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Primer on Sociopolitical and Military Developments in Russia

Out of prudent concern for our own national interests, Russia’s resurgence as a superpower with global aspirations deserves careful monitoring and analysis. Recognizing the potential for readers encountering a confusing surfeit of information on Russia—much of which is duplicative and in some cases duplicitous—the Army University Press has established this website to highlight selected published works that we regard as a good starting point for understanding current developments, trends, and events related to Russian society and security-related thinking. In some cases, we hope to illuminate alternative views largely unrepresented elsewhere. We do this in an effort to promote further research, analysis, and debate concerning how to best deal with the challenge of this rising superpower.

This compilation of works consists mainly of articles from Military Review, publications authored by the Combat Studies Institute, monographs from students at the Command and General Staff College, and selected works from other sources for which we have permission to reproduce.

The Army University Press invites readers to submit for publishing consideration articles to Military Review or longer works to the Combat Studies Institute on issues related to Russia. Guidelines for submission are on the Army University Press website at http://www.armyupress.army.mil/Publish-With-Us/.


   

Military Review Articles - Russia | “Continuing the Conversation”


    Contemporary Warfare and Current Issues for the Defense of the Country

    Contemporary Warfare and Current Issues for the Defense of the Country

    General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation Armed Forces
    Translated by Dr. Harold Orenstein
    Foreword by Timothy Thomas

    Russia’s top military figure describes the state of warfare from a Russian perspective in a speech at a conference held at the Russian Academy of Military Sciences. Translated by Dr. Harold Orenstein with a foreword by Timothy Thomas, formerly of the Foreign Military Studies Office on Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

    Published in the Nov-Dec 2017 Edition of Military Review, p 22.

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    Expanding Tolstoy and Shrinking Dostoyevsky

    Expanding Tolstoy and Shrinking Dostoyevsky

    How Russian Actions in the Information Space are Inverting Doctrinal Paradigms of Warfare

    Maj. Scott J. Harr, U.S. Army

    Recent Russian information operations have inverted commonly held U.S. paradigms of warfare. The author relates some major implications of those operations for U.S. joint forces in terms of policy, doctrine, and capabilities. (First place, Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association (AFCEA) Excellence in Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (JC4I)/Information Operations (IO) Writing Contest)

    Published in the Sept-Oct 2017 Edition of Military Review, p 39.

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    Weaponizing Ridicule

    Weaponizing Ridicule

    By J. Michael Waller, PhD

    The author provides numerous examples of how satire and ridicule are effective, inexpensive instruments of psychological warfare. He recommends that the U.S. government consider ridicule as a strategic weapon.

    Published in the Sept-Oct 2017 Edition of Military Review, p 49.

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    The Evolving Nature of Russia’s Way of War

    The Evolving Nature of Russia’s Way of War

    By Lt. Col. Timothy Thomas, U.S. Army, Retired

    This article discusses the three Russian military articles about which most Western military analysts specializing in Russia have focused their attention over the past four years. Unlike other analyses of those articles, this one offers a different perspective in that it compares them side by side, examining the text of the original versions and not merely the press reports about them.

    Published in the July-August 2017 Edition of Military Review, p 34.

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    The Evolving Nature of Russia’s Way of War

    Comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the UN General Assembly

    By President Vladimir Putin

    This is the official transcript of a speech given by Russian President Vladimir Putin 28 September 2015 to the UN General Assembly as released by the office of the Russian president.

    Published in the January/February 2016 Edition of Military Review, p 16.

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    Getting Gerasimov Right

    Getting Gerasimov Right

    By Charles K. Bartles

    This is the official transcript of a speech given by Russian President Vladimir Putin 28 September 2015 to the UN General Assembly as released by the office of the Russian president.

    Published in the January/February 2016 Edition of Military Review, p 30.

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     Ukraine’s Battle at Ilovaisk, August 2014: The Tyranny of Means

    Ukraine’s Battle at Ilovaisk, August 2014:

    The Tyranny of Means

    By Maj. Michael Cohen

    The purpose of this opinion piece is to spur discussion and offer recommendations on what strategic stance the United States should take towards the Russian Federation. Initially, I will present some facts to frame the status quo and offer those not familiar with Russia, Europe, or Eurasia some background on which to base the discussion.

    Published as a Military Review online exclusive article, June 10, 2016.

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    How Do We Deal with Russia?

    How Do We Deal with Russia?

    The Status Quo and a Strategically Pragmatic Approach Forward

    By Lt. Col. Klaudius Robinson

    The purpose of this opinion piece is to spur discussion and offer recommendations on what strategic stance the United States should take towards the Russian Federation. Initially, I will present some facts to frame the status quo and offer those not familiar with Russia, Europe, or Eurasia some background on which to base the discussion.

