Summary Report: ‘Russian Views on the Changing Character of War’

On the 25th September, the Changing Character of War Centre (CCW) was pleased to host the conference ‘Russian Views on the Changing Character of War’ in the Harold Lee room at Pembroke College. Chaired by Dr Andrew Monaghan, CCW’s newly appointed Director of Research on Russia and North European Defence and Security, this inaugural event brought together leading subject matter specialists from academia, the private sector, public policy and the military to facilitate a detailed discussion about the evolution of Russian national security thinking.

The discussion focused first on the relationship between economics and Russian national security, examining ways in which Moscow is tailoring the economy to be more robust and efficient. This included an in-depth analysis of the importance of security and sovereignty in the Russian economy, and the crucial relationship between the energy sector and Russian national security, particularly because Moscow sees increasing energy competition as a strategic threat. The discussion then turned to explore evolving military issues in Russia, including how the Russian leadership is thinking about and preparing for possible future wars. This included discussion of Russia’s new state armaments programme between 2018 and 2025, and assessment of the debates over the nature of the threat facing Russia and to what kind of war this might lead. These presentations inspired many questions and a rich debate, and set the stage for future discussions among a consolidated network of experts, both at CCW and beyond.