Professor of Russian and European Politics, University of Kent, Great Britain,

elibrary_id: 683723 | ORCID: 0000-0001-6678-8820 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2017.06.02

For citation:

Sakwa R. One Europe or None: Involution and Multipolarity. – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No. 6. P. 8-24. (In Russ.).


The crisis in relations between Russia and the European Union (EU) is part of the broader breakdown of the post-Cold War peace and security order. The cold peace between 1989 and 2014 increasingly demonstrated the tensions in that order, and the Ukraine crisis was a symptom of that breakdown. Four fundamental interlinked processes shape the crisis: the logic of non-negotiated enlargement; the radicalisation of a monist vision of Europe; the failure to develop the ideational or institutional framework for some sort of greater European integration project; and the ensuing attempts to create the foundations of an anti-hegemonic alignment as part of a nascent multipolar world order. The involution of pan-European idealism created a divided continent and accelerated strivings for multipolarity. Russia’s neo-revisionism seeks to temper the practical application of moral universalism in what are perceived to be arbitrary and punitive ways, while ensuring that the instruments of global governance really do reflect global concerns. The clash in Europe is only part of the broader challenge of representing pluralism at the global level. Eurasian and greater Asia developments represent a way for Russia to escape entrapment in the monism of the Atlantic system and the attendant involution of Europe. The failure to create a unified Europe means that Europe can no longer be considered an autonomous subject of global politics. The lack of one Europe means no substantive Europe in global affairs. 

monism; involution; Cold War; cold peace; pluralism; greater Europe; multipolarity.


Browning C. Westphalian, Imperial, Neomedieval: The Geopolitics of Europe and the Role of the North. – Remaking Europe in the Margins: Northern Europe after the Enlargements. Ed. by C. Browning. 2005. P. 85-101.

Casier T. The EU–Russia Strategic Partnership: Challenging the Normative Argument. – Europe–Asia Studies. 2013. Vol. 65. No. 7. P. 1377-1395. DOI:

Charap S., Colton T. Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia. N.Y.: Routledge. 2017. 212 p.

Cohen S. Why Cold War Again? How America Lost Post-Soviet Russia. New York: I.B. Tauris & Co. 2017. 224 p.

Cooper R. The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty-First Century. London: Atlantic books. 2003. 180 p. DOI:

Copsey N., Pomorska K. The Influence of Newer Member States in the European Union: The Case of Poland and the Eastern Partnership. – Europe–Asia Studies. 2014. Vol. 66. No. 3. P. 421-443. DOI:

De Ploeg C. Ukraine in the Crossfire. Atlanta: Clarity Press. 2017. 269 p.

Flockhart C. The Coming Multi-Order World. – Contemporary Security Policy. 2016. Vol. 37. No. 1. P. 3-30. DOI:

Global and Regional Leadership of BRICS Countries. Ed. by Kingah S., Quiliconi С. Dordrecht: Springer. 2016. 281 p.

Grachev A. From the Common European Home to European Confederation. –Europe and the End of the Cold War: A Reappraisal. Ed. by Bozo F., Rey M., Ludlow N., Nuti L. London, New York: Routledge. 2008. P. 207-219.

Gromyko A.A., Fedorova V.P. Bol’shaya Evropa: Idei, real’nost’, perspektivy [The Bigger Europe: Idea, Reality, Prospects]. Moscow: Ves’ Mir Publ. 2014. 698 p. (In Russ.)

Hale H. Democracy, Autocracy, and Revolution in Post-Soviet Eurasia. – World Politics. 2005. Vol. 58. No. 1. P. 133-165. DOI:

Haukkala H. A Norm-Maker or a Norm-Taker? The Changing Normative Parameters of Russia’s Place in Europe. – Russia’s European Choice. Ed. by T. Hopf. Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 2008. P. 35-56. DOI:

Haukkala H. From Cooperative to Contested Europe? The Conflict in Ukraine as a Culmination of a Long-Term Crisis in EU-Russia Relations. – Journal of Contemporary European Studies. 2015. Vol. 23. No. 1. DOI:

Haukkala H. Lost in Translation? Why the EU has Failed to Influence Russia’s Development. – Europe–Asia Studies. 2009. Vol. 61. No. 10. P. 1757-1775. DOI:

Haukkala H. The European Union as a Regional Normative Hegemon: The Case of European Neighbourhood Policy. – Europe–Asia Studies. 2008. Vol. 60. No. 9. P. 1601-1622. DOI:

Kochenov D. EU Enlargement and the Failure of Conditionality: Pre-Accession Conditionality in the Fields of Democracy and the Rule of Law. The Hague: Kluwer Law International. 2008. 358 p.

Legvold R. Return to Cold War. Malden, MA: Polity Press. 2016. 208 p.

