Russia: The Counterinsurgency State

Stephen Blank is Senior Fellow at American Foreign Policy Council

February 2017

The current war in the North Caucasus, in historical perspective (along with the ongoing war in Ukraine), represent the latest in an apparently unending centuries-long set of struggles over imperial “space” in and around Russia. Therefore the study of these wars sheds new light on older practices and paradigms and vice versa.  Looking backward as well as forward allows us to see what has worked and what has failed in Russian counterinsurgency (COIN).  Specifically, here we intend to reveal these ongoing paradigms in Muslim areas of the USSR, e.g. Central Asia and the North Caucasus by examining those practices of the 1920s in the light of the contemporary war in Chechnya that Moscow won but also in the light of the current struggle in the North Caucasus where no resolution appears in sight.


Stephen Blank