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Russian Military Studies Centre

About us

Who we are

The Centre is a unique facility within the MoD, containing much rare and invaluable material, covering a whole range of domestic, foreign, security and defence policies in relation to both the FSU and Russia. Partly based on the premise that you cannot 'destroy' an argument unless you know what it is, the Centre's holdings have been built up over 70 years and is composed of many Russian-language defence, foreign and security policy journals, papers and, of course, books. However, although much of the material is in Russian, there is also an extensive collection of work in English, as well as a number of books and papers in languages such as Albanian, German, Kazakh, etc. Although the collection was largely built up during the era of the Cold War, since the demise of the USSR in 1991, through private donations, book fund allocations, and subscription renewals, the Centre contains much contemporary material, examining not only Russia, Ukraine, Belarus', etc., but also the countries of Central Asia, for instance, whose importance will continue to grow in the years ahead.

The Centre is based at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham (Wiltshire) and is managed by Cranfield University’s Barrington Library on behalf of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.

Why we exist

The materials can - and do - help researchers understand better Russia's position on a whole range of military, security and foreign-policy issues. It should also be noted that the Centre does contain a lot of material relating to the history, literature, language, science, etc. of the FSU, as well as Russia today. This allows the researcher a 'rounder' picture of what's happening over there, hopefully avoiding the usual stereotypical view of Russia and the Russians.

The Centre has published a variety of articles in BAR, for instance, on a wide number of issues relating to the contemporary Russian Army, (including a four-part series on the contemporary CGS, Army General V Gerasimov), as well as bespoke analysis on Russian IW, Russian strategic nuclear deterrence, Russian combat operations in Syria, etc., for a variety of government clients.

The Centre does not yet have a definite plan to secure its future development and, unless a main sponsor can be found, we may not be able to continue. We need to understand Russia better and the Centre could be one of the key institutions in this task if an appropriate level of funding is secured and maintained in the years ahead.

The research collection

We provide online access to core journals and newspapers and a growing number of e-books from East View to support current research. Customers are welcome to benefit from these online resources when they visit us. Remote online access is currently restricted to Defence Academy users. (You may be interested in searching the open access Imperial Russian Newspapers collection provided free of charge by East View.)

Current journal and newspaper subscriptions we take in hard-copy:

Russian title Title in Transliteration
Армейский сборник Armeiskii sbornik
Авиация и космонавтика Aviatsiia i Kosmonavtika
Флаг родины Flag Rodiny
Информационные войны Informatsionnye voiny
Известия Izvestiia
Известия Российской академии Izvestiia Rossiiskoi akademii raketnkh i artilleriiskikh nauk
Красная Звезда Krasnaia Zvezda
Международная жизнь Mezhdunarodnaia zhizn’
Морской сборник Morskoi Sbornik
На боевом посту Rosgvardiia / Na Boevom Postu
Независимая газета Nezavisimaia gazeta
Независимое военное обозрение Nezavisimoe voennoe oborenie
Проблемы дальнего востока Problemy Dal’nego Vostoka
Свободная мысль Svobodnaia Mysl’
Техника и Вооружение Tekhnika i Vooruzhenie
Вестник Академии военных наук Vestnik Akademii Voennykh Nauk
Вестник военного образования Vestnik Voennogo obrazovaniia
Военная мысль Voennaia Mysl’
Военно-исторический журнал Voenno-istoricheskiy zhurnal
Военно-медицинский журнал Voenno-meditsinskiy zhurnal
Военные знания Voennye znaniia
Военно-академический журнал Voenno akademicheskiy zhurnal
Boйскoвoй вecтник Voiskovoi vestnik
Зарубежное военное обозрение Zarubezhnoe voennoe obozrenie

The collection contains material such as BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, Foreign Broadcast Information Service Reports, RAND papers, Soviet Army Studies Papers and many other journals and newspapers including:

  • 30 years’ worth of the USSR’s/Russia’s main military medical journal Voenno-meditsinskiy zhurnal
  • 40 years of the Soviet/Russian Navy’s journal Morskoi Sbornik
  • Over 30 years of the Soviet/ Russian Ground Forces journal Voenniy Vestnik and the Soviet Air Force main monthly Aviatsiya I Kosmonavtika

We have over 28,000 books in the physical collection. Most of the material is in either English or Russian, but there is also a considerable amount of material in other languages including Czech, Polish, German, Romanian and Albanian, as well as original language source material from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Amongst the posters and maps is a very rare collection of former Soviet General Staff maps of the USSR, produced on the eve of the invasion of the USSR in June 1941.

Using the Centre’s collection

Members of the public are welcome to use the Centre for research. Please search the catalogue before you visit to identify which items you would like to use.

Visits are by prior appointment only.

Book a visit

About the website’s main image

The image we have used is a modification of an image of the Borodino monument. We selected it as it commemorates two significant Russian battles – from 1812 and 1941. It has been modified and used by kind permission of the photographer Dennis Jarvis.

More information and original image