The Development of Russian Military Thought: the Russian Empire and the Soviet Period and Their Legacies
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Uniwersytet Warszawski
Publication date: 2018-09-30
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2018;54(3):201-216
Military thought and military issues traditionally played an important role in Russia’s history. Even economic, political, social and educational reforms were mainly triggered by the needs related to military issues – preparation for wars or unsuccessful military campaigns of the Russian Empire (between the 17th and 19th centuries against Poland and Ottoman Turks and in the 20th century by Russia’s defeat in the war against Japan). It should be noted that the reforms during the reigns of Peter the Great and Catherine II and also in the 19th century, were introduced under military and external security challenges. In this regard, after the seizure of power, despite their tremendous critics on Tsarist government militarization policies, Bolsheviks hugely relied on military power too. The military affairs were doctrinalized during the Bolsheviks rule for the first time in Russian history. This paper analyzes the military thought in the Russian Empire in the end of the 19th century and its transformation during the first years of Soviet rule in the early 20th century. It also studies discussions among the Soviet political and military elite on theoretical and practical facets of the military and methods of waging war in 1920s as well as explores the creation of the Russian non-linear warfare theory, the only warfare concept of the Soviet Union which is recognized worldwide. The paper concludes that the thought dating back to those periods is also used in contemporary Russia.
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