Moscow Rules: What Drives Russia to Confront the West

Keir Giles surveys Russia’s history and the present day to explain why its current leadership feels it has no choice but to challenge and attack the West. Recognising and accepting that this will not change in the near future will help the West find a way of dealing with Russia without risking a deeper conflict.

Book Published 29 January 2019 Updated 29 March 2023
Moscow Rules

This book is for anyone that cannot understand why Russia and its leaders behave as they do.

The relationship between Russia and the West is once again deep in crisis. A major reason is that Western leaders have too often believed or hoped that Russia sees the world as they do — but things look very different from Moscow. This book shows that efforts at engagement with Russia that do not take this into account are a key reason for repeated disappointment and crisis.

In confronting the West, Russia is implementing strategic and doctrinal approaches that have been consistent for centuries. The roots of current Russian behaviour and demands can be traced not just to the Soviet era, but back into Tsarist foreign and domestic policy, and further to the structure and rules of Russian society. But this also gives the US and the West pointers for how to behave — and how not to — in order to manage the challenge of Russia effectively, based on past experience of both successful and unsuccessful engagement with Moscow.

The book recognizes the reality of confrontation and provides an essential introduction to grasping why Russia sees it as inevitable. Consequently, it offers a basis for building a less crisis-prone relationship with Russia.

This book is part of the Insights series.

Praise for Moscow Rules

My only regret is that I did not have this book 35 years ago

Toomas Ilves, former President of Estonia

Should be required reading for all who deal with Western policy towards Russia

Roderic Lyne, former British Ambassador to Moscow

About the author

Keir Giles is a senior consulting fellow at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs. He also works with the Conflict Studies Research Centre (CSRC), a group of subject matter experts in Eurasian security with a particular focus on the wide range of security challenges coming from Russia.