Outer space in Russia’s security strategy

Authored by: Nicole J. Jackson

Routledge Handbook of Russian Security

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9780815396710
eBook ISBN: 9781351181242
Adobe ISBN:


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Today, the Russian Federation is a major actor in space and outer space governance. Its presence in space is second only to that of the US. Meanwhile, the challenges of keeping outer space ‘secure’ is growing in importance and complexity in the current context of globalisation, rapid technological change, and the increasing access to space for state and non-state actors. Russia considers outer space as a strategic region to enhance its military capabilities on earth, provide intelligence and communication functions, and achieve international status and prestige as a space power. It is sensitive to US strategy and actions and has developed counter-space technologies (e.g. electronic weapons that can jam satellites) to provide Russia with an asymmetrical edge to offset US military advantages. However, Russia’s outer space rhetoric and policy are also driven by domestic and identity issues. Outer space strategy is an instrument through which Russia pursues its goal to be a ‘great power’ and to shape the international system more closely to the new multipolar world as it sees it. It may also bring Russia economic benefits and mask internal challenges.

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