In This Review

Vladimir Putin and the Evolution of Russian Foreign Policy
Vladimir Putin and the Evolution of Russian Foreign Policy
By Bobo Lo
Blackwell, 2003, 165 pp

One could hardly ask for a more well-packed, shrewdly observed study of contemporary Russian foreign policy than Lo's, easily the most comprehensive and acute analysis of Putin's innovations and limitations by an outside observer. Lo knows the Russian scene firsthand, and, as a result, he wisely identifies relevant categories -- the newly ascendant economic dimension, the changing security dimension, and the deeper issue of identity and values -- and treats each with subtlety and balance. In sum, policy under Putin is judged as genuinely innovative, a significant adaptation that is considerably more orderly and self-confident than it was under Yeltsin. Still, elements of the old persist: hard-to-shake presumptions, mushy policymaking processes, and an excessive reliance on Putin himself.