'Russia's Views on and Adaptation to the Changing Character of War' by Dr Katarzyna Zysk

  • Seminar Room G Manor Road Building OX1 3UQ

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50. 

The Russian military leadership has argued that contemporary warfare has altered significantly in recent years; wars are not even declared, but once they occur, they do not unfold in the way we are accustomed to. Moreover, they aim at the state’s entire capacity and can no longer be deterred or defended against by nuclear and conventional weapons only. Hence, a use of a full spectrum of state resources, merging military (nuclear, strategic non-nuclear and conventional) and non-military resources (e.g. cyber and anti-space weapons, innovative technologies and economic levers, irregular and paramilitary forces – to name just a few) feature prominently in what is often called in the Russian strategic community the‘New Generation War’. After a brief historic overview, this presentation examines the current intellectual debates in Russia on what is seen as shifting ways and means to achieve objectives of war. It addresses a number of important questions that the evolving Russian understanding and approach raises: How does it influence the conceptual evolution of Russia’s security policy? What is the impact on the physical transformation of the armed forces? And how does it affect the distribution of power within the overall structure of Russian security and defence policy making?

 Dr Katarzyna Zysk is an Associate Professor at the Norwegian Defence University College – the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies in Oslo, a position she has held since 2007. In the academic year 2016–17, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University, and currently she is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Changing Character of War Programme at the University of Oxford. She is also a member of the Hoover Institution’s Arctic Security Initiative at Stanford University and was a Research Fellow (resident and non-resident) at the US Naval War College – Center for Naval Warfare Studies, where she also cooperated closely with the War Gaming Department. In 2016, she served as an Acting Dean of the Norwegian Defence University College. Dr Zysk has an academic background in international relations and international history. Following her PhD thesis on NATO enlargement (2006), her research and publications have focused on various aspects of security and strategic studies, in particular Russia’s security and defence policies, including military change and modernization of the Russian armed forces, strategic culture, political philosophy, geopolitics in the Arctic, as well as Russia's sea power and maritime security. Currently, she is writing a book about Russia’s military strategy.