Comparison of Healthcare Systems: Russia and the US

Joel Adewuyi
Madalyn Arnott
Stephanie Armstrong
Lauren Ball

Russian federation has 17 million km2 of land surface area, making it the largest country in the world. The country has major deposits of coal, timber, oil, and assorted minerals and is thus perceived by many as a rich country who can provide universal healthcare to her citizens.
Today, the healthcare system in Russia unlike in the United States is universal but has been plagued with poor quality and deficient services and thus in the process of being reformed by the Russian government. It is a universal system only in theory but the poor quality has made many Russians result to paying under the counter-bribes in order to get their necessary treatments (Russian, 2017).

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Recent government reforms, and measures to increase efficiency such as increase in funding have begun to address the ongoing problem in the healthcare sector. However, even with the new reforms in place, since the 1990’s, there has been no significant improvement in the healthcare system (Russian 2017). The biggest problem confronting this system has been attributed to lack of funding by the government.
Historical Perspectives
The end of the Soviet Union gave birth to the Russian Federation in 1991 and since then the health status of the Russian population has been on a dramatic decline. Rates of medical conditions like cancer, heart disease, and tuberculosis are the highest compared to any other industrialized country. Government spending on healthcare which was 7% of Gross National Product (GNP) in the 1960’s before Soviet Union’s breakup was reduced to 3% after the breakup (site wide, 2017). Most of the government funding started going to industrial and military developments and lesser priority given to the healthcare system and by the end of 1995 less than 1 percent of Russia’s budget was allocated to public health in comparison to more than 12 percent in the United States (site wide 2017). With this, the public health delivery system in Russia went into the crisis with poorly trained medical personnel, lack of modernized equipment, poor payments for the medical personnel, poor personal hygiene and diet, lack of exercise, virtually nonexistent preventive medicine etc.
The lack of accessibility to national health system facilities, with most patients standing in line at clinics for an entire day before receiving treatments coupled with non-affordability prescriptions drugs, has encouraged them resulting into unorthodox alternatives such as herbal medicine, mysticism, and faith healings.
Russian Healthcare System Today
There are several issues that can be observed in the modern Russian healthcare system. For example; there is limited access to healthcare facilities, and the sanitation in the facilities is below United States standards. The Healthcare system in the United States is often viewed as the best in the world, but it has several flaws as well. There is limited access for veterans and several hospitals charge as much as three times what others charge. There are also several benefits to the United States healthcare. Virtually on every corner of any town in the U.S there is access to a hospital or an emergency room. Also in the U.S., there are several payment plans individuals can use.
In the Russian healthcare system one of the main problems is limited access to healthcare facilities. Only four percent pay their doctors when they have a medical procedure (Allianz, 2009 p 5). This causes a shortage of medical professionals. The lack of medical professionals causes individuals to rely on themselves for medical treatment. Several problems arise when individuals rely on their own knowledge. Another major issue with this system is the unsanitary working conditions of medical practices and medical professionals themselves. The lack of sanitation in facilities causes individuals to be more susceptible to diseases and other types of infections (Antonova, 2016 p3). The Russian healthcare system has several flaws that we do not have in the United States healthcare system.
In the United States, there are hospitals around every corner. This allows individuals to have access to healthcare no matter where they live, but this can have some repercussions. Although hospitals are easy to find some individuals cannot afford this care. In 2010 the Affordable Care Act was signed so everyone has access to healthcare, but individuals need to have insurance for this Act to apply to them. This although seems beneficial to all, some individuals feel that they are forced to buy insurance. One positive aspect of the United States healthcare system is the amount of insurance options available. Most individuals use insurance through their employer, and some have medical cards. One negative aspect of the healthcare system is there is little to no coverage to for veterans. Tricare only covers veterans when they are in active duty, once they retire the insurance no longer covers them.
Future of Healthcare System in Russia
The Russian healthcare system for sure needs improvements due to many problems. Russia’s population is more than 6 million lower than it was nearly two decades ago (public health, 2015). Sadly, birth rates are lower and mortality rates are higher. Over half of the deaths are due to cardiovascular disease. Other problems include cancer and external causes such as accidents and traumas. However, since 2005 the Russian healthcare system have been trying to turn things around positively.
In 2006, the Russian government launched the National Priority Project (NPP) to try and change the system for the better (public health 2015). The budget for this project was over than 400 billion rubles (Russian dollars) which was granted between 2006 to 2009 (public health 2015). Many activities have been planned and accomplished through the NPP. The NPP has increased salaries of primary and emergency care physicians, purchased more primary care equipment, provided more vaccination programs, providing free medical examinations to the public, increased the promotion of fertility, and made more high-tech centers for tertiary care. These activities have increased the quality of the system and bettered it for the citizens of Russia.
There have recently been very bad financial troubles in Russia yet the NPP has managed to improve the system through these ways. Fertility rates are higher, mortality rates are lower, and life expectancy for both women and men have risen. However, not all the healthcare problems have been addressed. Basic healthcare is still unfunded, there are many problems with Russia’s healthcare insurance, and there is little effort to face and fix the population health behavior. Until the Russian citizens take these problems into their own hands the future of
Russia’s health will be a problem. The citizens need to stop smoking, binge drinking, and bad habits in order to enjoy better health. The Russian public needs to be able to provide healthy air, water, better food quality, safer roads, and safer work environments. Until these problems are addressed, the health challenges that Russia faces will not be fixed and will follow to the years ahead.

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Russia’s health care system has taken a turn for the worst. Consequences of a failing healthcare system have fed to declining health among the Russian population. Inefficient funds have led to cost cuts, this already damaging a weak system. Numerous medical staff had to be laid off because of this, when healthcare workers were already at a minimal amount. At this point in time Russia suffers from a high death rate, low birth rate, and low life expectancy. The total population is decreasing by 700,000 people each year (Aarva 2009). The average life span for a male is statistically shown to only reach 59 years old (Aarva, 2009). Compared to the United States, a typical average life span for men is 78 years old (Aarva, 2009). Women in Russia overall only average to 72 years old (Aarva, 2009). The fertility rates in Russia cannot meet the declining rate of population. The decline in health statistically shows to only get worse within the next 50 years, declining by 30 percent (Aarva 2009).
In Russia, the number one leading cause of death is cardiovascular disease, this is followed by alcoholism and tobacco use. The World Health Organization accounts for more than 1.2 million deaths per year from these. A growing health issue in Russia is disease, such as HIV/AIDS, a little over 1 percent of Russia’s population test positive (Aarva, 2009). Lancet 2012 study showed that 57 percent of those affected acquired this from drug use (Aarva, 2009). Although over looked, Russia’s health care system has led them to have a lot in common with 3rd world countries.
Numerous factors have led to Russia’s health care decline; however, many believe lack of education is the number one reason for the decline. Public health policies and information is less easy to access in Russia then the United States. Russia is also lacking in resources such as a lack in medication. Russia’s health care doesn’t have the ability to give the citizens proper health care, if this situation continues their population will significantly continue to decline.
In conclusion and in fairness to the Russia federation, the truth is that despite the relatively poor health statistics and healthcare situations, Russia is not dependent on any international assistance for her healthcare funding and is nondependent on any of the developed countries. Even though, they are independent, the government’s duty of a guaranteed full range of free healthcare services to her citizens has not experienced any setback, but rather has been confirmed through the newly implemented Russian constitution and the new healthcare financing laws.
Russian health care: A healthy future? (n.d.). Retrieved February 22, 2017.
Site-wide navigation. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2017.
“Public Health: Russia is Sick.” The Globalist. N.p., 04 Oct. 2015. Web. 23 Feb. 2017.
Landed, S. J. (2014, May 04). Overview. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
Allianz. (2017). Healthcare in Russia – support. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
Aarva, P., Ilchenko, I., Gorobets, P., & Rogacheva, A. (2009). Formal and informal payments in health care facilities in two Russian cities, Tyumen and Lipetsk. Health Policy and Planning, 24(5), 395-405. doi:10.1093/heapol/czp029
Antonova, N. (2016). Access to Healthcare in Russia: A Pilot Study in Ekaterinburg. Central European Journal of Public Health, 24(2), 152-155. doi:10.21101/cejph.a3942
O. (n.d.). We’ve Got You Covered. Retrieved February 23, 2017.

Relationship Between Russia and China

The new era of Russia and China
– Tension in Ukraine, Natural Gas Contract and the future
Chuqing Hu
The recent history
The relationship between China and Russia has always been complicated. In early 1960s, also Russia (the formerSovietUnion) had been support China to rebuild the country after war diminished, friendship between the two countries diminished mainly due to the dissension on the war between China and India. During the war, the SovietUnion made public its stand to support India which significantly deteriorated its relationship with China.
The incompatibility wasn’t softened until 1980s when MikhailGorbachev became the president of SU and started to remedy the relationship with China. Since then, China and Russia has been on their way to a new era of competitive cooperation, or we can also call it “cooperative competition.”[1]
Year 2014, a new era evolved after the tension of Ukraine
In the past few months, as stated by U.S. president Barack Obama, “Russia’s aggression towards former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors.”[2]
From March 2014, the issue in Ukraine treaded on sensitive ground for China, and it has contorted itself to find a neutral diplomatic position.China has long been holding the position of not to interfere in the internal affairsof other countries. However, this belief was kind of dimmed when China failed to state its position to the referendum in Crimea, Ukraine. China’s action was viewed as a silent support to Vladimir V.Putin as other western countries all clearly stated their opposition against the referendum. [3]
China’s silence brought new harmony to its relationship with Russia and this has been viewed as the turning point of the strategic alliance between two of the most powerful countries in the world.
Two months later, on May 20th, 2014, Russia clinched a US$400-billion deal to feed China around 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas via pipelines at a chummy price of $350-$400 per thousand cubic meters(TCM), shaking up an industry that is used to fetching $500-$600 per TCM from Asian markets. The deal prompted much commentary on the agreement’s potential to reshape global energy markets and tilt the balance of influence in Ukraine and, more broadly, inEurope. [4]
Apart for the contract, Putin’s visit to China in May also brought about various strategic business alliances between the two countries, which include mining, electricity, border trade, automobile, etc.
A formal alliance or a double jeopardy
Some people would imply that China and Russia are forming a formal alliance in order to compete with the U.S. and Europe. However, although the two countries are in honeymoon in the past few months, uncertainties still exist and I assume it’s too early to call it a formal alliance.
Foremost, since the two countries have different visions regarding their future, both economically and politically, the discrepancy of the visions of two countries will make the alliance not as strong as some people imagined.
What matters most to China? Growth, growth and growth. China has been struggling with the slowdown of its GDP growth in the past year and the promise of 8% annual growth was broken due to the slackness of industrial manufacture and the rising cost of capital. At this moment, a long-term energy contract with a quite favorable price will a good stimulator to its economics. At the same time, Chinese government is also concerned with the destabilization aroused with its own borders. An alliance will also enhance the protection of its national interests since Russia is a neighbor as well as a friend.

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What matter most to Russia? Recovery, recovery and recovery. After deep recession, Russia has been long for a recovery in both its economics and international political status. Russia was known for its aggression when it was once on its greatest prosperity. In the recent years, as the financial recovery was on its way, Russia again started to strive for more political interests, especially towards former Soviet states. However, it’s also crystal clear that because of tension between Russia and the U.S., the western world will be never on Russia’s side regarding international affairs. The only and most power ally Russia can rely on has to be China. Putin’s visit and the multi-billion contract showed Russia’s generosity and its high expectation for the relationship.
However, if Russia keeps raising its aggression after the tension in Crimea, this will put China in a very awkward situation – to keep supporting Russia with equivocatory and to risk its future to be sanctioned by the western or to break its friendship with Russia and risk what happened in the 1950s to happen again?
It’s a double jeopardy for China. “China’s leaders can’t afford to side with Russia, and they cannot side with Russia’s forceful policy.” According to Titus C. Chen, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations at National Chengchi University in Taiwan.[5]
Neither of them is an ideal choice for the Chinese authority since China definitely doesn’t want to be friend with Russia and be enemy with rest of the world.
Envisioning the future
There are mutual strategic needs as both China and Russia want to create a multipolar world which is not dominated by the U.S., particularly as China is now facing threats from the US-led alliance in Asia
These two powerful countries although holding different goals in the alliance, are a formidable pair and can alter the international system. China knows that, Russia knows that, and the rest of the world is more or less afraid of that.
The pair will accelerate the economic growth in both Russia and China, which is favorable for both of the countries. This suggests that, as long as Russia doesn’t get outrageous in its foreign policy, the friendship will be very well maintained in the near future. However, due to the historical mistrust, the lack of a common threat and conflicting interests in Central Asia, the sustainability of the partnership is questioned.[6]
Besides China and Russia, U.S. is also playing and important part in the relationship. If U.S. keeps pushing China or Russia aggressively to the corner, this will certainly reinforce the China-Russia Alliance. If U.S. changed its position in order to drive a wedge between the two countries, the situation will become more unpredictable but also more interesting.

