Any foreign policy strategy is based on ambitions, objectives, apprehensions and values of a state's leadership. So before addressing directly the subject of my essay, I am compelled to devote some time to
this political motivation of the Russian leadership's behaviour.
Events in Ukraine have made many re-evaluate their view of Russia and suggest new approaches. While there are good reasons to do so, there is also every reason to revisit some old lessons and draw the right conclusions from events further back in time than the annexation of Crimea. First, Russian domestic politics will continue to play a prominent role in deciding Russia's room for manoeuvre in its security policy. Second, change can only come from within Russia - the West (mainly the US and Europe) will be able to influence events only on the margins and perhaps not always receiving the intended response. Finally, and perhaps at first a bit paradoxically taking the first two points in view, what the West does will matter. It will matter because it will influence developments inside Russia in a long-term perspective if there is an alternative model. But even more importantly, what the West does will decide what position it finds itself in when Russia does change.
The annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and the subsequent
intervention in Ukraine created a shockwave in the European security
system. It suddenly became apparent that certain key rules of
international conduct in Europe could no longer be taken for granted.
Opponents of Vladimir Putin's Russia in the West, and especially in the Baltic states, immediately put the events in and around Ukraine in the context of previous developments, in particular the 2008 Russian-Georgian war. Their conclusion was that the intervention was part of a long-term plan of imperial expansion, which is going to continue in the nearest future.
I would like to steer your attention to the Black Sea region, not because I come from Bucharest, and Romania has a stretch of the Black Sea shore, but because Crimea's seizure and annexation by Russia changes dramatically the geopolitical and strategic balance in the Black Sea region, which forces the US and NATO to re-evaluate strategically and tactically
In this article, I am going to focus on how the radical nationalist movement in Russia fares in the current situation, given the political consolidation of the current regime, and the war in Ukraine and the government's reaction to it. The article describes the situation as it stood at the end of 2014, which makes it predictably incomprehensive because new updates on the conflict still arrive every day, and there has also been more news about Russian ultra-right forces over the past few months.
This article deals with how Russian warfighting is described and discussed in contemporary Russian military theory. The approach has been studies, analyses and interpretations of primarily Russian sources as prominent Russian journals, but also Western analyses and interpretations of contemporary Russian warfighting discussions. Theoretical considerations are limited to the period from the 1980s to the present day - 2014. Mainly Russian experts on military theory (Bogdanov, Chekinov, Gareev, Kiselyov, Kuralenko, Morozov, Slipchenko, Vinogradov, Vladimirov, Vorobyov) have been studied, but also sources from some prominent Western experts on Russian warfare (FitzGerald, Gileotti, Kipp, McDermott).
In 21st century military theory and doctrine, it is common to subdivide military capability into conceptual, physical and moral components. At least in theory, it follows that conceptual capability should be regarded as the crucial link between the physical and moral capabilities of a given military actor, as it concerns the ability of the actor to operationalise ideas about how to conduct modern warfare. Conceptual military capability can thus be defined as the sum of an actor's military know-how, scientific capacity and doctrine, which defines the expected ability of an actor to uphold an efficient language of military action, distribution and command.
When on 15th of October 2008 Russia officially announced a decision to reform its armed forces some observers were very fast to claim this as a new adventurist's move of Russian political and military leadership. Almost nobody took it seriously. Today the situation is different with more and more specialists and officials pointing at the Russian army and recognising it as an emerging threat. How did this happen that we became caught in surprise again? Why did nobody pay any attention to what was going on in the Russian Army, or if somebody did, why nobody took them seriously. Those and other questions still remain to be answered.