Date of Award

Spring 6-4-2016

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Jeff Keuss

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Katya Drozdova

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Zhiguo Ye


DPRK, USSR, Kim Il-Sung, Stalin, Juche, North Korea


The purpose of this thesis is to show a correlation between change in Soviet-Russian leadership and the actions reflecting variance in Russia’s strategic influence in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) from 1946-1999. As part of applying the strategic perspective in this analysis, an argument for the rationality of the Kim regime is included. The analysis is approached using a structured, focused comparison with process-tracing to expose within-case variance.

A direct, measurable relationship between the change in Russian leadership and variance in Russia’s strategic influence in the DPRK is found as a result of this analysis. Because this finding is timeless and applicable outside the scope of this research, it can be applied to present-day political situations concerning Russian leadership and Russian strategic interests. Furthermore, this finding also supports the strategic perspective and can thus be used in the formulation of the West’s foreign policy towards the DPRK.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars Program


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