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From the End of the “Cold War” to the Beginning of the “Hot War”: Russian policy transformation and prospects of future regional security

David Bakradze - Ph.D. in Political Science, Senior Fellow at the Center for Russian Studies, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (2008), Former Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia (2008-2012), Former leader of the parliamentary minority (2012-2016). Currently is a member of the Parliament.

The transformation of Russian politics from the period of the "Cold War" to the era of hybrid warfare:

Over the past three decades, history gave us a unique opportunity to change the European security landscape several times within the memory of one political generation. The short interval between the end of the "Cold War" and the moment of Russian aggression in Ukraine proved to be enough to change the security architecture fundamentally. These changes between the past and the future are distinguished by fluctuations  - during the "Cold War" the main task of Western security was to stop Soviet expansion, to avoid nuclear and conventional war; After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the problem of the integration of the Central and Eastern European states, as well as the wars and conflicts arising in the Balkans and the post-Soviet space, was on the agenda. At the beginning of the 21st century, terrorism emerged as a major security challenge; In recent years, the threat of terrorism has been gradually narrowed by the threats coming from Russia - the problem of violent border change, the use of open military force against neighbors, the open introduction of hybrid warfare methods, including the problems of interfering in the internal processes of Western democracies. And finally, the world returned to full-scale military conflict in Europe. It seems history made a full circle and turned back to the "Cold War" confrontation.

How did this circle form in such a short period, how did Russia return to a full-scale confrontation with the West? The beginning to the answer of this question should be sought in the 1990s, when, despite the end of the "Cold War", the cooperative security policy in Europe, and the recognition of some principles of democracy or market economy by Russia, the desire to revise the international security architecture gradually increased among the latter's political and military elite. - The shock received from the collapse of the Soviet Union was strong, the withdrawal of troops from Europe was considered a symbol of Russia's weakness and humiliation in front of the West, and economic problems and dependence on Western finances were taken as a sign of the submission of Russia.


Signs of Russian concern and revisionism were still visible when, in December 1992, at the OSCE ministerial in Stockholm, the pro-Western liberal foreign minister of the Russian Federation, Andrei Kozyrev, said that Russia would defend its interests in the territory of the former Soviet Union by all means and called on the West to stop talking with Serbia in the language of sanctions. A little later, Kozyrev explained that with this speech he did not express his views, but the views of the growing Russian reactionary opposition, and that were not conveyed in full. [1]


However, regardless of whether Yeltsin and Kozyrev themselves were the initiators of the emergence of a new wave of Russian imperial revisionism, or simply did not/could not abuse the so-called red-brown political circles, the Russian military took an active part in the wars that occurred in the former Soviet territory and often provoked these wars themselves; Russia opposed NATO in the Balkans; Moscow was increasingly suspicious of the alliance's expansion and sought to oppose Central Europe's accession to NATO.


One of the main topics of disagreement between Russia and the West was the Balkans. Russia's reaction to NATO's bombing of Belgrade was the most severe. According to a 2017 analysis by the RAND Corporation, the operation, which began on March 24, 1999, transformed NATO from a partner to an expansionist alliance in the eyes of a significant number of Russians. [2] For the West, Kosovo was primarily a humanitarian concern. At the same time, the escalation of violence in Kosovo threatened the fragile peace in Bosnia and meant that the conflict would spread to Macedonia. NATO was concerned about its peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and the new refugee crisis. But Russia had a completely different vision - in their opinion, with the ongoing processes in Central and Eastern Europe, Serbia remained Russia's only loyal European ally, which, to further weaken and humiliate Russia, was punished by the West for this loyalty. Due to Russia's difficult financial situation, President Yeltsin did not want to split with the West, but many in the country's political elite believed that NATO would treat Russia like Serbia and resolve the ongoing conflict in Chechnya in the same way. Deputy of the Russian State Duma Arbatov stated that "Today - Serbia, tomorrow - Russia" should become the main slogan in Russia. [3]


Ultimately, the Russian government failed to play any significant role during the Kosovo crisis. However, when it came to the intervention of NATO, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Igor Ivanov, baptized this act as genocide and called the leaders of NATO "military criminals". For some time, Russia "froze" relations with NATO. [4]


The successor of President Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin, initially chose to change rhetoric and adopt a more pragmatic stance. His goal was to impress the Western governments, especially the US, by contributing to the anti-terrorist war, so that the war in Chechnya would also be perceived as part of this global process. In this regard, Russia indeed achieved some success.


The collision of civilian planes hijacked by al-Qaeda with the New York Twin Towers and the Pentagon, which was followed by the newly elected American president, George W. Bush declaring a "War on Terror" overshadowed all other occurrences. In this struggle, Putin's Russia became an ally of the USA - despite some dissatisfaction, the emergence of American military bases in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan did not cause significant difficulties; Russia did not object to the intensification of the "training and equipping program" of the Georgian armed forces by the American military within the framework of the "war on terror".


