chapter  3
16 Pages

The Soviet legacy in Russian security policy

WithMark Kramer

This chapter briefly reviews the sundry aspects of the Soviet legacy, both formal and informal. Russian foreign and security policy has departed from Soviet policy in numerous ways, but a good deal of continuity has also been evident. Many of the senior and mid-ranking Russian foreign policy officials, nearly all of the highest-ranking Russian military and intelligence officers, and a sizeable number of Russian political leaders got their start in public life during the Soviet era. The preservation of the Soviet nuclear weapons legacy ensured that Russia remained high on the US security agenda and a key global actor throughout the post-Soviet era, but the impact of the legacy did not always benefit Russian foreign policy. The magnitude of Russia’s departure from Soviet foreign policy will ultimately depend in part on international events and trends that are not fully within Russia’s control.