 The tough road between Russia and China, multiple contributors, Voice of Russia, 2014
China-russia-and-the-outlook-for-the-liberal-international-system, Ali Wyne ,, Jun 2nd 2014
China Torn Between Policies and Partnership, Andrew Jacobs and Somini Sengupta, New York Times, March 12th, 2014
Russia-China Gas Deal Narrows Window for U.S.Exports, Richard Martin,Forbes, May 30th, 2014
China Torn Between Policies and Partnership, Andrew Jacobs and Somini Sengupta, New York Times, March 12th, 2014
Are China and Russia Moving toward a Formal Alliance?, Dingding Chen, The Diplomat, May 30th, 2014


The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder

The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America. Timothy Snyder. New York: Tim Duggan Books, 2018. 359 pp. Reviewed by Kendall Bailey. Thursday, May 9, 2019.

The Road to Unfreedom was written to warn and inform about the predictability of the future of politics based primarily on the world’s history, or more specifically, Russia’s president, the notorious Vladimir Putin. The evidence that Snyder uses not only begins with books and videos, but also encompasses the media, news press conferences and transcripts, articles, and much more. With 60 pages of endnotes and well over a few hundred sources listed, it’s also critical to note that he gained his information in different languages such as Russian, Ukrainian, German, French, Polish, and English.

This book is separated into 11 sections, including a Prologue, six chapters, and an Epilogue (all of which I will discuss). Followed by this is the Acknowledgements, Endnotes, and an Index.

In the prologue, Snyder offers an assertion that we currently live in a time of financial and political vulnerability. The most recent couple of years have seen the preferences of Brexit and Donald Trump’s triumph as US president pass by, while extreme political groups, the so-called privileged, appear to acquire more power, more control, and more wealth each day. It used to be underestimated that the future would be a gradually advancing continuation of the present; a supposition known as the politics of inevitability. However, in present times, a move to the political issues of eternity lies seemingly within easy reach. As Snyder contends, rather than anticipating the more splendid tomorrow ensured by political advancement, the political issues of time fix us into an eternal perspective in which we trust that we are everlastingly compromised by our enemies, both genuine and unreal. It’s a dreadful and distrustful state, where we expect little else from our government than to shield us from our foes.

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In chapter one, titled Individualism or Totalitarianism, Snyder touches on the aspect of the dominant role that fascist philosopher, Ivan Ilyin, played in guiding Putin to his success of making Russia the first country to reach the politics of eternity. Although Ilvin was long dead before Putin’s rise to power, his history of writings and associations during a time when fascist and communist leaders were playing a major role in the world, would further be studied and used to employ Putin into office. Ilyin’s ideologies greatly resembled those of the Fascist state, encouraging that a beaten down society that is suppressed by socioeconomic problems needs a god-like leader to defend and guarantee to shield them from outside dangers. Snyder writes, “the politics of eternity cannot make Putin or any other man immortal. But it can make other ideas unthinkable,” and follows it by defining eternity as “… the same thing over and over again, a tedium exciting to believers because of the illusion that it is particularly theirs” (35). Thus, we are able to relate this back to the title of the chapter.

In chapter two, titled Succession or Failure, the main focus is directed towards a series of events that Snyder believes began Russia’s transition towards Ilyin’s politics of eternity. He approaches this by acknowledging that Ilyin’s conception of a dystopia Russia was certainly on the rise throughout Putin’s first few terms in power. For instance, prior to Putin being in office, Snyder gives the example of a series of bombs that was dropped throughout Russia in September of 1999. Since the country of Chechnya, independent from Russia since 1993, was seemingly a plausible possibility for this doing, Putin ran with it. He not only used propaganda and media to deceive this claim to the Russian people but went as far as to turn the people against themselves! His declaration to go to war with the Chechnian people proved “a new kind of politics, known at the time as “managed democracy,” which Russians would master and later export,” (45). This essentially yielded Putin into the office, as his deceptive propaganda tactics ensured that the Russian people knew that he was on the rise.

In chapter three, titled Integration or Empire, the main focus is centered around the concept of Putin’s actions that lead to Russia’s strength as an empire. We begin to see how Putin incrementally succeeds in his plan to take over countries and essentially, tries to become the leading world power. In order to achieve this, Snyder evaluates the political state of Russia and the European Union in the year of 2013. This was the time that a new course of action was determined. Putin’s tactic of accomplishing this goal included the idea that as opposed to Russia becoming a European nation, he would ensure that the European nations should be made more Russian. Essentially, in order to shield Russia from external dangers, he would need to apply Ilvin’s philosophy of a dystopia country to the countries that threatened it.

In chapter four, titled Novelty or Eternity, this concept of becoming a world power is strengthened when Snyder provides assertions of the measures that Putin is willing to take in order to maintain his repertoire as the leader. We similarly see the pattern that is Putin is trying to impart within other countries in leu of his already egotistical plan of taking the Eurasian continent. Amidst the disaster that is already occurring for Russia in terms of destructing the European Union from within, matters get worse when these relations develop closer to home. In short, Putin was able to manipulate the President of Ukraine, whom of which was going to join the EU prior to his discussion with Putin, and this of course turned into total turmoil for the country. It came to a matter of splitting it up, separating the independent country into two outraged nations, and one of which that was successfully overtaken by Russia.

In chapter five, titled Truth or Lies, Snyder really harps on the argument of the use of domestic and international propaganda that was used in order to promote Ilyin’s ideology of the politics of eternity. He describes through a series of awful, horrid lies that Putin utilized his ‘purposeful publicity’ as a major aspect of his strategic plans, which reasons that in the event that you can’t obscure your enemies by means of direct fighting or financial may, you can at any rate debilitate them so as to increase relative power. 

In chapter six, titled Equality or Oligarchy, Snyder refocuses the discussion towards America’s current president, Donald Trump. He describes the ways in which this so called ‘road’ was certainly paved with the help of Russians, all of which directly falls back on Vladimir Putin. Moreover, what we do come to learn is that none of this is for the sake of strengthening the United States. After Putin’s effective mediation in Brexit and his so-called half-triumph in Ukraine, his focuses shifted towards a broader, bigger accomplishment; the complete ruin and destruction of the United States. By having Donald Trump in power, the countries’ shift towards the politics of eternity will certainly be attained a lot quicker- forcing the United States to sink to Russia’s level and validate Putin’s strategic relativism. Snyder exemplifies this claim in the end of the chapter by stating, “America will have both forms of equality, racial and economic, or it will have neither. If it has neither, eternity politics will prevail, racial oligarchy will emerge, and American democracy will come to a close,” (276).

Finally, in the epilogue, Snyder reveals a call to action for the sake of people today. Are we really headed towards a world of politics of eternity? We have to stay alert and most importantly, stay informed! We need to keep looking for the facts of situations and occurrences and continue to call out the lies and falsehoods of the political realm.

This book is relevant for the general education audience. People that are concerned with the future of politics shouldn’t hinder The Road to Unfreedom for the sake that it can bring a lot of concerns to rest, or at least insight those that have a hard time of where to even begin researching. Snyder certainly provides factual proof of instances that he believes brought the world of politics to where it is today. One small problem that didn’t work for me was his use of vocabulary when doing an intense analysis of some examples. I only found this to be a minor discrepancy because I found myself needing to go back and reread the text to ensure that I gained the information from Snyder. Overall, Snyder’s evidence that he provides makes it extremely hard to negate what he has to say. He is extremely persuasive in his arguments and I highly recommend this to people that would also like to gain a new perspective.


Why Did Russia Not Move Toward Democracy?

Russian intelligence interfered with the United States 2016 presidential elections. Allegedly, hackers and trolls armed themselves with fake news and fake accounts that swung public perception and votes toward President Donald Trump, who won the election in a dramatic upset. This alleged breach of democratic institutions to influence an election in an effort to fulfill the interests of the Russian regime under Vladimir Putin marks yet another point in Russia’s long struggle with Democracy. Russia stands out among the European and global powers because of the country’s historical unwillingness to develop democratic institutions. Despite having proximity to major democratic powers, major ports and some of the postulates used for the formation of democratic institutions, Russia today ranks 135th in corruption globally and scores a 20 out of 100 on the freedom scale according to freedom house (Transparency International, 2017, Freedom House, 2018). What happened? Russia has not developed into a democratic society for several reasons. First, there is a long history of government subjugation of individuals that has become embedded into Russian culture. Second, the religious ideology in Russia fostered a sense of superiority over the West and created an anti-western mindset and hostility towards western ideals such as democracy. And finally, the economic system that has existed in Russia for most of their history prevented capitalist economic development and its cultural repercussions prevented individual empowerment and a sense of individual freedom, core ideological elements of a democracy.

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Before discussing Russia, it is important to understand the postulates that scholars typically attribute to the development of democracy in the West. First, the development of the Protestant religion had a significant effect on democracy (Bruce, 2007, page 4). Western countries, like England, adopted Protestantism during the protestant reformation. The Protestant ideal that everyone is equal in the eye of God is a core democratic principle (Bruce, 2007, page 7). It justifies the right for everyone to vote as well as being equal under the law. The protestant idea that you can achieve salvation by working hard and that you don’t have to follow in the family footsteps is a core belief of another postulate of democracy: capitalism (Bruce, 2007, page 13, 15). Capitalism and the freedoms that come with it changed what the people expected from their government, as well as the demand for greater freedoms (Bruce, 2007, page 7). Though not a postulate, Western democracies have often had democratic revolutions, some bloodier than others (Bruce, 2007, page 13). These revolutions overthrew the established aristocracy and implemented democratic institutions. Using this as a foundation, it becomes increasingly clear why Russia failed to establish democratic institutions.

Russia’s failure to develop into a democratic nation can partially be explained by the influence of Russia’s Eastern orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church was established in 1589 after the Eastern Orthodox diverged from the Roman Catholic Church in 1054, an event that would later be called the Great Schism (BBC, 2008; Makrides, 2009, page 212). This early division in faith meant that Christianity developed very differently in Orthodox Russia than did the Catholic West (Makrides, 2009, page 212). While the Orthodox church kept its tight grip on the East, the Catholic Church was questioned, leading to the Protestant Reformation. On a spiritual level, the followers of the Russia Orthodox Church thought of themselves as superior and an accurate representation of the Christian faith (Makrides, 2009, page 214). The Orthodoxy, unsurprisingly, deemed Protestants and Catholics as heretics and could find no middle ground with their spiritual counterparts and rejected anti-western sentiments which would endure throughout Russian history (Makrides, 2009 pages 213-214, 218). If the Russian Orthodox people looked at themselves as superior to the West, then it comes as no surprise that they did not adopt their institutions. If the Western mindset was heretical and bad, this explains why the people didn’t support this sort of mindset. It’s clear then that the Russian Orthodox faith steered the people and the nation away from democratic institutions on the basis of religious disagreement. The same anti-western mindset prevented the development of Protestantism in Russia which has long been attributed as a catalyst for the development of democracy and capitalism. The fundamental beliefs and the mindset of protestants that everyone is equal under God and that salvation is attained through good works that are crucial for developing a democratic mindset never came into fruition in Russia. Without these fundamental principles for democracy in Russia, there was no ideological justification and motivation for developing democratic institutions in Russia, so democratic institutions never came. It is important to point out that the power of the Russian orthodox church was greatly reduced by Peter the Great and the subsequent Tsars (Kallistos, 1997, excerpt). While it can be argued that the decline in the power of the Church proves that the Church had little influence on the lack of a democracy, these arguments are short-sighted. The anti-western sentiments and the perceived superiority that the Russian Orthodox Church installed in society continued even after peter the Great reduced organizational power.

Serfdom and its repercussions also prevented Russia from becoming a democratic society. Prior to the Soviet era, Russian was stuck under the feudal system of serfdom. In 1547, Russia became a unified nation under the leadership of Ivan the Terrible (O’Neil, 2018, page 342). After uniting the country, Ivan became the first tsar, a term derived from Caesar and implemented the feudal society which would last in Russia for more than three hundred years until its demise in 1861 (Markevič and Žuravskaja, page 1075). This feudal system was remarkably hierarchical, placing the Tsar at the top, followed by the land owners and finally the serfs (Markevič and Žuravskaja, page 1075). This hierarchy established by the feudal system stayed alive for much longer in Russia than it did in the Western world. For instance, serfdom in England was obsolete in 1500 (Brodie, 2015). This is significant because while the Western nations were exploring and experimenting with democracy and capitalism, Russia was stuck in a feudal hierarchy that was incompatible with democracy.

The length of time that it took to rid Russia of serfdom also had a cultural impact. This became obvious when serfdom was eliminated in 1861 when the serfs were given land and some basic freedoms. This emancipation resulted in a seventeen percent improvement in agricultural production, improved nutrition as well as a significant increase in GDP (Markevič and Žuravskaja, 2015 pages 1093-1103, 1113). That said, these improvements were marked by terrible mismanagement of land reform (Markevič and Žuravskaja. 2015, page 1113). The increased productivity that resulted from this was countered by a dependence on their former landlords and the inefficiency of that land reform (Markevič and Žuravskaja, 2015, page 1077). This discouraged people from allocating resources effectively and investing in their land (Markevič and Žuravskaja, 2015, page 1113). These contradicts the fundamental ideas of capitalism as proposed by Adam Smith, encouraging people to invest in their land and their industries to improve the economy. As a result, people were discouraged from pursuing capitalistic ventures and accepting capitalism into Russian society. Capitalism has long been thought to be a postulate for developing democratic institutions, and without capitalism coming to fruition in Russia, democracy never fully developed.

