Anna J. Davidson
DiscussionConventional work on nuclear energy cooperation tends to cease the inquiry once it has located any benefits of power or material interests. However, in Post-Soviet states, where nuclear energy cooperation without exception entails Russian involvement, additional elements of historical legacies, trust, and norms appear to also be wrapped up into this sort of interstate relationship. This paper considers post-Soviet civil nuclear cooperation with an interpretivist approach using the relationship between Belarus and Russia as a case study. The paper takes into account the fact that both the Belarusian and Russian civil nuclear complexes are state-owned, and, according to some scholarship, they are extensions of official policy. With attention on how the Belarusian state manoeuvres its relationship with Russia as a larger, hegemonic neighbour, the paper evaluates how the acquisition of Belarus’ own nuclear power plant via a decades-long partnership with Russia affects the continued construction of Belarus’ international identity in the post-Soviet period. With the conclusions of the analysis, the paper will hopefully contribute to conversations on new ways of thinking about how international identity construction can be pursued and negotiated by smaller states in the former Soviet space.