Lo B. Frontiers New and Old: Russia’s Policy in Central Asia. –Russie.Nei.Visions. 2015. No. 82. URL: (accessed 10.10.2017)

Lynch A. The Influence of Regime Type on Russian Foreign Policy Toward “the West”, 1992-2015. – Communist and Post-Communist Studies. 2016. Vol. 49. No. 1. P. 101-111. DOI:

Mälksoo M. Decentring the West from Within: Estonian Discourses on Russian Democracy. – Decentring the West: The Idea of Democracy and the Struggle for Hegemony. Ed. by V. Morozov. Ühendkuningriik: Ashgate Publishing. 2013. P. 157-173.

Maresceau M. EU Enlargement and EU Common Strategies on Russia and Ukraine: An Ambiguous yet Unavoidable Connection. – EU Enlargement: A Legal Approach. Ed. by Ch. Hillion. Oxford and Portland: Oregon, Hart Publ. 2004. P. 181-220.

Monaghan A. A ‘New Cold War’? Abusing History, Misunderstanding Russia. L.: Chathan House. 2015. 16 p.

Prozorov S. Understanding Conflict between Russia and the EU: The Limits of Integration. N.Y.: Palgrave MacMillan. 2016. 210 p.

Rey M. Gorbachev’s New Thinking and Europe, 1985-1989. – Europe and the End of the Cold War: A Reappraisal. Ed. by Bozo F., Rey M., Ludlow N., Nuti L. Routledge. 2008. P. 23-35.

Rumelli B. Constructing Identity and Relating to Difference: Understanding the EU’s Mode of Differentiation.– Review of International Studies. 2004. Vol. 30. No. 1. P. 24-47. DOI:

Sakwa R. ‘New Cold War’ or Twenty Years’ Crisis? Russia and International Politics’. – International Affairs. 2008. Vol. 84. No. 2. P. 241-267. DOI:

Sakwa R. Putin Redux: Power and Contradiction in Contemporary Russia. London, New York: Routledge. 2014. 254 p.

Sakwa R. Russia against the Rest: The Post-Cold War Crisis of World Order. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2017. 372 p. DOI:

Sakwa R. Russia and Turkey: Rethinking Europe to Contest Outsider Status. –Russie.Nei.Visions. 2010. No. 51. – URL: (accessed 15.08.2017).

Sakwa R. The Cold Peace: Russo-Western Relations as a Mimetic Cold War. – Cambridge Review of International Affairs. 2013. Vol. 26. No. 1. P. 203–224.

Sarotte M. A Broken Promise? What the West Really Told Moscow about NATO Expansion. – Foreign Affairs. 2014. Vol. 93. No. 5. P. 90-97. URL: (проверено 07.10.2017).

Sarotte M.E. 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2009. 321 p.

Stoner K., McFaul M. Who Lost Russia (This Time)? Vladimir Putin. – The Washington Quarterly. 2015. Vol. 38. No. 2. P. 167-187. DOI:

The European Neighbourhood Policy in Perspective: Context, Implementation and Impact. Ed. by Whitman R., Wolff S. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2010. 296 p.

Visvizi A. Haukkala H. (2010) The EU–Russia Strategic Partnership: The Limits of Post-Sovereignty in International Relations. – Journal of Contemporary European Research. 2011. Vol. 7. No. 2. P. 293-295. DOI:

Waltz K. Structural Realism after the Cold War. – International Security. 2000. Vol. 25. No. 1. P. 5-41. URL: (проверено 06.10.2017)

War and Peace in the 21st Century: A New International Balance as the Guarantee of Stability. Materials for Discussion at the 12th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, Sochi, 19-22 October 2015, p. 2. URL: (проверено 15.08.2017).

Zarate C. Treasury’s War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare. New York: PublicAffairs. 2013. 336 p.

Zielonka J. Europe as a Global Actor: Empire by Example? – International Affairs. 2008. Vol. 84. No. 3. P. 471-484. DOI: 

Zielonka J. Europe as Empire: The Nature of the Enlarged European Union. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2006. 304 p. DOI:

Zwolski K. Wider Europe, Greater Europe? David Mitrany on European Security Order. – JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies. 2016. Vol. 55. No. 3. P. 645-661. DOI: 

Content No. 6, 2017

See also:

Kazarinova D.B.,
Cold War and Peace: “Russia Against the Rest” and Four World Orders of R. Sakwa. – Polis. Political Studies. 2018. No4

Oznobishchev S.K.,
“The New Cold War”: Reminiscences about the Future. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No1

Peregudov S.P.,
Pluralism and corporatism in the USSR and in Russia (what is common and what is particular). – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No5

Sakwa R.,
Back to the Wall: Myths and Mistakes that Made the Ukraine Crisis. – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No4

Kupriyanov A.V.,
Russia and India: problems and prospects for cooperation. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No4



   2024      2023      2022      2021   
   2020      2019      2018      2017      2016   
   2015      2014      2013      2012      2011   
   2010      2009      2008      2007      2006   
   2005      2004      2003      2002      2001   
   2000      1999      1998      1997      1996   
   1995      1994      1993      1992      1991