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The roots of Russian conduct


Shearman, P and Sussex, MA, The roots of Russian conduct, Small Wars & Insurgencies, 20, (2) pp. 251-275. ISSN 0959-2318 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/09592310902975380


This article examines the reasons behind Russia's decision to go to war with Georgia in August 2008. It evaluates the key potential drivers of Russian policy relating to structural, domestic and perceptual factors. We find that initial responses to the war, which focused on Russia as the aggressor and raised the specter of a new ‘Cold War’, are overly simplistic. The wider Eurasian region is of critical strategic importance to decision-makers in Moscow, something we find has been overlooked or underestimated in many assessments of the war. By the same token, the idea of a new Cold War conflates the structural condition of bipolarity with the much more complex and fluid contemporary regional security order. We demonstrate that it is necessary to gain a more comprehensive and objective understanding of the roots of Russian foreign policy in order to better construct more durable and cooperative relations between Russia and the West. Here we argue that existing multilateral security institutions do not provide an effective mechanism to achieve this objective. We then offer suggestions for a new security framework for Eurasia, which would prevent a repeat of the Russia-Georgia war and the resulting deterioration in Russia's relations with the West. © 2009 Taylor & Francis.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:International relations
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:International relations
Objective Field:Defence and security policy
UTAS Author:Sussex, MA (Dr Matthew Sussex)
ID Code:61263
Year Published:2009
Deposited By:Government
Deposited On:2010-03-02
Last Modified:2011-11-28

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