Russian security strategy and the geopolitics of Eurasia
This chapter explores the ways in which the geopolitics of Eurasia – the influence of the geographical location and features of states on the politics of the region – has helped shape, but not determine, Russia’s security strategy. Switching Russia’s focus of attention to the southwest, from 1762 Catherine II acquired the steppe grasslands of ‘New Russia’, and following a six-year Russo-Turkish War in 1782, a Russian Black Sea Fleet was established. In response to the ideological and power political challenge of the 1789 French Revolution, the Great Powers pursued a strategy of containment. In what was in effect the first ‘Cold War’ between Russia and the West, the harsh internal suppression of the Polish revolt of 1830–1831 by Nicholas I and his assistance to Austria in its suppression of the 1848 Hungarian revolt, sharpened Western liberal perceptions of Russia as the despotic ‘gendarme of Europe’.