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In rural regions, it manifested itself in the implementation of ambitious agricultural programs and gigantic infrastructure projects. Such endeavors brought about both adventure and risk, promising unseen triumphs and foreshadowing ecological disasters and social upheaval. Concealed behind our daily bread today lies a wide range of different forms of expertise. The answers to those questions provide new perspectives not only on scientization and modernization within national states but also on transnational interactions and interdependencies—thus contributing to the global history of agriculture, science and environment.
Rostow, who in the decades of the Cold War drew a link between modernization, democracy and capitalism. Enthusiasm for scientifically grounded and highly technologized farming nurtured the fervent hope among many in the East and West, as well as in the North and South, that it would now be possible to overcome global hunger and social barriers to growth in their own countries. The continental climate, with its sometimes extremely cold and long winter periods and regular droughts, made agriculture vulnerable and harvest yields extremely volatile.
At the same time, agriculture was central to developing the national economy as a whole. Russia played a leading role on the emerging world grain market until Stalinist collectivization.
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The pivotal role of land often triggered social confrontations. The precise regulation of land access—and in many cases water access—led to comprehensive bodies of law whose aim was to provide a legal foundation for using this scare and contested resource. While being both a creative and destructive cultural force, land laws are so basic a phenomenon that they arise even where there is no state to enforce them.
In the mid 18th-century, the government intensified support for the removal of common property rights and the consolidation of fields to make the land more profitable. To better demarcate and secure the land, the Americans Lucien B. Smith and Joseph F. In the case of agriculture, barbed wire proved to be not only an effective means of border demarcation but also functioned as a political dispositif of separation, driving the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, conquest and subjugation.
Russian and Soviet history highlight these dynamics most notably. While the coercive collectivization of the village at the beginning of the s was driven by the wish of the Stalinist elite to subjugate rural regions, the belief in economies of scale determined Nikita S. That is why the UN Food and Agricultural Organization declared the International Year of Soils, seeking to raise awareness about the importance of soil for global food security, the preservation of biodiversity and the stabilization of the climate.
In recent years, fascinating yet disquieting studies have acknowledged soil as a defining factor of human history. Its history still has to be written, with narratives mirroring the ambivalent experiences of both destruction and revitalization, as well as of ignorance and betterment. Without any doubt, studies on soil exhaustion provide instructive views on the interconnections between agrarian, cultural and environmental histories. The pioneering soil scientist Vasilii V. He argued that the steppe environment suffered from widespread soil erosion and a growing vulnerability to aridity because settlers ignored local environmental constraints.
Lamenting that Soviet agriculture seriously lagged behind in soil conversation, they started to introduce measures similar to those employed in the North American prairies and to produce farm equipment modeled on Canadian prototypes. They illustrate the constraints on agriculture stemming from climatic and other natural conditions.
Russia’s Military Policy in the Post-Soviet Space - SWP
The water diverted into open fields often washed salt into the topsoil from the earth below. It accumulated in the roots of arable crops, causing significant losses. As a result, more agricultural land was ultimately lost than proved possible to regain through improvement projects. Irrigation, once promising, turned out to be a threat.
In the Tsarist period the allotment of land and taxation exemptions for colonists were central for farming in remote regions. Between and , 3. They reclaimed areas that for centuries had been used by Kazakh and Kyrgyz nomads for grazing their cattle herds. In the Siberian peasants increased butter production and achieved a notable grain surplus, which served to boost Russian agricultural exports.
At the same time, the nomads were pushed southward as the new agricultural production threatened their way of life. This merciless exploitation of the village was what enabled the massive transfer of resources from agriculture to the industrial sector. Millions of people were compelled to work the land and tend to the animals—in Gulag camps, special settlements and labor battalions. But differences in living standards and income remained so great that ever more kolkhoz members turned their backs on the countryside for better jobs in industrial urban areas.
In the s, thousands of villages disappeared from the map, while Soviet agriculture faced a constant shortage of young specialists. Their number was small, though, hence their influence was limited to certain professional fields. Scientization and rationalization pluralized expertise and increased the numbers of experts significantly. Knowledge also served to legitimize any attempts to transform nature and landscapes.
Strategic Stability in the Changing World
But knowledge alone did not suffice to reshape rural regions in accordance with the demands of modern economies and modern states. It also had to be administratively regulated and contained, to be recognized as a relevant resource and systematically implemented into practice.
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Decisive for this transformation of knowledge into expertise was the belief that the world could be refashioned. It also enables humans to transform physical and social environments. Initially, scientific societies played a key role in the generation of agricultural knowledge. Economic success should no longer depend on the vagaries of the weather or an allegedly incompetent rural population.
