Van Herpen asserts in a timely new book, Putin’s Wars, that the Russian leader deliberately launched two wars after coming to power in 1999, first in Chechnya and then in Georgia, and that his relative success in both led directly to his current drive to dismember Ukraine. ... Drawing on a wide variety of Russian sources, Van Herpen documents how Russia’s FSB intelligence agency, under Putin’s direction, staged a series of explosions directed against civilian targets in Moscow and other cities. He notes that no Chechen has ever been put on trial for the bombings of apartment buildings, and the parliamentary commission set up to investigate the attacks had to stop its work because of a lack of cooperation from the Russian government.
(McClatchy News Bureau
)Van Herpen’s work is incisive: He persuasively argues that the Russian Federation is both a post-imperial state and a pre-imperial state that seeks to expand its control over much of the former Soviet empire. Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s decision in late November 2013 not to sign an association accord with the European Union may soon test that thesis—if Russia and the EU continue to battle it out for predominant political-economic influence over the country, unable to reach a compromise.
(Hall Gardner, author of NATO Expansion and US Strategy in Asia)
About the Author
Marcel H. Van Herpen is director of the Cicero Foundation, a think tank based in Maastricht and Paris. He specializes in defense and security developments in Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union. His books include Putinism: The Slow Rise of a Radical Right Regime in Russia.