Since the collapse of the USSR, the relationships between Russia and the European Union have experienced many crises. Changes in Russian foreign policy towards the EU have become frequent. The European direction did not immediately become one of the most important foreign policy priorities of the new Russia. It developed under the influence of a complex set of factors. Many Russian politicians were excessively hopeful in the 1990s for a quick admission in the EU. However, with these illusions gradually disappearing Russian politics were becoming more and more pragmatic. Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin had different approaches to keeping up the dialogue with the West. At the beginning of their presidency each of them was regarded a herald of cardinal changes in Russia. But their image and approach to conducting Russian foreign policy were very different. The article analyzes and compares the main political aspects of Russian foreign policy towards the European Union during the presidencies of Boris Yeltsin (1991–1999) and Vladimir Putin (2000–2008). As part of the research, the following hypothesis was set: during the presidencies of Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, approaches to the European Union in Russian foreign policy were significantly different. One of the main goals of the article is to find answers to the following questions: how was the European Union perceived in Russia during the presidencies of Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin? What was the difference between the foreign policy towards the EU, pursued by Vladimir Putin, and the foreign policy of Boris Yeltsin? The following scientific methods were used: historical method, Desk Research type analysis, comparative method.
foreign policy; EU – Russia relations; Partnership and Cooperation Agreement; PCA; Boris Yeltsin; Vladimir Putin.