Instead, efficient forms of organization, scientifically grounded prognoses and technical innovation promised to predict agricultural yields and to guarantee reliable rates of growth. Scientists and engineers found a new role in society as experts, opening the door for them to embark on the reordering of agrarian economy and village life. They advised the rural population on agricultural questions, collected extensive data on rural living standards, carried out experiments and championed hygiene standards. Dokuchaev, the geneticist Nikolai I.
Vavilov, the landscape geographer Lev S. In addition to aforementioned systems, the NPR notes that Russia is also developing at least two new intercontinental range systems: a hypersonic glide vehicle; and a new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo. It appears that these new systems are designed to ensure that Russian nuclear forces can penetrate any future U. Indeed, the U. Russia is also modernizing its non-strategic nuclear forces. In the July edition of the U. Despite diplomatic efforts by both the Obama and Trump administrations to bring Russia back into compliance with the treaty, to date, those efforts have been unsuccessful.
Over the past several years, Russia has been extremely irresponsible regarding its public rhetoric on nuclear weapons. There have been several occasions where Russian officials have threatened to use nuclear weapons against U. For example, in March , the Russian ambassador to Denmark asserted that if Denmark allowed its Navy to participate in the NATO missile defense system, its warships would become targets for Russian nuclear missiles.
That statement, and others like it, are totally unacceptable and do little to foster stability or reduce the risk of nuclear use. But one thing is clear: Russia views nuclear weapons as a way to intimidate and bully its neighbors. Under the policy, China will not to be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time or under any circumstances. Additionally, whereas Russia has made numerous public threats to use nuclear weapons against other nations, including several U.
For example, it is estimated that China has about total nuclear warheads, as compared to approximately 4, warheads in the active U. The Chinese strategic nuclear modernization program consists of several elements. First, it is adding more survivable road-mobile ICBMs e. China is also continuing to improve the sea-based leg of its strategic deterrent. Like Russia, China is also concerned about the development of U.
Can Russia be modernized?
In addition to their nuclear modernization programs, Russia and China are also actively developing offensive cyber and counterspace capabilities. Intelligence Community expects similar actions from China. The United States requires a comprehensive strategy to effectively manage the strategic challenge from Russia and China.
The foundation of that strategy must be to maintain a safe, secure, and effective strategic nuclear deterrent. In his April speech in Prague, former President Barack Obama outlined his long-term vision for peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons. But in that same speech, he also noted that as long as nuclear weapons existed, the United States would maintain a safe, secure, and effective deterrent.
Therefore, under the Obama administration, the United States began a major recapitalization of its strategic nuclear delivery systems, nuclear command, control, and communications NC3 system, and the Department of Energy nuclear infrastructure. Additionally, the Obama administration began the modernization of the U. I believe it is critical that the United States move forward with the modernization of these nuclear delivery capabilities, the NC3 backbone, and the supporting DOE infrastructure.
From my perspective, as long as the United States moves forward with modernization of the previously approved lower-yield capabilities i. In particular, I want to emphasize the importance of the LRSO nuclear cruise missile and the important stand-off capability that it provides. This stand-off capability will become increasingly important as Russia and China continue to improve their air defense capabilities. The U. As previously noted, Russia and China are dramatically improving their counterspace and offensive cyber capabilities. Therefore, it is critical that the United States finds ways to enhance the resiliency of these systems as it proceeds with the modernization of its nuclear forces.
In addition to enhancing the resiliency of space and cyber capabilities, the United States also needs to pay close attention to the resiliency of the undersea cable communications network.
On June 11, , the U. And from a military perspective, the United States also needs its allies to effectively deter and defend the U. For example, the upgraded early warning radars in Greenland and the United Kingdom provide early warning against strategic missile attack, track objects in outer space, and directly support the missile defense of the U.
Fundamentally, the security of the United States homeland is intricately linked to the security of our allies. As the NPR acknowledges, arms control can complement U. For example, strategic arms control agreements like New START, by bounding the threat and providing transparency and predictability, have enabled U. This, however, this will require us to think differently about arms control than we have since the end of the Cold War. One development, in particular, has caused much hyperventilating in Western ministries and think tanks: the Russian Federation not only has more nuclear weapons than any other country in the world but also is investing in an arsenal of modern, low-yield nuclear weapons that could be used for limited nuclear warfare.
The United States, the thinking goes, can only defend itself and its allies by modernizing its own nuclear arsenal. Above all, Washington should develop more low-yield nuclear weapons for use on the battlefield or risk being outgunned in a future war. But its policy of deliberate ambiguity is feeding into apprehension in Washington , driving a dangerous cycle of escalation that is bound to worsen suspicions and heighten the risk.
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