Russia at War

From the Mongol Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond

by Timothy C. Dowling, Editor
Foreword by Bruce W. Menning


Why was the last commander of the Russian Imperial Army a lowly ensign?

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Cover image for Russia at War

December 2014


Pages 1077
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Military History/Conflict and Wars
  World History/Conflict

This easy-to-use reference explores the people and events that shaped Russian military history—and impacted Europe, Asia, and the world—over the past eight centuries.

Russian military history is an often-overlooked field. Yet Russia is and has long been an important player in global politics, and its military exploits have been central to its role on the world stage. This study of Russia's military past provides insights into European and U.S. history, including the conduct of the two World Wars and the Cold War, and will help readers better appreciate the current geopolitical situation.

This work covers major events and figures in Russian military history from the end of Mongol domination in the 14th century to the present day. More than 650 entries by scores of expert contributors detail events, individuals, organizations, and ideas that have influenced Russian warfare over 800 years. Two alphabetically arranged volumes explore such conflicts as the Russo-Polish Wars, the Great Northern War, the Russo-Turkish Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, the Russo-Japanese War, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War, including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Cross references and further readings in each entry serve as jumping-off points for further exploration.


  • Helps readers understand the sociopolitical history of Russia and how it continues to exert a major influence in international affairs
  • Showcases the complex role conflict has played in Russia throughout its history
  • Includes an introductory essay that discusses how warfare in Russia has progressed over the centuries
  • Offers entries on wars, battles, organizations, leaders, armies, weapons, and other aspects of war and military life
  • Provides a ready reference for readers with little or no prior knowledge of Russian history
Author Info

Timothy C. Dowling is professor of history at the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, VA. He is author of The Brusilov Offensive, editor of ABC-CLIO's Personal Perspectives: World War I and Personal Perspectives: World War II, and a regular editor and contributor to ABC-CLIO encyclopedias. Dowling earned a master's degree in history from the University of Virginia and his doctorate in modern European history from Tulane University. He specializes in Russian and German history.



"Russia at War, edited by Dowling (Virginia Military Institute), is a comprehensive, easy-to-use encyclopedia on Russian military history and culture. . . . The set belongs in academic libraries supporting Russian history programs and public libraries serving military enthusiasts. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduate students; general readers."Choice


"Timothy Dowling's two-volume Russia at War is a very important and timely reference work. Not only is it an exhaustive study of the military past of Russia and the Soviet Union from the Mongol Conquest to the present, but its many entries also provide considerable insight into what the rest of the world might reasonably expect from Russia's military leaders in the future. This is especially important now, given Russia's recent annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and its military intervention in eastern Ukraine."—Spencer C. Tucker, ABC-CLIO Senior Fellow in Military History

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