Russia in Space
How is outer space envisioned in Russia? What are the visions of a Russian presence in space? What is the role of space inRussian “grand strategy”? What kind of international relations of space are advocated by Russia? These questions guide the present research project, with the aim of analyzing patterns of continuity and change in post-Soviet Russian space visions and policy. The project seeks to make a significant empirical contribution, and to develop theory on the politics of space –a domain that remains uninhabited and essentially unregulated. Like space itself, the politics of space is largely unexplored.
There are three basic reasons why Russian space policy and visions should be researched.
- First, there is a huge knowledge gap to be filled regarding post-Soviet space policy, which is important given observations of a new global space race, in which Russia’s role is largely unknown.
- Second, visions of space exploration provide a laboratory for political thought. The previously uninhabited and ungoverned nature of space arguably fosters a kind of “frontier politics”, characterized by a high-risk adventurism and the possibility of both rivalry and unexpected collaboration.
- Third, understanding and explaining Russian space policy has societal relevance as it can help policymakers, entrepreneurs and civil society to better understand and engage with Russian counterparts.
The project draws on theories on the power of ideas, including theories of utopianism and dystopianism, as well as general international political theory on geopolitics and governance. Empirically, three Russian domains are approached: the executive branch of government (which lays down national space policy and positions it in wider visions of “grand strategy”), the Russian space community including the national space agency and space research institutes, and last but not least Russian science fiction which express visions of space exploration and may have unexplored linkages to actual space policy.
The project is led by Professor Johan Eriksson and carried out in collaboration with PhD candidate Roman Privalov.