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Politics and the Russian Army
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  • 5 b/w illus. 14 tables
  • Page extent: 374 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.505 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521016940 | ISBN-10: 0521016940)

Military coups have plagued many countries around the world, but Russia, despite its tumultuous history, has not experienced a successful military coup in over two centuries. In a series of detailed case studies, Brian Taylor explains the political role of the Russian military. Drawing on a wealth of new material, including archives and interviews, Taylor discusses every case of actual or potential military intervention in Russian politics from Peter the Great to Vladimir Putin. Taylor analyzes in particular detail the army's behavior during the political revolutions that marked the beginning and end of the twentieth century, two periods when the military was, uncharacteristically, heavily involved in domestic politics. He argues that a common thread unites the late-Imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet Russian army: an organizational culture that believes that intervention against the country's political leadership - whether tsar, general secretary, or president - is fundamentally illegitimate.

• Only book on Russian military politics that covers the Imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet periods • Rare combination of social science theory and detailed historical analysis; extensive use of newly available archival materials and interviews • Develops new approach to the study of military coups by studying non-coups and military arbitration of civilian power disputes


1. Explaining military intervention; 2. Cultural change in the Imperial Russian Army, 1689–1914; 3. The army and revolution, 1917; 4. From revolution to war, 1917–41; 5. From victory to stagnation, 1945–85; 6. Gorbachev, Perestroika, and the collapse of the Soviet Union, 1985–91; 7. Yeltsin and the New Russia, 1992–2000; 8. Organizational culture and the future of Russian civil-military relations.


'… a well-structured and clearly argued study.' Peace Research

'Russia's turbulent political history is rich in authoritarian excesses and militaristic triumphs surprisingly poor in examples of direct military interference in politics … the book examines this mystery thoroughly and systematically, relying on a wealth of sources … and an impressive amount of archive work and interviews … it is hard to find any serious fault in this well-structured and clearly argued study.' Journal of Peace Research

'… this is a book ideally kept within easy reach, for its narratives are good, its perspectives engaging, and its judgments well-informed.' Slavonic and East European Review

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