CCW's Russia Reading List

Note to readers

This reading list is necessarily selective. It includes key texts, classic works, and work that illuminates all important historical background, rather than merely the most recently published work. It is a “live” document, and will be amended as appropriate.
There are currently large gaps in the literature, particularly in the study of the Russian armed forces and – even more so – the Russian security and intelligence services. Some older work is therefore included that will hopefully be useful for providing important background.
This reading list is intended to be as accessible as possible. All the works are in English. The articles are easily available to download for free (without subscription), and the books are in print and available to buy online, mostly at a decent price. While it is certainly worth consulting a number of other journals, including the Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Europe-Asia Studies, The Journal of Post-Soviet Affairs, access to these publications may require subscription. Readers are also encouraged to make use of the Russian military studies archive at the Defence Academy of the UK (
Finally, readers are encouraged to explore Russian sources that are often available in English. An essential text is the book Kolesnikov, A. et al (eds) First Person: an Astonishingly Frank Self Portrait by Russia’s President (Publicaffairs, 2000), a translation of a series of interviews with Putin published when he first came to power. The websites of the Presidential Administration ( and Foreign Ministry ( have useful English language pages, and post speeches, strategies, doctrines, and concepts – often translated into English. It is worth regularly monitoring these sites. The Russia Studies series, edited by Dr. Andrew Monaghan and published by the NATO Defence College, provides English language reviews of Russian language texts, and is available for free download at:
The English language pages of websites of various Russian think tanks and consultancies offer useful insight into the debates underway in Russia. These include Russia in Global Affairs (, the Russian International Affairs Council (, the Valdai International Discussion Club (, Minchenko Consulting ( and the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (

- Dr Andrew Monaghan, Director of Research on Russia & Northern European Defence and Security


Click here to download the PDF version of the Russia Reading list

Russia Reading List: 

  • Core Reading

  • Essential Reading

    (i) Armed forces, Intelligence & Security

    (ii) Russian Foreign Policy

    (iii) Domestic Politics & Internal Affairs

    (iv) Economy & Energy

  • Recommended Background Reading



    Soviet Strategy

    Military Thinking  

  • UK-Russia relations

Core Reading

Bartles, C. “Getting Gerasimov Right”, Military Review, January-February 2016

Connolly, R. “Towards Self Sufficiency? Economics as a Dimension of Russian Security and the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation to 2020”, NATO Defence College, July 2016,

Cooper, J. If War Comes Tomorrow, Whitehall Report, 4-16, RUSI: August 2016,

Covington, S. “The Culture of Strategic Thought Behind Russia’s Modern Approaches to Warfare”, Belfer Center Report, October 2016,

Hingley, R. The Russian Mind. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1977.

Kofman, M. “The Seven Deadly Sins of Russia Analysis”, War on the Rocks, 23 December 2015,

Monaghan, A. Power in Modern Russia: Strategy and Mobilisation. Manchester: MUP, 2017.

Norberg, J. Training to Fight. Russia’s Military Exercises, 2011-2014. Stockholm: FOI, 2015.

Persson, G. (ed) Russian Military Capability in a Ten-Year Perspective – 2016. Stockholm, FOI: 2016.

Svechin, A. Strategy. Minneapolis: East View Information Services, 2004.

Thomas, T. Thinking Like A Russian Officer: Basic Factors and Contemporary Thinking on the Nature of War, FMSO Paper, 2016,

Essential reading

Armed forces, Intelligence and Security

Adamsky, D. Cross-Domain Coercion: the Current Russian Art of Strategy. Paris: IFRI, November 2015.

Bennett, G. The SVR – Russia’s Intelligence Service. C103, Camberley, CSRC: March 2000.

Bennett, G. The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. C102, Camberley, CSRC: 2000.

Bennett, G. The Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information. Camberley: CSRC, 2000.

Barabanov, M. (ed.) Russia’s New Army. Moscow: CAST, 2011.

Cooper, J. Russian Military Expenditure: Data, Analysis and Issues. Stockholm: FOI, September 2013.

Gareev, M. If War Comes Tomorrow. The Contours of Future Armed Conflict. London: Routledge, 1998.

Giles, K. Russia’s ‘New’ Tools for Confronting the West. Continuity and Innovation in Moscow’s Exercise of Power, Chatham House Research Paper, March 2016,

Giles, K. Handbook of Russian Information Warfare, Fellowship Monograph 9, Rome: NDC, 2016. 

Howard, C. & R. Pukhov (eds), Brothers Armed. Military Aspects of the Crisis in Ukraine. Minneapolis: East View Press, second edition, 2015.

Kofman, M. “A Comparative Guide to Russia’s Use of Force: Measure Twice, Invade Once”, War on the Rocks, 16 February 2017,

Monaghan, A. “Putin’s Ways of War: Putting the War into Hybrid Warfare”, Parameters, Vol.45, No.4, Winter 2015-2016.

Persson, G. The War of the Future: A Conceptual Framework and Practical Conclusions. Essays on Strategic Thought. Russia Studies Series, 03/17, Rome: NDC, 2017.

Podvig, P. (ed.) Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. London: MIT Press, 2001.

Thomas, T. Recasting the Red Star. Russia Forges Tradition and Technology Through Toughness, Fort Leavenworth: FMSO, 2011.

Thomas, T. Russian Military Strategy. Impacting 21st Century Reform and Geopolitics. Fort Leavenworth: FMSO, 2015.

