While we know a great deal about the benefits of regional integration, we know considerably less about areas where regional ties between states and societies are weak and dysfunctional. Professor Anna Ohanyan introduces the theory of regional fracture to explain Russia’s foreign policy in its conflict-ridden periphery spanning the Donbas to Damascus. Drawing from cases of conflict regions in Russia’s near-abroad, the theory of regional fracture seeks to explain how and why regions come apart, prolong dysfunctional ties within the region and foster weak states. It demonstrates regional fracture by default as a post-imperial legacy in Russia’s peripheries. It further explores ‘regional fracture by design’, a deliberate foreign policy strategy employed by the Kremlin which aims to keep states in post-Communist Eurasia weak and in Russia’s orbit. Her presentation draws upon a recently published volume edited by Professor Ohanyan, Russia Abroad: Driving Regional Fracture in Post-Communist Eurasia and Beyond (Georgetown University Press, 2018).
Anna Ohanyan is the Richard B. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Stonehill College. Her latest two books are Russia Abroad: Driving Regional Fracture in Post-Communist Eurasia and Beyond (edited, Georgetown University Press, 2018), and Networked Regionalism as Conflict Management (Stanford University Press, 2015). Her articles have appeared in International Studies Review, Peace and Change, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, and Wilson Quarterly , among other journals. She has also contributed to the Washington Post, Foreign Policy magazine, Al Jazeera, and World Policy Institute. Professor Ohanyan is a Fulbright Scholar and previously served as a doctoral fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Her work has taken her across the globe, from Northern Ireland to the Balkans, Russia, and the South Caucasus.