The Russian Approach to Military Intervention and the Syria Crisis

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A lecture by Dr Roy Allison, University Lecturer in the International Relations of Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia, and Fellow of St Antony's College, University of Oxford.Dr Roy Allison

Russia has consistently and trenchantly criticised Western-led military interventions, with the partial exception of Afghanistan in 2001, yet it has excused its own interventions in conflicts with nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). As a major power and vocal UN Security Council member, Russia has tried to influence legal and normative understandings on the use of force. This appears in President Putin's fixation on 'sovereignty', the primacy of UN Charter principles and opposition to any externally promoted regime change.

In his lecture, Dr Allison explained how this stance has been intended not just to constrain American power. Over many years, Putin's approach to intervention has reflected his preoccupation with Russian domestic state order and political structure as well as a sense of entitlement in the CIS region. In the Syria crisis, Moscow has some limited strategic ambitions. Despite Russia being increasingly nervous about transnational Islamist networks, Dr Allison discussed why President Putin has been focused principally on blocking the overthrow of yet another authoritarian state with potential implications for his own domestic political standing.

Dr Roy Allison gained his doctorate at Oxford University in 1983, specialising in Soviet foreign policy. He taught and published on Soviet and post-Soviet international security policies at the universities of Oxford, Southampton and Birmingham. For thirteen years, he developed and directed research projects as Head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House (1993-2005). After a period as a Reader in International Relations at the London School of Economics, he rejoined the University of Oxford in 2011. He has written, co-authored and edited ten books on the security, foreign policy and international relations of the USSR, Russia and other Eurasian states. He recently published 'Russia, the West and Military Intervention' (Oxford University Press, May 2013) and 'Russia and Syria: Explaining Alignment with a Regime in Crisis' (International Affairs, July 2013).

Dr Allison will be on hand to sign copies of his latest book entitled 'Russia, the West and Military Intervention', which will be on sale.

An optional £10 sandwich lunch shall be available from 1215.

This event is open to all RUSI members. To become a member, please click here.

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