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Realism and constructivism are regularly portrayed as incompatible approaches to International Relations. However, the overlap between realism and constructivism often manifests in a state’s construction of multilateral institutions, which are intentionally designed to advance the state’s national interests in diverse ways. The first section of this article assesses the intersection between realism and constructivism regarding the notion of national interests. Section two outlines state construction of multilateral institutions in pursuit of national interests, with specific reference to the United States’ establishment of the liberal world order through the Bretton Woods institutions, and the pursuit of Russia’s geopolitical agenda through the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Within this analysis, both realism and constructivism are critically assessed. However, the article is structured within an overarching realist framework as it argues that constructivism is an approach selectively used by realist-oriented states to advance diverse national interests.