Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis


International Affairs


Kristin Vekasi

Committee Members

Robert Ballingall, Robert Glover, Lora Pitman, Stefano Tijerina

Graduation Year

May 2021

Publication Date

Spring 5-2021


This thesis examines territorial authoritarian threats to the Western world through an examination of historical and contemporary case studies. The historical examples used in this thesis are fromEastern Europe, since it had many chances to engage in international law with the authoritarian state, leading its people to understand the nature of one of the oldest authoritarian states: Russia. The four case studies used are: 1) Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918), 2) Soviet Invasion of Poland (1939-1940), 3) Soviet Occupation of Baltic states (1939-1945), and 4) Russian Annexation of Crimea (2014). Meanwhile, the thesis presents a table of predictions to theorize on the success/outcomes of territorial invasions from the expansionist authoritarian state while using past observations as reliable references. However, the core question of the thesis is to examine whether military aid serves as the best deterrence against authoritarian invasion, or potential attacks.Lastly, while using existing academic literature and primary resources, this work also notes how the authoritarian regime uses international law and the community’s trust to advance its own agenda while creating a veneer of a trustworthy democratic partner.