Putin’s War

Philip Blood

A new collection of essays raise important questions on the war in Ukraine.
Putin and Defence Minister Shoigu in 2022
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Putin’s War Russian Genocide presents a critical exploration of the initial year of Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, commencing in February 2022. This remarkable volume brings together a diverse panel of experts, including former soldiers, academics, and legal professionals. Notably, three of these contributors shared close ties with the late Professor Richard Holmes, lending an essential scholarly foundation to the book.

From the inception of this project, the central objective was to provide an exhaustive analysis of the first year of the conflict, stripped of myths and sentimental recollections. The temporal focus of this work centres on the twelve months following the invasion in February 2022, with final revisions completed in May and June 2023. Each essay contained within this tome stands alone, complete with specific bibliographic references.

The authors remained acutely cognizant of the unpredictable nature of the past and were determined to dissect the inaugural year of the war before it succumbed to the mists of history. This work stands as a scholarly endeavour, an incisive critique of prevailing institutional doctrines, and the social media narratives often intertwined with them. Written amidst an ongoing conflict, it also serves as a stark testament to the Russian military’s engagement in operational genocide. This book not only serves as a warning regarding future warfare in Europe but also dares to challenge well-entrenched historical discourses.

One of the foremost concerns that surfaced among the authors during the early stages of the war was the yawning chasm between the media’s overly optimistic portrayal of Ukraine’s ultimate triumph and the subsequent fading of the war’s prominence in headlines. This shift became conspicuously evident following the traditional Russian Army march in Red Square commemorating the Second World War, in May 2022. As the conflict evolved into protracted warfare, the authors commenced an examination of the dwindling public attention to the war and the waning support for Ukraine.

The volume extensively delves into military facets of the conflict from both the soldier’s and scholarly perspectives, covering strategy, operations, and tactics. The spectre of genocide looms ominously over the war, encapsulating the United Nations’ definition, which includes mass killings, mass rapes, widespread urban destruction, and cultural extermination, fundamentally shaping Ukraine’s struggle for survival.

This collection of essays spans a broad spectrum of subjects, encompassing the influence of historical narratives on social media, the legacy of the Cold War, hybrid and non-linear warfare, Putin’s special military operation, wartime crimes and genocides, the conduct of the Russian army, the rules and laws of war, and the global future of warfare. It acknowledges the transformation of this war into an unpredictable daily reality for those affected, marking a significant turning point in European history.

As editor, I have cultivated an environment where the authors could openly express their views. The essays underwent scrutiny by external reviewers, and any pertinent comments or observations were incorporated into the final revisions. The essays delve into modern strategic narratives, security warfare, and the military employment of genocide.

Chris Bellamy, an authority in Russian military history and theory, draws upon historical precedents to underscore Russia’s proficiency in artillery and firepower, attributes once again in the forefront in Ukraine. His essays meticulously examine Russian operations from both historical and strategic vantage points.

Roger Cirillo, drawing from his extensive military background and academic research, offers a comprehensive analysis of Cold War strategy, operations, and tactics, shedding light on the present Russian methods. He emphasizes the strategic motives propelling Russia’s actions and highlights the foreseeable nature of the conflict within its geopolitical context.

Dustin du Cane, a contributor with legal expertise and a unique perspective from Poland, also visited Ukraine during the manuscript’s progress. His essays dissect international criminal law, its relevance to the war in Ukraine, and the intricacies of war crimes trials.

In summary, Putin’s War Russian Genocide is a comprehensive evaluation of the first year of the invasion, enriched by the invaluable insights of a diverse assembly of experts. The book illuminates the intricate legal, military, and strategic dimensions of the conflict, challenging established narratives and enriching our understanding of this significant geopolitical event.

Philip Blood is a historian and the editor of Putin’s War, Russian Genocide: Essays about the First Year of the War in Ukraine.