Russian Politics and Society

By Richard Sakwa | Go to book overview

17Defence and security policy

The wolfhound century leaps at my shoulders, But I am no wolf by blood.

(Osip Mandelstam) 1

The USSR was one of the world's most militarised states, with 5 million men under arms in 1988 and another 4 million employed in defence industries, and with some 15-20 per cent of Soviet GDP devoted to the upkeep of this vast 'state within a state'. 2 The well-known saying that 'The USSR did not have a military-industrial complex, it was one' reflected a frightening truth. Not only were the country's economic resources diverted towards supporting the country's enormous military establishment, but also the system of conscription and patriotic education made the military the cornerstone of national identity. Perestroika represented the repudiation of the logic of Cold War, and by rejecting a security-dominated foreign policy suggested that domestic politics and the economy would also be demilitarised. The disintegration of the USSR was soon followed by the division of the Soviet armed forces as the newly independent republics created their own military establishments. Russia was burdened with the legacy of Soviet imperial expansion, a bloated defence sector and, perhaps most significantly, a military establishment accustomed to getting its own way. Could a new model of civil-military relations be forged in post-communist Russia, and with it a demilitarised sense of national purpose?


The end of the Soviet armed forces

With the fall of communism the Soviet Armed Forces were no longer a military threat but a source of social and political instability to the countries that had sacrificed so much to give them birth. Attempts to maintain a single CIS command after 1991 were soon undermined by the aspirations of republics like Ukraine to create their own armed forces, fuelled by fears that a Russianised Soviet Army could be used to reimpose Moscow's rule. Odom, indeed, in his study of the end of the Soviet armed forces calls his chapter dealing with these events 'The Illusion of the CIS Armed Forces'. 3 Russia itself had been reluctant to create its own armed forces, yet by early 1992 was forced to embark on this path. Russia was now required to disengage its forces from neighbouring countries, maintain control over the huge nuclear arsenal, and at the same time to reconstruct its own armed forces for new tasks.

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Russian Politics and Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures ix
  • Tables x
  • Preface to the Third Edition xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Note on Style, Spelling and Transliteration xiv
  • Glossary of Acronyms, Acrostics and Terms xv
  • Part I - The Fall of Communism and the Rebirth of Russia 1
  • 1: Soviet Communism and Its Dissolution 3
  • 2: The Disintegration of the Ussr 27
  • Part II - Political Institutions and Processes 43
  • 3: The New Constitutional Order 45
  • 4: Law and Society 72
  • 5: The Executive 98
  • 6: The Legislature 125
  • 7: Electoral Politics 140
  • 8: Party Development 172
  • Part III - Federalism, Regionalism and Nationalism 201
  • 9: Federalism and the State 203
  • 10: Regional and Local Politics 224
  • 11: National Identity and State-Building 254
  • Part IV - Economy and Society 277
  • 12: Marketising the Economy 279
  • 13: Society and Social Movements 305
  • 14: Cultural Transformation 331
  • Part V - Foreign Policies 347
  • 15: Foreign Policy 349
  • 16: Commonwealth, Community and Fragmentation 375
  • 17: Defence and Security Policy 396
  • Part VI - Dilemmas of Democratisation 423
  • 18: Problems of Transition 425
  • 19: Pluralism, Elites, Regime and Leadership 445
  • 20: Democracy in Russia 463
  • Notes 475
  • Select Bibliography 524
  • Index 527
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