Imperial Management and Cooptation of Elites in Russia’s Wars: Past and Present

Stephen Blank is Senior Fellow at American Foreign Policy Council

July 2017

In the course of building and then losing an empire at least twice and striving again to recover at least some of its lost legacy the Russian state has acquired an immense amount of experience in what British analysts have called wars of imperial management, counterinsurgency, power projection beyond Russia’s borders, etc. One of the hallmarks of this historical experience is a repeated pattern of cooptation of elites in foreign territories and with it an unending tactical flexibility that exploits ethno-religious divisions among peoples on its periphery and even beyond to break up hostile or targeted states or at least to neutralize their ability to resist Russia’s strategies for advancing its national interest.


Stephen Blank