In This Review

Russia and the West from Alexander to Putin: Honor in International Relations
Russia and the West from Alexander to Putin: Honor in International Relations
By Andrei P. Tsygankov
Cambridge University Press, 2012, 325 pp.

Tsygankov believes that the Russian sense of honor is the key to understanding the long history of the country’s relations with the West. By honor, he means both the virtues Russians see in their society and the respect others accord their country. Whether Russia cooperates with, defends itself from, or takes the offensive against the West is determined by Russia’s sense of honor, along with the degree of security that Russians feel, and not by Russia’s quest for power or the structure of the international system. Tsygankov examines this dynamic in different phases of Russian history, from the post-Napoleonic period to today. He takes international relations theory seriously and places himself squarely in the constructivist camp. His exegesis applies well to the Putin era. But for the larger picture, theory’s demand for tidiness forces a certain amount of cutting and splicing of history.