Russian Strategic Culture after the Cold War: The Primacy of Conventional Force

  • Amund Osflaten Norwegian Defence University College


This article examines the Russian strategic culture after the Cold War. That is, what perspective on the use of military force is guiding the Russian strategic community? It compares Russian conflict behavior in the 1999 Second Chechen War, the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, and the 2014 Russian Invasion of Crimea to find systematic components of Russian strategic culture. Consequently, this analysis systematically describes the development of Russian conflict behavior after the Cold War and elucidate the underlying and persistent Russian strategic culture. The analysis points to a continuing emphasis on conventional forces. Moreover, the employment of conventional force is enabled by peacetime preparations, and then deception and secrecy in the initial period of the conflict.