Alex J. Bellamy, "Warmonger: Vladimir Putin's Imperial Wars" (Agenda Publishing, 2023)


"War was always central to Putin's project," writes Alex J. Bellamy in Warmonger: Vladimir Putin's Imperial Wars (Agenda, 2023). Not just the second Chechen war that made him but the NATO-probing wars in Georgia and eastern Ukraine that emboldened him, and the Western-style war from air in Syria designed to mark Russia’s return to Great Power status.

But, the project has not gone well. According to Professor Bellamy, the military and strategic disaster of Putin's full-scale invasion of Ukraine had long been foretold. In Syria, unable to control his client, Putin has been outwitted and outgunned by his Turkish imperial rival, which has also shifted the balance of power against Moscow in the long-running Azerbaijan/Armenia conflict. Even apparent success in Chechnya was bought by outsourcing to the Kadyrov clan, who run the republic independently at enormous cost to the Kremlin.

"War has finally caught up with the warmonger," writes Bellamy. "Should Russia's imperial dreaming survive its battering in Ukraine, and it is by no means certain that it will, it will be a Potemkin empire existing only in the minds of those who parrot its tropes".

Alex J. Bellamy is Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at The University of Queensland. Since Kosovo and International Society in 2002, he has written 15 books as sole author including World Peace (And How We Can Achieve It) in 2019 and Syria Betrayed: Atrocities, War, and the Failure of International Diplomacy in 2022.

*The author's own book recommendations are The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union by Serhii Plokhy (Oneworld Publications, 2014) and Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind by Tom Holland (Little Brown, 2019).

Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Advisors, who also writes the twenty4two newsletter on Substack and hosts the In The Room podcast series.

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Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Advisors .

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