Pub. Date:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Pub. Date:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Putin's Wars: The Rise of Russia's New Imperialism / Edition 2

Putin's Wars: The Rise of Russia's New Imperialism / Edition 2

by Marcel H. Van HerpenMarcel H. Van Herpen
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This fully updated book offers the first systematic analysis of Putin’s three wars, placing the Second Chechen War, the war with Georgia of 2008, and the war with Ukraine of 2014–2015 in their broader historical context. Drawing on extensive original Russian sources, Marcel H. Van Herpen analyzes in detail how Putin’s wars were prepared and conducted, and why they led to allegations of war crimes and genocide. He shows how the conflicts functioned to consolidate and legitimate Putin’s regime and explores how they were connected to a fourth, hidden, “internal war” waged by the Kremlin against the opposition. The author convincingly argues that the Kremlin—relying on the secret services, the Orthodox Church, the Kremlin youth “Nashi,” and the rehabilitated Cossacks—is preparing for an imperial revival, most recently in the form of a “Eurasian Union.”

An essential book for understanding the dynamics of Putin’s regime, this study digs deep into the Kremlin’s secret long-term strategies. Readable and clearly argued, it makes a compelling case that Putin’s regime emulates an established Russian paradigm in which empire building and despotic rule are mutually reinforcing. As the first comprehensive exploration of the historical antecedents and political continuity of the Kremlin’s contemporary policies, Van Herpen’s work will make a valuable contribution to the literature on post-Soviet Russia, and his arguments will stimulate a fascinating and vigorous debate.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442253582
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 07/01/2015
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 338
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Marcel H. Van Herpen is director of the Cicero Foundation, Maastricht. His personal website is

Table of Contents

Author Note and Acknowledgments
Glossary and Abbreviations
Preface to the Second Edition
–Russia: A Post-Imperium?
–Structure of the Book

Part I: Russia and the Curse of Empire
Chapter One: Despotism and the Quest for Empire
–Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Diderot: Early Critics of Russian Despotism
–How Lost Wars Led to Short-Lived Reforms
–The High Expectations of 1989
–The Four Roots of Russian Imperialism
–Russian Despotism and Russian Imperialism: Inseparable Twin Brothers?
Chapter Two: Comparing Western and Russian Legitimation Theories for Empire
–Imperialist Legitimation Theories: Christianity, a Superior Civilization, and the White Man’s Burden
–Social Darwinism: The Primacy of Naked Power
–Three Russian Legitimation Theories for Imperial Expansion: Orthodoxy, Pan Slavism, and Communism
–The Symbiosis of Church and State
–A New Legitimation Theory: Pan Slavism
–From Pan Slavism to Racism: Pogroms and Anti-Semitism
–How the Russian Revolution Forged a New Legitimation Theory for Imperialist Expansion
Chapter Three: Putin and the End of Russian “Empire Fatigue”
–Empire Fatigue: A Chance of Becoming a “Normal State”?
–Handling Post-Imperial Pain
–Two Reactions to the Loss of Empire: To Accept or Not To Accept
–Pitirim Sorokin and the Eternal Cycle of Ideologies in Revolutions
–The Use of Nationalist Propaganda by the Leadership
–In Search of a New Legitimation Theory for a Post-Soviet Empire
–A New Ideological Triad: Orthodoxy, the Power Vertical, Sovereign Democracy
Chapter Four: Putin’s Grand Design
–Back to the USSR? From Commonwealth to the Russia- Belarus Union State
–A Politically Inspired Customs Union
–The CSTO: A Mini-Warsaw Pact?
–The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: A Double-Edged Sword?
Chapter Five: The Eurasian Union: Putin’s Newest Imperial Project
–Precursors of the Eurasian Project: Igor Panarin and Aleksandr Dugin
–Fear of Loss of Sovereignty
–Eurasian Union Versus European Union
–The Ultimate Goal: The Creation of a “Big Country”
–Expansionism Even Beyond Former Soviet Frontiers?
–The Eurasian Union as the Ultimate Integration Effort
–Bringing Ukraine Back into the Russian Orbit

