Kremlin Kontrol: Russia’s Political-Military Reality (Timothy L. Thomas)

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Authoritarian regimes are, by their very nature, insecure. They tend to view Western democracies as an existential threat to their way of rule and they fear the development of any type of opposition or protests in the streets. In Russia’s case, the latter fear of protests leading to a “color revolution” often appears as important as the ISIS threat to its southern border. Lacking political legitimacy, they rely on two factors to sustain their leadership, patriotism and control. This study discusses the latter issue from both a civilian and military point of view. Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB operative, is all about control. In his excellent book The Invention of Russia, Arkady Ostrovsky recounted one conversation about Putin: “Anything you control is safe. Anything you don’t control by definition represents a threat—that is their mental framework, and a KGB officer is always a KGB officer.”

This work is divided into two parts. Part One looks at the system of control that Putin has either continued or developed anew in his twelve years as president. Part Two is focused on several military aspects of control. These include not only command and control issues but also the methodical manner in which Russian military analysts establish control parameters over their environment.

Russia Military Strategy: Impacting 21st Century Reform and Geopolitics (Timothy L. Thomas)

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This book is divided into three parts. Part one addresses President Vladimir Putin’s personality, Russian methods of developing strategy, and the Russian thought process for evaluating military affairs (forecasting, correlation of forces, forms, and methods of thought). Part two addresses the nature of future war, focusing on future war’s new weapons and organizations (to include aerospace, robotics, electronic warfare equipment, and unmanned aerial vehicles, among other pieces of equipment) and the DARPA-like organizations that have been created to increase Russia’s focus on science and technology developments. Part three address geopolitics, in particular the Russian militarization of the Arctic and the rationale behind their operations in Ukraine. All three parts help analysts in their attempts to uncover the vector (s) in which Russian military capabilities and actions are heading. The nation’s theorists have absorbed lessons learned from the contemporary conflicts of others and placed increased focus on the development of new technologies to protect their national interests and attain specific strategic goals.