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  • Author: Robert E. Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The war in the eastern Ukrainian region known as the Donbas has killed over 13,000 people, displaced millions, and led to the worst rupture in relations between the Russian Federation and the West since the end of the Cold War. The war was caused by inherent cleavages in Ukrainian society, combined with clumsy and self-interested intervention by outside powers. The war’s effects on Ukraine have been profound: the collapse of the post-Soviet Ukrainian political elite; billions of dollars in direct and indirect losses to the Ukrainian economy; a wholesale restructuring of the Ukrainian armed forces; social dislocation and psychological trauma; and unprecedented environmental damage. Despite these sad legacies, there are reasons to be optimistic that a settlement to the conflict is in view. The exhaustion and frustration of people in the separatist-controlled regions, Russia’s changing policy on the war—at least in part a result of rising frustration among the Russian public—and the election of a new Ukrainian government without regional ties or ties to networks of oligarchs all contribute to the possibility of peace. But in order for peace to endure after the war, the Ukrainian state must construct a broad-based, civic national identity, and it must tackle the country’s endemic corruption. The international community must be engaged in both crafting a settlement to the war and helping Ukraine deal with its consequences. External observers may be inclined to point to social division and corruption as the internal causes of the war, and argue that Ukraine has to fix itself before the outside world can intervene to help. And this is true as far as it goes. But it is also true that the outside world contributed to the start of war in Ukraine by making the country the object in a geopolitical tussle between Russia and the West. Any honest accounting of the war’s history must acknowledge this fact. And any fair treatment of Ukraine after the war should seek to compensate it through significant, long-term assistance.
  • Topic: War, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Separatism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: David Carment
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Today’s geopolitical conflicts, especially among great powers, involve a desire to fundamentally revise the order of alliances as well as solidify new norms of conduct. The purpose of our paper is to delineate two distinct phenomena in international affairs – hybrid warfare, which emphasizes the tactical level and grey-zone conflicts, which incorporates a long-term strategic dimension into international disputes. We argue that hybrid warfare can be a tactical subset of grey-zone conflict deployed under certain conditions and in varying degrees. We examine four case studies: China’s application of ‘unrestricted warfare’, Russia’s strategy of ‘hybrid balancing’, ‘regional hybridism’ practiced by Israel and ‘restricted hybridism’ applied by Canada/NATO globally. We conclude that the solution to challenges from Russia and China is not a military one but a political and collective one based on baseline requirements for building resilience. Israel, on the other hand, is largely uninterested in the revision of order of alliances and will continue to utilize its tactical advantage vis-à-vis regional neighbors to achieve victories in short conflicts. We conclude that NATO (and Canada) should work more closely with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the European Union to effectively extend security guarantees to its members. In doing so Canada and likeminded countries will involve the costs of engaging in hybrid warfare and the subsequent erosion of democratic accountability.
  • Topic: NATO, War, Geopolitics, Hybrid Warfare
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Middle East, Canada, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Dzianis Melyantsou
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." The new geopolitical environment formed after the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas, together with emerging threats and challenges, are pressing both Belarus and the West to revise their policies in the region as well as their relations with each other. In this new context, Belarus is seeking a more balanced foreign policy and, at least towards the Ukrainian crisis, a more neutral stance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, War, Territorial Disputes, Foreign Aid, Sanctions, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Belarus, Crimea, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Timothy Frye
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: What are public attitudes in Russia toward the war in Ukraine? Is this Putin’s war, or do his narrative on Ukraine and the policies he has followed toward that country resonate with Russian citizens? If the war has popular support, to what extent is this the case and why?