In light of these events, no substantial opposition came from Russia regarding the decision of the 2002 Prague Summit on NATO expansion, even though it dealt with a rather painful topic for the Russian Federation, the integration of the Baltic states into the alliance. In the second half of the 1990s, the Russian government made every effort to prevent the expansion of NATO in the Baltic region, and in 1998, President Yeltsin declared the accession of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to the alliance as a "red line" that the West should not cross. [5] However, in the end, officially Moscow only demanded that the deployment of forces of the alliance in this area be limited - this attempt by Russia also ended in failure. [6]


Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President George Bush suddenly became friends. The entry of American troops into Afghanistan and Russia's support, in this case, were compared to the anti-Hitler coalition in Moscow during the Second World War. [7]

Against the backdrop of growing West-East disagreements over the Kosovo conflict, such a rapid Russian-American rapprochement turned out to be somewhat of an unexpected development. However, from the point of view of the Americans, this fact had its own explanation: until September 11, 2001, terrorism-related to Islamic anti-Western fundamentalism had never managed to carry out such a strong act against the United States, and Russia had some experience in fighting this phenomenon. In addition, without Russian consent, it would be difficult to open bases vital to the military logistics of the Afghanistan operation in Central Asia, not to mention the use of Russian territory itself. Russia's support at the United Nations was also important to give international legitimacy to the anti-terrorist operation. As for Russia's interest, in addition to perceiving the threat of Islamic terrorism as a common problem, President Putin viewed this cooperation with America as a justification for the Russian version of the war in Chechnya and an opportunity to strictly control the situation in the country under the pretext of fighting terrorism, including limiting the political freedom of citizens and the constitutional rights of the regions of the Russian Federation. The possibility of interfering in the affairs of neighboring countries and violating their national sovereignty under the pretext of fighting international terrorism was attractive to President Putin, which Russia has carried out several times in Georgia, in the Pankisi valley, through aerial bombardments.

However, despite cooperation in the early years of the fight against terrorism, the growing authoritarianism in Russia's attempts to regain/maintain spheres of influence, and increasingly active anti-Western propaganda by the Russian authorities clearly showed that the overall process was still moving towards increasing confrontation.


The events of Georgia and Ukraine made a significant contribution to the change in the approaches of the Russian elite, which led to the further cooling of relations between the West and Russia and the emergence of the threat of a hybrid war on the European continent. The democratic, new wave of so-called "color revolutions" was triggered by the undemocratic, inefficient and corrupt nature of post-Soviet political systems. At the same time, the new Georgian and Ukrainian political forces that came to power expressed an open desire to get rid of residual Russian influences, to build a distinctly western type of country, and to fully integrate into the Euro-Atlantic space.


And the Kremlin elite, which increasingly deviated from the liberal-democratic standards of governance and in which the desire to return to the old Soviet influences steadily increased, saw the developments in the neighborhood as a threat to its interests for two main reasons:

a) As the successor of the USSR, Russia was becoming a patrimonial or paternalistic regime, the main features of which are: privatization of the state with its institutions, first of all, power and security structures ("capture of the state"); Using these institutions for the interests of private groups, and mercantile purposes; maintaining elections as an institution, but ensuring that the "right people" always win; Instead of different branches of power balancing and restraining each other, in essence, the construction of a single governmental pyramid, in which personal, patron-client connections are the main ones. This was the nature of Russia and most post-Soviet countries.[8]  Consequently, the ruling elite of Russia did not want an alternative to this system to appear in the immediate neighborhood. Democratic experiments in Georgia and Ukraine created risky and unacceptable precedents. Despite the fact that the Baltic countries also followed the path of democratic and Western reforms a little earlier, in this regard, the perception of the population was different - for a large number of Russians and Soviet citizens, the Baltic countries were always mentally non-Soviet and exceptionally close to European standards. Therefore, the changes taking place in these states were less suitable for the Russian people as a source of imitation or inspiration. But, the same changes in Orthodox Georgia and, especially in Ukraine, resonated in a completely different way and scared the Russian political elite with the specter of democratization in their own estate;

b) The democratization processes of Georgia and Ukraine, which developed in a revolutionary way in 2003 and 2004/5, were welcomed by both the USA and the European Union. As a result of the carried out reforms, the authority of these countries and their support from the Western world increased dramatically, President Bush even called Georgia a "beacon of democracy". Thanks to the revolutionary democratic transformations, not only Ukraine and Georgia but thanks to the latter, the entire South Caucasus region became a participant in the European Union's neighborhood policy and NATO's individual partnership action plans. Consequently, Russia's fear that the United States and the North Atlantic Alliance were entering its traditional sphere of influence grew. Moreover, many Russian politicians and analysts viewed Georgia and Ukraine as a "Trojan horse" of the West, whose goal was to change the existing regimes in the post-Soviet countries through "color revolutions", to surround Russia with Western-backed governments, as a result, the growth of the influence of the united states and NATO in the region and the deployment of military infrastructure, which, in turn, would be followed by the Russian revolution itself and the change of government in the country.


These two reasons for the growth of Russian revisionism and its aggressiveness in the international arena were combined: the Russian elite was afraid of both the democratization of its immediate neighborhood and the expansion of NATO, and it considered all these to be a single, anti-Russian plan or a threat. As I mentioned, the Georgian-Ukrainian processes became the catalyst for such a worldview. Russia as a whole accepted the integration of the Baltic countries into NATO, but in the rest of the post-Soviet countries it defended its interests with more energy - Moscow decided not to allow the West to penetrate the territories it perceived as its "historical space".[9]

According to many researchers in the field of security, for Russia, having an exclusive zone of influence in the post-Soviet period was a means of maintaining the prestige of a great power. [10]  Therefore, in Kremlin and the Russian intellectual circles who were defending the Kremlin's interests, the conspiracist opinion was increasingly asserted that Russia's problem was not the endless transition from totalitarianism, the constant spinning, the lack of reforms, and the wrong internal development, but the Western conspiracy against the Russian "Dzerzhava" to weaken it.


