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  • Author: Jan Abts
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: As ethnic Russian separatists, backed by disguised Russian troops, occupied the Crimean Peninsula in the last days of February 2014 and Russia subsequently annexed a part of Ukraine against the international rule of law, NATO witnessed further proof of a more assertive Russian foreign policy. In the following months, this policy led to numerous other breaches of international law. Almost overnight, NATO's agenda changed drastically, including its plans for the Wales Summit. NATO needed a new focus on collective defence and one question overshadowed all the other themes in Newport: how to react to Russia's aggression and hybrid warfare model? The new geopolitical circumstances stirred some cynical reactions by political scientists: “It gives the aging alliance something to do.” Others urged the Alliance “not to squander the opportunity the crisis provides to address some fundamental problems.”
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Dániel Bartha, Anna Peczeli
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The current crisis in Ukraine pushed US-Russia relations to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War, and it also terminated the collaboration between NATO and Russia. After Russia's annexation of Crimea and the infiltrations in Eastern Ukraine, NATO suspended all practical day-to-day cooperation with Moscow (although the Alliance decided to keep the door open for high-level dialogue, and maintained the channels of communication within the NATO- Russia Council as well as the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council). Besides these measures by NATO, the G8 also suspended Moscow's membership, the work of the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction 3 was disrupted, and the 2014 US Compliance Report officially accused Russia of being in violation of its obligations under the Intermediate- Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. In response, the new Russian military doctrine, adopted in December 2014, named NATO's military buildup as one of the top threats to Russian national security. It also listed “ the creation and deployment of global strategic antiballistic missile systems that undermines the established global stability and balance of power in nuclear missile capabilities, the implementation of the 'prompt strike' concept, intent to deploy weapons in space and deployment of strategic conventional precision weapons ” among the major military threats to the strategic stability between the United States and Russia.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine, Moscow
  • Author: Karl-Heinz Kamp
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Moscow's aggression against Ukraine has truly been a “game changer” for the Atlantic Alliance. Its implications for NATO's further evolution can hardly be over-estimated and after the likely shoot-down of a Malaysian civil aircraft over Ukrainian territory, controlled by pro-Russian rebels, the situation is even more unpredictable. Even if the catastrophe has put heavy political pressure on President Putin to reduce Russian involvement in Ukraine, Moscow is still not likely to revert the annexation of the Crimean peninsula. As a result, the crisis will dominate the international security debate for a long time to come. Thus, signs of resolve directed at Russia, measures to reassure the NATO members in Eastern Europe and indications of further cooperation with Ukraine will rank very high on the agenda of the NATO summit in Wales in September 2014. With the draw-down of the operation in Afghanistan, some Allies tend to see NATO's future role as primarily to preserve the territorial integrity of its member states. Hence, they argue in favour of a “back to basics” approach with an Alliance concentrated on its defence mission, according to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Malaysia, Ukraine, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Michael Ruhle
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The crisis in Ukraine, which culminated in Russia's annexation of the Crimea, marks a new low in NATO-Russia relations. While this relationship had been deteriorating for quite some time, Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis revealed a geopolitical agenda that caught many observers by surprise. In the course of just a few weeks Russia clearly emerged as a revisionist power, behaving in a manner reminiscent of the "predatory nation-states from the 19th century" and changing borders by force in order to deny a neighbouring country the choice to determine its own alignments.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Roger McDermott, Brooke Smith-Windsor, Heidi Reisinger
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Russia's behaviour in the Ukrainian crisis has been described by some as giving rise to “the most dangerous situation in East-West relations since the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.” For one, NATO's recently retired Supreme Allied Commander has called for immediate action in response. This could include, for example, bringing the NATO Response Force – a sea, air, land, special forces capability – to a higher state of alert, and sailing NATO maritime forces into the Black Sea.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Asia
  • Author: Hanna Shelest
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The pictures of Kyiv on fire in early 2014 have attracted attention of the world's media, with Molotov cocktails, barricades and injured journalists making headlines. This is in sharp contrast to the previous two months, when hundreds of thousands of people were coming every Sunday to the main square – Maidan Nezalezhnosti – in peaceful protest.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Asia
  • Author: Heidi Reisinger
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: On 27 January 2014, the NATO Defense College Research Division hosted its Russia Roundtable, where international experts from various research institutions meet senior practitioners from the International Staff and International Military Staff from NATO HQ.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Heidi Reisinger, Aleksandr Golts
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Ukraine is not even a state!” Putin reportedly advised former US President George W. Bush during the 2008 NATO Summit in Bucharest. In 2014 this perception became reality. Russian behaviour during the current Ukraine crisis was based on the traditional Russian idea of a “sphere of influence” and a special responsibility or, stated more bluntly, the “right to interfere” with countries in its “near abroad”. This perspective is also implied by the equally misleading term “post-Soviet space.” The successor states of the Soviet Union are sovereign countries that have developed differently and therefore no longer have much in common. Some of them are members of the European Union and NATO, while others are desperately trying to achieve this goal. Contrary to what Professor John Mearsheimer may suggest. In his article “Why the Ukraine crisis is the West's fault” he argues that NATO has expanded too far to the East, “into Russia's backyard”, against Moscow's declared will, and therefore carries responsibility for recent events; however, this seems to ignore that NATO was not hunting for new members, but found them knocking at its door.
  • Topic: NATO, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine, Soviet Union, Moscow
  • Author: Keir Giles
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The theory of supreme command of the Russian Armed Forces is set out in the Constitution of the Russian Federation and in published Federal Laws. Decision-making in practice involves the presidency, the government, the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the General Staff, and the Security Council of the Russian Federation. During and after Soviet times, the relationship between these bodies, and by extension how and where decisions were taken, was understood better than it is today - in general terms, the General Staff took important decisions and dealt with planning, while the MoD implemented them, for example dealing with training and logistics. But the fundamental reforms embarked upon in the Russian Armed Forces after August 2008, and changes to Federal Laws which also followed the armed conflict at that time, have shifted these relationships in ways which are not yet fully understood outside Russia, and in some cases within Russia as well. The result is that military decision-making in Russia is now less predictable.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Marlène Laruelle
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: In July 2011, the first U.S. troops started to leave Afghanistan - a powerful symbol of Western determination to let the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) gradually take over responsibility for national security. This is also an important element in the strategy of Hamid Karzai's government, which seeks to appear not as a pawn of Washington but as an autonomous actor in negotiations with the so-called moderate Taliban. With withdrawal to be completed by 2014, the regionalization of the "Afghan issue" will grow. The regional powers will gain autonomy in their relationship with Kabul, and will implement strategies of both competition and collaboration. In the context of this regionalization, Russia occupies an important position.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States