The failure of the Duma and the resulting Russian Revolution in 1917 also marked major roadblocks towards establishing democratic institutions. After failing to defeat the Japanese in a conflict regarding land in China, Russia staged a minor revolution resulting in the formation of the Duma, which acted as a legislative body (O’Neil et. al, 2018 page 344). While certainly a step towards a democracy, the Duma was marred by instability until its eventual collapse during World War One (O’Neil et. al, 2018 page 345). The failure of the Duma as a democratic institution was so bad, that it discouraged Russia from trying to establish other democratic institutions. Instead, the chaos that followed the fall of the Duma and during the early stages of World War One Lead to the steady rise of the Bolsheviks (D’Agostino, 2011, pages 37-48). Taking advantage of the weakness of the central state and anti-war sentiments, Vladimir Lenin allied with Leon Trotsky staged a coup over the provisional government and seized power over the country (D’Agostino, 2011, page 47-48). Instead of democratic values, Lenin established an anti-democratic authoritarian rule in the form of communism in the new Soviet Union (O’Neil, 2018, page 345-346). The Soviet communist values were antithetical to those of democracy. In fact, communism in Russia reverted to many of the same policies and systems that existed in Russia for most of its history like the restriction of movement and anti-western sentiments. Russia opted against a democratic society in favor of the staple hierarchical, controlling regime. This is significant because the revolution has eliminated the progress that Russia had made since the elimination of serfdom towards becoming a democratic society. Additionally, the revolution was motivated by anti-capitalist sentiments, with Lenin denouncing capitalism in many of his writings (D’Agostino, 2011, page 46). This meant that not only did the revolution reject democratic institutions, but also rejected capitalistic ideals. This combination can explain why Russia did not become a democracy during the communist period of its history.

The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the emergence of Vladimir Putin further illustrate why Russia has not developed into a democracy. The Soviet Union was a deeply flawed system that resembled a more extreme version of the hierarchical society that existed prior to the Russian Revolution. An institution that, starting under Joseph Stalin, was built on fear and intense government subjugation of people left much of the population living in distress and impoverished (O’Neil 346-347). The stubbornness of soviet leaders after Stalin to desperate need for reform caused slow economic growth and corruption in the government (O’Neil, 2018, pages 347-348). When Gorbachev came to power in 1985, he put in policies that encouraged political openness and economic restructuring. These seemingly liberal ideas increased individual freedoms and were steps toward a democracy. These changes backfired, challenging state power and the Soviet Union collapsed (O’Neil, 2018, page 349). From the ashes of the Soviet Union rose two factions: the conservative communists and liberals lead by Yeltsin who pushed towards a democracy (O’Neil, 2018, page 349). After a failed coup attempt, Gorbachev lost his power and Yeltsin became the leader of the new Russian republic (O’Neil, 2018 page 349). Under Yeltsin, Russia endured a period of a few years with a feebly functioning democratic institution, with Yeltsin and parliament getting along and passing his reforms (O’Neil, 2018 page 349). Soon after, the parliament and Yeltsin grew apart causing the parliament to call for the impeachment Yeltsin (O’Neil, 2018 page 350). In response, Yeltsin scrapped the constitution, wrote a new one, and dissolved the parliament despite intense opposition (O’Neil, 2018 page 350). In 1999, Yeltsin appointed Vladimir Putin as the new president who swiftly eliminated any chance at becoming a democracy (O’Neil, 2018 page 349). The society that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union simply could not be considered democratic. The president has essentially total control with the legislative body and judicial system having almost no power (O’Neil, 2018 page2 351-356). The institutions that Yeltsin developed after the fall of communism have proven to be like the hierarchical society that has existed in Russia for all its history. With the power of the President, and the continued political suppression, there is little appetite for becoming a true democracy. Despite this, capitalism has taken a slight hold in Russia. However, the power of capitalism alone is not strong enough to oust the current regime and replace it with true democratic institutions.

Russia is not a democracy. Without any checks and balances and an overpowering executive, Russia resembles an authoritarian regime. In studying Russia, it is hardly surprising. The Eastern Orthodox Christianity that has dominated Russia for most of the country’s history not only distanced themselves from the Western world but rejected Western ideas as heretical. These developments have forever distanced Russia from the trends that happened in the West, including the development of capitalism and democratic ideals. Russian institutions and society maintained its distinct hierarchy and subjugation of the masses in every form. Serfdom maintained its influence far longer than in other European nations, who were experimenting with democracy during some of this time. This hierarchy was further cemented when the Duma failed, and the Russian Revolution resulted in the communist Soviet Union. The resulting society had little appetite for establishing democratic institutions and the people had little power to do so. What’s in the future for Russia? If their history is of any indication, the authoritarian regime under Putin and whoever his successors will be will most likely remain in place for a long time. There seems to be no indication that Russia is trending towards democratic institutions, despite its movement towards capitalism. This means that the Russian quest for democracy will have to wait.


Brodie, Nicholas D. “The Decline of Serfdom in Late Medieval England: From Bondage to Freedom by Mark Bailey.” Parergon, vol. 32, no. 2, 2015, pp. 259–261., doi:10.1353/pgn.2015.0122.

Bruce, Steve. “Did Protestantism Create Democracy?” Twenty Years of Studying Democratization (2007): 132-49. Print.

D’Agostino, Anthony. The Russian Revolution, 1917-1945. Praeger, 2011.

e.V., Transparency International. “Corruption Perceptions Index 2017.”, Transparency International, 2017,

“Freedom in the World 2018.” Freedom House, 8 May 2018,

Kallistos, Bishop. The Orthodox Church. Penguin Books, 1997.

Makrides, Vasilios N. “Orthodox Anti-Westernism Today: A Hindrance to European Integration?” International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church, vol. 9, no. 3, 9 Sept. 2009, pp. 209–224., doi:10.1080/14742250903186935.

Markevič A. M., and Žuravskaja Ėkaterina V. Economic Effects of the Abolition of Serfdom: Evidence from the Russian Empire. Centre for Economic Policy Research, 2015.

O’Neil, Patrick H., et al. Cases in Comparative Politics. Sixth ed., W.W. Norton Et Company, 2018.

“Religions – Christianity: Eastern Orthodox Church.” BBC, BBC, 11 June 2008,


Russia as a Threat to the US

essay will examine Russia as the most significant security threat/security
challenge confronting the U.S. The grand strategy to address that threat is retaking the offensive. Additionally,
the international theory of realism
that aligns with the grand strategy will be examined. Next, the essay will
explore the historical precedent of the Truman
Doctrine in order to support the grand strategy as an example of that
evidence.  Last, the essay will discuss the
risks, as well as the international relations theory of liberalism, to illustrate this grand strategy.

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The most significant security threat/security challenge that faces the U.S. today is Russia.[i] “Russia’s nuclear weapon stockpile and aggressive, unpredictable actions are reasons that country presents the most serious near-term threat to world wide stability.”[ii] One rationale for this security challenge of the threat is that Russia partners with other weaker states, such as Syria, to instigate and supply these states in order to accomplish its own strategic objectives, by “looking to leverage its military support to the Asad regime…and use its military intervention in Syria, in conjunction with efforts to capitalize on fears of a growing ISIS and extremist threat to expand its role in the Middle East.”[iii] With Russia’s weapons capability, and action to create alliances with other weaker states, it offers these partnered states a stronger opportunity to use nuclear proliferation,[iv] or chemical weapons as a strategic rationale against the U.S. to prevent the U.S. from acting against them, as well as an offensive strategy to use to attack the U.S.[v]  These weaker states, like Syria, can present as great a danger as strong states to the U.S.’ national interests.[vi]  For example, weapons of mass destruction could be nuclear or biological.  Biological weapons can be easily accessible; nuclear weapons are more difficult to obtain on its own, but a transnational terrorist organization can secure weapons from a state.[vii]    
example of Russia’s threat against the U.S., is its defiance of non-state
organizations, that Russia–in its post-Soviet role–is “re-surging with
authoritarianism and is aggressively contesting liberal norms, by seeking to
weaken and divide non-state organizations, such as, NATO and the EU.”[viii]
To illustrate this point, Russia created a ground-launched cruise missile
(GLCM) that the U.S. claimed Russia violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear
Forces (INF) Treaty. That breach enables Russia to continue to produce GLCMs,[ix]
thereby perpetuating the nuclear proliferation threat to the U.S.
another example is Russia’s cyber threat. 
Russia is consistently seeking to use cyberspace to bolster its own
status, while attempting to threaten the U.S.’s interests in the areas of:
government, military commercial, social and infrastructure.  Recently, Russia used its aggression of cyber
to influence the U.S.’s 2016 elections. Further, Russia’s actors conducted
disruptive cyber attacks outside the U.S., and has “leveraged cyber space to
seek to influence public opinion across Europe and Eurasia.”[x]  This is another security challenge for the U.S.,
as Russia continues to seek out weaknesses in the U.S.’s systems as well as
partner with other states to build aggression against the U.S.
above discussed Russia security challenges raises the intensity of interest to
a level of vital, because of the seriousness
of its threats against the U.S. “Protecting its physical existence when in jeopardy,
due to attack or threat of attack is the most important.”[xi]
Further, a vital interest is one in which interest is so crucial to a state, it
will not compromise. An example of this is to “prevent the regional
proliferation of WMD…prevent the emergence of a regional hegemon in regions,
promote the well-being of allies and friends and protect them from external
aggression.”[xii] The
vital level corresponds to the basic
interest of defense of the homeland due
to those threats and therefore causes the U.S. to employ a strategy that aligns
with its national interest of survival.[xiii]
The example for this is to“prevent,
deter and reduce the threat of nuclear, biological and chemical weapon
attacks…prevent the emergence of hostile major powers or failed states…”[xiv]
The evidence discussed above illustrates that Russia rises to the intensity
level of vital for the greatest
significant security challenge the U.S. faces. 
light of the security threat posed by Russia, the U.S. should pursue the grand
strategy of re-taking the offensive. Using
this approach for the advancement of the liberal order, serves the U.S.’s
global interests. That the “spread of democracy and market economics,
prominence of liberal ideas as the guiding norms of international affairs,
preservation of global stability and balance of power”[xv]
is the accurate and appropriate direction for the U.S. to take regarding the
grand strategy. The re-taking the
offensive is important because it must continue sustain the liberal order—to
pursue efforts to sustain and invigorate the momentum. To accomplish this, the
implications are to provide the U.S. with safety, security and prosperity (U.S.
citizens), retain and improve its diplomatic and economic ties with its allies (Germany,
France, UK, Japan, India and Australia), reinvest in liberal democratic programs
with non-governmental agencies (NATO, UN, EU), but most importantly, to
aggressively combat nuclear proliferation (Russia, Syria), as well as other
threats (chemical attack, terrorism) to the international order.[xvi]
An example of this re-take the offensive
approach is the relationship between the U.S. and Ukraine, through coalition
with each other, cooperate together in order to thwart regional hegemony
expansion by Russia. It shows evidence that illustrates how the grand strategy of
retaking the offensive addresses the
security threat to the U.S. by Russia.  
IR theory that aligns with the grand strategy is realism. Realists view world politics as a power struggle that is
conducted with conditions characterized by anarchy, and define a state’s
interest in terms of levels of power over other states as a self-help mechanism.[xvii]
For example, using hard power as a means by which states advance their national
interests to force an enemy or reluctant ally to adhere to a state’s national
objectives is the main objective in order to maintain domination over the other
states, thereby allowing the stronger state an opportunity to act upon its own agenda.
Further, peace is defined as the absence of war, occurs when states adhere to
their own singularly defined national interests. Once in place, it becomes an
intensive driving force, that states can no longer control its momentum, but
becomes engulfed in its movement, and then controlled by it.[xviii]
Therefore, as an example, by the US pushing back on China’s significantly
growing political, military and economic power, this demonstrates how the U.S.
seeks to dominate another state. China’s strategy of its own position of increasing
improvement, will motivate China into expanding its regional and global
influence, thereby propelling China into the competitive sphere of other major
superpowers—the U.S. This endangers the U.S.’s national interests, which must
then exert its own power in order to retain its superior position.[xix]
illustrating domination by using hard power to dominate others, by incorporating
soft power thereafter, a state can replace domination by cooperation where
diplomatic, military and economic relationships of coalitions can flourish in
order to assert against other nations states from becoming important
international actors.[xx]
The IR theory of realism supports the
U.S. grand strategy of retaking the offensive
by using levels of power in a self-help method in which to control other
states in order to achieve its objectives. 
historical precedent of the Truman
Doctrine is an important document for U.S. foreign policy that is
considered the start of the Cold War. The doctrine
articulated that the United States would provide military, political, and
economic aid to threatened states that were under subjugation from outside
authoritarian forces.”[xxi] Additionally, the Truman Doctrine created a policy
for containment and deterrence to thwart further expansion of Russia and its
sphere of influence[xxii].
To further illustrate the historical significance of
the threat from Russia, the doctrine was created in response to assist Greece and
Turkey–democratic nations which were in danger of becoming overthrown by the
Russian regime. This doctrine supports the grand strategy of retaking the offensive, as the U.S. must
intervene and maintain its strategic interests in order to safeguard the world
against authoritarian/communist attempts to threaten and politically overturn
U.S. democratic spheres of influence throughout the world.   
risks, as viewed through the lens of the IR theory of liberalism, and the reliance on intelligence organizations and other
actors that play an increasingly important role regarding global affairs. Specifically,
the U.S.’s reliance upon its alliances with these states and non-governmental
organizations to thwart Russia, illustrates that risk–NATO, UN, and WTO–in
order to follow their liberal mandate for Russia to be thwarted. The question
is whether or not these partners “possess the vigor need to sustain or advance
that order.”[xxiii]
The risk is the reliance on the influence to shape the environment for the success
of the U.S.; it is placing its fate in other organizations’ hands, and
therefore relying upon its unknown ability to assist in exercising the U.S.’s
strategic objectives. This risk demonstrates the justification of retaking the offensive as the grand
strategy regarding Russia’s threat to the U.S. 
essay analyzed Russia as the most significant threat to the U.S. today. In
light of this threat, the grand strategy of retaking
the offensive is appropriate for the U.S. The IR theory of realism is the foundation for retaking the offensive, as illustrated
by the historical precedent of the Truman
Doctrine, whereas liberalism increases
the risk to this grand strategy of retaking
the offensive.