The rise of openly anti-Western intonations in the rhetoric of President Putin and his entourage began in 2005. The address which Putin gave in April to the Federal Assembly, in which the President of the Russian Federation baptized the collapse of the Soviet Union as a geopolitical catastrophe, became resonant. [11] In early 2006, the Kremlin's concept that Russia is a "sovereign democracy" became public. Together with the backdrop of frequent repressions of political opponents by the Russian authorities, the use of this term was a signal to the West: the state of Russian democracy is a given, and attempts to check or change this evidence will be perceived as unfriendly interference in the country's internal affairs. [12]


The year 2007 was even more resonant. President Putin's speech at the traditional security conference in Munich came as a shock to Western politicians and academic circles. Not only did Putin demonstratively ignore Western concerns about the quality of Russian democracy, but instead went on the offensive, accusing the US of building a unipolar world. [13]  In the same year, Russia's suspension of participation in the Conventional Arms Treaty in Europe was added to frequent anti-Western demarches.


Moscow has become more aggressive since 2008, when President Putin publicly did not hide his extreme irritation over the international recognition of Kosovo's independence and said that in response to this event, Russia has already prepared "homework" ("Домашние заготовки").[14] President Putin and the Russian political elite as a whole perceived Kosovo's declaration of independence from the West not only as a step against Russia's interests but also as an attempt to demonstratively humiliate Putin himself. Thus, it became a personal matter for President Putin to give a similar demonstrative response to the West. [15] This factor played an important role in the decision to intervene in Georgia - in Putin's eyes, Georgia was the favorite of the Americans in the region, and the intervention in Georgia was for him a symmetrical response to the Americans for the bombing of Serbia, the favorite of Russia in the Balkans. President Putin did not forget to mention Kosovo, after the annexation of Crimea and the so-called holding referendum. [16]


In the spring of 2008, when Putin came to the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council held in parallel with the NATO summit in Bucharest, Putin seemed more constructive, which was also noted by the Secretary General of the Alliance, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. However, Russia was still in opposition mode with NATO, this time over the deployment of American anti-missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic and the prospect of Georgia and Ukraine joining NATO. The results of the Bucharest summit are known - the final decision of the NATO summit did not reflect the proposal of the US President, George Bush, to grant an action plan for Georgia and Ukraine to join, but the alliance's position and commitment that these countries would become NATO members were recorded. According to the Russian analyst, Dimitri Trenin, this decision did not calm anyone down, both Tbilisi and Moscow considered this compromise as a temporary event and a fragile truce that could not last for a long time. [17]


It was the recognition of Kosovo and the non-granting of an action plan for Georgia's accession at the NATO Bucharest summit that became two decisive factors for President Putin in deciding to invade Georgia in 2008. On the one hand, he was motivated by the desire to take revenge on the West for Kosovo and Serbia; On the other hand, the Bucharest summit showed Putin that, although Georgia was irreversibly on the path to joining the alliance, it was vulnerable for the time being due to the lack of an action plan. This created a several-month window of opportunity for Russia when it could carry out aggression, thereby responding to the recognition of Kosovo while punishing Georgia and hindering the continuation of the NATO integration process.


Russia's aggression in Georgia in August 2008 did not have a significant impact on Western-Russian relations. The invasion of the Russian army into Georgia is not or could not officially be baptized as the crowning of the hybrid aggression that started years ago and as a consequential result of Russian policy. Unfortunately, at that stage, no one in the West was ready for a full-scale confrontation with Russia - despite several alarming signals, President Putin was considered as difficult but still a partner. [18] Accordingly, both the European Union, NATO, and the United States avoided evaluating the Russian aggression in Georgia as the result of deliberate Russian policy, because this, as later proved by the example of Ukraine, would inevitably lead to the revision of relations with Russia and the adoption of political, military and economic decisions against it, for which the West was not ready for then.


It is from this period that from the point of view of President Putin, the West finally became a "Cold War" type opponent. This is confirmed by the memoirs of Mike McFaul, [19] the former US ambassador to Russia and the author of "Reset" policy, according to which a qualitative change in Russian foreign policy and Russian-American relations occurred precisely when President Putin stopped perceiving the Americans as difficult partners but still partners (as this occurred during the era of Presidents Gorbachev and Yeltsin) and reclassified them as Cold War era type adversaries. According to the Russian leadership, this was facilitated by the crossing of another "red line" on the part of the Americans and direct interference in Russian domestic politics - the Kremlin believed that the Russian opposition protest movement, which had been operating with varying intensity for years, was part of the policy of the United States against Russia. Even during the "reset policy", President Putin openly blamed then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul for organizing mass protests in Moscow in 2011, dubbed the "Snow Revolution".[20]

Later, the Russian military-political establishment baptized this and similar events as "non-linear warfare" and created its own guide to the methodology of hybrid warfare. The democratic revolutions that began in the post-Soviet space, as well as the "Arab Spring" process, fundamentally changed the perception of the Russian military and political leadership on the mechanisms of state sustainability and stability, and gradually led Russia to formulate a unified and structured policy in 2013 by the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, General Valery Gerasimov in his article "The price of science lies in prophecy".[21]  Although this article is considered the basis of the concept of modern Russian hybrid war, the Russian government used the elements of hybrid war in its immediate neighborhood long before the "Gerasimov Doctrine" and - for years it tried to maintain its influence in the former Soviet space by using non-linear war methods.

