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HomeThe Journal of Power Institutions...Issue 9Book Reviews - General (4 titles)Natalia Danilova, Armiia i Obshch...

Book Reviews - General (4 titles)

Natalia Danilova, Armiia i Obshchestvo : Printsipy Vzaimodeistviia

Sankt-Petersburg, Norma, 2007, 343 s.
Dale R. Herspring
Bibliographical reference

Natalia Danilova, Armiia i Obshchestvo: Printsipy Vzaimodeistviia, Sankt-Petersburg, Norma, 2007, 343 s.

Index terms


Russia, Western Europe

Research Fields:

Political Science, Sociology
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1For many years, scholars in the West have proceeded under the assumption that very little serious work has been done in Russia on civil-military relations. For example, writing in 2006 Olga Filippova commented,

  • 1  Olga Filippova, “Civil-Military Relations: the Comparative Analysis of Russian and Foreign Approac (...)

“Russian authors mainly stress the problem of civilian control of the military. Civilian control is defined not only in the narrow sense, as a control of the government over the military and this understanding implies an elected head of the military. So civil-military relations are mainly understood as an interaction between government and the military, while in foreign studies this term has a broader meaning, for example, the interaction between the whole society and the military ».1

  • 2 Moskva, Natsional’nyy Institut imeni Ekateriny Velikoy, 1997.

2Fortunately, Ms. Filippova is mistaken. Recently, I was lucky to obtain a book published in 1997 by Professors S. S. Solov’ev and I. V. Obraztsov entitled, Rossiiskaia Armiia: Ot Afganistana do Chechnii2. This an extremely important book – one of critical interest to any scholar interested in sociology of the military as it applies to Russia. It includes an overview of the evolution of military sociology of the military as well as the major authors in the field. It also includes a chapter entitled, “Lessons from Afghanistan and Chechnya” as well as others that provide a penetrating and indispensable analysis of the attitudes of members of the Russian military.

  • 3  The problem is not only with books on the Russian military. The author of a very interesting, inde (...)

3Now comes the book by Professor Danilova. My first reaction to this book as well as the Solov’evs and Obraztsov work was to wonder how many other books and articles by Russians are “out there”, works that those of us who specialize in Russian civil-military relations do not know about. It would be nice if there was a way for us in the West to know when such invaluable studies are published. I only learned about the Solov’ev and Obraztsov book because the authors were kind enough to send me a copy, and I learned about the Danilova because Dr. Sieca-Kozlowski, having noticed it in Moscow, was kind enough to send me a copy to review. We can and should do better in making such works (and that includes those published in the West) available to scholars in the East and the West. At least then, we could begin a serious dialogue with our Russian colleagues in an effort to understand what unites us and what separates us when it comes to comparing civil-military relations in Russia and the rest of the world3.

4My task today, however, is to take a closer look at the Danilova book. The book is not intended as a major analysis of civil-military relations in Russia or of the Army itself as is the case with the Solov’ev and Obraztsov book. Instead, it is primarily a text book, the goal of which is to teach the student how to analyze civil-military relations in Russia and the EC. It explains the utility of three of the major theoretical approaches utilized in the West (primarily Samuel Huntington, Morris Janowitz, and Peter Feaver). The end goal is to provide an understanding of “classic and current approaches in the sphere of civil-military relations”. (p. 294). For those who teach this topic, it includes a very useful section in the back of the book that contains questions on each chapter for students to answer.

5The author is not content to just look at civil-military relation theories, however. In addition, she devotes a chapter to trying to understand the basic transformation that is taking place internationally in national security affairs. That includes looking at the factors motivating changes in international security and in the process of military reform in Europe. She also takes a look at the situation in the Soviet Union and Russia, but it is almost exclusively through the eyes of Western analysts. In this sense, the book would have been much more interesting had it been focused directly on Russian civil-military relations, instead of discussing what Western analysts thought of them.

6While one could argue that the fact that this book failed to include Russian sources undercuts its utility – I disagree. This book represents a new approach to understanding civil-military relations in Russia. Assuming it becomes an important text book, I suspect that our ability to deal with Russians in discussions of civil-military relations will increase. If nothing else, Russians who have read this book will understand where scholars in the West are coming from, and that in itself will improve the chances for meaningful discussions. Given the problems we have experienced in the past in talking to Russians on this topic, that is not a minor achievement. Ms. Danilova is to be commended for putting this book together. It clearly marks a step forward from the kind of world described by Ms. Filippova.

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1  Olga Filippova, “Civil-Military Relations: the Comparative Analysis of Russian and Foreign Approaches to the Issue,” Post-Soviet Armies Newsletter, Vol 5, 2006, Issue 2,

2 Moskva, Natsional’nyy Institut imeni Ekateriny Velikoy, 1997.

3  The problem is not only with books on the Russian military. The author of a very interesting, indeed, exciting book on the Polish military sent me a copy of his work which is published in English, Wlodzimierz Chojnacki, Army Professionalization in Sociological Studies, Warszawa, National Defense University, 2008.

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Electronic reference

Dale R. Herspring, “Natalia Danilova, Armiia i Obshchestvo : Printsipy Vzaimodeistviia”The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies [Online], Issue 9 | 2009, Online since 04 March 2009, connection on 07 July 2022. URL:; DOI:

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About the author

Dale R. Herspring

Kansas State University

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