Strategic Assessment - Russia – Strategic Culture and Foreign Policy


  1. Lombardi, B.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Operational Research and Analysis, Ottawa ON (CAN)
This technical memorandum was prepared in October-November 2008 as the first of what is projected to be a series of rolling strategic estimates of Russia. The arguments and conclusions presented herein will be re-examined during the preparation of the next such estimate in light of newly available evidence and findings. The Russo-Georgian conflict during summer 2008 has led many commentators to question the belief that has guided the West’s foreign policy-making since the collapse of the Soviet Union, namely that Russia would become a progressively more integrated member of the Western community of states. The accompanying sense of disappointment has led to fears that a new Cold War is likely to ensue. This Technical Memorandum argues that the roots of contemporary Russian foreign policy are to be found in the country’s strategic culture, within which the armed forces have always played an important role in the construction of Russian political identity. Today, that includes the current regime’s agenda of building a strong state. The Russo-Georgian war does not, therefore, necessarily mark the onset of a new age of confrontation with the West. Moscow’s objective in using military force against Tbilisi was almost certainly to put an end to any prospect of Georgia joining NATO, a development that Russian leaders have frequently identified as a challenge to core national interests. Foreign policy under Presidents Putin and Medvedev is primarily designed to create the mos

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Russia;Diplomacy;Foreign Policy;NATO;USA;Georgia;Strategic Culture
Report Number
DRDC-CORA-TM-2009-016 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Apr 2009
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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