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Call for participation in debate “Can Prospect Theory Explain Russia’s 2014 Annexation of Crimea?” 30.9.2021
Since 2019, Dr. Julie Fedor (U of Melbourne), Dr. Gergana Dimova (U of Oxford), and Dr. Andreas Umland (Kyiv-Mohyla Academy) have been editing a series of special sections on the annexation of Crimea, within the ibidem Press “Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society” (JSPPS): www.jspps.eu. See https://www.facebook.com/events/460801681761446. JSPPS is also distributed via Columbia University Press here: https://cup.columbia.edu/series/journal-of-soviet-and-post-soviet-politics-and-society
We invite junior and senior scholars to read, and comment on, the peer-reviewed forthcoming JSPPS paper (of which the text will be provided):
“Loss Aversion, Neoimperial Frames and Territorial Expansion: Using Prospect Theory to Examine the Annexation of Crimea”
By Dr. Ion Marandici, Department of Political Science, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick
Abstract: Why did Russia’s authoritarian leader decide to annex Crimea? Why could Ukraine’s politicians not resist the Russian aggression effectively? This study relies on prospect theory and new documentary evidence to illuminate the decision-making in Moscow and Kyiv that led to the takeover of Crimea. The paper assesses the scope conditions of prospect theory compared to alternative theories of foreign policy decision-making. First, it identifies the turning points of the Euromaidan crisis preceding the annexation and traces how Putin’s assessment of the status quo shifted repeatedly between the domains of losses and gains. In the domain of losses, the authoritarian leader, influenced by an imperial faction within the presidential administration, became more risk acceptant, annexed the peninsula, and escalated the hybrid warfare. In doing so, Russia’s president framed the intervention, using nationalist themes and drawing on salient historical analogies from the imperial era. Second, the analysis of new documents released by Ukraine’s National Defense and Security Council (RNBO) and participant testimonies reveals that the decision-makers in Kyiv could not mount an effective resistance due to squabbles among coalition partners, the breakdown of the military chain of command in Crimea, the looming threat of a full-scale Russian invasion from the East, and the inflated expectations regarding the West’s capacity to deter Russia’s aggression. Third, the article relies on prospect theory to explain why after Crimea’s annexation, Putin refrained from continuing the territorial expansion at Ukraine’s expense, opting instead to engage in hybrid warfare and back secessionism in Eastern Ukraine. This account highlights the explanatory power of prospect theory compared to alternative frameworks, pointing out, at the same time, the need to incorporate strategic interactions, personality factors, and group dynamics in future studies of foreign policy decision-making.
We are looking for pronounced statements on Marandici’s paper of between approx. 800 and 5,000 words. If interested to add your comment to this debate, please, request the PDF of the paper from: email@example.com which we will send out in August 2021. Final texts need to be submitted until 30 September 2021 – preferably earlier.
As models for the formal style of your comment (footnotes, transliteration, quotes, etc.), please, refer to these open-access papers: Andrew Wilson, “The Crimean Tatar Question: A Prism for Changing Nationalisms and Rival Versions of Eurasianism,” JSPPS 3:2 (2017), https://doi.org/10.24216/97723645330050302_01 Maria Shagina, “Business as Usual: Sanctions Circumvention by Western Firms in Crimea,” JSPPS 5:1 (2019), https://doi.org/10.24216/97723645330050501_04
Either footnotes or the Harvard style can be used. We will only accept fully edited, properly referenced as well as well-formatted texts in perfect English, and cannot assist in preparing or editing comments. Please, fully list all texts to which you are referring to in the footnotes or bibliography. Please, do not send us half-ready articles. We cannot absolutely guarantee publication before receiving your text, but will be happy to publish all competent comments that tackle the issue, have some empirical, conceptual and theoretical grounding, are linguistically and stylistically publishable, as well as arrive in time. Contributions to this debate will not be peer-reviewed but treated like book reviews. Multi-authored texts are welcome too. Female contributors are especially welcome.
We may have a second round of debate in 2022, if interest in continuing this discussion is sufficiently high. We later intend to republish the entire debate, within a larger collected volume.