    Published as a Military Review online exclusive article, June 10, 2016.

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    Old Generation Warfare The Evolution—Not Revolution—of the Russian Way of Warfare

    Old Generation Warfare The Evolution—Not Revolution—of the Russian Way of Warfare

    The Evolution—Not Revolution—of the Russian Way of Warfare

    By Maj. Nick Sinclair, U.S. Army

    The post-Cold War honeymoon with Russia is over. Russia’s seizure of the Crimea and the subsequent conflict to annex the Donbas imperils the legitimacy of the NATO alliance. U.S. allies on NATO’s eastern flank foresee the same aggression occurring in their countries and, having endured Moscow’s suzerainty for over a half century, these nations prefer freedom to vassalage.

    Published in the Military Review May-June 2016 Edition, p 8.

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    The Value of Science Is in the Foresight New Challenges Demand Rethinking the Forms and Methods of Carrying out Combat Operations

    The Value of Science Is in the Foresight

    New Challenges Demand Rethinking the Forms and Methods of Carrying out Combat Operations

    General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation Armed Forces

    The chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation Armed Forces provides a Russian perspective on the future of war.

    Published in the Military Review January-February 2016 Edition, p 23.

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    Defining a New Security Architecture for Europe that Brings Russia in from the Cold

    Defining a New Security Architecture for Europe that Brings Russia in from the Cold

    By John Mearsheimer, PhD

    In an article adapted from a speech, a political scientist discusses what he considers failings in U.S. and NATO policy regarding Europe and Russia since 2008. He describes a policy change that he believes could end the crisis in Ukraine although the U.S. turn toward Asia and the uncertain future of NATO would likely prevent its implementation.

    Published in the Military Review May-June 2016 Edition, p 27.

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    The Urban Individual Unassailable Source of Power in Twenty-First Century Armed Conflicts

    The Urban Individual

    Unassailable Source of Power in Twenty-First Century Armed Conflicts

    By Lt. Col. Erik A. Claessen, Belgian Army

    Winner of the 2015 Gen. William E. DePuy Combined Arms Center writing competition. The author shows that popular support may be a greater source of power than military might in urban conflicts.

    Published in the Military Review November-December 2015 Edition, p 8.

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    Is a Greater Russia Really So Bad?

    Is a Greater Russia Really So Bad?

    By George Michael, Ph.D.

    The Russian military’s foray into the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in late February 2014 set in motion a chain of events that some observers fear threatens to dismantle the post-Cold War order presumed to be based on global integration and the rule of international law.

    Published in the Military Review January-February 2015 Edition, p 99.

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    The 2008 Russian Cyber Campaign Against Georgia

    The 2008 Russian Cyber Campaign Against Georgia

    By Captain Paulo Shakarian, Ph.D., U.S. Army

    Priority information requirements and cyber reconnaissance and surveillance planning should be adjusted to account for a cyber-capable enemy.

    Published in the Military Review November-December 2011 Edition, p 63.

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    Russia's Military Performance in Georgia

    Russia's Military Performance in Georgia

    By Tor Bukkvoll, Ph.D.

    Russian operations in Georgia demonstrated that a large force of organized, trained, and equipped troops could defeat a small force partially equipped by the U.S.

    Published in the Military Review November-December 2009 Edition, p 57.

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    Current U.S. Policy of Provoking Russia is Fundamentally Flawed

    Current U.S. Policy of Provoking Russia is Fundamentally Flawed

    By Major John M. Qualls, U.S. Army

    Our current policy concerning Russia is flawed and must be reevaluated. We, the United States, seem bent on a collision course with Russia, a course that should be avoided at all costs lest an accidental exchange of fire between our two nations’ military forces lead to the use of nuclear weapons.

    Published in the Military Review January-February 2009 Edition, p 114.

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    Russian Edition August 1982

    Russian Edition August 1982

    By Various Authors

    The Army today faces a new era of strategic realities. In the 1950s and 1960s, the United States not only carried most of the military responsiliilities of the Western world, but it also possessed the lion's share of the economic power. Its strategic military superiority was unquestioned, and its lead in economic development and technology was awing By the 1970s, four changees had occurred that created a new strategic context for the post-World War II international onler.

    Published in the Nilitary Review August 1982 Russian Edition.

