• Articles,  National Defense University

    Deep Scars on the Russia Soul

    Russia’s geography is primarily terrestrial, without significant warm water access to large bodies of water or strategic waterways. This factor drove some of its earliest Czarist-era and Soviet expansionist behaviors. The melting Arctic ice, with the gradual opening of the Northern Sea Route, was not part of this earlier calculus. Ever since the Mongols erupted out of Asia in the 1200s and overran much of the west, including slaughtering and enslaving medieval Rus, the site of present-day Kyiv, the Russians have been in an existential, land-centric wedge beset by threats from every quarter. This was brought about, in part, by its own expansion that, by the late 1500s, had tenuously…