Understanding Russia through History

Recent events in Crimea, Eastern Ukraine and Syria have brought Russia’s increasingly assertive foreign policy and burgeoning military power into sharp relief. Such shows of force surprised those in the West who thought that a new, pacific and friendly Russia would emerge from the former Soviet Union. That has never been Russia’s way as a major world power. This monograph argues that Vladimir Putin’s Russia has done no more than act in an historically consistent and largely predictable manner. Specifically, it seeks to explain why possession of Sevastopol – the home of the Black Sea Fleet for more than 200 years – provides Russia with considerable geostrategic advantage, one that is being exploited today in support of her current operations in Syria.