The Russia-Ukraine War An International Relations Theory Guide


This course proposes an analysis of the Russia-Ukraine War through the lenses of IR theories in general and the realist tradition more specifically. Based on a Weberian non-positivist epistemology consisting in an interpretive understanding of social action in order to provide a causal explanation of its origins, course and effects, it will first have at the look at why the war broke out, what course it has been going through, and which consequences it may have.

The evaluation of the course consists in a research paper: the mark obtained will take into account attendance and participation. 



  1. A War of Choice

1.Understanding the Reasons of the War

  1. Power, Glory, Security: Putin’s Objectives
  2. The Perceived Decline of America’s Hegemony: Putin’s Window of Opportunity
  3. The Decision to Go to War: Putin’s Positive Expected Utility

2. Analyzing the Course of the War

  1. The Sword and the Shield: The Offence-Defense Balance under the Shadow of the Bomb
  2. Balancing vs. Hedging: Third Parties’ Self-Help Behavior
  3. Explaining/Anticipating the Outcome: And the Winner Is … the Weak

3. Assessing the Significance of the War

  1. Regimes Bypassed, Interdependence Powerless: Politics as an Autonomous Sphere
  2. Goodbye Civilian, Normative, Soft Power: The Return of Hard Power
  3. The American Century 1941-2041: Some More Years to Go


11. Interstate War: Obsolete or Obstinate?

Bibliographie indicative

My forthcoming book…

En bref

Crédits ECTS 3.0

Enseignement obligatoire



Battistella Dario [+]