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Harnessing protest potential: Russian strategic culture and the coloured revolutions: Russian strategic culture and the colored revolutions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-563
Number of pages23
JournalContemporary Security Policy
Issue number4
Early online date2 May 2020
Accepted/In press15 Apr 2020
E-pub ahead of print2 May 2020
Published1 Oct 2020

King's Authors


The perceived threat posed to Russia from so-called colored revolutions–popular uprisings attributed by Moscow to malign sponsorship by external forces–has become a central theme in Russian security discourse. This article analyses how colored revolutions came to be characterized as a specific threat to national security and how they continue to shape Russian thinking about the changing character of conflict. It explores Russian perceptions of the threat from colored revolutions, using the concept of strategic culture as a framework to analyze these perceptions through an analysis of the Russian military theoretical literature and strategic documents. The article establishes that concerns about non-military means of destabilization reflect continuities in Russian strategic assumptions about adversaries and how they seek to achieve their national objectives. It also reveals the perpetuation of specific narratives about the country’s vulnerability to foreign interference.

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