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Understanding order and violence in the post-Soviet space: the Chechen and Russo-Georgia wars

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 11:45 authored by Matthew KillingsworthMatthew Killingsworth
Following the end of the Cold War, the discipline of international relations has benefited from a plethora of old, new and hybrid approaches to understanding order and violence. Yet amidst the scholarship on ‘new wars’, neo-medievalism and a range of alternative approaches such as human and critical security, the goal of understanding the motives, nature and limitations of contemporary uses of force remains elusive. This article attempts to shed light on this issue by reconsidering three traditions in conceptualising order and violence: the Grotian, Kantian and Clausewitzian traditions. It applies the respective emphases of each (legitimacy and law; moral imperatives; and Realpolitik) to the two Chechen wars and the 2008 Russo-Georgian war. The article demonstrates that while the prescriptive elements of the normative Grotian and Kantian traditions may well reflect the future trajectory of political violence, war continues to be fought for clear political motives relating to statehood and power. Based on the cases assessed here, the Clausewitzian tradition remains the most appropriate way to understand violent conflict in the post-Soviet space.


Publication title

Global Change, Peace & Security








School of Social Sciences



Place of publication

4 Park Sq, Milton Pk, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN UK

Rights statement

copyright 2012 Taylor & Francis

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

International relations not elsewhere classified

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