The Dominion of the Bear: the Kremlin's Strategy in the Southern Tier

Date of Graduation

Spring 2004


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Jack Crouch


The Soviet strategy for penetrating and subverting Afghanistan's political, economic, and military structures exemplifies a concerted Moscow effort to control the weak bordering states to the South. The patience and flexibility of the strategy, marked by flashes of opportunism, illustrates a long-term Soviet effort to expand its hegemony and destabilize regional rivals. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia adapted this strategy for managing the newly independent states of the Southern Tier. The Kremlin's strategy relies upon isolating the bordering state from alternative sources of support, destabilizing the political structures forcing the bordering state's governmen to seek Russian aid, and finally integrating political, economic, and military structures of the state to expand Moscow's regional hegemony. This strategy is visible in the Russian effort to manipulate the ethnic conflicts, energy development, and export pipelines in Georgia and Azerbaijan. However, Western interest in the region's energy resources and the War on Terrorism present challenges to the Russian strategy.


Russia, Caucasus, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Soviet Union

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Damon J. Gabriel