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.
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
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.
This book focuses on the Western difficulties in interpreting Russia. It begins with by reflecting on some of the problems that are set in the foundations of Russia's post-Cold War relationship with the West. The book points to problems that emerge from linguistic and historical 'interpretation'. It looks at the impact of Russia's decline as a political priority for the West since the end of the Cold War and the practical impact this has had. It then reflects on the rising influence, especially, but not only, in public policy and media circles, of 'transitionology' as the main lens through which developments in Russia were interpreted. The book then examines the evolution of the West's relationship with Russia since the end of the Cold War, focusing particularly on the NATO-Russia relationship. It focuses on the chronological development of relations and the emergence of strategic dissonance from 2003. The book also looks at Russian domestic politics, particularly the Western belief in and search for a particular kind of change in Russia, a transition to democracy. It continues the exploration of domestic politics, but turns to address the theme of 'Putinology', the focus on Putin as the central figure in Russian politics.
Building on earlier work, this text combines theoretical perspectives with empirical work, to provide a comparative analysis of the electoral systems, party systems and governmental systems in the ethnic republics and regions of Russia. It also assesses the impact of these different institutional arrangements on democratization and federalism, moving the focus of research from the national level to the vitally important processes of institution building and democratization at the local level and to the study of federalism in Russia.
1 Approaches to contemporary Russia
For most of the twentieth century Russia was markedly more authoritarian than it is today. Nonetheless, many observers of Russia in the first
decade of the twenty-first century see a country increasingly moving back
in an authoritarian direction, in comparison with the democratising
moves and mood of the 1990s. According to this view, if the 1990s under
President Boris Yeltsin was the decade of democracy then a new century
and a new president, Vladimir Putin, have seen a shift in emphasis
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
This book tells the story of English relations with Russia, from the 'strange and wonderfull discoverie' of the land and Elizabeth I's correspondence with Ivan the Terrible, to the corruption of the Muscovy Company and the Elizabethan regime's censorship of politically sensitive representations of Russia. Focusing on the life and works of Giles Fletcher, the elder, ambassador to Russia in 1588, it explores two popular themes in Elizabethan history: exploration, travel and trade and late Elizabethan political culture. The book draws together and analyses the narratives of travel, the practicalities of trade and the discourses of commonwealth and corruption that defined English encounters in late sixteenth century. In the early stages of English mercantile contact with Russia, diplomatic negotiations took shape in the wake of developing trade relations and were made up of a series of ad hoc embassies by individuals. The embassy of Giles Fletcher in 1588, however, represented a change in diplomatic tack. Fletcher's writing of Russia reveals some shared Elizabethan images of the land on Christendom's periphery and fundamentally how Russia was used as a site to reflect on themes of cultural development, commonwealth, trade and colonisation. The extensive use in Fletcher's text of the language of anti-popery points to resonances with the anxieties that riddled the political and religious consciences of late Elizabethan England. His work engaged in cajoling the commonwealth to think with the image of Russia.
This book is a systematic study that considers how international environmental agreements are transformed into political action in Russia, using three case studies on the implementation process in the fields of fisheries management, nuclear safety, and air pollution control. It develops the social science debate on international environmental regimes and ‘implementing activities’ at both national and international level to include regional considerations.
A picture of Russian grand strategy is taking shape. On one hand, a structured strategic planning architecture has slowly taken shape, and a set of regularly updated plans, even an ambitious strategic agenda, has been broadly, if somewhat unevenly, formulated. On the other, the implementation of this agenda throughout the 2000s was problematic, both because of the complex context in which Moscow was working and because of the difficulty of coordinating the necessary resources and conducting the orchestra. The reliance on manual control meant that power was