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The role of geopolitics in European Union (EU) foreign policy has been the focus of much media, political, and scholarly commentary. This literature has interrogated the topic from a number of perspectives, critically exploring, for example, the construction and embodiment of EU foreign policy, the geopolitics of regional cooperation within the EU, and the role of geopolitical imaginations in the creation of the EU. Far less literature, by contrast, has explored how the EU is viewed as a geopolitical actor by other entities. This paper begins to do this, by exploring how ideas of the EU have become an enduring geopolitical conception in post-Soviet Russia. It traces their evolution from the early 2000s, when Russia sought to emulate EU norms and values as part of a broader Westernising tendency in its foreign policy. Narratives about the EU were reworked in the context of the so-called ‘colour revolutions’ between 2003 and 2005, and have subsequently been revitalised since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency in 2012. In these contexts, this paper critically scrutinises the evolution of the EU’s role within Russian practical geopolitical discourse and this role’s relations to other claims and visions of what it means for Russia to be a great power.
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