Policy Memos

The Pending Crisis in Russian Civil-Military Relations

Policy Memo:

4

Publication Date:

10-1997

Description:

A key issue in the study of civil-military relations has been how to create a military sufficiently strong to ensure security from external threats while simultaneously preventing the military from using its preponderance of power in the domestic arena. This dilemma arises from the fear engendered by a large armed force created to combat foreign threats, but which is also inherently a threat to the society that created it.

In Russia, however, the question is not how the civilian leadership can keep the military out of politics, but how the military can keep the leadership from politicizing the armed forces. The Russian military has no interest in resolving Russia's domestic political problems. It is a professional military that prefers to leave politics to the politicians, and to carry out its mission of defending the nation against external attack. But the lack of responsible central leadership and the poor state of the economy are driving the military toward involvement in domestic politics if for no other reason than to ensure its own survival. [...]

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About the author

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of California