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United States Army War College

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Russian Security Strategy under Putin: U.S. and Russian Perspectives

Authored by Dr. R. Craig Nation, Mr. Dmitri Trenin. | November 2007

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SUMMARY

Increasingly, the armed forces and a vision of security as emphasizing hard rather than soft security have come to the fore in Moscow?s national security policy process. Due to this institutionally-driven vision, Russia sees itself facing increasing military-political and strategic threats all along its frontiers. Recent Russian policies reflect that perception and Moscow?s adaptation to it. We may think this threat perception to be misguided, even bizarrely misconceived, given our own beliefs about what American policy is and what its goals are. Nevertheless, the strongest forces in the Russian policy community have bought into that vision and have made policy accordingly.

Therefore, the key point that readers should take as they read these papers together is that Russian and American perspectives and policies are mutually interactive. They do not take place in a strategic vacuum devoid of all context, and develop to a considerable degree in response to the other side?s activities and rhetoric. Neither we nor Russia can act in disregard of the fact that our actions have consequences and that other state actors in Eurasia, as elsewhere, also have a vote in shaping the context of international affairs and in the day-to-day conduct of U.S. and Russian national security policy.