Stephen J. Blank

July 2000

The views expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.


The documented threat assessments addressed here by Dr. Stephen Blank are clearly the culmination to date of a long-standing process by which the Russian military and government have forsaken the optimistic Westernizing postures and visions of the initial post-Soviet years and returned in many respects to assessments and demands for specific policies that evoke the Soviet mentality and period. The armed forces and the government have adopted a viewpoint that magnifies both the internal and external threats to Russia that they perceive and regard those threats as growing in number and saliency. This viewpoint is fundamentally at odds with both the post-1985 Soviet and Russian perspective and with Western perspectives on international security.

In adopting this heightened sense of threat, the armed forces may well have been guided as much by interests urging higher defense spending and greater visibility for the General Staff and armed forces in the framing of Russian security policy. To the extent that official policy statements accept that assessment, they reflect trends in both internal and external policy that are inimical to notions of democratic reform and stability at home and partnership with the West abroad. Needless to say, such perspectives also make it harder for the overstressed economy, society, and polity to provide genuine security for Russia in a dynamic international context.

The future course of Russian security policy is one of the most important and difficult questions in contemporary international affairs. This monograph addresses basic issues pertaining to Russia s future options for policymakers' consideration and reflection as the global debate over Russia s future direction under Vladimir Putin takes shape.

To view the complete study in an Adobe Acrobat format, click


Strategic Studies Institute
United States Army War College
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This page last updated on 3 Jul 2000.