Hybrid war as the main tool of Russian policy:

Since the 1990s, Russia has constantly exerted pressure on the countries of the post-Soviet space, using economic leverage, ethnic minorities, internal political disputes and conflicts, to maintain its influence on these countries by creating a space of "manageable chaos" and hindering the entry of the West into the region. In the case of Georgia, even after the latter joined the Commonwealth of Independent States, which emerged from the ruins of the Soviet Union, at various times Russia additionally resorted to trading blockades, mass distribution of Russian passports, deportation of Georgian citizens from Russia, and terrorist attacks against energy infrastructure. [22]


All these steps, according to today's dictionary, are the so-called irregular, meaning part of hybrid warfare. A 2017 RAND Corporation report on the Russian version of the "hybrid war" emphasizes that Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 is a continuation of tactics similar to those carried out against Georgia years earlier, since the 1990s. These tactics are similar to the old "active measures" of Soviet security (the so-called KGB) and involve extraordinary information campaigns, economic and political sabotage, the use of the local political class, armed allies and elite special forces. [23]


However, first in the 1990s and then, in the early 2000s, when Georgia, Ukraine, and several other post-Soviet countries faced these threats coming from the Kremlin, the concept of hybrid war was not used not only in relation to the post-Soviet space but even to the Middle East. Among other factors, this was one of the reasons that the beginning of the already open and conventional Russian-Georgian war of 2008 and the preparatory processes behind it became uncertain for the international community. Essentially, the western military-diplomatic and, to a significant extent, the academic world did not find a proper conceptual matrix through which economic pressure, disinformation, subversive acts, open support of separatist enclaves, or the actions of the criminal world coming from revisionist Russia would be conceptually united and considered as a concentrated hybrid strategy for the overthrow of pro-Western governments.


In the spring of 2008, after the recognition of Kosovo by the West and the NATO Bucharest Summit, all elements of the hybrid war waged by the Russian political and security structures against Georgia were already fully used. In addition to inciting separatist sentiments by secretly deploying Russian military units in conflict zones and increasing military and economic aid to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russia also used all possible methods of diplomatic, political, military, economic and informational pressure. [24]


Long before the open military aggression, the Russian hybrid war started in the case of Ukraine and included the so-called Gas war in 2005-2006 and 2008-2009, cyber-attacks, sabotage, financing of pro-Russian parties and organizations, blackmail of local politicians, distribution of Russian passports to Ukrainians. [25]

After the annexation of Crimea, which was also an example of irregular warfare methods, active actions continued in eastern Ukraine, in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where in 2016-2017 approximately 40 thousand volunteers of the anti-Ukrainian irregular forces were supported by five thousand fighters of the Russian regular army, and Representatives of the Russian special services were participating in the planning of the operations of this group. [26]  At the same time, after the 2013 EU summit in Vilnius, an active phase of the information war was constantly underway - the Kremlin launched a powerful propaganda machine against Ukraine, which included television and radio broadcasting, print and electronic media, cinema, theater, book printing, concerts, festivals and exhibitions, youth sub-cultures and Internet social networks, various public and religious organizations. [27]


The 2014 military doctrine of the Russian Federation also belongs to this period, which repeats Gerasimov's postulates and accuses the West of aggression, during which military and non-military means are confused, and media manipulations and information propaganda serve to shake and destabilize the authorities. Practically, the military doctrine of 2014 accuses the West of undermining state sovereignty, degrading independence and territorial integrity in the target countries, for which the Ukrainian revolution is cited as an example. [28]


It is natural that Russian revisionism, manifested in attempts to revise the existing international or regional security architecture, economic pressure, cyber-attacks, mass disinformation, and policy of overthrowing unwanted governments and weakening states with proxy forces or subversive activities, would sooner or later cause a reaction from the West. [29]  Starting from 2013, American and European experts, politicians, and the military of NATO member states reacted with concern both to Russia's openly implemented annexationism and to the new strategic applications of the country's military-political establishment.


In the example of Crimea, the variety of methods of hybrid warfare revealed the inefficiency of NATO and showed that in several directions the West was not ready to fight new threats. Accordingly, starting in 2014, the West and, first of all, NATO and the European Union gradually fully understood hybrid threats and transformed corresponding approaches. It was during this period that all illusions regarding Russia were finally shattered, once again this state turned from a partner to a rival, and the culmination of all this was Russia's large-scale military aggression against Ukraine in February 2022.


Current situation and future recommendations:

As we mentioned, despite the examples discussed above of hybrid or conventional wars conducted by Russia in its own neighborhood since the 1990s, the threat that Russia posed was fundamentally reassessed by the West in February 2022, after Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine.


