From Peter the Great to Nicholas II, Russian rulers always understood the need to maintain an army and navy capable of preserving the empire's great power status. This volume examines how Imperial Russia’s armed forces sought to adapt to the challenges of modern warfare. The tsars inevitably faced the dilemma of importing European military and technological innovations while censoring political beliefs that could challenge the autocracy’s monopoly on power. Within the context of a constant race to avoid oblivion, the impulse for military renewal emerges from this volume as a fundamental and recurring theme in modern Russian history.

Contributors include Robert F. Baumann, Mark von Hagen, David R. Jones, Jacob W. Kipp, Willis Brooks, David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Gudrun Persson, David Alan Rich, Frederick W. Kagan, Dmitrii I. Oleinikov, Bruce W. Menning, John W. Steinberg, Paul Bushkovitch, Bruce W. Menning, Oleg Airapetov, David M. McDonald, and William E. Odom.


Part I: Population, Resources, and War
1. Universal Service Reform: Conception to Implementation, 1873–83
Robert F. Baumann
2. The Limits of Reform: The Multiethnic Imperial Army Confronts Nationalism, 1874–1917
Mark von Hagen
3. Forerunners of the Komsomol: Scouting in Imperial Russia
David R. Jones
4. Strategic Railroads and the Dilemmas of Modernization
Jacob W. Kipp

Part II: Intelligence and Knowledge
5. The Russian Military Press in the Reform Era
Willis Brooks
6. Reforming Military Intelligence
David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye
7. Russian Military Attachés and the Wars of the 1860s
Gudrun Persson
8. Building Foundations for Effective Intelligence: Military Geography and Statistics in Russian Perspective, 1845–1905
David Alan Rich

Part III: Responses to Specific Wars
9. Russian Military Reform in the Age of Napoleon
Frederick W. Kagan
10. The Caucasus Factor in Russian Military Reform
Dmitrii I. Oleinikov
11. The Offensive Revisited: Russian Preparation for Future War, 1906–14
Bruce W. Menning
12. The Challenge of Reforming Imperial Russian General Staff Education, 1905–9
John W. Steinberg

Part IV: Personalities
13. The Politics of Command in the Army of Peter the Great
Paul Bushkovitch
14. G. A. Potemkin and A. I. Chernyshev: Two Dimensions of Reform and Russia’s Military Frontier
Bruce W. Menning
15. Miliutin contra Moltke: Russia’s Refusal to Accept a Prussian-Style General Staff
Oleg Airapetov

Part V: Conclusions
16. The Military and imperial Russian History
David M. McDonald
17. Imperial Russia and Military History
Dennis Showalter
18. Russian Military History and the Present
William E. Odom


“A collection of essays on various aspects of Russian military reform, by some of the most notable scholars in the field. The 18 essays are grouped into five broad categories, covering national resources, intelligence and education, specific wars and campaigns, personalities, and some broad conclusions. Of particular value to the serious student of Russian military history, some of the essays are likely to be useful for persons interested in particular aspects of the practice of war, such as conscription, or the Napoleonic Wars.”—The NYMAS Review