Lessons not to learn

Post-communist Russia

Authored by: Mikhail Tsypkin

The Routledge Handbook of Civil–Military Relations

Print publication date:  September  2012
Online publication date:  November  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415782739
eBook ISBN: 9780203105276
Adobe ISBN: 9781136253218


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The evolution of civil–military relations in post-communist Russia has important lessons for many countries caught in or resisting the third wave of democratization. Today it is only too easy to forget that throughout much of the twentieth century the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical and ideological influence in the world. Its model of a one-party state (together with its defense institutions) was exported to or willingly copied by dozens of nations, from its Warsaw Pact allies to Egypt, Syria, and Iraq in the Middle East; China, North Korea, and Vietnam in Asia; as well as Ethiopia, Somalia, Angola, and others in Africa; and Cuba in the Caribbean. The road out of the communist system has turned out to be twisted, and developing new approaches to civil–military relations, has been difficult. Russian reformers, who came to power in the end of 1991, started out with new ideas borrowed primarily from the American experience, only to discover that they were weighed down by the Soviet heritage of civil–military relations, and hampered by the instability of the new regime. This chapter will focus on civil–military relations in Russia and on the issue of military reform. It will consider the organization of civilian control within the executive branch, the parliamentary oversight of the military, and the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in civil–military relations.

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