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Comparative Grand StrategyA Framework and Cases$
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Thierry Balzacq, Peter Dombrowski, and Simon Reich

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198840848

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840848.001.0001

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(p.50) 3 Russia
Comparative Grand Strategy

Céline Marangé

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Russia’s current leadership has consistently promoted a grand strategy that is fundamentally defensive in nature and offensive in practice. It has prioritized security and the quest for recognition in assuming that Russia’s status has been purposely diminished, and that the strategic environment poses a tangible threat to both Russian national interests and the regime’s survival. The institutional setting and strategic culture play a crucial role in the formulation of a strategic security agenda. Although defensive in character and reactive in nature, Russian strategies have embraced bold, proactive, and transformational agendas that have extended beyond military activity. New ways and means have been developed to heighten Russia’s security, assert regional dominance, and attain global recognition. Russia’s leadership not only resorts to military interventions and hybrid warfare and to strategic deterrence and intimidation, but also to comprehensive influence and political destabilization, while using military rhetoric and victories to conceal its domestic shortcomings.

Keywords:   Russia, grand strategy, foreign policy, decision-making, threat perception, defensiveness, quest for recognition, hard power, deterrence, influence

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