Eleonora Ducci


Ciclo: XXXV

Titolo progetto: After the Cold War: Ukraine’s role in US-Russian Relations (1991-1996)

Supervisor(s): Prof. Andrea Graziosi

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  • Education

    October 2016 – March 2019

    Master of Arts in International Studies, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Department of Political Science, with a final dissertation in International Relations After the End of the Cold War titled “From the Reset to the Crimean Crisis: the Russian Foreign Policy of the Obama Administration”, supervised by Prof. Leopoldo Nuti and Prof. Marilena Gala


    Scholarship for two months of research at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Cold War Studies, supervised by Prof. Vladislav Zubok


    Scholarship for a semester of study at the Moscow State University, Department of History

    October 2012 – September 2016

    Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistic and Intercultural Mediation, Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”, Department of European, American and Intercultural Studies, with a final dissertation in History of International Relations titled “Russian Foreign Policy and Poland: Tsars’ Strategies in Comparison”, supervised by Prof. Antonello Battaglia

    My project is placed in the general discourse of US-Russian relations after the end of the Cold War, where I view Ukraine as one of the main bones of contention. Indeed, Ukraine’s desire to break away from Russia’s shadow and its consequent desire to join Western institutions meant that in the 1990s all the good things achieved deteriorated – albeit slowly – in a way that was difficult to repair. The time frame chosen goes from 1991 – year Ukraine’s independence and the dissolution of the Soviet Union – to 1996 – year of the complete removal of nuclear weapons from Ukraine. I intend to dwell upon those years, as during this time, the American Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program was officially launched for the benefit of Ukraine, and the trilateral nuclear negotiations between Ukraine, Russia and the United States were carried. Thus, my goal is to understand why, after a period of promising cooperation, ties between Russia and the United States did not grow tighter. If they could successfully cooperate in the security field – in such as sensitive issue such as the nuclear one – what went wrong then? The 1994 landmark Trilateral Agreement represented a kind of win-win-win situation for the three powers involved but, I believe, the problem lied – and somewhat lies still today – in which country was officially entrusted in guaranteeing Ukraine’s security: Russia or the United States? On the one hand, there were Russian intentions to establish and maintain influence in the so-called “Near Abroad”; on the other, Ukraine’s will to join Western institutions such as NATO with US assistance. Was it precisely during the negotiations of the Trilateral Agreement that things started to turn sour? Importantly, during the negotiations, the bargaining power of the three countries was not equal, as shown by the failure of the Russian-Ukrainian Massandra Summit and the following impact of US mediation in the negotiation. Did the Agreement succeed only because denuclearizing Ukraine was of primary importance compared to other impeding issues, such as NATO enlargement or the exploding situation in the Balkans? A reconstruction of the relationship between Russia and the United States after the Cold War could then possible by looking at how both countries confronted Ukraine’s nuclear disarmament. Therefore, aim of this research is to write a complete report of this episode from an historical point of view and to answer all the questions posed above. Last but not least, the importance of a research as such lies in its implications for today, as current tense political situation might be read through the lens of inconsistencies of the past.