After the Cold War, Italy developed an economic and political partnership with Russia. The confrontation between Russia and the West following the Ukraine crisis initially appeared to have undermined this partnership. Instead, despite reciprocal sanctions and tensions, Italian-Russian cooperation has proved resilient. Security and humanitarian crises in Italy’s Southern neighbourhood and Russia’s renewed activism there have recently led Italian policymakers to intensify dialogue with Moscow. The quest for dialogue with Russia corresponds to the long-standing conceptualisation of Italy as a ‘middle power’, which can achieve its foreign policy goals most effectively through cooperation with the great powers.
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