Russian Security and Military Policies Perspectives and Challenges for the Region


On September 04, 2017 the Experts for Security and Global Affairs Association (ESGA) has organized the project’s last debate ”Russian Security and Military Policies Perspectives during Putin’s Last Presidential Term” within the project „Dialogues with Russia for a new generation of experts”. The guest speaker of the event was Mr. Alexander Golts, journalist, deputy editor for website EJ.RU (Yezhenedelny Zhurnal), Moscow, Russian Federation along with Dr. Mark Galeotti, senior researcher at UMV, The Institute of International Relations Prague; coordinator of  Centre for European Security, Prague, Czech Republic. The debate was moderated by Dr. Iulia Joja, a consultant for Euro Atlantic Security and Defence, Bucharest, Romania.

The discussion was focused on the Russian military doctrine and security policy, hybrid war promoted by Russia towards other state and non-state actors, Crimea annexation and military aggression in Eastern Ukraine. Also, during the debate were analyzed some of the possible consequences of the military exercise Zapad-2017, organized in Belarus.

Our first guest, Alexander Golts focused on the following subjects: first, reform of the Russian army. According to him, after the 2008 war in Georgia, the main leaders of the Russian army understood that the capabilities of the army are in a difficult situation. The second subject identified and described the two main advantages and disadvantages of the Russian army. The advantages are the speed of mobilization and the speed of decision making regarding military deployments. For example, the decision to invade Syria was taken in less than 10 minutes, president Putin does not need to consult with anyone.

According to the Russian expert, the army faces a number of challenges one of the most important being the great number of demands, as is usually the case in highly militarised societies. Another problem is the lack of resources – including the decreasing population. Mr. Golts also stressed the importance of talks and confidence-building measures for Russia and the West in the current, rather tense situation that resembles the early 1950s (understood as a lack of rules and enforcement of these rules between Russia and the West).

The second guest, Mark Galeotti made a parallel with the ‘50 at the beginning of the Cold War, when he discussed the behavior of Russia today and the international context. He continued by stressing the fact that there is an imbalance of power between Russia and the West and that president Putin does not have territorial ambitions beyond the ex-URSS and that he mainly wishes to keep the West away from his affairs in Russian domestic politics. Putin sees his policies as a success and will continue to try to weaken the West using an “active mobilization tactic”. This active mobilization means that any part of a society can be co-opted by the propaganda for the interest of the Russian establishment.

About 30 participants, experts, and academia representatives had the opportunity to be actively involved in the debate using the OSM (Open Space Method).

The public was interested in topics such as the Russian propaganda in Romania, the relation between Trump and Putin and the future of the Russia-US relation as well as the broader topic of the future of West-Russia relations. The discussions concluded with the idea that President Putin is using history to legitimate its authoritarian policies – he is also using every opportunity to defame democracy as a political regime.

The debate was also attended by several Romanian News Agency representatives, such as AGERPRES, Revista 22.

Our colleague from Revista 22, Octavian Manea, interviewed Mr. Mark Galeotti. The interview is available online at the following address: Russia is practicing a form of geopolitical guerilla war against the West,


Rusia nu pare să aibă ambiții teritoriale în Europa, dar vrea să o demoralizeze și să o divizeze (expert),–13-55-10

Analist militar rus: Asistăm la un nou Război Rece între Moscova și Occident; viitorul nu arată prea optimist,


Detailed information about ESGA projects is available on the website and Facebook page

The Experts for Security and Global Affairs Association (ESGA) is a Romanian think tank designed as an online platform that will bring together researchers, experts, analysts, journalists, civil society representatives both from Romania and from abroad, specialized in the study of political, socio-economic and security the of the ex-soviet space, Euro-Atlantic area and the Middle East. ESGA is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization and think-tank.

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