According to international relations researcher Stephen Walt, states are united not by a "balance of power" but by a "balance of threats" - that is, states are concerned not with the superior economic or political capabilities of another state, as such, but rather with the sense of threat from that state created by the unity of these capabilities with geographical proximity, offensive military power, and unacceptable ideology. [30] It was the Russian aggression that changed the "balance of threats" and showed the West what the current government of this country was planning.


I believe that President Putin failed to calculate his capabilities, failed to adequately assess the possible reaction of the West, and made the decision to invade Ukraine based on factors that were fatally wrong for him.

In particular, the Russian authorities thought that similar to 2008 and 2014, they could politically divide the Europeans by using economic cooperation, energy resources, and interest in the Russian market, and in this way, they would avoid long-term negative consequences in Russia-EU relations. However, Russia failed to take into account that, as the social constructivism school of international relations asserts, the interests of the state are the result of the identity, culture, and relevant norms formed within the framework of social interaction, and the interests which the state needs to protect are significantly determined by cultural, sociological and institutional factors. [31] In this case, these factors turned out to be stronger for the European states than the objectively existing interest in Russian energy carriers or the Russian market.


President Putin also failed to properly assess the role of the United States in the process of creating a unified Western coalition - most likely, the Russian political leadership considered that after the end of the operation in Afghanistan and the withdrawal of armed forces, the reputation of the administration of President Biden was so damaged both on the domestic and foreign political fronts that he would no longer have political resources to actively oppose Russia's plan to invade Ukraine. Contrary to expectations, the US administration acted extremely effectively, and not only regarding the US's increase in Ukraine's defense capabilities and the development of a qualitatively new package of sanctions against Russia, but foremost full coordination with European allies, the development of unified positions within NATO, and the show of the West's unprecedented unity.


In addition to these factors, by invading Ukraine, Russia openly offered the West to violently reshape its spheres of influence and return to the regime of a bipolar, neorealist world. The reaction of the West to this occurrence meant that today Russia is not perceived as an adversary similar to the Soviet Union and equal to the West, and furthermore - and this is a key factor - that neither America nor Europe is going to revise the system which is based on cooperative security principles and values unity. Russia has revived the seemingly forgotten fear of bloc and military conflict in Europe, especially in Central, Northern, and Eastern European countries. As a result of this process, Sweden and Finland have already joined NATO, it will also inevitably lead to a change in the configuration of NATO's armed forces, shifting more emphasis to the borders of Eastern Europe and Russia, agreeing on additional security guarantees between individual states, and as a result of all this - even more European unity and the emergence of solidarity.

Although, I consider the main mistake of the Russian government was to fundamentally misjudge the attitude of the Ukrainian people and the expectation that the Ukrainian government would be overthrown as soon as the war started, while the population would greet the Russian tanks that entered Kyiv with flowers. Contrary to expectations, President Zelensky became a world symbol of the struggle for freedom, and the heroism of the Ukrainian people and the armed forces led to Russia's biggest military-political defeat in the last century.


In the current situation, in order to end the Russian aggression in Ukraine and to protect European and especially regional security in the future, it is necessary to ensure the following conditions:


1)     Russia's unconditional military defeat - I will not start arguing why Russia's military defeat in Ukraine is important, I think it is already quite clear. I will only focus on the fact that this failure must be unconditional and complete - if it becomes possible to "package" this failure and portray it as even a partial success on the part of Russian domestic propaganda, this, on the one hand, will encourage Russia to be tempted to carry out similar military campaigns in the future, and on the other hand, it will create an immediate threat in Russia's neighborhood, because there will be a high risk that Russia will cover up its partial failure in Ukraine with a second, faster and more successful campaign against a weak neighbor. This puts Georgia, Moldova, and possibly Kazakhstan in direct danger. Therefore, for future peace and, especially, for the security of the region, it is of crucial importance that Russia's military defeat be unconditional and complete, to the extent that even in the conditions of Russian propaganda, the population will clearly understand the scale of the disaster and that the Russian leadership will have to fully answer for its decisions. This will be the guarantee that no future Russian government will dare to make such a decision in the future;

2)    Preserving the unity of the West - international cooperation requires that the actions of states and organizations which are not in harmony be brought into coordination through a process of negotiation, often referred to as the process of "policy coordination" - such cooperation occurs when the participants realize that their goals are compatible and working together can be beneficial.[32] This is exactly what happened in the case of Ukraine when despite the different assessments of Russia in Western political parties, the dependence on Russian energy and economic resources, and the existing internal European or Euro-American disagreements, all parties clearly understood that the future threat from Russia made it necessary to develop a unified position and to fully defend the position. In the future, it is critically important for Russia to know that in any similar situation the West will be united, which will inevitably lead to Russia's failure and thus make any military adventure in the region or outside of it unpromising from the beginning;

3)    Maintaining the regime of sanctions after the end of hostilities - the West has always been characterized by what became one of the main conditions for its success during the "Cold War" and in its aftermath: the ability to formulate and implement a cooperative security policy focused on finding points of contact with the adversaries. Willingness and opportunity to transform enemies first into opponents, and then partners. It is this combination that creates the uniqueness of Western political culture. Therefore, it is expected and natural that relations with Russia will inevitably be restored after the end of the war. However, I fully believe that the imposed sanctions should not be canceled immediately and the effect of the sanctions should continue until the Russian authorities are forced to fully understand the full gravity and catastrophic consequences of their wrong decisions. This will become a deterrent factor for similar decisions in the future. In addition, in the future, the energy and economic policy of the West should be defined in such a way that it takes into account Russia as one of the partners, but excludes its monopoly and any type of special dependence on Russian resources or market;

