Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 December 2021
Continuity in Russian strategy reflects a set of enduring predilections indicative of strategic culture preferences, and habitual responses to persistent, or recurring challenges. While individual leaders and their ideas matter, the pursuit of a geopolitical space where Russian interests predominate has remained central to Russian thinking, along with a quest for status, and influence as a Great Power. The strategy for pursuing these goals, and for dealing with other leading powers like the United States, has proven sticky. Contemporary Russian strategy reprises the offensive approach which defined much of the Soviet Union’s consensus, investing in the military means for direct competition and leveraging indirect approaches to sustain a contest against a much stronger opponent in the international system. Russian grand strategy has proven evolutionary: While it grapples with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the post-Cold War world, there is greater continuity than change in the calculus and ambitions that define Russian decision-making.