DTA

Digital Theses Archive

 

Tesi etd-11082022-003643

Type of thesis
Corso Ordinario Secondo Livello
Author
ZAVANELLA, EMANUELE MARIO
URN
etd-11082022-003643
Title
The case of irregular military groups in the context of Russian foreign policy: Questions of agency and the distinction of public and private interests'
Structure
Cl. Sc. Sociali - Scienze Politiche
Course
SCIENZE POLITICHE - SCIENZE POLITICHE
Committee
relatore Prof. DE GUTTRY, ANDREAS M.T.
Relatore Prof.ssa DUNDOVICH, ELENA
Presidente Prof.ssa LORETONI, ANNA
Membro Prof. STRAZZARI, FRANCESCO
Membro Prof. NATALI, DAVID
Membro Prof.ssa ALABRESE, MARIAGRAZIA
Membro Prof.ssa HENRY, BARBARA
Membro Prof. BRESSANELLI, Edoardo
Membro Prof.ssa CAPONE, FRANCESCA
Keywords
  • asymmetric warfare
  • foreign policy
  • private military companies
  • Russia
Exam session start date
30/11/2022;
Availability
completa
Abstract
For the past nine years the Russian state has ostensibly made use of paramilitary groups to achieve its foreign policy goals, most often under the guise of private military companies (PMCs) that instead appear to be manned and equipped by the Russian security services.<br>However, the view that state-sponsored mercenary groups are an integral part of Russian foreign and military policy often ignores that agents enjoy a degree of autonomy in decision-making that might be independent from the state.<br>As interpreter of state interests with relatively loose oversight, by bringing the case study of the so-called Wagner Group the paper addresses the following question: <br><br>To what extent are the undertakings of the Wagner Group attributable to a prior state design? <br><br>In order to assess the question, the paper draws from cases in which PMCs have been deployed and considers whether there was a pre-existing interest of the Russian state in the country considered. More specifically, the countries are Syria, Libya, Sudan, and the CAR. It is contended that prior to the 2022 invasion of Ukraine the Wagner Group’s freedom to choose the country in which to act varied greatly, from instances where the state had a clear stake in the region (Ukraine, Syria) to areas where those interests were not explict (CAR, Mali). The paper further explores negative examples, two instances in which an observer would have expected the Wagner Group to operate, according to notions of core state interest, but in which it did not (Nagorno-Karabakh and Belarus in 2020).
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