In the Name of State Sovereignty? The Justification of War in Russian History and the Present
This chapter examines how Russians justify wars in the post-Soviet era. As will be shown, the Russian philosophical tradition developed somewhat differently from that of the West. Neither in Imperial Russia, nor during the Soviet period, did secular writers pay much attention to issues related to the justification of war. Meanwhile the Russian Orthodox Church tended to view war as an occasionally necessary lesser evil, not as something which can be characterized as ‘just’. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, political leaders have tended to adopt a Realist approach and to frame war in terms of security rather than justice. Church leaders and secular intellectuals have on occasion referred to Russia’s wars as 'just' and made some reference to Western just war principles, but they have not for the most part endorsed those principles fully. It remains to be seen whether Russian thought on this issue will converge with that of the West or diverge further from it.