Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Olena Nikolayenko, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dotan Leshem, Ph.D.


While the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 may have harkened in a new era of global peace, the rise of nationalist governments in China and Russia have changed this circumstance as seen in their respective spheres of influence. During the first two decades of the 21st Century, China and Russia have become increasingly aggressive in the application of their foreign policies, attempting to assert their presence on the global stage. From 1945 through 1991, there has been a historical precedence of Chinese and Russian dominance in the South China Sea and in Eastern Europe. This was in part because China and the Soviet Union, Russia’s predecessor state, sought to establish their relevance in geopolitical affairs and to consolidate power within their spheres of influence. Since 2008, China and Russia have sought to follow this aggressive foreign policy to in establishing their status’ as global powers and to consolidate their influence in their respective spheres of influence to deter foreign powers. This thesis argues that the rise of militarism, economic power, and nationalist identity accounts for an escalation in China and Russia's expansionist foreign policy.