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Article

What is Russia trying to defend?

Russian Journal of Economics. 2016. No. 2. P. 146-161.

Contrary to the focus on the events of the last two years (2014–2015) associated with the accession of Crimea to Russia and military conflict in Eastern Ukraine, in this study, I stress that serious changes in Russian domestic policy (with strong pressure on political opposition, state propaganda and sharp anti-Western rhetoric, as well as the fight against “foreign agents’) became visible in 2012. Geopolitical ambitions to revise the “global order” (introduced by the USA after the collapse of the USSR) and the increased role of Russia in “global governance” were declared by leaders of the country much earlier, with Vladimir Putin's famous Munich speech in 2007. These ambitions were based on the robust economic growth of the mid-2000s, which encouraged the Russian ruling elite to adopt the view that Russia (with its huge energy resources) is a new economic superpower. In this paper, I will show that the concept of “Militant Russia” in a proper sense can be attributed rather to the period of the mid-2000s. After 2008–2009, the global financial crisis and, especially, the Arab Spring and mass political protests against electoral fraud in Moscow in December 2011, the Russian ruling elite made mostly “militant” attempts to defend its power and assets.