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Arms, energy and ideology
Robert Mason

Introduction This chapter sketches out Russia's historically limited channels of influence in the Gulf, from the Russian Empire to the Soviet era. It also charts the disconnect in the Soviet era on issues such as revolutionary policy, energy and religion. It explains Gorbachev's preoccupation with domestic matters during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the Russian Federation in the unipolar world, achieving détente with the US and the Arab Gulf states. The chapter covers the evolving balance of Russian

in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
Open Access (free)
The state of surprise
Andrew Monaghan

Rude awakenings The eruption of war in Ukraine in 2014 illustrated the strong and prevailing sense of surprise, even astonishment, that has pervaded post-Cold War Western public policy and mainstream media commentary in response to Russian actions. Perhaps the sharpest point was Russia’s unexpected annexation of Crimea: one US observer suggested that the US administration

in The new politics of Russia
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A sea power of a sort?
Geoffrey Till

In many ways, Russia does not conform to the usual pattern of conventional seapower. But for all that, it still needs to be taken seriously as such. Our reactions to the nature and activities of the Russian Navy should be informed by an understanding of what is special to Russia, as well as by our own assumptions about what is “normal” about great power behaviour at sea. The dangers of “mirror-imaging” demand no less. But first it is necessary to clarify how the necessary words are being used in this

in The sea in Russian strategy
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The domestic politics of Putin

This book shows the impact of twenty-first-century security concerns on the way Russia is ruled. It demonstrates how President Vladimir Putin has wrestled with terrorism, immigration, media freedom, religious pluralism, and economic globalism, and argues that fears of a return to old-style authoritarianism oversimplify the complex context of contemporary Russia. Since the early 1990s, Russia has been repeatedly analysed in terms of whether it is becoming a democracy or not. This book instead focuses on the internal security issues common to many states in the early twenty-first century, and places them in the particular context of Russia, the world's largest country, still dealing with its legacy of communism and authoritarianism. Detailed analysis of the place of security in Russia's political discourse and policy making reveals nuances often missing from overarching assessments of Russia today. To characterise the Putin regime as the ‘KGB-resurgent’ is to miss vital continuities, contexts, and on-going political conflicts that make up the contemporary Russian scene. The book draws together current debates about whether Russia is a ‘normal’ country developing its own democratic and market structures, or a nascent authoritarian regime returning to the past. Drawing on extensive interviews and Russian source material, it argues that the growing security factor in Russia's domestic politics is neither ubiquitous nor unchallenged. It must be understood in the context of Russia's immediate history and the growing domestic security concerns of many states the world over.

Michael B. Petersen

Introduction: maritime economy and security In February 2019, a small Russian naval task group led by Moscow's newest and most advanced surface combatant, the missile frigate Admiral of the Soviet Fleet Gorshkov , departed its home port of Severomorsk and began a long and not-so-routine voyage around the world. The small group of redoubtable ships steamed to Djibouti, Sri Lanka, China, Ecuador, Cuba, and Cabo Verde before returning with great fanfare to Russian waters. It was, according to prominent Russian naval expert

in Russian Grand Strategy in the era of global power competition
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Andrew Monaghan

The sense of mobilisation and pressure on the system, and thus the attempt to generate grand strategy, is all the more tangible in the security and military realms. Indeed, because of the ‘changing geopolitical situation’ and the ‘spread of instability and conflict’, since 2013 senior officials have spoken of the urgent need for the armed forces to reach a ‘fundamentally new capability level within three to five years’, and of developing measures to prepare Russia’s transition to a war footing. In December 2016, for instance, Putin stated clearly that

in Power in modern Russia
Mark Edele

History and memory On 24 December 2014, Vladimir Luzgin failed a history exam with fairly high stakes. The resident of Perm in the Urals did so, unknowingly, by sharing an article entitled ‘15 Facts about the Supporters of Bandera ( Banderovtsy ), or: What the Kremlin is Silent About’. The article countered what its author perceived as Russian misconceptions about the Ukrainian independence movement in the Second World War, in particular the followers of one of its leaders. 1 Stepan Bandera (1909–59) was born in Galicia, then part of the

in Debates on Stalinism
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Pirogov and the Grand Duchess
Carol Helmstadter

The Russian army and its medical department The Russian army as a whole was the largest in the world and enjoyed an international reputation of invincibility. However, many major problems invalidated this perception. First of all, the Russians had no universal draft in the Western European sense of the word because such a system would have destroyed the Russian agrarian economy which was based on serfdom. As soon as they joined the army, serfs became free men and, if they survived the long term of service, they

in Beyond Nightingale
An Interview with Irina Mützelburg (October 2022)
Brendan Lawson
Joël Glasman
, and
Irina Mützelburg

Joël Glasman (JG) and Brendan Lawson (BL): In the very first days following the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Army, on 24 February, several media said that the UN was expecting ‘4 to 5’ million Ukrainians to flee their country. Where did this figure come from? Did it turn out to be an accurate prediction? Irina Mützelburg (IM): Actually, this number was already mentioned before the full-scale Russian invasion. On 3 December 2021, the new

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Strategy and mobilisation
Series: Pocket Politics

Under Vladimir Putin, the Russian leadership has consistently sought to shape a strategic agenda. This book discusses the strategy planning process and the legislative and policy architecture that has taken shape. It explores the nature of the agenda itself, particularly Putin's May Edicts of 2012, which set out Moscow's core strategic agenda. The book examines the questions raised by the numerous problems in planning and the extent to which they undermine the idea of Russian grand strategy. It explores what the Russian leadership means by a 'unified action programme', its emphasis on military modernisation, problems that Russian observers emphasise, strategy undermining, and the relation of mobilisation with the Russian grand strategy. The book argues that Russian strategy is less to be found in Moscow's plans, and more in the so-called vertical of power. The broader picture of Russian grand strategy, and the leadership's ability to implement those plans, is examined. The book discusses patriotic mass mobilisation often referred to as the 'Crimea effect', and the role of the All Russian Popular Front in the implementation of the leadership's plans, especially the May Edicts. It talks about the ongoing debate in the Russian armed forces. Finally, some points regarding Russian grand strategy are discussed.