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State Militarism and Its Legacies: Why Military Reform Has Failed in Russia

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International Security, Vol. 29, page(s): 121-158

Fall 2004

international security

Russia's economy and political system have undergone enormous changes since the end of the Soviet era. A burgeoning market system has replaced the Soviet command economy, and open multiparty competition for representation in Russia's political institutions operates in place of the Communist Party that ruled the country exclusively for more than 60 years. In the areas of defense and security, however, radical changes to the organizational and operational system inherited from the Soviet Union have yet to occur. After more than a decade of reform efforts, Russia's armed forces have shrunk to less than two-thirds of their 1992 size of 3.7 million. Russia's military leaders, nevertheless, have been adamant about preserving Soviet-era force structures and strategic plans. Why have Russia's armed forces--nearly alone among the core institutions of the Russian state--resisted efforts to change their structure and character in accordance with institutional arrangements operative in Western liberal democracies?

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