  • Topic: International Relations, War, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Dr. W. Andrew Terill
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: In an unexpected effort to protect a key Middle Eastern ally, the Kremlin intervened in Syria with military forces in late September 2015. This effort was undertaken to protect the Bashar Assad regime from Islamist and secular rebels now threatening his regime. Moscow initiated this action with a limited force that may be primarily designed to prevent Assad’s ouster but does not have the capabilities to help him retake large tracks of the country from the rebel groups that are now holding them. The Russian leadership made the decision to use military units in Syria at some political cost, aware that it was poisoning relations with many conservative anti-Assad Arabs and complicating its troubled relationship with Western powers.1 At some point, the Russians will have to consider the questions of how well these efforts have met their goal of bolstering the regime and what will be their next moves. They may also be rapidly faced with pressure to escalate their commitment to support the regime, if current actions do not produce meaningful results. They may also learn the painful lesson of other great powers, that military intervention in the Middle East is often much more problematic than national leaders initially expect.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil War, Islam, Politics, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Richard Dr. Weitz
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: China and Russia have engaged in an increasing number of joint exercises in recent years. These drills aim to help them deter and, if necessary, defeat potential threats, such as Islamist terrorists trying to destabilize a Central Asian government, while at the same time reassuring their allies that Russia and China would protect them from such challenges. Furthermore, the exercises and other joint Russia-China military activities have a mutual reassurance function, informing Moscow and Beijing about the other’s military potential and building mutual confidence about their friendly intentions toward one another. Finally, the joint exercises try to communicate to third parties, especially the United States, that Russia and China have a genuine security partnership and that it extends to cover Central Asia, a region of high priority concern for Moscow and Beijing, and possibly other areas, such as northeast Asia. Although the Sino-Russian partnership is limited in key respects, the United States should continue to monitor their defense relationship since it has the potential to become a more significant international security development.
  • Topic: Security, War, Governance, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Author: Keir Giles, Major General Aleksandr V Rogovoy
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Russia’s seizure of Crimea, and ongoing operations in eastern Ukraine, have refocused attention on the Russian military as a potential cause for concern in Europe. This Letort Paper, by an influential Russian general and military academic, lays out specifically Russian views on the essential nature of strong conventional land forces, and how they may be used. With an expert commentary providing essential context and interpretation, the Paper presents a valuable insight into Russian military thinking, at a potentially critical juncture for European security.
  • Topic: Security, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Crimea
  • 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: Ariel Dr. Cohen
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The North Caucasus region has been a source of instability for the past several centuries. Most recently, Chechen aspirations to achieve full independence after the break-up of the Soviet Union led to two disastrous wars. While the active phase of the Chechen conflict ended in 2000 – more than a decade ago—the underlying social, economic, and political issues of the region remain. A low-level insurgency continues to persist in the North Caucasus region, with occasional terrorist attacks in the Russian heartland. There are few reasons to expect any substantial improvement in the situation for years to come. Chechnya functions as a de facto independent entity; Islamist influence in Dagestan is growing, terror attacks continue, and the rest of the North Caucasus requires massive presence of Russian security services to keep the situation under control. Preventing the North Caucasus from slipping back into greater instability requires tackling corruption, cronyism, discrimination, and unemployment—something the Kremlin has so far not been very willing to do. “Small wars” in the Caucasus resonated as far away as Boston, MA, and more international attention and cooperation is necessary to prevent the region from blowing up.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Politics, War, International Security, Self Determination, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Soviet Union, Chechnya, North Caucasus
  • Author: Józef Lang
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Russia's current and foreseeable policy towards Afghanistan is multi-vectored, complex and shows, at times, signs of incoherence. Russia views developments in Afghanistan as a strategic challenge and is expressing growing concern over the country's prospects for stability after the withdrawal of ISAF forces by the end of 2014. Russian decision-makers fear that a security vacuum emerging after the withdrawal could destabilise Central Asia and have a negative impact on Russia itself. At the same time, Moscow is concerned with Western military presence in the region, which it regards as interference in its neighbourhood. At tactical level, Russia also sees the situation in Afghanistan as an opportunity to secure its interests both regionally (consolidating its influence in Central Asia) and more widely (in terms of its relations with NATO).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, Central Asia
