Authored by: Valery Konyshev , Alexander Sergunin

Routledge Handbook of Russian Foreign Policy

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138690448
eBook ISBN: 9781315536934
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter argues that the military was an important determinant of Russia’s foreign policy in the post-Soviet era and will remain so in the foreseeable future. The military influences Russia’s foreign policy through shaping elites’ threat perceptions, forging foreign and national security policy doctrines, partaking in the decision-making process, and using military force to achieve geopolitical goals. The civilian control was largely established following the post-Cold War years, although the civil-military relations in Russia are still not fully in line with Western democratic standards and remain an object of criticism from the foreign policy-making and expert communities. It should be noted that the use of military force is seen as a last resort, when other – non-military – means are exhausted, and it is done in a rather limited/selective way. The military (hard power) instruments complement rather than exclude or clash with the soft power tools in terms of achieving Moscow’s international policy objectives. When used in combination, military and non-military means reinforce each other and make Moscow’s foreign policy even more effective. It is also important for the Kremlin to provide its military/coercive actions with legitimacy from the international law’s point of view.

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