Research Report


Stephen J. Blank Editor
Copyright Date: Jun. 1, 2012
Pages: 121
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. v-vi)

    The nature of the Russian state and the economy it superintends raise more than academic questions, for if we understand the nature of the state and its subordinated economy, we can then form an accurate vision of what Russia’s overall policy and strategy will be. We may say, euphemistically, that the beginning of wisdom in understanding Russian policy and strategy is to grasp the answers to key questions concerning the nature of its political and economic processes. In line with that approach to understanding Russia, the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) is pleased to present the first volume of papers from...

  2. (pp. vii-viii)
    Stephen J. Blank

    These papers represent the first in a series of papers taken from the Strategic Studies Institute’s (SSI) fourth annual Russia conference that took place at SSI’s headquarters in Carlisle, PA, on September 26-27, 2011. As such, they also are part of our on-going effort to make sense of and clarify developments in Russia. The three papers presented here offer attempts to characterize first of all, the nature of the state; second, the prospects for economic reform within that state—perhaps the most pressing domestic issue and one with considerable spillover into defense and security agendas as well-in contemporary Russia; and...

  3. (pp. 1-36)
    Lilia Shevtsova

    The December 2011 protests have proved that Russia has come to the point when the most educated and forward looking segments of the society are starting to realize that the personalized power system’s continued existence is leading to national and social degradation with potentially dramatic consequences for the country. But this growing awareness has not yet produced any alternative that could secure broad political and public support, and Russia thus continues down its destructive road. Moreover, Vladimir Putin’s ruling team is going to reproduce the system during the December 2011 and March 2012 “managed” elections.

    In this chapter, I reflect...

  4. (pp. 37-60)
    Steven Rosefielde

    Policymakers have long been double-minded about Russian economic possibilities. During the cold war, some imagined that the Soviet Union could improve planning sufficiently to overtake or even surpass America. Others felt that while planning was intrinsically inferior, the Kremlin could always set things right by jettisoning command and transitioning to democratic free enterprise.

    Post-communism has taught them little.¹ They fail to appreciate that the Soviet Union’s flaws went deeper than command and that neither “liberalization” nor global market participation are panaceas.² Russia’s core Muscovite economic system was inferior for 4 centuries before Joseph Stalin vainly tried to subdue rent-seeking New...

  5. (pp. 61-106)
    Mark Galeotti

    In February 2008, President Minister Vladimir Putin said that Russia’s armed forces had become more mobile and combat-ready than ever before.¹ Then in August, Russia unleashed those forces on its far smaller neighbor, Georgia. Moscow had been preparing for this conflict for a couple of years and was able to deploy 35,000-40,000 Russian troops and allied auxiliaries against up to 15,000 Georgian troops. The Russians also had clear air and naval superiority and also a preponderance of heavy firepower. They won, but that was never seriously in doubt. The real lesson was that they did not win more quickly, more...