Soon after Russia began the invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, it became apparent that the Putin regime would not achieve its goals and would pay and enormous price for the war. Did the Putin regime simply miscalculate or did it also deliberately take risks? TraCe research associate Dr Jons J. Driedger discusses the latter thesis in his recent and freely available article “Risk acceptance and offensive war: The case of Russia under the Putin regime“.
Developing a generalizable framework, this article analyzes the development of Russian risk acceptance in offensive war initiation. Drawing on policy documents, speeches, expert literature, and various interviews with Russian, Ukrainian, and Western policymakers, the article finds that risk acceptance has continuously risen since the mid-2000s and significantly influenced Russia’s military operations against Georgia in 2008, Crimea in 2014, the Donbass in 2014, and against Ukraine as a whole in 2022, even though the 2022 invasion still evinces some risk aversion.