Roy Allison's Publications

Roy Allison's Publications


Russia, The West & Military Intervention book coverRussia, the West and Military Intervention, OUP, May 2013;

  • Unique study of the Russian approach to military interventions
  • Analysis of full range of interventions from the 1990 Gulf War to the Libya in 2011, and assessment of high profile issue of potential intervention in Iran
  • Interdisciplinary approach, integrating International Relations, International Law, Political Science and Russian Area Studies
  • Extensive and deep use of Russian source materials
  • Draws on insights from the author's very numerous meetings with and interviews of Western, Russian and other CIS state officials and diplomats over a twenty-five year period

Russia has been embroiled in bitter disputes with major Western powers over high-profile military interventions - over Kosovo (1999), Iraq (2003), Georgia (2008), and even Libya (2011) which had a UN Security Council mandate. Moscow and the West reached much more agreement over the Gulf War (1990) and intervention in Afghanistan (2001), but these cases are exceptional. 


This interdisciplinary study explores the persistent differences between Russian and Western leaders about most Western-led military campaigns and about Russia's own use of force in the CIS region. What does this tell us about emerging norms on the use of force in humanitarian crises? How and why has there been such controversy over the legal justifications for these military operations? Has greater consensus been possible over force in global counterterrorism? What do all these controversies tell us about international rule-making? More specifically, how can we understand Russian political and diplomatic responses during international crises around major interventions? This book argues that Russia has been influential in these debates on norms and law as a permanent United Nations Security Council member and as a major military power. Moscow's approach to these questions has reflected distinctive and quite entrenched attitudes to international order and sovereignty, as well as a preoccupation with its own status. The book draws deeply on Russian sources to show how these attitudes are expressed among the Russian leadership and the political elite. This raises challenging questions about the ability of Russia and Western states to cooperate in emerging crises, in Syria, Iran, or elsewhere and about Russia's role in international society.


Putin’s Russia and the Enlarged Europe (co-authored with Margot Light and Stephen White, London, Blackwell, 2006;

This authoritative work examines recent changes in Russia's relations with the EU and NATO and explores the patterns of support for these various orientations among its own elites and public. 

  • Investigates Russian engagement with the enlarged European Union and NATO. 
  • Evaluates the serious choices to be made on both sides about the obstacles to good relations, and about the policies to enable a form of Russian 'inclusion without membership'. 
  • Draws on extensive interviews with Russian decision-makers as well as a body of new survey evidence, official sources and recently published debates. 
  • Anticipates the issues that will become increasingly prominent, including competition in the 'common neighbourhood' and controversy over the role of values in shaping Russia's future position in Europe.


Central Asian Security: The New International Context, (co-edited with Lena Jonson), Washington D.C., Brookings/Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2001 (Persian translation, 2003);

The strategic reconfiguration of Central Asia creates both opportunities and challenges for the new nations formerly under Soviet rule – Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. As Russia has become more disengaged from the region, these countries have expanded their relations to the south, west and east.  The international implications of these processes are only now coming into full focus as the rich energy resources of Caspian Sea region attract global interest. In addition, the security risks from issues such as the scarcity of water resources or an Islamic revival overshadow more traditional international security concerns


The authors assess internal security policy problems and examine the security content of evolving relations between the Central Asian states and regional and international powers – specifically he stakes, interest and policies of Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and the United States. While new possibility for regional security cooperation in Central Asia can be explored, there remains a danger of destabilizing rivalry, which would fracture the region and hamper economic development. These dilemmas are examined by a team of specialists from Western Europe, the United States, Russia and China 


Security Dilemmas in Russia and Eurasia (co-edited with Christoph Bluth), London, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1998;

The new states in Eurasia confront an array of difficulties in managing the legacy of the collapse of the Soviet Union and in forging new security policy identities. Some of these states still emphasize the need for integration with Russia; others insist on greater diversification and the need for broader multilateral security ties, or even the formation of regional blocs which exclude Russia. To explore the dynamics between these trends, this book focuses on the security policy thinking of Russia, the Ukraine, and the Central Asian and Caucasian states on their military and military-economic capabilities. It also addresses the larger framework of their international security relations and considers potential implications for the rest of Europe.