4)    Development of future deterrence policy - at the time, one of the decisive factors for the end of the "Cold War" was NATO's deterrence of military power and the US foreign policy concept of containment. I think, despite the inevitable restoration of economic and political relations with Russia, in some measure, the West must take this experience into account. Moreover, the mentality and style of action of today's Russian leadership are very similar to that of the Soviet Stalinist government, described by the so-called George Kennan, an American diplomat working in Moscow in the "Long Telegram" (which later became the conceptual basis of the United States deterrence strategy): " (the government) is not subject to the perception of reality. For it, objective facts about human societies are not a measure against which views must be constantly checked and varied. These facts are a pile from which individual elements are selectively and tendentially taken to reinforce preconceived views." [33] Kennan also noted the pragmatism of the Soviet political elite and believed that it was subject to the logic of force and retreated in case of strong opposition: "... it (the Soviet government) ) is very sensitive to the logic of power. For this reason, it can easily retreat—and usually does—when faced with strong opposition at some point. Therefore, if its opponent has sufficient power and shows that it is willing to use it, it will rarely need to do this. If the situation is managed correctly, there is no need for prestige protection measures." [34] I think this characterization accurately describes Russia's current political elite and confirms that the policy of deterrence and the display of preventive force will continue to remain one of the prerequisites for future security;

5)    Greater cooperation between NATO and the European Union in the Black Sea region - it is necessary to activate the two main Western institutions, NATO and the European Union, in the Black Sea region. This activation should primarily be manifested in the spread and proactive encouragement of democratic values, good governance, social cohesion and a climate tolerant of minorities in countries that are not members of NATO and the European Union, border Russia and are at high risk of conventional and hybrid attack. NATO's strategic identity has included the protection, spread, and support of Western liberal democracy from the beginning, but it has neither the mandate nor the necessary mechanisms to create and support democratic institutions, good governance, anti-corruption, and social cohesion mechanisms in countries, without which the Western liberal order is unattainable. In contrast, the EU, as a non-military power, has the capacity and opportunity to strengthen and encourage democratic institutions beyond its borders, including by offering future membership to interested countries. That is why systematic cooperation between these two main Western institutions is extremely important for the future of the Black Sea region. [35] 

6)    Fully carrying out the European unification process  - it is clear that the strategic importance of the Black Sea for the West is only increasing. Therefore, although the full entry of NATO and the European Union into the region will not be fast, the West will still not leave the Black Sea. First, collective security, which is introduced by Western institutions and which is part of the cooperative security community, makes it necessary to strengthen trust and deepen cooperation with the countries of the region, and secondly, if NATO and the European Union stop their expansion, then the West will leave room for Russia to feel legitimate possession of the sphere of influence.[36] This perspective is contrary to the basic principles of security. Moreover, it is difficult to imagine why Russia should limit its demands only to Georgia/Ukraine and in case of concessions from the West in the Black Sea region, not demand similar concessions even in the Middle East? Therefore, the logic of consistency dictates to imagine the West either in a passive, constantly defensive position in a neighborhood divided into spheres of influence, or to consider its further activation in the post-Soviet space as inevitable. I think that the history of Europe establishes the second version, although the process will be slow, contradictory, and dependent on specific circumstances. As US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said at the time, "NATO doesn't need an enemy, it has a solid purpose."[37] This goal, according to former NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, is "building a secure and democratic community." [38] Therefore, if some societies in the post-Soviet space (first of all, obviously, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova) want to go on with this process, it will happen with the gradual integration of these countries into the architecture of collective and cooperative security. Cooperation between nations is not only related to material interest, but also shared norms and values - values, procedures, and organizational unity bind Western institutions (as stated by theories of international relations such as neoliberal institutionalism and liberal intergovernmentalism), congruence of values and democratic culture form not only strategic interests but also identity (assuming another important theory, social constructivism). And all of this inexorably pushes the West to expand to where they expect and accept its values and ask for help. The cooperative security model implies projecting outside of stability based on the expansion of the ideals of the liberal-democratic community and cannot be reduced to power calculations developed within the theories of realism and neorealism - reaching an agreement between the strong at the expense of the weak is no longer a mechanism for ensuring security. This is confirmed by the EU's opening of membership prospects for Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. I am sure that a similar process will develop in NATO, and if these three countries carry out correct, democratic reforms, their full integration into NATO and the European Union will definitely take place, which is the best condition for their security, and at the same time, it will turn the Black Sea into a region just as safe as the Baltic and Adriatic seas.



