Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
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Eeva Korteniemi
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Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2012-2013



Bettina Renz, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

”Modernisation of the Russian armed forces: doctrine and strategic thinking”
Fellowship period: May 1–June 30, 2013

Bettina Renz is a lecturer in International Security at the University of Nottingham’s School of Politics & International Relations. In 2005 she completed her PhD at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Russian and East European Studies, where she also is a Honorary Research Fellow. Following an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Birmingham she lectured Defence Studies for King’s College London (Royal Air Force College) before being appointed to her current post in 2007. Her main area of expertise is contemporary Russian security and defence policy with a particular interest in post-Soviet reforms of the military and security sector. Recent published work includes ‘Russian military modernization: cause, course and consequences’ (Problems of Post-Communism, 59(1) 2012); ‘Traffickers, terrorists and a “new security challenge”: Russian counternarcotics strategy’ (Small Wars and Insurgencies, 22(1) 2011) and ‘Chinese migration: still the major issue in Russian Far East/Chinese North East relations?’ (Pacific Review, 23(2) 2010). For a full list of publications see the website below.

Abstract of current research:
Bettina Renz’s research interests are in two broad and interrelated subject areas. First, she has an interest in organisational change and modernisation of the Russian security sector in the post-Soviet era, including the governance of military organisations dealing with operations other than war and reform of the regular armed forces. The place of the security sector in Russian politics and society, as well as Russia’s international cooperation in the security and military spheres, have been important facets of this work. Secondly, she has conducted research into Russia’s perceptions of and approaches to ‘new’ security challenges, including migration, illegal drug trafficking and terrorism. The findings of this research were published in a co-authored monograph in 2006 (Securitising Russia; Manchester University Press) and in a number of more recent articles. Methodologically her work is grounded in an area-studies approach, informed by relevant theoretical traditions in international relations and relying on context-based regional knowledge.

The research to be conducted at the Aleksanteri Institute concerns developments in Russian strategic thinking and doctrine (or lack thereof) as an important element of military modernisation. Much research and analysis on Russian military modernisation has focused on institutional changes and technological developments. However, the ability of these changes to truly modernise Russia’s military are far from clear. As has been noted with regard to Western military forces, superior fire power and technological superiority do not automatically translate into success in the battlefield. The failure to adapt conceptual thinking and doctrine to the changing security environment is widely recognised as the major reason for this. This recognition is highly significant also for the prospects and problems of Russian military modernisation. Even if technological, financial and manpower problems can be overcome, such changes need to be accompanied by a transformation of thinking on strategy and doctrine if the country’s armed forces are to become truly modern.

Email: Bettina.Renz [at]
Personal website:

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Anna-Liisa Heusala and Hanna Smith