Ask the Author with Professor Emeritus Peter Reddaway

Russia's Domestic Security Wars
September 10, 2018

In his latest publication, Russia's Domestic Security Wars: Putin's Use of Divide and Rule Against His Hardline Allies, Peter Reddaway draws on extensive research to construct a detailed study of Russian President Putin's methods of staying in power. Reviewers herald the book as, "gripping," "brilliant," and, "a must-read." In conjunction with his book launch, Professor Reddaway took the time to discuss research ideas, surprises, and takeaways:

“I was led to this topic by President Putin's chronic instinct for secrecy and deception. He assiduously promotes an image of the ruling Russian elite as being, with rare exceptions, united and harmonious. So I dug into his relations with his support groups and found a very different picture: in fact, he encourages and secretively promotes feuds between them, so that they will use their spare energies on these and not on devising ways to gain influence and limit his power (and ultimately perhaps take his power away from him).

In doing the research, I was most surprised by the intensity of the warfare between the two hardline groups I chose to focus on. They hardly hesitated to murder key supporters of the other side, nor to attack each other viciously in the media.

The key takeaway is that Putin has to resort to such measures because he is much less powerful, and potentially more vulnerable, than he pretends to be.”

Peter Reddaway

Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs