Politics and Economics in Putin's Russia   [open pdf - 3MB]

"The papers included here, except for the editor's introduction, all come from the Strategic Studies Institute's annual conference on Russia in May 2012. In one way or another, they all point to the internal pathologies that render Russian security a precarious affair, at the best of times. As the editor suggests, the very fact of this precariousness makes Russia an inherently unpredictable and even potentially dangerous actor, not necessarily because it will actively attack its neighbors, though we certainly cannot exclude that possibility, but rather because it may come apart trying to play the role of a great power in Eurasia or elsewhere. As we all know, that outcome happened in 1917 and in 1989-91, with profound implications for international security and U.S. interests. The strategic point at issue here goes beyond merely cataloguing Russia's deficiencies, many of which are well-known. These indicators should give early warning to analysts within the Army, the U.S. Government, and the broader society, if not abroad, about the fundamental problems of instability that lie at the foundation of Russian governance and security. […] As we are now, according to many analysts, in a 'risk society,' it becomes incumbent upon us, if we are not to be unduly surprised, to diversify our risks and to develop greater understanding of the potential challenges that those risks could trigger. […] Therefore, we must think about preventing them from growing into full-blown military contingencies while we can. If that effort ensures and owes something to these essays, then they will have served their purpose."

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U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute: http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/
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