[i] Missy Ryan,
“Pentagon unveils budget priority for next year: Countering Russia and China,” New York Times, February 2, 2016.
[ii] Leon Shane,
III, “Incoming Joint Chiefs chairman calls Russia, China top threats, Military Times, July 9, 2015.
[iii] Daniel R.
Coats, “World-wide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community”, Senate
Select Committee on National Intelligence, May 11, 2017: 1.
[iv] Glenn P.
Hastedt, “Military Instruments:  Big
Wars,” in American Foreign Policy: Past,
Present and Future”, (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015), 334.
[v] Ibid.
[vi] Liana Sun
Wyler, “Weak and Failing States: Evolving Security Threats and U.S. Policy”,
(Washington, D.C.: Congressional research Service, April 18, 2008): 1-8.
[vii] Stephen D.
Krasner, “Failed States and American National Security”, Hoover Institution
Journal, Hoover Institute, April 16, 2015. 
[viii] Hal Brands,
“American Grand Strategy and the Liberal Order: Continuity, Change, and Options
for the Future”, Building a Sustainable International Order, A RAND Project to
Further Explore U.S. Strategy in a Changing World, Perspective Expert Insights
on a Timely Policy Issue, The Rand
Corporation, 2016: 11.
[ix] Daniel R.
Coats, “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community”, Senate
Select Committee on National Intelligence, May 11, 2017: 6.
[x] Daniel R.
Coats, “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community”, Senate
Select Committee on National Intelligence, May 11, 2017: 1.
[xi] Dennis M.
Drew and Donald M. Snow, “Making Twenty-First-Century Strategy: An Introduction
to Modern National Security Processes and Problems”, Air University Press, (November 2006): 33
[xii] Alan G.
Stolberg, “Crafting National Interests in the 21st Century in U.S.
Army War College Guide to National Security Issues, 5th ed. Vol. II,
ed. J. Boone Bartholomees, Jr; 13-21. 
Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, June 2012.  
[xiii] Dennis M.
Drew and Donald M. Snow, “Making Twenty-First-Century Strategy: An Introduction
to Modern National Security Processes and Problems”, Air University Press, (November 2006): 33
[xiv] Alan G.
Stolberg, “Crafting National Interests in the 21st Century in U.S.
Army War College Guide to National Security Issues, 5th ed. Vol. II,
ed. J. Boone Bartholomees, Jr; 13-21. 
Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, June 2012.  
[xv] Hal Brands,
“American Grand Strategy and the Liberal Order: Continuity, Change, and Options
for the Future”, Building a Sustainable International Order, A RAND Project to
Further Explore U.S. Strategy in a Changing World, Perspective Expert Insights
on a Timely Policy Issue, The Rand
Corporation, 2016: 13.
[xvi] Ibid.
[xvii] Dr. Chris
Bolan, “Realism”, lecture, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA, cited
with permission of Dr. Bolan.
[xviii] Glenn. P
Hastedt, “Defining American Foreign Policy Problems,” in American Foreign Policy: Past, Present and Future, (Rowman and Littlefield,
2015), 33.
[xix] Hal
Brands, “American Grand Strategy and the Liberal Order: Continuity, Change, and
Options for the Future”, Building a Sustainable International Order, A RAND
Project to Further Explore U.S. Strategy in a Changing World, Perspective
Expert Insights on a Timely Policy Issue, The
Rand Corporation, 2016: 11.
[xx] Ibid.
[xxi] Ibid.
[xxii] Ibid.
[xxiii] Hal Brands,
“American Grand Strategy and the Liberal Order: Continuity, Change, and Options
for the Future”, Building a Sustainable International Order, A RAND Project to
Further Explore U.S. Strategy in a Changing World, Perspective Expert Insights
on a Timely Policy Issue, The Rand
Corporation, 2016: 11.

Analysis of the Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine

In the contemporary world, the influence of the cold war is evident when looking at modern day geopolitical conflicts. The cold war was about the conflict between two ideologies (Communist and Capitalist) who were both competing to establish global dominance. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, facilitated the creation of new independent states that were free of their colonial predecessors and independent of American (Capitalist) or Soviet (Communism) ideologies (Averre and Wolzuk, 2016). In recent times, the legacy of the cold war in the contemporary world has began to manifest in the form of modern day geopolitical conflicts. This is particularly evident when analysing the ongoing conflict between the Ukraine and Russia in which it is apparent that historic and cultural ties and gas disputes both stemming from the cold war have been influential components in recent geopolitical conflicts between the two nations, which has subsequently led to the annexation of Crimea. In this essay, I will be analysing the recent geopolitical conflict between Russia and Ukraine, whilst further examining how the cold war continues to shape the geopolitical conflict between the two nations.

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The end of the cold war in 1991, sparked discourse among commentators who were trying to make sense of the world. Fukuyama (1992) drew on the works of Karl Marx and developed the argument that the cold war might represent the ‘end of history’. He elaborated on this statement by stating the failure of communism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union meant there was effectively no more opposition to Capitalism and liberal democracy, thus resulting in the end of history. Contrary to this, we see that there has been new meanings that have been attributed to power, geography and world order (Barber 1996: P.16). Thus, leading a shift from the envisioned geopolitics of territorial presence and spatial blocs to now being dominated by geo – economics, where countries are now competing spatially and politically for economic supremacy and resources (Vihma, 2018). This fight for economic supremacy and resources is particularly evident when analysing the recent ‘Crimea crisis’ where Russia illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula. Where the geographic position of Crimea, and access to the ‘Black Sea’ holds strategic importance due to Crimea’s accessibility to offshore energy deposits (Bebler, 2015). Although historic and cultural ties between the two nations were also influential in the recent Crimea annexation. Ukraine’s more recent desire to strengthen ties with Europe, particularly after the Ukrainian revolution has been a cause for concern to Russia, and has been an influential factor in the recent conflict between the two nations.  The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, has been at the centre of recent geopolitical discourse, and has shown how the cold war continues to manifest its influence in the contemporary world.

Crimea was previously within the territorial boundary of the Soviet Union and was under the control of the Russian Soviet federation of socialist republics (RSFSR). In 1954, Crimea was transferred from RSFSR to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (UkrSSR)  y soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev (Averre and Wolzuk, 2016). After the break – up of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia still held control over the Sevastopool naval port in Crimea, that had the fleet of the Russian navy stationed in the black sea. The formulation of the Budapest Memorandum act in 1994, was also agreed to ensure the respect of the Ukrainian sovereignty, and in return Ukraine transferred the former soviet nuclear arms back to Russian territory (Poladian and Drăgoi, 2015). Since Ukraine gained its independence in 1991, a series of on – going conflicts between the two nations, has resulted in the Ukraine not being able to adequately enforce the desired democratic format. Which is in part due to the country’s economic frailties and foreign policy that either tends to be pro – Russian or pro – European (Vihma and Wigell, 2016).


 In recent years, the conflicts between the two nations has intensified and has thus led to mass protests in Ukraine and civilians being killed. In 2013, President Viktor Yanukovych rejected an EU trade deal, and instead chose to join Russia’s trading bloc that would assist in the formation of a Eurasian Union. This sparked mass protest throughout Ukraine, and in response to the mass protest, Yanukovych attempted to cease protests by instructing the Ukrainian forces to use violence which led to the deaths of up to 88 people (Bebler, 2015). In the events that swiftly followed after the rejection of the EU trade deal, Yanukovych was ousted out of the country by anti – government protestors, and Russia invaded the Crimean Peninsula in an attempt to re- assert its influence in Ukraine. This was subsequently met by hostility among Ukrainian officials who declared it to be ‘illegal’, bringing into question Russia’s practical geopolitical methods. In response, the Ukrainian military was deployed to Crimea to fight against the rebel forces. However, the Russian army invaded Crimea in support of the rebels who were already fighting against Ukrainian army, and ultimately outnumbered Ukrainian forces, thus resulting in Russia claiming Crimea as part of its territory (Poladian and Drăgoi, 2015). This was met with fierce condemnation internationally among spectators who viewed the annexation of Crimea to be violating territorial integrity and showing a complete disregard for international laws (Toal, 2016). This was followed by the imposition of restrictive measures and sanctions from the EU, Nato and the US who were all heavily opposed to the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula (Toal, 2016).

The annexation of Crimea subsequently created a buffer zone. The creation of a ‘buffer zone’ between the Ukraine and Russia has been compared to the beginnings of the cold war, which saw the creation of buffer zones due to the spread of communism, which acted as a protective buffer zone for the USSR (Landovský, 2013). Commentators have used this to formulate the argument that this is a repetition of events that are similar to that of the cold war, thus resulting to commentators referring to the recent Crimea conflict as the start of the ‘new cold war’ (Musiyenko and Abrahám, 2016).). The possibility of Ukraine opening itself up to European influence right on another one of Russia’s borders has partly been used as a justification by Russia to invade Crimea and take over parts of eastern Ukraine. The more recent joining of the DCTFA (Deep and comprehensive free trade areas) in 2016, has emphasised Russia’s justification to annex Crimea (Musiyenko and Abrahám, 2016).

Accompanied with the international scrutiny that followed, also came discourse as to the motives behind Russia annexing Crimea with some commentators believing it was Russia’s attempt to reassert hegemony in the territorial boundaries previously under soviet rule (Bebler, 2015). The former US ambassador to the United Nations echoed this statement, In which he referred to the Crimean peninsula annexation as being an attempt by Vladimir Putin to re – establish Russian dominance in territory that was previously occupied by the soviet Union, He further goes on to state how the Ukraine is Russia’s biggest prize and that the recent invasion of Crimea is a step in that direction (Toal, 2016). The attempt by Russia to incorporate Ukraine into the proposed Eurasian Union demonstrates the Russian intent to Re – Sovietize the former Soviet space. The acquisition of Ukraine would enable Russia to exert economic and political influence further into Europe, thus making the Eurasian Union a more powerful entity (Bebler, 2015). The annexation of the Crimean Peninsula displays further similarities to the cold war due to the use of strategic military tactics in the invasion of Crimea. President Obama referred to the invasion of Crimea as a state that is regressing to the former behaviours that were used in the cold war context to spread communism and invade territory (Toal, 2016). Thus, illustrating how the cold war continues to hold influence in contemporary geopolitical conflicts.


The historic and cultural ties between Ukraine and Russia are significant in understanding

the contemporary geopolitical conflict between the two nations. Analysing the history, it becomes apparent that the Ukraine was an integral part of the USSR, during which Russian culture and language were at the forefront of Ukrainian life (Bebler, 2015). After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine gained its independence, and with this came the formation of the country’s national identity. The national identity is often defined as “belonging to a territory or country with a border or a common political system” (Andreouli and Howarth, 2012). Although this definition of national identity holds truth, it neglects the fact that one’s national identity can also refer to a group that has shared beliefs, language or culture that transcends the borders of nation – states (Jones et al, 2014). When looking at the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia we see how linguistic, cultural and historic ties are all intertwining components that are contributing to the conflict between the two nations. When analysing the linguistic and cultural demography in the Ukraine, it becomes apparent that there is a division between Eastern Ukraine which has close historical and cultural ties with Russia and the rest of the country that identifies to be Ukrainian. This is evident by the Crimea referendum that took place on the 18th of March 2018, where a vote was held in Crimea to determine whether the Crimean citizens wanted to join Russia. The vote showed the vast majority of people living within Crimea were supportive of the idea of joining Russia. Although the vote sparked controversy, with the EU labelling the vote as illegitimate and illegal and the US further emphasising the illegality of the vote. The outcome of the vote further emphasises the close historic, cultural ties between Crimea and Russia (Bebler, 2015). The influence of the cold war in the historic, cultural and linguistic ties between the two nations is undeniable. The break – up of the soviet union, as a direct consequence of the cold war, has resulted in Eastern Ukrainian citizens and Crimean citizens still displaying a close affiliation to Russia, thus supporting the notion that one’s national identity can transcend the borders of nation – states and also highlights how the consequences of the cold war continue to be an influence in modern day geopolitical conflicts.

