Military history of Russia

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The military history of Russia has antecedents involving Kievan Rus' and some of the Rus' principalities that succeeded it, the Mongol invasion of the early 13th century, Russia's numerous wars against Turkey, against Poland, Lithuania and Sweden, the Seven Years' War, France (especially the Napoleonic Wars), and the Crimean War of 1853–1856. The 20th century saw defeat by Imperial Germany in World War I and an extremely costly victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, as well as smaller military actions against breakaway provinces and Poland. During the Cold War (1947 to 1990) the greatly enlarged military suppressed rebellions in Eastern Europe and became a nuclear superpower facing off against NATO and the United States, as well as China after 1960.


  • As Gregory Carleton observes in his superb 2017 study Russia: The Story of War, war is an indispensable part of how Russians see the world and their place in it. The extent to which World War II and all previous wars extending back a thousand years define Russian national identity is truly astonishing.

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