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The Images of the European Union as a Regional and Global Player in Russian Political Discourse

Irina Khayrizamanova

The EU's external image receives less academic attention than it merits despite the fact that the way it is seen by others from the outside has a direct bearing on efficacy of the EU-sponsored policies and its influence in the international arena. On the other hand external perceptions help shape its emerging collective identity and thus its foreign policy roles functioning as a "second mirror" for the EU. The paper purports to find out first if Russia sees the EU as a unitary actor or simply the group of 27 member states and if the EU is perceived as an altruistic or a self-interested entity, that is, if Russia sees the EU as "force for good" or "a normative hegemon", an altruistic advocate of universal norms or an entity that seeks to impose its rules under the pretext of promoting multilateralism in such areas as security, human rights, environmental protection and energy policy. The focus of this paper is on the official Russian policy discourse that includes publicly accessible documents concerning the EU-Russian relations, press statements, public speeches and declarations of high-ranking politicians, some of which have not been translated into English.

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