Shifting the Balance: The Role of Democracy Promotion in the International Response to Contemporary Russian Expansionism
Diepen, Jonas van
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This paper examines the extent to which EU and US democracy promotion has affected recipients their response to the three Russian invasions of neighbouring countries from 2008 until 2022. To do so it applies mixed methods, including a regression analysis using voting results on UNGA resolutions condemning the Russian invasions as an independent variable, and an in-depth case study of Ethiopia's response to the invasions using document analysis. The results show that the proven effect of democracy promotion on democracy levels does not directly translate into international alignment against Russia, as one would expect based on democratic peace theory. Rather, the analysis suggests that an increase in export levels to the EU and the US are significant predictors of voting in favour of the relevant UNGA resolutions, underlining the importance of trade relations in geopolitics, and confirming the premise of capitalist peace theory. Implicitly, the results question the strategic relevance of democracy promotion within the context of international relations and the competition between democratic and authoritarian states.