Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 resulted in two wars, thousands of deaths and redrawn national boundaries. Or did it? Influential American political geographer Gerard Toal makes a cogent case for seeking deeper understanding of Russia’s actions: by studying Russia’s own arguments, by questioning prevailing Western storylines and by applying critical examination to historical evidence. Toal delineates how Russian president Vladimir Putin’s moves in Georgia and Ukraine emerged from a mélange of regional political circumstances, strategic concerns, Western blundering and Putin’s own revanchism. Toal cites the 2008 Bucharest Declaration that put Ukraine and Georgia on a trajectory for NATO accession, along with the recognition of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia in the same year, as crucial turning points. Rich in observation and insight, Toal’s book does justice to the complexity and nuance of actual events; however, the book demands attentive reading and a degree of broadmindedness. getAbstract recommends it to readers interested in a different perspective on Russian geopolitics.
About the Author
Gerard Toal is professor of government and international affairs and director of the Masters of Public and International Affairs program at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s National Capital Region campus in Alexandria.