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The ongoing dispute of gas between the two nations has further contributed to recent geopolitical conflicts, and has also had wider implications on the rest of Europe. Ukraine’s current natural transmission gas system was initially built in 1940 – 1941 as part as of a unified gas system for the Soviet Union and was further developed into a gas export to Europe between 1970 -1980 (Randall, 2011). Both the EU and Russia have been highly dependant on Ukraine due to 80% of the EU’s natural gas travelling through the Ukraine (Dalby, 2007). This reliance on the Russian gas that transits through the Ukraine by the European countries, thus means that any potential conflicts between Russia and the Ukraine could significantly slow down the amount of available gas that can be used for each countries individual consumption (Landovský, 2013). This concern led to the recent creation of the nord pipeline system. The pipeline transports natural gas from Russia to Europe through the Baltic sea. Further discussions are now being held about the construction of the nord stream 2 that would transport natural gas from eastern Europe to northern Germany. However, there has been much controversy surrounding the project, both the Baltic states and former soviet states argue that it will increase Europe’s dependence on Russia (Huotari, 2011). The current dependence of Russia on the Ukrainian gas pipelines, has been argued to be the reason as to why Russia will not risk a major war. And thus, commentators have argued that the creation of the nord pipeline 2 could be the catalyst for another cold war (Randall, 2011). The current ‘gas’ conflict between Ukraine and Russia originates from the cold war period (Randall, 2011). The conflict is argued to be a direct consequence of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The construction of natural gas transmission system in 1940 – 1941 as part of the soviet union, and the further development of a gas export to Europe between 1970 – 1980, demonstrates how the construction of the these pipelines during the spread of communism and during the cold war period continues to have an impact on current geopolitical conflicts. As evident by the on – going dispute between Ukraine and Russia over natural gas. The dissolution of the Soviet Union has meant that these two nations that were previously both part of the same socialist state are now engaging in conflict attributed to the break – up of the Soviet Union. Thus, illustrating the influence of the cold war in shaping the current geopolitical conflict between the Ukraine and Russia.

When analysing the motives behind Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Russia’s critical naval base at Sevastopol, accompanied with ‘The Black Sea ports’ quick access to the Balkans, middle east and Mediterranean have been argued by commentators to demonstrate Russia’s intention to exhert dominance over both the former soviet region, and the black sea’s surrounding countries (Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine) (Bebler, 2015). The direct access to the Mediterranean sea the Sevastopool naval base facilitates, will enable Russia to have access to the offshore oil and gas reserves owned by Crimea, thus cementing Russia’s position as being one of the world’s largest energy producers (Huotari, 2011). Similar to Russia’s attempt in creating the nord pipeline 2, the annexation of Crimea illustrates how Russia is striving to gain economic supremacy and resources (Vihma, 2018). Further demonstrating a likeliness to the former cold war conflicts.

The possibility of Ukraine opening itself up to European influence right on another one of Russia’s borders has partly been used as a justification by Russia to invade Crimea and take over parts of eastern Ukraine. The more recent joining of the DCTFA (Deep and comprehensive free trade areas) in 2016, has emphasised Russia’s justification to annex Crimea. The DCFTA will enable Ukraine to have access to part of the EU’s single market, which will facilitate the movement of both goods and the travelling of people into Ukraine, thus subsequently making Ukraine more Eurocentric and less dependent on Russia (Musiyenko and Abrahám, 2016). This further supports the argument made by Vihma (2018) that countries are now competing politically for economic supremacy and resources. Ukraine choosing to join the DCTFA will hinder Russian access and influence on the Ukrainian economy and resources, and thus prevent Moscow from bringing further influence deeper into European territory. The conflict between Ukraine and Russia has illustrated how cold war still continues to shape current geopolitical conflict, and further dispels Fukuyama (1992) theory that the end of the cold war represents the end of history. Contrary to this, we see that the cold war continues to be influential in current geopolitical conflicts.

To conclude, in the analysis of the Ukraine and Russia conflict it becomes apparent the cold war continues to be influential in contemporary geopolitical conflicts. The Historical and Cultural ties accompanied with the ongoing gas conflicts between the two nations, demonstrate how the cold war has shaped the conflict between the two nations. The shift from the envisioned geopolitics of territorial presence and spatial blocs to a focus on geo – economics is evident when analysing the annexation of Crimea which will provide Russia with access to Crimea’s oil and gas reserves, and would enable Russia to become one of the world biggest energy producers (Vihma, 2018). In addition to this when looking at the former soviet state the notion of nationalism is called into question, with Crimea and eastern Ukraine containing a high native speaking Russian population thus enabling Russia to justify the annexation of Crimea.


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Dalby, S. (2007). Anthropocene Geopolitics: Globalisation, Empire, Environment and Critique. Geography Compass. 1 (2), p106-116.

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Huotari, J. (2011). Energy policy and (energy security) as a part of Russian foreign policy. Geographical Publications . 40 (1), p121-132.

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Landovský, J (2013). Strategic and Geopolitical Issues in the Contemporary World. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Pg1-33.

Milan, V, Musiyenko, S, Abrhám, J. (2016). Ukraine-Eu Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area as part of Eastern Partnership initiative. ournal of International Studies. 10 (9), P21-35.

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Randall, N. (2011). “Oil, carrots and sticks: Russia’s energy resources as a foreign policy tool.”. Journal of Eurasian Studies . 2 (2), 134-143.

Toal, G (2016). Near Abroad : Putin, the West and the Contest over Ukraine and the Caucasus. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p23-275.

Vihma, A and Wigell, M. (2016). Unclear and present danger: Russia’s geoeconomics and the Nord Stream II pipeline. Global Affairs. 2 (4), p377-388.

Vihma, A. (2018). Geoeconomics Defined and Redefined. Geopolitics. 23 (1), p1-44.

Is Cyber War Between the U.S. and Russia Possible?

How Technology is Changing the Dynamic


Throughout most of the 20th century and into the 21st, there has been a level of tension between the U.S. and Russia. Following the Second World War, the Cold War created a dynamic between the two countries that breeds constant competition. This dynamic has persisted past the fall of the Soviet Union and has taken many shapes and forms in the following decades. Technology has been the main proponent of competition, beginning with the nuclear arms race of the Cold War and the race to space of the latter half of the 20th century. Today, the tension has manifested itself into the cyber sphere, with each country working to gain the upper hand over the other through the use of cyber intelligence and attacks. In the past decade, the U.S. has identified several instances of Russia interfering not only with American domestic cyber activity, but also interfering in several other countries. Russia’s cyber interference with former satellite states, now independent, democratic nations with Western alliances, such as Estonia and Lithuania, puts the international system on alert.

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In April of 2007, cyber attacks were documented in Estonia that resulted in the disarming of several Estonian government, private sector, and news portal websites over three weeks. It is largely speculated that the Kremlin orchestrated the attack in light of political tension between Estonia and Russia regarding World War 2 memorial services. In 2008, the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty website operating within Belarus was targeted by a Distributed Denial of Service. The attack effectively disabled the website, which is one of the only free, pro-Western news sources operating in Belarus. Belarus has been led by its president, Alexander Lukashenka, since 1994, and is considered to have the strongest remaining political ties with Russia while also having one of the most repressive media environments in the world. The attack is largely suspected to have been perpetrated by Russia. These attacks set a precedent of high profile Russian intervention in the operations of free, democratic, pro-Western institutions, which creates a level of discomfort in Western countries, specifically the United States, given the tenuous relation between the two countries over the past several decades.

The U.S. also has a history of breaching the cyber securities of other nations. As early as the 1960’s and 1970’s, American submarines operated alongside the early National Security Agency and in the Sea of Okhotsk. They were able to evade Soviet detection and intercept information from an underwater communications cable, effectively stealing undeterminable amounts of classified Soviet intelligence. In 1982, an alleged cyber attack on a Russian gas pipeline was orchestrated by American operatives, and resulted in the explosion of the pipeline in an attempt to disrupt the Soviet economy. Sabotage and espionage between the two countries is not unprecedented, and likely not final, given the current political climate. In 2010, Iranian nuclear facilities were attacked by the Stuxnet worm, a computer worm that infiltrates a device, spreads, takes over, and disables the network system. Centrifuges within the Iranian facilities were breaking, rendering the facilities inoperable. It is largely speculated that the attacks were a joint operation between the United States and Israel.

This study will look at several cases of cyber attacks, specifically curtailed around the U.S. and Russia. The two countries are no stranger to armed conflict, and have already come dangerously close to war, as evident by the Cold War. Technology has become integral to the definition of power, and the concept of a powerful country shifts as technology does. As technology changes, so does the international system, and Russia has used this to their advantage. Understanding the criteria of war set by Carl von Clausewitz, the question sought to be answered by this research is whether a new theory of war, cyber war, between the United States and Russia is possible.

Literature Review

In order to answer the question explored in this study, it is important to define cyber war and what it entails. The Oxford Dictionary defines cyber war as being, “The use of computer technology to disrupt the activities of a state or organization, especially the deliberate attacking of information systems for strategic or military purposes” (Oxford Dictionary, 2018).

Carl von Clausewitz offers three elements that define the concept of war, which can then be applied to the concept of cyber war and used to decide if it applies to the United States and Russia. First, Clausewitz writes that war is inherently violent, that both sides of the conflict work to overwhelm the other and inflict enough pain to render surrender. Second, he asserts that war is used as a means to an end, the end being the coercion of the enemy into accepting the terms of defeat. The third element is the concept of war’s political nature, that war is an extenuation of politics. It is politically motivated, and not defined by one decision; the ultimate “end” is subject to the will of the party in power and not necessarily constrained by isolated acts (Rid, 2012). The body of research into this question is divided along the lines of these elements. One such study concludes that cyber war is inevitable, although not necessarily between the U.S. and Russia. John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt surmise that technology inherently initiates cultural change, that it forces a shift in the international system. They draw upon historical precedent of technological advancements that changed the nature of war and had profound impacts on the course of history, such as the invention of the gun. Arquilla and Ronfeldt argue that the concept of modern “war” has shifted, so as to minimize violent conflict and has come to focus on the collection of information that would allow you to outmaneuver your opponent (Arquilla, 1993). They note that conflict in the modern age has manifested itself into an ideological disagreement and highly intertwined with economics, rather than territorial disputes as it has been in the past. Information has become a highly prioritized currency in inter-state conflict, and because of this, the nature of war has been changed.

 Research into cyber war also suggests that technology changes the nature of the international system (Weigly, 1989). It allows a state access to another in ways previously not possible. Technology has redrawn boundaries between states and opens systems that had not been accessible before (Arquilla, 1993). This challenges the international system and opens it up to reconfiguration. States have begun to alter their approach to national security and priorities, with a focus on protecting their economy. To challenge a powerful country by modern standards, such as the United States or Russia, it is necessary to challenge their economy, to compromise their economic capabilities.

 Alternatively, there is research surmising that cyber war is not inevitable, that it will not take place, based on the three elements set for by Clausewitz. Thomas Rid argues that no cyber attack to date has met all three elements of being violent, instrumental, and politically attributed, despite numerous isolated attacks meeting one or two of the criteria (Rid, 2012). He looks into the Estonia cyber attack in April of 2007 that threatened their national sovereignty, as well as the explosion of a Russian gas pipeline in 1982 that is suspected to be the result of an American cyber attack, and found neither to meet the definition of cyber war. He concludes that because cyber war is not geared towards the type of violence that directly threatens human life and safety, cyber war is not likely.

 Regardless of whether these case studies conclude an act of cyber war or not, it is evident that the number of cyber attacks are increasing, and are likely to continue. The Pew Research Center conducted a survey in 2014 that canvased 1,642 experts on the Internet and cyber attacks and found that 61% agreed that a major attack causing widespread harm would occur by 2025. The study highlighted four key themes agreeing with the likelihood of attacks. First, that systems connected to the Internet are open targets. An overwhelming amount of society’s basic functions, essential to daily activities, are facilitated by the Internet. This attracts attention from those who wish to take advantage of this fact. Second, that security is not the primary concern when Internet applications are designed. Designers instead work to make the most economically beneficial product they can, to make the most money they can. System security does not often fall in that category. Third, that major cyber attacks have already happened, such as Stuxnet. Finally, that cyber attacks often target the private sector rather than government institutions. These institutions are more vulnerable to attacks because they are not equipped with the same level of defense as government institutions, but arguably carry equal weight importance in the daily lives of the public (Pew Research, 2014). The dissenting opinion argues three counter concepts. First, that there is already significant progress in security fixes. Designers are upgrading system security capabilities. Second, that cyber deterrence is an effective method of defense. The threat of retaliation is sufficient to deter malicious actors. Cyber deterrence is defined as the capability to do to attackers what they may intend to inflict (Libicki, 2009), and that the potential attacker is aware of it. Third, that cyber attacks are exaggerated, created by organizations that would profit from an atmosphere of fear.

