Learning from Russia’s Recent Wars: Why, Where, and When Russia Might Strike Next

by Neal G. Jesse


"Given Moscow’s military adventurism over the past several years, the question on everyone’s mind is where will Russia strike next? In seeking to answer this critical question, Jesse surveys Russia’s foreign interventions since the collapse of the Soviet Union, from Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Chechnya under Yeltsin to Chechnya, Georgia, and Ukraine under Putin. Along the way his pointed analysis covers such pressing issues as the Kremlin’s fear of so-called “color revolutions”, Russia’s employment of unconventional warfare, and the nation’s natural inclination toward great power status. Solidly based on cutting-edge research in Russian politics and international relations theory, Jesse’s study also contributes to these fields, while not becoming overly theory-centric. A must read for anyone seeking to understand Russia’s past with an eye to the future." —Christopher Marsh, Director, Center for Strategic Research, Joint Special Operations University

“Notwithstanding events in Middle East and China’s rise, Russia remains an important—but perplexing—geopolitical player. Russia is, as Winston Churchill said, “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” From Tsarist times to present, Western observers have struggled to understand the key factors driving Russian foreign policy. Acknowledging this complexity, Neal Jesse uses structural realism, foreign policy analysis, and constructivism to enhance our understanding of Russian foreign policy. Learning From Russia’s Recent Wars is an important contribution to the literature on contemporary Russian foreign policy.” —Christopher Layne, University Distinguished Professor of International Affairs, Texas A & M University

“Professor Jesse’s tour d’horizon of Russian interventions around its periphery over the last 30 years firmly demonstrates two vital points. First, that military adventurism by Russia did not begin with Ukraine in 2014 and will not end there. And second, that the standard International Relations teachings are worse than useless for attempting to describe the behaviour of a state guided by its national interest rather than by academic theory.” —Keir Giles, Senior Consulting Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House


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