Cover Osteuropa 10-12/2018

In Osteuropa 10-12/2018

Putin as supreme commander?
Civilian-military relations in Russia

Aleksandr Gol’c

Deutsche Fassung


Russia’s army is considered to be a pure instrument of the state leadership. However, the situation is not as clear-cut. While in the Soviet Union, the army was subject to civilian control, under Gorbachev, the generals felt that they were being discredited and distanced themselves from politics. During the 1990s, the army played a very significant role in politics, but due to its deep mistrust towards politicians of all political persuasions it refrained – aside from October 1993 – from any involvement in the battle for power between the President and his opponents. Only Putin succeeded in again assigning to the army the subordinate role that it had held during the Soviet era. However, it would be wrong to assume that the army blindly follows the orders of the civilian state leadership. With the militarisation of society implemented by Putin in order to increase his legitimacy, inclination towards insubordinate reactions among the generals has also increased.

(Osteuropa 10-12/2018, pp. 201–214)