Internal Factors in Russian Foreign Policy (co-authored with Neil Malcolm, Alex Pravda, and Margot Light) Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1996;

This book systematically analyses the internal political forces which condition Russia's international behaviour. Four leading specialists examine in turn the areas of foreign policy thinking and debate, how policy is made, the public politics of foreign policy and the role of the military. Their analyses explore the changing domestic alignments associated with recent shifts in Russian foreign policy, focusing on the roles played by institutions such as the Security Council and the legislature, by military groupings and by emerging economic interests. The book throws new light on the domestic foundations of Moscow's more assertive and self-reliant stance.


Challenges for the Former Soviet South (ed), Washington D.C., Brookings/Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1996;

The emergence of new states in Central Asia and the Transcaucasus has attracted great geostrategic, commercial, and political interest. But the prospects for the stability of these states, the nature of their dependence on Russia or other neighbors, and the opportunities for foreign investment in the region remains unclear. The papers in this volume, which were originally published by the Post-Soviet Business Forum at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, have been updated for this important new collection. Anthony Hyman analyses the overall character of political change in Central Asia and explores the diversity of the region. Jonathan Aves offers a parallel study of post-Soviet Transcaucasia, with a particular emphasis on the roots and dynamics of regional instability. Adam Dixon focuses on political reform and economic development in the key state of Kazakhstan, while Elizabeth Fuller examines the particular circumstances, problems, and opportunities for Azerbaijan. Michael Kaser and Santosh Mehrotra offer a detailed survey of the evolution and current status of the Central Asian economies. Gavan McDonell focuses on the infrastructure of the Euro-Asian corridor. Roy Allison provides an overall assessment of the challenges facing this complex region.


Radical Reform in Soviet Defence Policy (ed), London, Macmillan, 1992;

This books analyses the determinants and scope of Soviet defence policy under Gorbachev from political, military and economic perspectives. Chapters address the following topics: the Soviet debate over national security policy; the shift in military policy from restructuring to reform; the possibilities for a Soviet ‘peace dividend’; the content of the Soviet defence budget; the role of new military technologies; Soviet debate on strategic nuclear arms; Soviet policy on conventional force reductions; and emerging Soviet views on European security at the end of the 1980s. The authors explain in conclusion how dilemmas grew for post-Cold War Soviet defence policy as Soviet republics pressed for greater autonomy and then independence.


Superpower Competition and Crisis Prevention in the Third World (co-edited with Philip Williams), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1990, new reprint 2009;

This publication puts forward the view that superpower competition in the Third World has always carried with it the likelihood of acute crises and that this likelihood may be reduced through a variety of tacit understandings or explicit agreements between Washington and Moscow. As the central study from the Ford Foundation/Southampton University project on North/South security relations, the text brings together specialists from a variety of backgrounds to identify the roots of the competitive relationship in the 1970s and 1980s and then consider a range of specific regional conflicts in which both superpowers have been involved. Although superpower collaboration had increased, the long-term character and intentions of Soviet and American involvement in the Third World remained uncertain. In these circumstances it was particularly timely to reappraise past experience and assess the future prospects for crisis prevention in politically turbulent and potentially dangerous areas.


The Soviet Union and the Strategy of Non-Alignment in the Third World, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1988, new reprint 2009;

In a survey of Soviet attitudes toward the large group of Third World countries outside the primary alliances, generally referred to as the non-aligned states, the book assesses the policy implications of Soviet views on neutrality, non-alignment, the Non-Aligned Movement, neutralization, and alignment in the Third World. A primary intention is to consider how far Soviet leaders have accepted the independent foreign policy aspirations of non-aligned states and to explain the purposes behind Soviet encouragement for the status or strategy of non-alignment in the 1970s and 1980s. The study questions whether Soviet leaders are able or willing to accept non-alignment or neutrality as an intermediate status between the Eastern and Western blocs in international affairs. The Soviet view of the collective agenda of the non-aligned states on international security issues is analyzed, and the topical question of how the USSR understands military alignment and the primary North/South military relationship is examined.


Finland's Relations with the Soviet Union: 1944-1984, London, Macmillan with St. Antony’s College, 1985.

Finland’s position on the Soviet border raised many questions about Soviet policy. This book argues that the real but limited price for Finland’s political autonomy was the Finnish commitment to her postwar treaties, which were unique in Europe, but  which formed part of the Soviet preoccupation with the Nordic region as a whole. The interest of Soviet statesmen in Finnish domestic politics reflected this preoccupation rather than an ideological one. The book argues that despite close relations with the USSR, Finland broadened the scope of its international activity within the limits of its neutrality during the Cold War years, and that contrary to views about ‘Finlandisation’ Finnish leaders continued to formulate policy with an eye to Finland’s independent interests.

Articles and Chapters


  • 'Russian Revisionism, Legal Discourse and the ‘Rules-Based’ International Order' , Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 72,  No. 6,(2020) pp. 976-995. DOI: 10.1080/09668136.2020.1773406 To link to this article:
  • ‘Protective integration and security policy coordination: comparing the SCO and CSTO’, The Chinese Journal of International Politics, vol. 11, no. 4 (September 2018), pp. 297-338.
  • ‘Russia and the post-2014 international legal order: revisionism and realpolitik’, International Affairs, vol. 93, no. 3 (May 2017), pp. 519-543.
  • ‘Russian “deniable intervention” in Ukraine: how and why Russia broke the rules’, International Affairs, vol. 90, no. 6 (November 2014), pp. 1255-1297.
  • ‘Russia and Syria: Explaining alignment with a regime in crisis’, International Affairs, vol. 89, no. 4 (July 2013), pp. 795-823.
  • ‘Unholy alliance: Russian support for the Assad regime’, Osteuropa, vol. 63, no. 9 (September 2013), pp. 17-43 (in German)
  • ‘Virtual regionalism and protective integration in Central Asia’, in Anita Sengupta and Suchandana Chatterjee (eds), Eurasian Perspectives: in Search of Alternatives’, Kolkata, Shipra Publications, 2010, pp. 29-48;
  • The Russian case for military intervention in Georgia: international law, norms and political calculation’, European Security, 18, 2009, pp. 173-200;
  • Russia resurgent? Moscow’s campaign to “coerce Georgia to peace”’, International Affairs, 84, 6, 2008, pp. 1145-1171;
  • ‘Virtual regionalism, regional structures and regime security in Central Asia’, Central Asian Survey, 27, 2, 2008), pp. 182-202;
  • ‘Regionalism and regional cooperation in Central Asia: The implications of authoritarian rule’ (in German) Osteuropa, 57, 8-9, 2007;
  • NATO: the view from the East’, with Stephen.White and Margot Light, European Security, 15, 2, 2006, pp. 165-190;
  • ‘Belarus between East and West’, with Stephen White and Margot Light, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, 21, 4, 2005, pp. 487-511;
  • ‘Regional threat perceptions and risks of military conflict’, in Richard Auty and Indra de Soya (eds), Energy, Wealth, Governance and Welfare in the Caucasus and Central Asia, London, Routledge, 2005, pp. 198-215;
  • guest editor for Special Issue of International Affairs, on Regionalism and the Changing International Order in Central Eurasia, 80, 2, 2004, pp. 423-533, ‘Regionalism, regional structures and security management in Central Asia’, International Affairs, 80, 2, 2004, pp. 463-83;
  • ‘Strategic reassertion in Russia’s Central Asia policy’, International Affairs, 80, 2 , 2004, pp. 277-93;
  • Russia, Regional Conflict and the Use of Military Power’, in Steven Miller and Dmitri Trenin, (eds), The Russian Military: Power and Politics, Cambridge MA and London, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the MIT Press, 2004, pp. 122-156;
  • ‘The Unresolved Conflicts in the Black Sea Region: Threats, Impacts on Regionalism and Regional Strategies for Conflict Resolution’, in Oleksandr Pavliuk and Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze (eds)., The Black Sea Region: Cooperation and Security Building, Armonk, N.Y., M.E. Sharpe, 2004, pp. 86-122.