From Garrison State to Nation-State: Political Power and the Russian Military under Gorbachev and Yeltsin


Political Science and International Affairs

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Why has the military not intervened in the post-communist political arena since the advent of democracy in Russia? Do lowered levels of professionalism actually lead to higher levels of intervention? Through a systematic exploration of professionalism within the Russian military, this study addresses these important questions. Moran suggests that by examining the notion of subjective fragmentation, both Gorbachev and Yeltsin utilized a highly effective, yet potentially troublesome, form of civil-military control. Findings that overall levels of praetorian behavior on the part of the Russian military have declined in this period, in spite of declining levels of military professionalism, challenge one of the most basic theoretical assumptions of civil-military relations.

Since 1991, post-communist Russia has exhibited all of the classic indicators of a society ripe for a military takeover. Not only have institutional interests of the Russian officer corps been gravely threatened, but surveys conducted within it have found a general lack of sympathy for democratic values. Furthermore, Russia's weak civil society is accompanied by high levels of corruption, rampant crime, secessionist movements, a significant terrorist threat, and a general disrespect for the rule of law. Even further augmenting the chances of a military coup d'^D'etat, public opinion polls of civilians have found that the military is one of the most trusted institutions in the country—so trusted, in fact, that many Russian citizens have expressed support for a military takeover. Moran explains why the military has not capitalized on these factors.

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