The Empire Strikes Back

MarcosMarcos Degaut, a Ph.D. student in Security Studies, has written an article called “The Russian Strategic Culture and the Annexation of Crimea: The Empire Strikes Back?”

With Crimea’s annexation by Russia, in March 2014, and President Vladimir Putin’s willingness to make a military incursion into Ukraine to ensure Crimea’s incorporation into Russian Federation seems to have directed political and policymakers’ eyes on Russia. Speculations about the country’s real intentions have re-birthed fears that an imperialistic Russia is rebuilding its empire in order to achieve superiority over the West or acquire greater political clout in the international arena.

In Mr. Degaut’s article, the author explores the strategic culture of Russia and how the country’s philosophical, political, cultural and cognitive characteristics have influenced it. The article opens up a different perspective on Russia’s actions and how the importance of comprehending a country’s “strategic culture” is valuable. The term “strategic culture” is stressed throughout the piece because it offers explanations on the rationale behind a country’s perceptions, policies and why it tends to behave the way it does.

Degaut states that Russian leaderships appear to see the world through a Realist prism, in which the search for a balance of power is a permanent feature.  Therefore, “Russia’s mission is to promote the emergence of a multipolar world, in order to contain and counterbalance the magnitude of the American power”. The author points out that the main elements that drive Russia such as its combativeness, competitiveness, political assertiveness, and tough stance against what is perceived as the greatest threat to its security and ambitions: the United States. These elements are present in the country’s renewed aspirations for great power status.

The article was published on Mundorama, a Brazilian leading International Relations journal edited by the University of Brasilia and can be found here.

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