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Why do authoritarian leaders do regionalism? Ontological security and Eurasian regional cooperation

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Collective ontological security refers to the psychological human need to be part of a stable collective identity. Populations expect leaders to help meet these ontological needs and support those that do. In the Eurasian region, and in addition to other objectives, Russian and Kazakh presidents have used regional cooperation efforts as an elite-led strategy of ontological security building and reinforcement – especially important as national identities were contested and weak after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Focusing on ontological security presents a novel research perspective on Eurasian regionalism and offers a new (but complementary) explanation of both autocratic regional cooperation and conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-37
Number of pages18
JournalThe International Spectator: Italian Journal of International Affairs
Issue number3
Early online date19 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2018


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