Russian threat perceptions and the ghost of Barbarossa: Soviet shadows and new military uncertainties

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Russian military threat perceptions are influenced, although not dominated, by the memory of Operation Barbarossa in World War II and its catastrophic effects on the Soviet Union. Since the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union, NATO membership has almost doubled, and its territorial reach eastward creates both threats and opportunities for Russian military planners. Russia's new generation or gray area warfare uses military forces as part of larger spectrum of instruments of influence, including political, economic, social and cyber capabilities. The Russian regime fears for its survival, not at the hands of an unprompted invasion by NATO, but based on domestic discontent (allegedly) fueled by American and allied NATO disinformation and subversion. As well, the "correlation of forces" on Russia's western front, including both nuclear and conventional weapons, is a matter of historical and continuing concern to its General Staff and political leadership. Regarding its western borders, Russia's military has less space to trade for time than did its Soviet predecessors faced with the possibility of imminent invasion. Therefore, an outbreak of conventional war that included reciprocal attacks on NATO and Russian assets by long range conventional weapons could easily escalate into a nuclear exchange.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWorld War II
Subtitle of host publicationBackground, Aftermath and Impact
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9781536195019
ISBN (Print)9781536194418
StatePublished - Apr 7 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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