 The United States has identified the cyber sphere as a top national security sphere, and has initiated efforts to increase deterrence capabilities under the new administration, including the commission of several research and development agencies. Agencies such as the Cyberspace Solarium Commission have been tasked with finding and have published strategic approaches to cyber deterrence (Sasse, 2018).


 Realism is the international relations theory that best explains the United States and Russia’s response to one another and the shifting world system. Under realism, international relations is individual states interacting with each other, in the pursuit of power. States act in accordance with human nature, which is largely selfish. The definition of power is ambiguous, and is not constrained by any one component, but has been agreed to include technological capabilities. There exists a balance of power in the international system, and states battle to gain the upper hand over the others while preventing others from doing the same to them. There is a lack of hegemony in the international system, so higher power to assume the ultimate authority in delegating the balance of power. To do so, states operate in their own self interest, with national security being a top priority. They rely on their own military resources to achieve desired ends, and a “self-help” system of sorts emerges. Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote about realism in his work, The State of War (Roosevelt, 1987),and surmised that the world is governed by predatory rulers, and that there is an inherent anarchy in international politics. Applying the theory to the modern world, neorealism borrows models from economics and behavioral science. It makes the modification to the theory that recognizes economic resources as the basis of influence and power. A powerful country by today’s standards is a country with a powerful, secure economy.

 Between the United States and Russia, there lies a deeply rooted struggle for power. Both states have built themselves up as two of the most powerful states in the international system. As prescribed by the realism theory, each state is in constant struggle to gain power over the other; this concept is directly applicable to the situation today.  Constant changes in technology create constant opportunity for the balance of power to shift, and both countries work to gain power over the other.


 The following cases look at instances of possible cyber attacks that the U.S. and Russia/Soviet Union were involved in. By comparing them the Clausewitz’s criteria of war, it will possible to evaluate the possibility of cyberwar given the precedent set by the United States and Russia, specifically their capabilities and the extent to which they are willing to go in the name of national security and protecting the balance of power.

1.)   Estonia, 2007:

In April of 2007, street riots broke out in the capital, Tallinn, between young Russian ethnic groups and the native Estonians. The riots were in response a government decision to relocate a Soviet-era, World War Two memorial that celebrated Soviet army victories. The site had become a rallying point for extremist Russian nationalists, and the relocation was an attempt on the government’s behalf to ease tensions. Instead, the tensions only increased when the peaceful protests turned violent, with police making 1300 arrests, hundreds injured, and one death. The Estonian ambassador in Moscow was physically assaulted. Estonian government web pages, news agencies, and private sector websites were attacked over a span of three weeks, disrupting the day to day operations of the country.

Analysis: Estonia is a highly interconnected state, with high internet capabilities. It was a wide range of government and private sector services available online and the majority of the Estonian population has access to and used the Internet; much of daily life is dependent on internet functionality. The attack is suspected to have been instigated by the Kremlin and Russian nationalists in response to removal of the memorial. This particular attack is highly politically motivated but lacks any inherent violent motivation. It demonstrates Russia’s ability and willingness to interfere in an independent state’s sovereignty.

 Source: “International Cyber Incidents: Legal Considerations” by Eneken Tikk, Kadri Kaska, and Liis Vihul, 2010.

2.)   Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2008:

In April of 2008, on the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty website operating within Belarus was targeted by a Distributed Denial of Service attack. The attack rendered the website inoperable. The attack lasted for two days, during which other RFL/RL websites were affected. Belarus is notoriously maintains one the closest relationships with Russia following the fall of the Soviet Union, having been lead by the same president, Alexander Lukashenka, since 1994. Only 29% of the population uses the Internet, and access is controlled by a state-owned company that controls and restricts some critical websites, according to Freedom House.

Analysis: On the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, native Belarusians were protesting the government for lack of compensation following the disaster. It is speculated that the government attacked the RFL/RL to limit press coverage of the protesting, facilitated by Russian technology and Lukashenka’s close relationship with the Kremlin. The RFL/RL is one of the few sources pro-Western, uncensored, international news in Belarus. The Belarusian/Russian disruption of information flow again exemplifies Russia’s willingness to overpower a sovereign state. The fact that the website was pro-Western is not to be ignored by western states, specifically the United States. Analyzed by Clausewitz’s three criteria, the attack was not intended to be directly harmful to human safety, but was politically motivated, as it was an effort to assert one system of culture and government over another by silencing it.

Source: “International Cyber Incidents: Legal Considerations” by Eneken Tikk, Kadri Kaska, and Liis Vihul, 2010.

3.)   Operation Ivy Bells, 1960s/70s:

In the 1960s and 70s, the American Navy and the National Security Agency created a covert operation that submarines would locate and tap into underwater Russian communication cables in the Sea of Okhotsk. The submarines were disguised as deep-water rescue and research vessels, and were able to avoid Russian detection. They used highly advanced technological equipment, some of which is still classified to this day, and the divers involved were some of the first to use the new underwater water breathing devices that are used today. The mission was reportedly highly successful, as it continued until the 1980s.

Analysis: With this case, the United States has demonstrated a precedent and ability for cyber espionage and a desire for information to gain an advantage over Russia. Hacking Russian underwater communication cable and stealing highly classified state secrets sets the United States squarely in conflict with Russia and raises tensions between the two. When compared to Clausewitz’s three criteria, the mission was politically motivated, as it was an effort to steal information, but was not directly violent or cause any type of destruction. 

Source: Submarine Spying- Operation Ivy Bells in the Cold War by Matthew Gaskill, 2018.

4.)   Stuxnet, 2010.

In 2010, several Iranian nuclear facilities were attacked by a malicious software computer worm, known as Stuxnet, that had the ability to repeat itself and spread to any device operating on the same network as the initially infected device. The worm gave attackers the capability to override the system, and it was used to destroy centrifuges inside the nuclear facilities, forcing the facilities to shut down. It is largely speculated that the worm was developed by a joint effort between the U.S. and Israel, in an effort to deter Iranian nuclear capabilities.

Analysis: By developing a malicious computer worm, capable of inflicting substantial systemic damage, the United States has demonstrated a willingness to initiate potentially violent and dangerous actions that operate in the self interest of the state. In this particular situation, the U.S. felt threatened by Iranian nuclear capabilities and attempted to protected itself by disabling Iran’s nuclear facilities. Attention on the United States was diffused by the cooperation with Israel, who had also had a state interest in disabling Iran’s nuclear operations. When compared against Clausewitz’s criteria, it is a politically motivated attack, but it was not directly violent and did not result in the physical harm of human life.

Source: “Cyber Attacks Likely to Increase” by the Pew Research Center, 2014.


 Applying realism to the Russian-American dynamic currently playing itself out through international relations, there is clear and definite struggle in the balance of power. They have developed two distinctly different systems and cultures and have perpetuated them internationally so that each has come in direct competition with the other for global dominance. Eastern and Western cultures have become so conflicted that each is a threat to the sovereignty of the other. The changing nature of technology changes the nature of this conflict and has continued to do since the Cold War. As exemplified by the case studies and recent international events, Russia has demonstrated the ability to integrate cyber capabilities and attacks in military offenses. The United States recognizes this as a threat to its allies along the Russian border, and subsequently a threat to Western culture. Conversely, the United States has demonstrated a willingness to act against states and institutions it deems threating to national security. The American government has prioritized the cyber theater as a top security priority, and the current presidential system has authorized new programs and operations that loosen restrictions on cyber retaliatory attacks. National Security Memorandum 13 enables agents to engage in retaliatory actions quickly and without approval from governing bodies, as well as allowing them to take preemptory steps towards potential attackers before any attack has even happened (Fryer-Briggs, 2018).

 Understanding that the number of cyber attacks are increasing, so are the intensity of the attacks. Just this past year, thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian companies were indicted by the United States on charges of interfering with the 2016 presidential election. The Russians stand charged with the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign (Mazzetti, 2018).

As the intensity of the attacks increase, so does the likelihood of cyber war taking place between the United States and Russia. But following the criteria set forth by Clausewitz, there has been no cyber attack that meets those standards. If cyber war were to follow this definition of war, it is possible that it will never occur. It is also possible, however, that the nature of cyber attacks and changing cultural values combine to create a new definition of war, one that can define cyber attacks as acts of war. The goal of these attacks is not directly focused on violence, but rather on culture and state infrastructure. More and more, cyber attacks are becoming focused on and targeting the disruption of daily civilian life, hacking into the private sector businesses and corporation and disrupting state economies. If the goal of war remains the dominance of one state over the other, absent the violent criteria of past concepts of war, does cyber war not then meet the other criteria? The United States and Russia see each other as threats, and have responded as such, and along the lines of the realist theory: by building up military capabilities in the form of cyber attack and deterrence capabilities. As they continue to do so, the reality of cyber war becomes increasingly evident.


Cyberwar | Definition of cyberwar in English by Oxford Dictionaries. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Dinstein, Y. (2002). Computer Network Attacks and Self-Defense. International Law Studies, U.S. Naval War College, 76. Retrieved from

Fryer-Biggsemail, Z. (2018, November 07). The Pentagon has prepared a cyber attack against Russia. Retrieved from

Gaskill, M. (2018, June 14). Submarine Spying- Operation Ivy Bells in the Cold War. Retrieved               from

Libicki, Martin C., Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2009.

Mazzetti, M., & Benner, K. (2018, July 13). 12 Russian Agents Indicted in Mueller Investigation. Retrieved from

Pew Research Center, (2014). Cyber Attacks Likely to Increase. Pew Research Center & Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center.

Rid, T. (2012). Cyber War Will Not Take Place. Journal of Strategic Studies, 35:1, 5-32. DOI: 10.1080/01402390.2011.608939

Roosevelt, G. (1987). A RECONSTRUCTION OF ROUSSEAU’S FRAGMENTS ON THE STATE OF WAR. History of Political Thought, 8(2), 225-244. Retrieved from

Tikk, Eneken, Kadri Kaska, and Liis Vihul. (2010) “International Cyber Incidents: Legal Considerations.” Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence.

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Weigley, R. (1989). War and the Paradox of Technology. International Security, 14(2), 192-202. DOI: 10.2307/2538859

. Earlier this month, the U.S. enacted an offensive cyber retaliatory attack in the case of Russian intervention in the November midterm elections or any other subsequent elections.

Trade Relations between India and Russia


Russia is an old and time-tested partner of India in the field of bilateral trade and cultural exchanges. Development and strengthening of bilateral relations is one of the most important points of India’s foreign policy. In October 2000 “Declaration of the Russian-Indian strategic partnership” was signed to intensify bilateral ties and promote cooperation in virtually all areas of bilateral relations. During the Russian president’s visit to India in December 2010, the strategic partnership has been raised to the level of “special and privileged strategic partnership.” This paper will focus on the trade relations between the two countries and the trend observed for many years and also the future prospects of trade and business.

Key terms: Trade, import, India, Russia, customs

Trade and economic relations

The main products are imported from India Russian are Pitch and pitch coke derived from coal tar or other mineral resins (code HS – 2709). It accounted for 15.17% of the total volume of imports from Russia. It was followed by the dried leguminous vegetables, peeled or without (code TN VED-0713) and coal; Briquettes, ovoid and similar solid fuel made from coal (code HS – 2701), which accounted for 10.19% and 8.57% respectively import of Russia. Top Indian ports, where the cargo arrived from Russia – Visage Sea (INVTZ1) (18.37%), Nava Sheva Sea (INNSA1) (14.78%) & sugar airfreight (INBOM4) (9.06%). India imported 5176 deliveries in the amount of US $ 608734976.74 of Russia in the period from 11.01.2016 on 11.24.2016 years. Export of Russian products to India in the first quarter of 2018 has grown by more than 40 percent compared to the same period in 2017, according to Russian trade mission in India. Total sales in India from January to April amounted to $ 2.2 billion. Bean Exports rose to $ 14.5 million from $ 2 million in the first quarter of 2017, while sales of sunflower and other oil crops amounted to $ 207 thousand. Russian radar equipment, as well as compasses and other navigation products have also become leaders among the exports to India: first increased by $ 39.3 million from $ 2.7 million, and the second increased to $ 23.9 million from $ 4.6 million on an annualized basis. Russian exports to India also includes rough diamonds, silver, mineral and chemical fertilizers, crude and petrochemical products, as well as machines, synthetic rubber, polymers, plastic products, paper and other products. Trade turnover between the two countries in the first quarter amounted to $ 3.2 billion, showing a nearly 30 percent increase. Trade relations between Russia and India are strengthened in recent years, and by 2025 the country plans to increase trade turnover to $ 30 billion. Indian thermal coal comes from Russia increased by 56% to 2.54 million tonnes in the first nine months of 2018. Imports increased against the background of higher demand from customers of utilities and industrial sector who have applied to the marine products due to limited domestic supplies. Indian utility companies interested in acquiring Russian low-sulfur coal for blending with domestic sour material, which helps reduce emissions. Indian coal has a sulfur content of about 3%, while the material of Russian typically has a sulfur content of 0.3-0.4%. Indian buyers are not willing to pay more for high-quality coal with high calorific value and prefer to buy low-quality material, which has low sulfur content, at the lowest prices. Many Russian suppliers are reluctant to sell coal at such low prices, preferring to sell it in China, which mainly buys from Russia Srednekaloriyny or low-calorie coal. But recent restrictions on imports of Chinese coal have prompted some exporters to look for alternatives.

