Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/2270
Russia is a country that is constantly at odds with the global community. Its intentions are never fully known and nowhere is this more apparent than with the under-studied and misunderstood Shanghai Cooperation Organization. A grouping of Russia, China, and four Central Asian states, it has been labeled a Sino-Russian alliance, a NATO of the East, and a mere talking shop. None of these labels has been successful at documenting just how Russia utilizes the SCO. This is largely due to the Western-dominated discourse of scholars who have been unable to pin down the exact purpose of the SCO, particularly in regards to Russia – not least because many of the writings emphasize China’s presence to the detriment of understanding Russia’s contribution. The theoretical framework for this thesis will be a combination of both International Relations theory and a new generalized framework for classifying and evaluating regional cooperation. This will be used to formulate three hypotheses on how a body like the SCO could act as a ‘real’, ‘counter-’, or ‘pseudo’-institution. These definitions will then be used to explore Russia’s perception of the SCO, as either a ‘real’-institution with real multilateral behavior, a ‘counter’-institution aimed at balancing a Western power through Sino-Russian cooperation, or a ‘pseudo’-institution that uses the SCO as no more than a powerful shield for Russia’s national ambitions and unilateral actions. The conclusion finds that although Russia’s behavior towards the SCO has elements typical of a ‘real’ institution, both the anti-Western sentiments expressed by Russian authorities and a lack of resources doled out to the SCO indicate other more adversarial, insincere, and limited aspects to Moscow's vision of the organization.