Empire by Other Means: Russia’s Strategy for the 21st Century

Since Vladimir Putin became president of Russia in 2000, his first of three terms so far, the nation has steadfastly pursued a seven-part strategy for gaining influence over former Soviet republics and preventing them from moving into the more liberal sphere of the West. In her book “Beyond Crimea: The New Russian Empire”, Agnia Grigas describes the pattern, one most successfully employed in Ukraine: “This trajectory begins with soft power and cycles through humanitarian policies and compatriot policies, which create institutions, laws and policies to co-opt the Russian diaspora. This proceeds to information warfare; ‘passportization,’ which hands out Russian citizenship and passports to compatriots abroad; calls for compatriot protection, which can eventually result in annexation of territories.” The strategy buoyed by a continuous stream of propaganda sets out to portray ethnic Russians as victims who fear for loss of their rights, which then leads to internal polarization and unending conflicts. The Kremlin wins control over its neighbors’ domestic and foreign policies without the need for direct territorial acquisition. – YaleGlobal