In the 15 years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia has been forced to reinterpret its role in international relations, reformulating its national interests and crafting new methods of participating in world affairs. Among the major challenges Russia has faced is determining how to deal with the new political map of Eurasia. While Moscow has had to develop new policies toward former constituent parts of the Soviet Union which, as independent states, have pursued their own interests, it has also had to formulate new policies toward many regions within Russia, formerly situated in the depth of Soviet national territory but now borderlands.
Russia’s new frontier has played a role in shaping Russia’s relations with the outside world in a number of ways. The liberalization of the state border regime, a loosening of restrictions on travel and migration, the arrival of transnational firms to Russia’s new periphery, and the active role of international nongovernmental organizations have exposed formerly isolated regions and populations to the wider world. Terrorism and drug trafficking pose new challenges to stability in Russia’s periphery. The increasingly international aspects of regional economic, social, and, to some extent, political development has made transborder integration one of the most important factors in the evolution of Russia’s federal system. [...]