Counter-insurgency and the Russian 'way of war'

Marshall, A. (2023) Counter-insurgency and the Russian 'way of war'. In: Thomas, M. and Curless, G. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Late Colonial Insurgencies and Counter-Insurgencies. Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp. 44-62. ISBN 9780198866787 (doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198866787.013.3)

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Counter-insurgency theory typically assumes that the praxis of counter-insurgency itself constitutes a special military discipline or a particular ‘military art’, requiring independent doctrine and training. This school of thought has in turn generated generations of thinkers and writers, from Hubert Lyautey and David Galula to General Petraeus and David Kilcullen, who have claimed special insight into the art of counter-insurgency practice. Within this paradigm, Russian military campaigns in the past and present bearing counter-insurgency characteristics have also been traditionally critiqued as particularly brutal, artless, ineffective, and futile. More recently, they have also been critiqued as exemplars of the ‘authoritarian model’ of counter-insurgency, held up as the antithesis of modern Western praxis. This chapter critically re-examines both sets of assumptions, to argue that Russian praxis simultaneously does represent counter-insurgency as traditionally practiced by all countries, and that it also undermines Western paradigms of counter-insurgency as a special or specific ‘art of war’, meriting its own doctrines and cadres of military and academic specialists. In doing so, it adopts a historical overview, running from the basmachi insurgency of the 1920s through stabilization of the Western borderlands after World War Two to the Soviet state-building effort in Afghanistan.

Item Type:Book Sections
Keywords:Insurgency, counter-insurgency, Russia.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Marshall, Dr Alexander
Authors: Marshall, A.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
J Political Science > JZ International relations
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > History
Publisher:Oxford University Press
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