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: The Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination at Princeton University convened a special Colloquium, “Diplomacy from the Mediterranean to the Hindu Kush: A Holistic and Proactive Approach” in Triesenberg, Principality of Liechtenstein, April 19-22, 2012. The colloquium brought together over seventy participants, including senior representatives, experts, academics, and civil society representatives from Austria, Azerbaijan, the European Union, Germany, Georgia, France, Iran, Israel, Liechtenstein, Russia, Qatar, Switzerland, Syria, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Participants engaged in both plenary and working group discussions about ways to address the four key issues: crisis diploma - cy with Iran; the ongoing crisis in Syria; Afghanistan in transition; and preventing the escalation of crises in this macro region. This was the third LISD-sponsored colloquium on developments in the Mediterranean to Hindu Kush region since the Arab Spring. The colloquium was off the record according to Liechtenstein Colloquium rules, and was financially supported by LISD, The House of Liechtenstein, the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein, and the SIBIL Stiftung in Vaduz. The Colloquium was chaired by Wolfgang Danspeckgruber, Director of LISD. This chair's summary includes an updated postscript.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Islam, Nuclear Weapons, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, Iran, Middle East, France, Arabia, Germany, Syria, Qatar, Austria
  • Author: Tim Wegenast, Georg Strüver
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: According to conventional wisdom, strategic natural resources like oil are harmful to international peace. Nonetheless, there is little empirical quantitative work on the link between resource abundance and interstate conflicts. Analyzing the impact of oil on militarized interstate disputes on a monadic level of analysis, this paper shows that oil in fact influences the conflict potential between countries. Results of logistic regressions suggest that a high absolute oil production is associated with an increased risk of dispute initiation. Per capita oil production, in contrast, does not seem to influence a country's propensity to start militarized conflicts. We also find that while very small oil-rich countries are more frequently the object of military actions, large oil producers seem to be generally spared from foreign attacks. We conclude that specific causal mechanisms such as an increased military capacity or the indulgence of the international community (rather than domestic political conditions inherent to the rentier state) might be particularly useful to explain our findings.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Oil, War, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, Georgia
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In the ten years since Belgrade ceded Kosovo to UN and NATO control, integration of the Serbs into Kosovo's political life has been one of the greatest challenges. Since the former Serbian province's declaration of independence in February 2008, this challenge has become still more complicated. The rejection of Kosovo's independence by the vast majority of its Serb inhabitants has been encouraged by Belgrade, which has developed and, since February 2008, extended a framework of parallel structures that provide Serbs with tangible evidence of the continued presence of the Serbian state and hope that one day Kosovo's independence may be overturned. This hope is also kept alive by Belgrade's diplomatic activities, above all through the case it brought at the International Court of Justice in October 2008 seeking to have the independence declaration ruled illegal. It is encouraged by the support of Russia and by five EU member states that have not recognised Kosovo.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, United Nations, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Kosovo, Balkans
  • Author: Nona Mikhelidze
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Following the war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 and the ensuing Russian recognition of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Caucasus has risen again on the Euro-Atlantic security agenda. First, the war highlighted that the “frozen” nature of the South Caucasus conflicts was a chimera, even if the war may have entrenched further the frozen nature of peace processes in the region. Second, the crisis generated new sources of instability for the entire post-Soviet space, not only because it highlighted a new form of Russian revisionism but also because it brought to the fore the limits of Western policies in what Kremlin views as its sphere of influence. The war brought to the forefront the colliding foreign policy agendas of the major external actors in the region. Not only in the run-up to the war, but also in the months and years preceding it, the American and European responses to Russia have been firm in rhetoric but compromising in reality. Russia made it clear that it has it own claims over the South Caucasus, it demonstrated its readiness to embark on military confrontation in order to achieve its goals, and through the war it wished to make crystal clear to the international community that Moscow is the only game in town. Third and related, the war exposed the inability of the West to prevent Russia from moving aggressively to restore its primacy over the former Soviet Union's territory. Thus the August war posed new implications and challenges not only for Georgia, but also for the wider Caucasus and beyond. This new context has induced the West to react and redefine its strategy towards the region and its relations with Russia, it has raised the urgency to engage in conflict resolution issues, and it has highlighted further the need for energy diversification.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Moscow, Abkhazia
  • Author: Henrik Boesen Lindbo Larsen
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The brief war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 provoked vigorous international reactions among the European states as consequence of the sudden shift in the strategic balance. This paper argues for a focus on the great powers France, Germany and Britain as crucial actors for understanding the behavioural reactions towards Russia. It argues furthermore that reactions must be explained mainly from the perspective of experience based on past geopolitics, translating the external pressures into concrete foreign policy: France as promoter of a strong EU as global actor, Germany as bridge builder towards Russia and Britain influenced by Atlanticist commitments. As witnessed by the Russo-Georgian war, the Franco-German axis remains the stable element but backing from Britain is crucial to ensure band-wagoning of the Atlanticist-oriented states in Eastern Europe also in future international crises.
  • Topic: Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Ernest Wyciszkiewicz, Marcin Terlikowski, Bartosz Cichocki, Aleksandra Kreczmańska, Marek Madej, Łukasz Kulesa(ed.)
