Russia's passive army: Rethinking military coups

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Military coups are considered most likely when state political capacity is low and the army's corporate interests are threatened. However, these conditions are also frequently present in situations in which the military remains politically passive, weakening the explanatory power of these propositions. In Russia, an extremely weak state coexists with an army whose corporate interests have been threatened over the past decade, yet the military has not intervened in high politics. Two alternative explanations for this behavior are examined, one based on internal cleavages in the army (organizational structure) and the second on officer corps norms (organizational culture). Although both accounts are plausible, organizational culture provides the best explanation for Russian military passivity. The importance of this variable is demonstrated in a study of Russian military behavior from 1992 to 1999. Studying nonevents, and moving beyond the coup/noncoup dichotomy, provides a more complete picture of military behavior in domestic politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)924-952
Number of pages29
JournalComparative Political Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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