Western Misperception when Deterring Russia: Cultural and Linguistic Factors

  •  Viljar Veebel    
  •  Liia Vihmand    
  •  Illimar Ploom    
  •  Raul Markus    


Policy-making discourses of both Moscow and the capitals of Western countries are full of mutual misperceptions, mirror imaging, and attribution of non-existent intentions and capabilities. Although the concepts of deterrence of Western countries and Russia partially overlap, there is also a huge area where they operate in “parallel universes.” Furthermore, a lot of strategic culture in association with deterrence is produced not for operational or functional purposes, but to please local political or military elite. To answer the question which improvements are needed in the future to actually deter Russia and to avoid further aggression on the Russian side, first, Russia can be deterred only in the language they understand: Russia needs to understand the threat, and it needs to have meaning for them.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.