References and Bibliography:


Abbott, Katie, “Understanding and Countering Hybrid Warfare: Next Steps for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization”, API6999-Major Research Paper, University of Ottawa (2016),;

Арбатов, Алексей, „Россия больше не может  всегда идти за Западом“, Сегодня“ (22.04.1999),;

Bakradze, David, and Darchiashvili, David, “The EU Eastern Partnership Initiative and Georgia - Context and Perceptions, Experiences and Prospects, Politeja, Vol. 16 No. 5(62) (October 2019);

Barlovac, Bojana, “Putin Says Kosovo Precedent Justifies Crimea Secession“, Balkan Insight (18.03.2014),;

Buzan, Barry and Waewer, Ole, Regions and Powers, The Structure of International Security, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003;

Chivvis, Christopher S, “Understanding Russian “Hybrid Warfare” And What Can Be Done About It”, RAND Corporation Testimonies, CT-468 (2017),;

Darchiashvili, David, “Russo-Georgian War of August 2008: Clash of Ideologies and National Projects in the Era of Hybrid Warfare”, Sojateadlane (Estonian Journal of Military Studies), Vol. 7 (July 2018),;

Frederick Bryan, Povlock Matthew, Watts Stephen, Priebe Miranda, and Geist Edward, “Assessing Russian Reactions to US and NATO Posture Enhancements”, RAND Corporation (2017),;

Герасимов Валерии, “Ценность науки в предвидении, Новые вызовы требуют переосмыслить формы и способы ведения боевых действий”, Военно-промышленный курьер (23.02.2013),;

Hale, Henry E., Patronal Politics, Eurasian Regime Dynamics in Comparative Perspective, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015;

Katzenstein, Peter, (editor), The Culture of National Security, Norms and Identity in the World Politics, New York: Columbia University Press, 1996;

Kempster, Norman, “Just Kidding, Russian Says After Cold War Blast Stuns Europeans”, Los Angeles Times (15.12.1992),;

Keohane, Robert, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984;

Kupchan, Charles A. and Kupchan, Clifford A., “The Promise of Collective Security”, In Theories of War and Peace, Cambridge: The Mit Press, 1998;

Lipman, Masha, “Putin’s “Sovereign Democracy”, The Washington Post (15.07.2006),;

McFaul, Michael, From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia, Boston - New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018;

Moore, Rebecca R, NATO’s New Mission: Projecting Stability in a Post-Cold War World, Connecticut-London: Praeger Security International Westport, 2007;

Pashkov, Mykhailo, “Russia’s Information Expansion: Ukrainian Foothold”, In  Information Warfare – New Security Challenge for Europe, Bratislava: Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs (CENAA), 2017;

“Putin: Soviet Collapse a “Genuine Tragedy””, NBC News (25 April 2005),;

„Путин: у России есть домашние заготовки в ответ на отделение Косово“, „Новый День“ (14.02.2008),;

Shelest, Hanna, “Hybrid War and the Eastern Partnership: Waiting for a Correlation”, Turkish Policy Quarterly, Vol. 14, No 3 (Fall 2015);

“Speech and  the  Following  Discussion  at  the  Munich  Conference  on   Security Policy” (10.02.2007), President of Russia E-Library,;

Stent, Angela, “The Impact of September 11 on US-Russian Relations”, Brookings (08.09.2021),;

Telegram 861.00/2 – 2246: The Charge in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Secretary of State (22.02.1946), National Security Archive, The George Washington University,;

Walt, Stephen, The Origins of Alliances, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986.





[1] Norman Kempster, “Just Kidding, Russian Says After Cold War Blast Stuns Europeans”, Los Angeles Times (15 December 1992), (18.10.2022);

[2] Bryan Frederick, Matthew Povlock, Stephen Watts, Miranda Priebe, and Edward Geist, “Assessing Russian Reactions to US and NATO Posture Enhancements”, RAND Corporation (2017), (22.10.2022);

[3] Алексей Арбатов, „Россия больше не может  всегда идти за Западом“, Сегодня“ (22.04.1999), (25.10.2022);

[4] Bryan Frederick, Matthew Povlock, Stephen Watts, Miranda Priebe, and Edward Geist, “Assessing Russian Reactions to US and NATO Posture Enhancements”, RAND Corporation (2017), (22.10.2022): 77-78;

[5] Bryan Frederick, Matthew Povlock, Stephen Watts, Miranda Priebe, and Edward Geist, “Assessing Russian Reactions to US and NATO Posture Enhancements”, RAND Corporation (2017), (22.10.2022): 83-84;

[6] Bryan Frederick, Matthew Povlock, Stephen Watts, Miranda Priebe, and Edward Geist, “Assessing Russian Reactions to US and NATO Posture Enhancements”, RAND Corporation (2017), (22.10.2022): 82-84;

[7] Angela Stent, “The Impact of September 11 on US-Russian Relations”, Brookings (08.09.2021), (24.10.2022);

[8] Henry E. Hale, Patronal Politics, Eurasian Regime Dynamics in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015); [9] Bryan Frederick, Matthew Povlock, Stephen Watts, Miranda Priebe, and Edward Geist, “Assessing Russian Reactions to US and NATO Posture Enhancements”, RAND Corporation (2017), (22.10.2022): 30;

[10] Barry Buzan, and Ole Waewer, Regions, and Powers, The Structure of International Security, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003): 410;

[11] “Putin: Soviet Collapse a “Genuine Tragedy””, NBC News (25.04.2005), (28.10.2022);

[12] Masha Lipman, “Putin’s “Sovereign Democracy”, The Washington Post (15 July 2006), (28.10.2022);

[13] “Speech and  the  Following  Discussion  at  the  Munich  Conference  on   Security Policy” (10.02.2007), President of Russia E-Library, (29.10.2022);

[14] „Путин: у России есть домашние заготовки в ответ на отделение Косово“, „Новый День“ (14.02.2008), (28.10.2022);

