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.
Introduction Pope Benedict XVI, Russian President Vladimir Putin and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres have at least one thing in common: they each, at different times and in reference to different contexts, called for or ordered the opening of so-called ‘humanitarian corridors’. Whether it was to evacuate wounded civilians in South Ossetia in 2008, to implement a daily ceasefire in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta in 2018, or to assist populations in Ethiopia’s Tigray region in 2021, respectively, the notion is now so frequently invoked that it goes
President Vladimir Putin oversees extensive, precise, disruptive fake-information campaigns that are designed to cause confusion ( Paul & Matthews, 2016 ). At Russia’s ‘Internet Research Agency’, hundreds of employees write content for false blogs and social media accounts. These are then mobilised to create disinformation campaigns about issues ranging from the conflicts in Syria and the Ukraine to an invented explosion at a chemical plant in Centerville, Louisiana ( Chen, 2015 ). MIT media researcher Ethan Zuckerman calls this content
This book offers a nuanced and detailed examination of Russia’s international activity. In broad terms, the book contributes to two of the most important current debates about contemporary Russian actions: whether Moscow is acting strategically or opportunistically, and whether this should be understood in regional or global terms. The book goes against the majority opinions on both questions, and introduces contributions in a number of under-researched themes. It argues that Moscow is not acting in a simply ad hoc, reactive way, but in a consistently strategic manner, and that this is best understood not by analysing Russia’s return to specific regions, but in a more holistic way with a global horizon, linking activity across different regions. This means that the Russian challenge is likely to continue rather than fade away.
The book addresses core themes of Russian activity – military, energy, and economic. But it offers an unusual multi-disciplinary analysis to these themes, incorporating both regional and thematic specialist expertise. Underpinned by detailed analyses of the revolution in Russian geospatial capabilities and the establishment of a strategic planning foundation, the book includes chapters on military and maritime strategies, energy security, and economic diversification and influence. This serves to highlight the connections between military and economic interests that shape and drive Russian strategy.
own as an overview of policy development in its designated field, with an emphasis on the role that security concerns have played in the creation and implementation of policy. In this concluding chapter, we bring together these mezo-level analyses into a macro-level assessment of contemporary Russia. In essence, the question we are asking is, how accurate is it to portray Russia under Vladimir Putin as a country where policy-making is dominated by security? It is a common criticism by liberal observers of the Putin regime in Russia and abroad that, to put it in its
particularly during the mid-to-late 2000s, Putin (and Medvedev) have overseen largely joint appointments to senior positions of personnel with whom they have long and strong connections and who have proved themselves. The leadership team is built on two main pillars. One pillar consists of those in the core group who in the main are the friends, classmates and colleagues of Vladimir Putin (and Dmitri Medvedev
straightforward as is often portrayed. This chapter argues for a stronger emphasis on existing policies and procedures than on conclusions based simply on the provenance of individual politicians and officials.2 On one level – intuitively and anecdotally – there seems to be little doubt that siloviki have played an increasing role in the governance of Russia since Vladimir Putin became president in March 2000. Many people who have known Russia in the past decade or so will confirm that under Putin the force structures have a new visibility and presence. A phrase that was
Bacon 01 3/2/06 10:22 AM Page 1 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
Under Vladimir Putin, the Russian leadership has consistently sought to shape a strategic agenda. In December 1999, when prime minister and acting president, Putin published a ‘millennium’ article outlining his views on the situation in Russia. He wrote about the lessons to be learnt from Russia’s history, the crisis Russia faced and possible opportunities. He identified a strong state and efficient economy as the keys to its recovery, and what Russia needed, he suggested, was to ‘formulate a long-term strategy’, one that would help to overcome the crisis. 1