Thomas, T. Kremlin Kontrol. Russia’s Political-Military reality. FMSO: 2017.


Russian Foreign Policy

HØnneland, G. Russia and the Arctic: Environment, Identity and Foreign Policy. London: IB Tauris, 2016.

Legvold, R. (Ed.) Russian Foreign Policy in the Twenty First Century and the Shadow of the Past. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.

Legvold, R. Return to Cold War. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2016.

Stent, A. The Limits of Partnership. US-Russia relations in the Twenty First Century. Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2014.

Tsygankov, A. Russia’s Foreign Policy. Change and Continuity in National Identity. Plymouth: Rowman and Littlefield, 2nd Edition, 2010.


Russian Domestic Politics and Internal Affairs:

Ledeneva, A. Can Russia Modernise? Sistema, Power Networks and Informal Governance. Cambridge, CUP, 2013.

Monaghan, A. The New Politics of Russia. Interpreting Change. Manchester: MUP, 2016.

Robertson, G. The Politics of Protest in Hybrid Regimes: Managing Dissent in Post-Communist Russia. Cambridge: CUP, 2010.

Sakwa, R. The Crisis of Russian Democracy. The Dual State, Factionalism, and the Medvedev Succession. Cambridge, CUP, 2011.

Sakwa, R. Putin Redux. Power and Contradiction in Contemporary Russia. London: Routledge, 2014.

White, S. et al, (eds) Developments in Russian Politics 8. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014.


Economy and Energy:

Connolly, R. Troubled Times: Stagnation, Sanctions and the Prospect for Economic Reform in Russia, Chatham House Research Paper, February 2015,

Gaddy, C. Bear Traps on Russia’s Road to Modernisation. London: Routledge, 2013.

Gustafson, T. Wheel of Fortune. The Battle for Oil and Power in Russia. Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2012.

Henderson, J. & A. Ferguson, International Partnership in Russia. Conclusions from the Oil and Gas Industry. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014.

Mehdiyeva, N. “When Sanctions Bite: Global Export Leadership in a Competitive World and Russia’s Energy Strategy to 2035”, Russia Studies, Rome: NATO Defence College, 2017. 

Sutela, P. The Political Economy of Putin’s Russia. London: Routledge, 2012.

Recommended Background Reading – History, Geography, Soviet Strategy and Military Thinking

Barnes, I. Restless Empire. A Historical Atlas of Russia, London: Belknap, 2015.

Braithwaite, R. Afghantsy. The Russians in Afghanistan, 1979-1989. Oxford: OUP, 2011.

Crankshaw, E. Russia and the Russians. London: MacMillan and son, 1947.

Crankshaw, E. Putting up with the Russians. London: Viking, 1984.

Dick, C. From Defeat to Victory. The Eastern Front, Summer 1944. Decisive and Indecisive Military Operations, Volume 2. Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2016.

Donnelly, C. Red Banner. The Soviet Military System in Peace and War. London: Jane’s Information Group, 1988.

Erickson, J. The Road to Stalingrad. Stalin’s War with Germany, Volume 1. London: Phoenix Giant, 1998.

Erickson, J. The Road to Berlin. Stalin’s War with Germany, Volume 2. London: Phoenix Giant, 1996.

Fitzpatrick, S. On Stalin’s Team. The Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics. Princeton: PUP, 2015.

Fuller, W. Strategy and Power in Russia, 1600-1914. New York: The Free Press, 1992.

Garthoff, R. Soviet Leaders and Intelligence. Assessing the American Adversary. Washington, D.C., 2015.

Glantz, D. Soviet Military Operational Art. In Pursuit of Deep Battle. Abingdon: Frank Cass, 1991.

Glantz, D. Soviet Military Deception in the Second World War. Abingdon: Frank Cass, 1989

Glantz, D. The Soviet Conduct of Tactical Manoeuver. Abingdon: Frank Cass, 1991.

Glantz, D. The Military Strategy of the Soviet Union. A History. Abingdon: Frank Cass, 1992.

LeDonne, J. P. The Grand Strategy of the Russian Empire, 1650-1831. Oxford: OUP, 2004.

Lieven, D. Towards the Flame. Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia. London: Allen Lane, 2015.

MackIntosh, M. Juggernaut. A History of Soviet Armed Forces. London: Secker and Warburg, 1967.

Odom, W. The Collapse of the Soviet Military. Yale: Yale University Press, 2000.

Poe, M. The Russian Moment in World History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.

Triandafilov, V. K. The Nature of the Operations of Modern Armies. (edited by Kipp, J.) London: Routledge, 1994.

Vigor, P.H. “Doubts and Difficulties of a Would-be Soviet Attacker”, RUSI Journal, Vol.125, No.2, 1980,

Vigor, P.H. Soviet Blitzkrieg Theory. London: Palgrave MacMillan, 1984.

Vigor, P.H. The Soviet View of War, Peace and Neutrality. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1975.

UK-Russia relations

Lain, S. & A. Kortunov, Defining Dialogue: How to Manage UK-Russia Security Relations, RUSI-RIAC Track II Bilateral Conference Report, March 2017.

The UK’s Relations with Russia, House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, 7th Report of Session 2016-2017, HC 120, March 2017.

Monaghan, A. “Moscow Will See the SDSR as a Challenge”, Chatham House Expert Comment, December 2015,

UK-Russia Relations project (2 edited volumes)

A Troubled Relationship

Part I – Conflict Studies Research Centre, May 2007,

Part II – NATO Defence College, August 2009,