Part II: The “Internal War”
Chapter Six: Russia as a “Pluralist” One-Party State
–A One-Party State with Four Parties?
–East German Communist “Pluralism”: A Model for Putin?
–The Use of Fake Political Parties
–Unequalled Election Fraud
–Mikhail Prokhorov’s Revolt against the Kremlin “Puppeteers”
–Another Pseudo-Pluralism: The Diarchy at the Top
Chapter Seven: Preaching the Ultranationalist Gospel: The Transformation of “United Russia”
–The Ultranationalism and Revisionism of the Communist Party
–“Unkulturaufstieg”: The Spread of Ultranationalist Ideas
–Putin’s “State of the Union”: Touting Patriotism
–Putin’s “Russian Idea”: State, State, and More State
–National Rebirth and Consensus Building
–United Russia’s Electoral Success: A CPSU Effect?
–The Bear Wants to Fly: How United Russia Got Different Party Wings
–United Russia’s New Ultranationalist Course
–Russia’s Frontiers “Are Not Eternal”
–Russia’s Rebirth
Chapter Eight: The Nashi: Fascist Blackshirts or a New Komsomol?
–“Walking Together”: Skinheads to Defend the Kremlin’s Message
–Founding the Nashi: A Kremlin Initiative
–“Patriotic Training” in Nashi Summer Camps
–The Nashi Manifesto and “Megaproject Russia”
–Harassing Diplomats and Internal Foes
–Cyber Attacks
–Preparing for More Muscled Actions: The Nashi Battle Groups
–Orthodox Battle Groups?
–A Historical Precedent: Khrushchev’s Druzhiny
–The Nashi: Komsomol, Red Guards, or Hitlerjugend?
Chapter Nine: Send in the Cossacks
–The Rehabilitation of the Cossacks
–Touting “Cossack Values”
–The Role of the Cossacks in Post-Soviet Local Wars
–Cossacks Patrolling the Streets
–A New Praetorian Guard?
–A Cossack Political Party

Part III: The Wheels of War
Chapter Ten: Three Lost Wars: From Afghanistan to the First Chechen War
–The Cold War: Containment Versus Expansionism
–The War in Afghanistan: Andropov’s War?
–The First Chechen War: Four Differences with Former Wars
–The First Chechen War: Yeltsin’s War
–Chechnya: Russia’s Whipping Boy
–A Genocide?
Chapter Eleven: The Mysterious Apartment Bombings: Detonator of the Second Chechen War
–The Detonator: A Secret War against the Russian Population?
–Panic in the Family
–A Real or Constructed Casus Belli? The Alleged Chechen Attack on Dagestan
–Storm in Moscow
–A Strange “Exercise” by the FSB
–Foresight or Leaked Information?
–The Duma Investigation Commission
–Yeltsin on the Apartment Bombings
Chapter Twelve: The Second Chechen War: Putin’s War
–Bombardments: The Massive Slaughter
–Kontraktniki: The Criminal Volunteers
–Zachistki: The Purges
–Filtration Points: Hiding Torture
–Forced Disappearances and Blowing Up Dead Bodies
–The Process of Chechenization
–The War in Chechnya and the European Court of Human Rights
–A Genocide?
Chapter Thirteen: The War with Georgia, Part I: A Premeditated Russian Aggression
–A Five-Day War?
–The Russian-Georgian Cold War: The Passport Offensive
–The Lukewarm War: Russian Provocations and Preparations for War
–The Hot War: August 7–12, 2008
Chapter Fourteen: The War with Georgia, Part II: Six Events Announcing the Kremlin’s Preparation for War
–A Slow-Motion Annexation?
–The Central Question: Did Russian Troops Enter South 'ssetia Before the War?
Chapter Fifteen: The War with Georgia, Part III: The Propaganda War
–Russia Accuses Georgia of Genocide
–Ethnic Cleansing and Cluster Bombs
–Does a Lie Told Often Enough Become a Truth? The Victim as Aggressor
–The Real Reasons for Moscow’s Land Grab
Chapter Sixteen: Origins of the War in Ukraine
–The Kremlin’s Obsession with Ukraine
–Post-Modern Europe: The Hubris of a Weak Continent
–Political Mistakes by Leading European Politicians
–Barack Obama’s Ill-Conceived Russia Policy
–Consequences of the Ukrainian Crisis for Poland and Other New NATO Member States
Chapter Seventeen: Russia’s “Hybrid War” in Ukraine: Five Scenarios
–Putin’s Strategic Goals
–Putin’s “Hybrid War”
–What Will Happen Next? Five Scenarios
–Putin’s Strategy: A Matryoshka Model?
Chapter Eighteen: Conclusion
–The Crucial Year 1997

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