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The developments that followed the Russian-Georgian ceasefire agreement have verified some early predictions, whether these were alarmists forecasts of Russia's continued strong-arm expansion or expectations that a conflict-induced shock would mobilize the West to form a uniform front in order to contain Russia. For yet another time, though, it turned out that events originally seen as a breakthrough in international relations tended, with time, to assume a different—even if no less momentous—meaning.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Russia-Georgia conflict has transformed the contemporary geopolitical world, with large consequences for peace and security in Europe and beyond. Moscow's initial moves into South Ossetia as large-scale violence broke out there on 7-8 August were in part a response to a disastrous miscalculation by a Georgian leadership that was impatient with gradual confidence building and a Russian-dominated negotiations process. But Russia's disproportionate counter-attack, with movement of large forces into Abkhazia and deep into Georgia, accompanied by the widespread destruction of economic infrastructure, damage to the economy and disruption of communications and movement between different regions of the country, constitutes a dramatic shift in Russian-Western relations. It has undermined regional stability and security; threatened energy corridors that are vital for Europe; made claims with respect to ethnic Russians and other minorities that could be used to destabilise other parts of the former Soviet Union, with Ukraine a potential target; and shown disregard for international law.
  • Topic: NATO, International Political Economy, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine, Asia, Soviet Union, Moscow, Georgia, South Ossetia, Abkhazia
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: There are strong indications that Uzbek security forces murdered one of Kyrgyzstan's most prominent journalists, Alisher Saipov, in October 2007 during the build-up to Uzbekistan's end of year presidential elections, most likely because of his involvement in Erk (Freedom), a leading exile opposition party. If this is the case, it would appear that the security organs, which are the key to keeping President Islam Karimov in power, are increasingly willing to move against any perceived danger, even if it involves pre-emptive strikes in foreign territory. This may be a sign not only of the ruthlessness of the regime but also of its increasing fragility. At the least it underlines the need for the U.S. and the European Union (EU) to resist the temptation to respond to Karimov's dubious December 2007 re-election with efforts at re-engagement, in the apparent hope of regaining or retaining military bases for Afghanistan operations or of outflanking Russia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Europe, Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan
  • Author: Federico Sperotto
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights Human Welfare (University of Denver)
  • Abstract: In October 1999 “the second Chechen war” broke out. In December the Russian federal army started an operation to take control of Grozny. During the confrontation between the Federal forces and the Chechen separatists, serious human rights violations occurred. Several cases concerning violations of fundamental rights, in and around the city, have been brought before the European Court of Human Rights against Russia. The lawsuits concerned in particular physical integrity issues. This study provides some insights on the jurisprudence of the European Court on Human Rights in order to ascertain the adequacy of the mechanism of protection provided by the European Convention of 1950 in situations of armed conflict.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Author: Karl-Heinz Rambke
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: The topic of this conference, “The War on Terror and its Impact on Security Sector Governance and Society”, gives us the opportunity to engage in an intensive dialogue with participants from various countries and with different expertise. Let me briefly introduce my approach to this session. Since June 2003 I have been working at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, currently responsible as the Co-Director of the International Training Course on Security Policy training 30 participants from 23 different countries, amongst them two Russian participants. As our objective is to prepare the participants for international and national assignments in security policy branches, we are trying to create a fruitful balance between academic debates, concepts, practitioners' views and experiences and practical hands-on training. I would like to follow this approach today.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Terrorism, War, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Jean-Yves Haine
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The year 2002 was characterised by the stabilisation of Afghanistan, the prospect of war in Iraq, the suicidal, deadly impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and North Korea's declared nuclear proliferation. There was thus a significant deterioration in the international environment. In these conditions of growing uncertainty, in both the short and long term, the Union, which now extends to the borders of the Russian and Arab-Muslim worlds, appears as a haven of stability and peace. The peaceful reunification of the European continent that the enlargement of both the Union and the Atlantic Alliance represents will stand out as one of the positive events of 2002. Yet this pacification of Europe has taken place in a world that is still suffering the consequences of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. To start with, the United States has developed a conception of its security that is both more sovereign and more comprehensive. The new National Security Strategy includes pre-emptive war among its ways of fighting terrorism and seems to favour coalitions of convenience rather than institutionalised alliances. There is no doubt that this attitude has raised questions in Europe and led to transatlantic difficulties. But this unilateralist fever early in the year gave way to more realistic, pragmatic attitudes with President Bush's speech to the UN on 12 September 2002 and the subsequent adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1441.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, Europe, Central Asia, Israel, North Korea, Palestine, United Nations