Rupee-Ruble trade

India and Russia agreed on a new method of payment in their local currencies, bypassing the possible US sanctions and banking restrictions. This development came after a long discussion of how to avoid the sanctions proposed by the United States.

India import policy: procedures and duties

In India, import and export of goods is governed by the “Law on Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act 1992” and “Export-Import Policy (EXIM) of India.” “Directorate General of Foreign Trade of India (DGFT)” is the main governing body responsible for all issues related to the EXIM policy. Importers must register with the DGFT, to get a “code number of the exporting importing (IEC)”, issued against their “permanent account number (PAN)”, before engaging in EXIM operations. After receiving the IEC is necessary to determine and declare the source of imports. [9] “Indian Trade Classification – Harmonized System (ITC-HS)” allows for free import of most goods without a special import license. Some products that fall under the following categories require a special permit or license.

      License (Restricted):

Royalties’ items can be imported only after obtaining a license to import from DGFT. These include some consumer goods, such as precious and semiprecious stones, products related to safety, seeds, plants, animals, insecticides, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, as well as some electronic items.

      Channelized elements:

Channelized goods may be imported only through certain channels and methods of transport or through government agencies such as the “State Trading Corporation (STC)”. These include oil products, bulk agricultural products such as grains and vegetable oils, as well as some pharmaceutical products.

      Prohibited item

These products are strictly prohibited from being imported and include tallow oil, animal rennet, wild animals and unprocessed ivory.

Input waybill

Every importer should begin with the presentation of an invoice in accordance with Article 46. This document certifies the description and value of the goods coming into the country. The invoice must be presented as follows:

      The original and a duplicate for customs

      Copy for the importer

      A copy of the bank

      Copy for remittances

In accordance with the “electronic data interchange (EDI)” does not require any formal entry documents (as it is recorded in electronic form), but the importer shall submit a cargo declaration after specifying the data required for the processing of entry for customs clearance. It can be of three types:

      Input invoice for home consumption

This form is used when the imported goods must be cleaned on payment of full fee. Domestic consumption is the use in India. It is white and, therefore, often referred to as “white input.”

      The front housing bill

If the imported goods are not required immediately, importers can store goods in a warehouse without payment of duty under the bond, and then clear them from the warehouse when it is required for the payment of duties. This will allow postponing the payment of customs duties as long as the goods do not really need them. This receipt is printed on yellow paper and is therefore often referred to as “yellow receipt.”

      Input invoice for registration of ex-bonds

The third type of bond for ex-gap. It is used for processing warehouse at a fee payment and printed on green paper.

If the invoice entry is served without the use of electronic data interchange system, it is usually also requires the following documents:

      Signed invoice;

      Packing list;

      Bill of lading or order for delivery / air waybill;

      Form GATT declaration;

      Declaration importer / CHA;

      Import license whenever necessary;

      The letter of credit / bank draft;

      Insurance document;

      Industrial license, if required;

      test protocol in the case of chemicals;

      The procedure for withdrawal of the special;

      DEPB in the original, where applicable;

      Catalog, technical recording, literature in the case of machines, spare parts and chemicals that may be applicable;

      Separately, share the cost of spare parts, components and equipment; and,

      Certificate of origin, if necessary preferential duty rate.

Import tariffs

The Indian government collects several types of import duties on goods. These include:

      The basic customs duties

The basic customs duty (BCD) – a standard tax rate applicable to the goods, or a standard preferential rate in the case of goods imported from these countries. The customs duty rates set out in the first and second tables of the Law on Customs Tariff of 1975

      IGST and compensation tax

Additional customs duty, normally called “countervailing duty (CVD)” and “special additional customs duty (SAD)” were replaced by the collection of “comprehensive tax on goods and services (IGST)”, except for a few exceptions, such as pan masala and some petroleum products. IGST replaces the previous system of federal and state categories of indirect taxation.

A calculator of customs duty is available on the website of Excise and Customs, website ICEGATE. There are seven rates prescribed for GST-0 percent, 0.25 percent and 3 percent 5 percent, 12 percent, 18 percent and 28 percent. The actual rate to be applied to the product will depend on its classification and will be indicated in the graphs notified in accordance with Section 5 of IGST, 2017. In addition, some items, such as products with soda water, tobacco and vehicles, among other things, will involve additional compensation fee GST tax over IGST. The tax is calculated on the basis of the transaction value or the price at which goods are sold. Tax Act on goods and services (compensation States) 2017 was adopted for the collection of compensation tax for compensation to the Indian state of loss of income arising from the implementation of tax on goods and services from July 1, 2017. Countervailing duty on goods imported into India, will be charged and collected in accordance with the provisions of section 3 of the “Law on Customs Tariff in 1975” at a time when customs duties are levied on goods in accordance with Article 12 of the “Law on Customs Tariff 1962” at the value determined in accordance with the “law on customs tariff of 1975 year”

      Anti-dumping duties

The central government may impose anti-dumping duty, if it determines that a product is being imported at a price below fair market, and the importer will be notified if this is the case. The fee cannot exceed the difference between the normal and export price (dumping margin). This does not apply to products imported 100 percent export-oriented units (EOU) and units in free trade zones (FTZs) and Special Economic Zones (SEZ). If the importer is notified by the federal government, the anti-dumping duty should be introduced; the notification will remain in force for five years with a possible extension to 10 years.

      Guard duty

In contrast to the anti-dumping duty, the introduction of protective duties does not require the determination of the central government of the goods imported at a price below fair market value. Protective duty is introduced, if the government decides that a sudden increase in exports causes or threatens to cause serious damage to the domestic industry. Notice of the introduction of protective duties is valid for four years with possibility of extension up to 10 years.

      Protective duty

Sometimes protective duty is introduced for the protection of domestic industry from imports. If the Tariff Commission makes a recommendation on the introduction of protective duties, the central government can decide to impose such a tax at a rate that does not exceed the recommended tariff commission. The Federal Government may determine the period to which the protective duty shall remain in force, reduce or extend this period, as well as to adjust the effective rate.

      Surcharge for Social Security

The education system and the system of secondary and higher education on the imported goods are now abolished and replaced by a premium for social security. This allowance will be charged at the rate of 10 per cent of the total customs duties on imported goods.

Connectivity to Indian markets and companies

Russian companies can access the following Web sites for connection to Indian companies and information on the Indian market as a whole:






Problems of bilateral trade between India and Russia:

      Transport problem

Geographical constraints lead to significant financial costs and delays, as well as limit the amount of products that would otherwise be more easily transported.

      Ignorance:

The Indians and the Russian did not have sufficient knowledge and information about each other’s markets. So there is not much business exchange between the two countries. A further disadvantage is the lack of the presence of the Indian and Russian media in the country to each other.

      The lack of interest from the private sector in India:

After the economic reforms of the 1990s, India has successfully moved from an economy oriented to the domestic market to a more globally integrated economy. In this process, an important role is played by the Indian private sector. However, the dynamic Indian private sector, which is comfortable doing business with the West, not so attractive to Russia.

      Lack of adequate infrastructure to facilitate trade:

Bureaucratic delays on both sides create obstacles to the smooth movement of business. Both countries are aware of this and contribute to a smoother and more movement of business people, the two countries signed a protocol document December 24, 2015 to simplify visa procedures for those who are engaged in business.

Future prospects and steps that can be taken to improve trade relations:

      India and Russia should take the lead in the finalization of “Free Trade Agreement of the Eurasian Economic Union.” “The international transport corridor North-South (IRTC)” also becomes important because it would help India economic relations not only with Russia but also with the wider Eurasian region.

      Import “liquefied natural gas (LNG),” is the best alternative for India in the current circumstances and therefore has a great potential in the development of Indo-Russian energy ties.

      “Green Corridor” is the brainchild of the Federal Customs Service of Russia, and suggests that the two countries should create a list of businesses or companies whose products on a reciprocal basis will not have to pass customs inspection.

      India is known for processing of diamonds, while Russia is one of its leading suppliers. More than 80% of Russian rough diamonds supplied to India indirectly through European intermediaries. Both sides should develop a mechanism to ensure a direct supply at a lower cost and with faster sending speeds.

      Pharmaceutical companies have an advantage given the growing demand for alternative medicine in Russia. While there are a few clinics Ayurveda, it needs further boost in the Russian market.

      It is necessary to give greater impetus to the air transport of perishable goods, such as dairy products and fruit. For example, in the Russian market there is a high demand for mangoes, which are currently imported mainly from Latin America. India should use the full potential of the fruit market.

      The Indian information technology sector (IT) has become a great success in the West and in Russia can make a significant contribution too. This is even more important in the current environment, when Indian IT firms are facing problems in the United States.



(1)   Ambassador Pankaj Saran’s visit to Chechnya Republic. Retrieved from

(2)   Bilateral Relations: India-Russia Relations. Retrieved from

(3)   India and Russia Bilateral Trade Report. Retrieved from

(4)   (2018). India imports more thermal coal from Russia. Argus. Retrieved from

(5)   Pant, H. (2017). India-Russia Economic and Energy Cooperation: The Way Ahead. ORF Issue Brief, (181), 3-6. Retrieved from

(6)   Product Imports by India from Russian Federation 2017. Retrieved from

(7)   (2018, June 25). Russia’s exports to India surge 40% thanks to sunflower seeds & radar equipment. RT News. Retrieved from

(8)   Shira, D. (2014). India’s Import Policy: Procedures and Duties. India Briefing. Retrieved from

(9)   (2019, February 13). Step by step procedures to export from Russia. Retrieved from–8835.aspx

(10)           (2019, July 12). Value of the Russian Exports to India Exceeded $ 1m. GMP News. Retrieved from

Ukraine and Russia Threat Analysis

Ukraine has been a country plagued with turmoil. With seven bordering neighbors, Belarus, Russia, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, it faces a constant threat of invasion. It’s territory, divided into five sections, are open and difficult to defend except for its southern frontier which includes the Black and Azov Seas Nahayevsky. (1) Dating back more than 1,000 years, relations between Russia and Ukraine have been atrocious. After 20 years of both being an independent state, Russia continues an attempt to recover back what it has lost long ago. Ukraine’s efforts in shaping and stabilizing its country are threatened due to its battle with Russia’s goal of rebuilding its empire and Ukraine’s internal factionalism and corruption. History, key players, goals, and tactics play a role in this ongoing conflict. A leader, backed by strong supporting members, who are not afraid to stand against opposition and have the courage to make a change will help unite this country.

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Russia and Ukraine relations date to A.D. 800 Kyiv, Ukraine where the Russian civilization was born. (2) The invasions of Mongolia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, and Sweden divided Ukraine into two warring sides, Left-Bank Ukraine under Poland rule and Right-Bank Ukraine under Russian rule. Russia’s goal of expansion forced Ukraine to become part of the Russian Empire, though they did not have much choice. It was part of the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics (USSR) throughout most of the twentieth century. (3) 

  Ukraine’s climate is favorable for agriculture making it its main economic source. Having land that is three-fourths black soil, Ukraine holds 44 percent of it in all of Europe and about eight percent in the world. (4) Ukraine is known to be the “bread-basket of Europe”. Crops such as wheat, barley, rye, oats, potatoes, mize, millet, sugar beets, and buckwheat are abundant. In addition to agriculture, Ukraine is also mineral-rich. Cole, iron, mercury, phosphorite, kaolin, aluminum, and dolomite can be sourced. It can resource manganese 40 percent higher than the rest of the world. (5) Russia knew of Ukraine’s wealth and sought to acquire it to feed their Empire and later the Soviet Union. The Soviets were supplied one-fourth of Ukrainian industrial products, one-fourth of agricultural produce, one-third of meat, one-half of iron ore, and one-third of steel. (6) In return, Russia repressed Ukrainians. The school was prohibited, the Ukrainian language was not spoken, overall, they had a “low place in the ethno-social hierarchy of the Russian Empire”(7)

During World War I, Russian citizens rebelled against their government throwing Alexander Kerensky out of power. Ukraine saw the civil war as an opportunity for independence from Russia. On January 2, 1918, Professor Mykhaylo Hrushevsky became the first president of the Ukrainian National Republic. This independence was short-lived because when World War I ended Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romanians invaded Ukraine to claim. March 1921, Ukraine was once again under the USSR’s rule. Joseph Stalin retaliated for Ukraine’s resistance by causing the “worst human-caused famine in recorded history.” (8) 

Germany invaded Ukraine during World War II. Ukraine at first thought of the Germans as their savior and joined their cause. A few years later, the Ukrainians found that Adolf Hitler only wanted their land and that he saw them as slaves. This caused them to turn their allegiance back to Russia. 