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    RUSSIAN PRINCIPLES FOR THE EMPLOHIBNT OF TANKS AND MOTORIZED UNITS ANO THE DEFENSE AGAINST THESE UNITS (Part I) Quartly REVIEW OF MILITARY LITERATURE vol. XIX March 1939 No. 72

    RUSSIAN PRINCIPLES FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF TANKS AND MOTORIZED UNITS ANO THE DEFENSE AGAINST THESE UNITS (Part I)

    Quartly REVIEW OF MILITARY LITERATURE vol. XIX March 1939 No. 72

    By Captain H. N. Hartness, Infantry

    Infantry in close cooperation with artillery and tanks decides the issue of combat, by decisive, aggressive conduct in the attack and by maintaining its position in the defense.

    Published in the Review of Military Literature March 1939.

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    THE RUSSO-POLISH WAR 1919·1920. NONCRITICAL AND CRITICAL VIEWS - REVIEW OF MILITARY LITERATURE vol. XIV March 1934 No. 52

    THE RUSSO-POLISH WAR 1919·1920. NONCRITICAL AND CRITICAL VIEWS

    REVIEW OF MILITARY LITERATURE vol. XIV March 1934 No. 52

    Abstracted by Captain F. During

    Very little has been written about the Russo-Polish War of 1919-1920, which is to be regretted, as the war is of especial interest because it was fought immediately after the World War in which highly trained armies faced each other; while in the Russo-Polish War, on the other hand, we find poorly trained, poorly armed and equipped troops, led by inefficient leaders. This war resembles to some degree the American Civil War.

    Published in the Review of Military Literature March 1934.

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    THE RUSSO-POLISH WAR 1919·1920. NONCRITICAL AND CRITICAL VIEWS (Part II) - REVIEW OF MILITARY LITERATURE vol. XIV March 1934 No. 55

    THE RUSSO-POLISH WAR 1919·1920. NONCRITICAL AND CRITICAL VIEWS (Part II)

    REVIEW OF MILITARY LITERATURE vol. XIV March 1934 No. 55

    Abstracted by Captain F. During

    Abstracted from Militarwissensebaftliche Milteilungen, May, 1934. "Der russisch·polnische Krieg 1919-1920. Unkritisehe und kritische Betrachtugen" by Colonel Alfred von Wittich. "See No. RML No. 52, page 43, for first installment of this series.

    Published in the Review of Military Literature December 1934.

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External Websites

    THE EVOLUTION OF OPERATIONAL ART

    The Russian Way of War

    Force Structure, Tactics, and Modernization of the Russian Ground Forces

    By Dr. LesterW. Grau
    Charles K. Bartles

    In 1984, Lieutenant General William Richardson, the commander of the U.S. Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), authorized the creation of an office modeled after the British Army's Soviet Studies Research Center (SSRC) an order to provide unclassified material from primarily Russian sources for U.S. Army training and education. The Soviet Army Studies Office (SASO) opened at Fort Leavenworth in 1986 and was staffed with civilian academics and U.S. Army foreign area officers who were proficient in Russian, understood Russian and Soviet histories and military institutions, and had traveled, studied or lived in the Soviet Union.

    Published by the Foreign Military Studies Office 2016.

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    THE EVOLUTION OF OPERATIONAL ART

    THE EVOLUTION OF OPERATIONAL ART

    By Brigade Commander Georgii Samoilovich Isserson

    One can argue that the development of true doctrine required the formal adoption of the concept of operational art. Prior to the Great War, no army in the world possessed a codified body of thought that enabled senior military commanders to visualize the aggregate effects of tactical engagements across time and space. By 1918, after a dramatic revision of drill regulations into something approaching true doctrine, the German army was furthest in realizing this goal. Ultimately, though, the Germans could not translate tactical success into strategic victory because they could not resource military operations in sufficient depth to render local successes decisive.

    Published by the Combat Studies Institute Press, US Army Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas 2013.

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  • Russia’s New and Unrealistic Naval Doctrine
  • By Dmitry Gorenburg, War on the Rocks, July 26, 2017


    Putin’s Real Syria Agenda

    Putin’s Real Syria Agenda

    By Genevieve Casagrande and Kathleen Weinberger

    The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) produced this report with the Critical Threats Project (CTP). The insights are part of an intensive multi-month exercise to frame, design, and evaluate potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and al Qaeda in Syria. The ISW-CTP team recently released “America’s Way Ahead in Syria,” which details the flaws in the current U.S. approach in Iraq and Syria and proposes the first phase of a strategic reset in the Middle East

    Published by the Institute for the Study of War, March 2017.

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  • Russian “New Generation” Warfare: Theory, Practice, and Lessons for U.S. Strategists
  • By Nicholas Fedyk, Small Wars Journal, May 4, 2017


  • Army Seeks Weapons-Counter Russia in Europe
  • By Sandra Erwin, Scout Warrior, June 14, 2017


  • The U.S. Army's Answer to Russia's Growing Military Might: More Missiles and Munitions
  • By Sandra Erwin, The National Interest, June 7, 2017