Russia’s Engagement in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings: Growing Geopolitical...

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Author: Bernardo Mariani

In the past decade, Russia has expanded its military, political and diplomatic engagements with conflict-affected states in the post-Soviet space of former USSR nations as well as in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. With direct military interventions and various forms of hard security engagements in countries such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Syria, Libya, Myanmar and the Central African Republic, Russia is intent on projecting power and influence and redefining European and global security.

The majority of this paper was researched and written before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and highlights some of the motivations, policies and practices underpinning Russia’s engagement in conflict-affected countries. It finds that Russia conceptualizes its engagement in conflict and post-conflict settings differently to Western countries, but, to an extent, also from other emergent actors, such as China. The present war in Ukraine highlights Russia’s strategic consideration of the post-Soviet space as a Russian domain that should remain united through security and economic ties and, when necessary, through direct military intervention. In more distant conflict regions, including unstable areas of Africa and the Middle East, Russia’s global political ambitions and its influence on peace and conflict transitions are more opportunistic and tend to exploit the flaws and limitations of Western interventions.

About the Series: The Global Transitions Series looks at fragmentations in the global order and how these impact peace and transition settlements. It explores why and how different third-party actors – state, intergovernmental, and non-governmental – intervene in conflicts, and how they see themselves contributing to reduction of conflict and risks of conflict relapse. The series critically assesses the growth and diversification of global and regional responses to contemporary conflicts. It also asks how local actors are navigating this multiplicity of mediators and peacebuilders and how this is shaping conflict outcomes and post-conflict governance. Explore the full series.