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EurAsian Disunion Attacking Russia's Vulnerable Flanks (2016)

A Book Review ...

The geopolitical approach to the analysis of Russian foreign policy is not new nor particularly groundbreaking; however, it is an important part of understanding the Russian state and its actions. Six years since the publication of the book, the themes explored in it are still relevant. The intertwined political and economic systems of Russia produce new unpredictable outcomes with the same constant - Vladimir Putin is still the Russian President, and the people surrounding him are still able to cling to power in Russia.

The authors do a great job of separating Russian society and the Russian state, with specific focus on Putin and his entourage and the Kremlin's regime. They spotlight a Putinist understanding of the world around Russia which is seen strictly in hostile realist geopolitical terms.

They propose that current Russian foreign policy is based on the vague revisionist notion of returning to former imperial glory, whether the time of the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union. To prove it, they analyse the relationship of Russia with various regions of influence surrounding the state. The theme of the `Russian world' present throughout the text is highlighted in Russia's relationship with the former USSR states. Their economic and security dependency on Russia is one of the main pillars of relative Russian success, the other one being the lack of political will of the West to oppose the autocratic regime in Russia.

One of the biggest strengths of the book already mentioned in the introduc- tion is the comprehensive itinerary of tools and tactics used by the Kremlin to solidify its power. The list consists of over 60 methods conveniently broken down into eight categories (international, informational, ideological, economic, ethnic, political, social and military) and could be very useful for other research- ers interested in analysing political actions of the Kremlin.

On the other hand, the list of policy proposals in the conclusion of the book seems rather aggressive and one-sided. Even though the authors clearly state their focus on Putin's regime, they have not included the efforts of Russian civil society and other political actors opposing the Kremlin from the inside.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Aug 27th, 2023 at 09:18:39 AM EST

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