[15] „Путин: у России есть домашние заготовки в ответ на отделение Косово“, „Новый День“ (14.02.2008), (28.10.2022);

[16] Bojana Barlovac, “Putin Says Kosovo Precedent Justifies Crimea Secession“, Balkan Insight (18.03.2014), (30.10.2022); 

[17] David Darchiashvili, “Russo-Georgian War of August 2008: Clash of Ideologies and National Projects in the Era of Hybrid Warfare”, Sojateadlane (Estonian Journal of Military Studies), Vol. 7 (July 2018), (05.11.2022): 17;

[18] მაგალითისთვის მოვიყვან ფაქტს, რომ აგვისტოს ომის დაწყებამდე ცოტა ხნით ადრე, საქართველომ სთხოვა ევროპის კავშირს, მოეხდინათ როკის გვირაბის მუდმივი მონიტორინგი ევროპული კოსმოსური სატელიტის გამოყენებით. სამწუხაროდ, აღნიშნული თხოვნა დაბლოკა ევროკავშირის ერთერთმა მნიშვნელოვანმა წევრმა იმ მოტივით, რომ არ არსებობდა რუსეთის მხრიდან მომავალი რეალური საფრთხის ინდიკაციები - რომ არა ეს გადაწყვეტილება, შესაძლებელი გახდებოდა არამხოლოდ იმის ზუსტად დადგენა, თუ ვინ და როდის დაიწყო საბრძოლო მოქმედებები და როდის შემოვიდა რუსული სამხედრო ტექნიკა საქართველოში, არამედ ამგვარ მონიტორინგს შეიძლება რუსეთისთვის შემაკავებლის როლიც კი შეესრულებინა. 

[19] Michael McFaul, From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia (Boston - New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018);

[20] Bryan     Frederick,     Matthew     Povlock,     Stephen     Watts,     Miranda     Priebe,     and     Edward     Geist,     “Assessing     Russian     Reactions     to     US     and     NATO    Posture  Enhancements”,  RAND  Corporation (2017), (22.10.2022);

[21] Валерии Герасимов, “Ценность науки в предвидении, Новые вызовы требуют переосмыслить формы и способы ведения боевых действий”, Военно-промышленный курьер (23.02.2013), (10.11.2022);

[22] Bryan Frederick, Matthew Povlock, Stephen Watts, Miranda Priebe, and Edward Geist, “Assessing Russian Reactions to US and NATO Posture Enhancements”, RAND Corporation (2017), (22.10.2022): 31;

[23] Christopher S. Chivvis, “Understanding Russian “Hybrid Warfare” And What Can Be Done About It”, RAND Corporation Testimonies, CT-468 (2017), (18.11.2022);

[24] David Darchiashvili, “Russo-Georgian War of August 2008: Clash of Ideologies and National Projects in the Era of Hybrid Warfare”, Sojateadlane (Estonian Journal of Military Studies), Vol. 7 (July 2018), (05.11.2022): 18;

[25] Hanna Shelest, “Hybrid War and the Eastern Partnership: Waiting for a Correlation”, Turkish Policy Quarterly, Vol. 14, No 3 (Fall 2015): 45-53;

[26] Mykhailo Pashkov, “Russia’s Information Expansion: Ukrainian Foothold”, In  Information Warfare – New Security Challenge for Europe (Bratislava: Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs (CENAA), 2017): 106-107;

[27] Mykhailo Pashkov, “Russia’s Information Expansion: Ukrainian Foothold”, In  Information Warfare – New Security Challenge for Europe (Bratislava: Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs (CENAA), 2017): 99;

[28] Bryan Frederick, Matthew Povlock, Stephen Watts, Miranda Priebe, and Edward Geist, “Assessing Russian Reactions to US and NATO Posture Enhancements”, RAND Corporation (2017), (22.10.2022): 30;

[29] David Bakradze and David Darchiashvili, “The EU Eastern Partnership Initiative and Georgia - Context and Perceptions, Experiences and Prospects, Politeja, Vol. 16 No. 5(62) (October 2019): 117-140;  

[30] Stephen Walt, The Origins of Alliances (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986);

[31] Peter Katzenstein (editor), The Culture of National Security, Norms and Identity in the World Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 28-32;

[32] Robert Keohane, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984): 51;  

[33] Telegram 861.00/2 – 2246: The Charge in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Secretary of State (22.02.1946), National Security Archive, The George Washington University, (05.11.2022);

[34] Telegram 861.00/2 – 2246: The Charge in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Secretary of State (22.02.1946), National Security Archive, The George Washington University, (05.11.2022);

[35] Katie Abbott, “Understanding and Countering Hybrid Warfare: Next Steps for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization”, API6999-Major Research Paper, University of Ottawa (2016), (10.11.2022): 29;

[36] Charles A. Kupchan, and Clifford A. Kupchan, “The Promise of Collective Security”, In Theories of War and Peace (Cambridge: The Mit Press, 1998): 402-404;

[37] Rebecca Moore, NATO’s New Mission: Projecting Stability in a Post-Cold War World (Connecticut-London: Praeger Security International Westport, 2007): 26;

[38] Rebecca Moore, NATO’s New Mission: Projecting Stability in a Post-Cold War World (Connecticut-London: Praeger Security International Westport, 2007): 76;

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