, Volume 89, Number 5

Dr Andrew Monaghan
Former Senior Research Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme

Since the middle of the last decade the Russian leadership has conducted a strategic overhaul, publishing a cascade of new concepts, strategies and doctrines that attempt to frame plans in a long-term horizon to 2020 and beyond. Following Vladimir Putin's re-election in 2012, a series of presidential instructions and new plans have been published to update this overhaul.

This article examines this commitment to strategic planning and whether it is tantamount to a grand strategy. The article explores the various understandings of Russian strategy in the existing literature, before sketching a definition of grand strategy.

It suggests that Moscow has shaped a broad horizon and made some progress towards achieving the goals it has set out. But a grand strategy is more than formulating plans; it is also the coordination of relevant organizations and resources - 'conducting the orchestra' - to execute effectively the plans.

The article thus concludes by exploring the difficulties Moscow faces: on the one hand, an evolving and competitive international context and, on the other, a domestic context burdened by a heavy inheritance from the USSR and contemporary Russian problems. Taken all together, these suggest that although Moscow is committed to strategic planning, a grand strategy remains a work in progress.

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