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OCRU 2055 - Russian Strategic Thought: from “Moscow third Rome” to Hybrid Warfare

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


Basic knowledge about Russian political, cultural, social history from Middle ages to today. A background in Russian political culture is a plus.

Course Description

The course is a deep dive into Russia strategic thinking, defined as ideas shared and expressed by the stakeholders of the strategic decision-making process, shaping perceptions of national interest, threats and challenges, the notion of national security, as well as country's approach to diplomacy and warfare. The course will offer a distinct perspective on institutional, normative and cultural foundations of Russian strategic doctrine, by exploring culturally-determined and long-established contexts of strategic thought. It is structured around three levels of analysis: 1)Institutional, i.e. the identification of the main actors and institutions taking part in creating Russian strategic doctrine 2)Normative, focusing on key documents and discourse that explicitly define Russian strategy 3)Meta-analysis, based on examination of historic, philosophical or literary ideas that, at different moments in history, come to create contemporary Russian strategic thinking.


PERRIER, Elena (Chargée d'études)

Pedagogical format

PPT support.

Course validation

Evaluation: - 20%: class participation - 30%: presentation / commented reading - 50%: final paper Students are expected to attend every class session and complete all required readings before each session, to be ready to engage discussions. This course is a lecture class, however I expect the sessions to be highly participatory. Beginning in week three, groups of students (2-3 max) will make a presentation commenting on suggested document (e.g. a foreign policy doctrine document, public opinion poll results, scholarly article, public officials' speech…), supporting the core topic of each course. The updated list of documents will be communicated during the 1st week. Each group will present to the class starting week three. We typically will have at least 45 minutes for the presentation and discussion. The final writing exam will suggest a choice between 2 topics, focusing on one of the aspects of Russian strategic thinking addressed during the course.

Required reading

  • Mendras Marie, Russian politics. The paradox of a weak state, 2. Domestic reforms and Opening to the world, pp. 39-73, Columbia University Press, NY, 2012
  • Jeffrey S. Lantis, Strategic Culture and National Security Policy, International Studies Review, Vol. 4, No. 3 (Autumn, 2002), pp. 87-113