Putin's wars

The Rise of Russia’s New Imperialism

This book offers the first systematic analysis of Putin’s two wars, placing the Second Chechen War and the War in Georgia of 2008 in their broader historical contexts. 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 third, 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 vigorous debate. 

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“A timely new book ”
- Roy Gutman, McClatchy
“The book is recommended as a well-documented, well-argued, and strong criticism of Moscow’s foreign policy. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers, undergraduate students, graduate students, and research faculty ”
- Rita P. Peters, Choice
““Van Herpen’s work is incisive: He persuasively argues that the Russian Federation is both a post-imperial state and a pre-imperial state that seeks to expand its control over much of the former Soviet empire. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision in late November 2013 not to sign an association accord with the European Union may soon test this thesis – if Russia and the EU continue to battle it out for predominant political-economic influence over the country, unable to reach a compromise.””
- Hall Gardner, author of NATO Expansion and US Strategy in Asia
“This book, written before Russia annexed Crimea, provides outrights answers. Marcel Van Herpen … convincingly foretells the current crisis ”
- Taehwan Kim, Global Asia
“The book is obviously well-researched… For those looking for the rationale for President Putin’s conduct, this book represents an excellent start … Putin’s Wars is highly recommended by this reviewer ”
- Colonel P.J. Williams, Canadian Military Journal.
“What Putin’s Wars does so successfully is establish that Russian imperialism is not something left in the past, but a prospect for the future, an argument that is strengthened by the events of the last half year … Starting at the end explains why the rest of the book is so important to understanding the ongoing events in Ukraine ”
- Valerie Pacer, E-International Relations