Ukraine’s road to independence started with the creation of the Rukh, meaning “movement”, in September 1989. The group was created to become the voice for political change. They competed against Communist candidates for the seats in parliament. Mikhail Gorbachev, who was currently in power, felt threatened by the Rukh and devised a coup. August 19, 1991, President Boris Yeltsin stopped a coup and called for a general strike to end communism. After signing the Minsk Agreement, dissolving the Soviet Union as a political entity, Ukraine finally received independence on August 24, 1991. 

For Russia to recover from the Soviet’s downfall it needs to keep a hold on Ukraine and the Caucasus and extend its influence on the Eastern European countries.(9) Presently, Moscow regards Ukraine as part of their zone of influence and they do not want that to change. There will always be a constant threat from Russia. Knowing what Ukraine can provide, Russia will fight to keep ties with them. Ukraine also relies on Russia. They provide gas and oil resources that Ukraine lacks. (10) Russia is also Ukraine’s main trade partner. Farmers would travel to Russia to sell goods for a price much higher than what they can sell at home. 

The road for a democratic Ukraine state has been described as “one of the longest and most tortuous in post-Communist Eastern Europe.”(11) Ukraine faced after their independence regarded state-supported industries. These industries were cultivated by Soviet rule, therefore, were inefficient and corruptly managed. Russia left the country with roads and bridges in disrepair and an unstable government.

Ukraine was divided between those who want to follow Europe and the western states and those who relate to Russia. Crimea, housing 70 percent of Russians, was given back to Ukraine in 1954 by Nikita Khrushchev, never imagining that Ukraine would ever break away from Russia. Despite Ukraine’s fear of Crimea becoming autonomous and becoming part of Russia, Ukraine accepted the Crimean’s parliament vote for autonomy but denied their independence in May 1992. Russians who live in Crimea and many of its citizens see this independence as temporary. Being part of the Russian and Soviet empires for many years, they believe that Ukraine will not be able to live without Russia and will soon rejoin. Others see this differently and see little interest in rejoining. 

In 1994, Crimea restored the constitution of 1992 authorizing Crimea’s sovereignty as an independent power that enabled them to declare Sevastopol a Russian city. This act would cause more tension with Russia in the future. In the meantime, Ukraine appointed Anatoley Franchuk as prime minister to calm the tension. The biggest concern with Sevastopol for the Ukrainians with the Black Sea fleet. They feel that if Russia gets ahold of it, they could take over the region. Sevastopol housed Russian fleet making it theirs, but Ukraine countered with it being located in their land, therefore, it is partly theirs. Negotiations were reached in 1995 where Russia has 82 percent possession while Ukraine owns 18 percent.(12) “Both countries had agreed to allow the Russian fleet to stay until 2017, but after the election of the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych as president in 2010, Ukraine agreed to extend the lease by 25 years beyond 2017, in return for cheaper Russian gas.”(13)

Ukraine knows of Russia’s power. Before their independence, they were the Soviet’s stronghold for their nuclear weapons.(14) November 1994, agreeing to transfer all nuclear weapons to Russia, Ukraine signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, in return, Russia would cancel Ukraine’s debt.(15)  Also within that year, Ukraine joined NATO’s peace program to assert its independence from Russia and securing itself from outside aggression.(16) Ukraine then transferred the rest of the nuclear warheads to Russia in 1996. 

The 2004 presidential election caused a huge protest for re-election called the Orange Revolution after which Viktor Yushchenko won. (17) In 2010, Viktor Yanukovych, who aligned with Russia, became president and could sign an agreement that would bind Ukraine to the European Union. Because of his Russian influence that did not happen. Protests broke out that eventually caused Yanukovych to hide in Russia. This opposition was backed by the United States which increase tension between Russia and Ukraine.

Russia, who still feels that Ukraine should remain part of their nation used this unfortunate event to invade Ukraine. “President Vladimir Putin’s government sent troops without insignia to the peninsula, seized key buildings, took control of the regional legislature, and staged a referendum denounced as illegitimate by at least 100 countries at the UN.”(18) Which brings it to its current state of conflict. In March 2014, “the Crimean parliament voted to secede from Ukraine and joined the Russian Federation” in which Russia quickly annexed.(19) A poll was taken in 2008 and again in 2014 that showed approval of the events that happened in Crimea and eastern Ukraine by Putin.(20) Putin received overwhelming support against the West and Ukrainian nationalists. More than 70 percent were satisfied with Russia’s show of power. (21) This shows the division within Ukraine.

In 2014, Russia was further threatened by the United States influence in NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe. The U.S.’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, their involvement in the democratic revolution in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan, nations that border Russia added more tension to the Russia government. (22) 

Ukraine’s current president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is “focus on the counties domestic overhaul, and that he is not striving to become the anti-Putin”.(23) Due to his background of comedy, there are hopes that he can deal with Russia in a way that appealing to Russian citizens. Only time will tell when or if the threat of Russia will ever cease to exist.


Nahayevsky. “History of Ukraine.” HathiTrust, n.d.

Otfinoski, Steven. Ukraine. New York: Facts on File, 1999.

Kappeler, Andreas. “Ukraine and Russia: Legacies of the Imperial Past and Competing Memories.” Journal of Eurasian Studies 5, no. 2 (July 2014): 107–115.

Kent, Deborah. Ukraine. New York: Childrens Press, an Imprint of Scholastic Inc., 2015

Laqueur, Walter. Putinism: Russia and Its Future with the West. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2015.

“Ukraine Sentences Ex-President Yanukovych In Absentia To 13 Years In Prison.” RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. January 24, 2019. Accessed August 19, 2019.

Garrels, Anne. Putin Country a Journey into the Real Russia. New York: Picador, 2017.

Kramer, Andrew E. “In Ukraine, a Rival to Putin Rises.” The New York Times. The New York Times, August 4, 2019.

“Ukraine Crisis: What’s Going on in Crimea?” BBC News. BBC, August 12, 2016.

“Crimea Profile.” BBC News. BBC, January 17, 2018.


Realism and Liberalism: Iran, China and Russia

The United States is increasingly being disturbed by the aggressive behavior of Iran, Russia, and China. For instance, China is making hostile moves in its coastal waters while Putin forces are grabbing Crimea. On the other hand, Iran is trying to employ its coalitions with Hezbollah and Syria to control the Middle East. As noted by Mead, outdated powers are already back in international relations (IR) (69). Mead further posits that the European Union and the US would instead move past the military power and geopolitical question of territory and focus on one of the global governance and world order such as human rights, nuclear nonproliferation, and trade liberalization. Since the collapse of the Cold War, the most significant objectives of the EU and US foreign policies is to shift international relations to win-win ones instead of zero-sum issues. Realism addresses the threats posed by Iran, China, and Russia by advocating for dialogue between these countries and the United States, while liberalism holds that more sanctions should be imposed on these countries to contain them.  

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As one of the schools of thought in international relations, liberalism holds that no state should be subjected to the external authority of other nations. Liberalism further posits that the state should also not be submitted to other internal authorities such as the military. On the other hand, realism holds that IRs are a zero-sum game (Mead 69). It emphasizes the role of military power, national interest, and state in world politics. All nation-states, according to realism, are increasingly motivated by national interests.
Mead asserts that one of the biggest mistakes Europeans and Americans made was to assume that the most disturbing geopolitical concerns were settled following the collapse of the cold war. However, it appeared that Russia, Iran, as well as China never bought into the geopolitical settlement as most Europeans and Americans had imagined. Further, Europeans and Americans thought that the Israeli-Palestinian dispute would no longer concern sphere of influence, national self-determination, military base, or boundaries (Mead 70). The Russia invasion of Crimea, the deployment of new nuclear weapons, the collapse of armed control agreements, and the rising tensions in the Middle East are indicating that Russia and NATO are suddenly gearing up conflict (Moniz and Nunn 150). The tension between and Russia has been growing over the last few decades. The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight by a suspected Russian-made missile, Russia intervention in Eastern Ukraine, and the annexation of Crimea have ruptured the relations between the US and Russia. The US has responded with a broad range of economic sanctions aimed at isolating Russia and forcing a diplomatic crisis to the crisis in Ukraine. In spite of the two negotiated agreements that occurred in 2014, the tension between the US and Russia has not ceased. Both Russia and NATO continue to demonstrate their military prowess throughout the region (Muniz and Nunn 158). For instance, Russia and NATO forces are operating in close proximity around the Black Sea. A miscalculation or accident could lead to a catastrophic outcome. The US announced in 2019 that it has decided to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. On the other hand, Russia has suspended its implementation. Both sides have refused to extend the treaty, and the future of the 2010 New Start treaty is still not very clear. In the recent past, India, Russia, and China have built up their capabilities and antisatellite, and the US is contemplating a dedicated space force.
Despite his weak hand, Putin has succeeded in frustrating a broad range of US projects, particularly on former Soviet territory. For instance, Russia has caused trouble in Ukraine, tightened its hold on Crimea, brought Armenia into its orbit, and dismembered Georgia. From the US point of view, Russia increasingly appears to condemn itself to a dark future of marginalization and poverty (Mead 73). However, according to Russia, history has not ended and has continued to solidify its power at home. It further reminds the US and other hostile Europe powers, that it still bears sharp claws.  Russia to have a close time with China and Iran, and this is increasingly making it difficult for the US to demonstrate its prowess in the world stage. In particular, Russia has succeeded in controlling the oil reserves located in the Persian Gulf, while China continues to gain control over maritime commerce located in the Western Pacific.
China has one of the largest economies, with growing, wide, and deep connections to countries in different parts of the world. Although China is a military and political rival to the US, it is also an important economic partner. In particular, the US depends on China to finance its deficits that it has been experiencing over the law a few decades (Mandelbaum 123). On the other hand, China still depends on the US to purchase a broad range of its products. Russian inferences in the European and US elections, coupled with its aggression in Ukraine, have increased the tension between Russia and the West. Under its immense nuclear power, rebuilt military, permanent membership in the UN Security Council, and vast geography, Russia has the potential of disrupting geopolitical currents in a broad range of areas that are of interest to the US, including the Arctic, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
To address these challenges, realists argue that the presidents of the US and Russia should share the responsibility of preventing a nuclear catastrophe. Further, both Moscow and Washington should create a climate of dialogue, cooperating when they can, and manage their differences. In the recent past, Donald Trump and Putin have demonstrated their willingness to work together.  Presidential candidates in the US should ensure that one of the top priorities after being elected is to mitigate the short-term dangers of confrontation. Both Republicans and Democrats should understand that engagement with Russia is essential to keeping Americans safe (Muniz and Nunn 154). US commanders and their Russian counterparts should regularly speak to prevent nuclear disasters.
Increased communication between the US and Russia can help reduce tension and hatred. The US Congress should pass legislation that will allow the Russian military to cooperate with the US military. Further both democrats and republicans should be aware that by virtue of its immense nuclear power, powerful army, permanent membership in the UN Security Council, and vast geography, Russia has the potential of disrupting geopolitical currents in a broad range of areas that are of interest to the US such as  the Arctic, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Russia and the US should start planning now to ensure that the deadly confrontations do not take place, including preventing any nuclear war. Moreover, the Congress should Trump and his successors the flexibility to lift a broad range of sanctions that have been imposed on Russia if they feel that they have attained their purpose of curtailing or changing the aggressive behavior of Russia (Muniz and Nunn 156).
Leaders in Europe and the US should engage Russia with a clear-eyed mindful and understanding of the differences that exist between Russia and the West. Bipartisan leadership from Congress can play a critical in diffusing the tension between the US and Russia, including avoiding any military confrontation between the two countries. Senate and House leaders, including the Senate Majority Leader and House Speaker, should establish a liaison group aimed at diffusing the tension between the US and Russia and addressing nuclear dangers(Muniz and Nunn 157). Both Putin and Trump should follow on their promise to dialogue on nuclear threats and strategic stability at a meeting held in Helsinki in 2018. In other words, the two leaders should continue to embrace dialogue and live up to their promise of ensuring that there is a global peace devoid of nuclear war. The meeting between Putin and Trump should be expanded to encompass senior military officials and other government officials from both countries.
Conclusively, realists argue that Russia, Iran, and China never bought into the geopolitical settlement following the collapse of the Cold War. They further say that the US should restart a crisis management dialogue that includes nuclear commanders to increase trust and transparency between Russia and the US. The US and Russia should exchange more information regarding the operations and capabilities of each side to ensure that prompt-strike systems do not erode strategy stability. The US should understand that the sun of history in countries such as Russia, Iran, and China still shines. Moreover, the US should know that their publics are shaped differently and that their institutions work differently. 
Works Cited

Mandelbaum, Michael. The new containment: Handling Russia, China, and Iran. Foreign Affairs (2019): 123-131.
Mead, Walter Russell. The return of geopolitics. Foreign Affairs 93.3 (2014): 69-79.
Moniz, Ernest J, and Sam Nunn. The return of doomsday: The new nuclear arms race-and how Washington and Moscow can stop it. Foreign Affairs (2019): 150-161.