The author would like to thank Julian Cooper, Silvana Malle, Keir Giles, Patrick Porter, Beatrice Heuser and an anonymous reviewer for their insightful comments in the preparation of this article.
Putin's Russia: shaping a ‘grand strategy’?
Article first published online: 10 SEP 2013
© 2013 The Author(s). International Affairs © 2013 The Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Volume 89, Issue 5, pages 1221–1236, September 2013
How to Cite
MONAGHAN, A. (2013), Putin's Russia: shaping a ‘grand strategy’?. International Affairs, 89: 1221–1236. doi: 10.1111/1468-2346.12068
- Issue published online: 10 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 10 SEP 2013
Since the middle of the last decade the Russian leadership has conducted a strategic overhaul, publishing a cascade of new concepts, strategies and doctrines that attempt to frame plans in a long-term horizon to 2020 and beyond. Following Vladimir Putin's re-election in 2012, a series of presidential instructions and new plans have been published to update this overhaul. This article examines this commitment to strategic planning and whether it is tantamount to a grand strategy. The article explores the various understandings of Russian strategy in the existing literature, before sketching a definition of grand strategy. It suggests that Moscow has shaped a broad horizon and made some progress towards achieving the goals it has set out. But a grand strategy is more than formulating plans, it is also the coordination of relevant organizations and resources—‘conducting the orchestra’—to execute effectively the plans. The article thus concludes by exploring the difficulties Moscow faces: on the one hand, an evolving and competitive international context and, on the other, a domestic context burdened by a heavy inheritance from the USSR and contemporary Russian problems. Taken all together, these suggest that although Moscow is committed to strategic planning, a grand strategy remains a work in progress.