Follow-up question to Fizz's comment in this question.

"their foreign policy tends to be non-interventionist". Except in neighboring countries Georgia (2008), Ukraine (2014+) and where they have bases they want to keep like in Syria. Never mind Wagner, which has broader reach and some deniability, albeit fewer capabilities than regular forces.

Is it actually the case that Russia has intervened in foreign countries more than other countries, in spite of saying their foreign policy is non-interventionist?

For the purposes of this question I'm most interested in other members of the UN Security Council. "Intervention" is also difficult to define; as a starting point I take it to mean "to deploy your personnel to that country to advance your country's policy goals, against the wishes of that country". So e.g.:

  • The US does not intervene in Japan by having a military base in Okinawa.
  • Russia does not intervene in the US by remotely hacking their servers.
  • But Russia would be intervening in the US if they sent an operative to the US to physically destroy the servers.

Under this definition Russia's actions in Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2014+) are interventions, but Syria is not.

The period I'm interested in is the period since Putin first became President of Russia, i.e. post-2000, including the period when Medvedev was president.

  • 2
    I am afraid this will be very difficult to evaluate. Your definition ("to deploy your personnel to that country to advance your country's policy goals, against the wishes of that country") would include spying : bbc.com/news/world-europe-55258790 And I am not sure why it would exclude Syria. Russia's intervention might have been welcome by Assad, but not by Kurds, Alepan, Ghouta rebels and probably most Syrians. And then, comparing to "other countries" is vague. Luxemburg, Uruguay, Gabon or Slovakia have not deployed personnel abroad (AFAIK) for different reasons.
    – Evargalo
    Oct 8 at 9:12
  • 1
    @Evargalo spying wouldn't be for advancing policy goals, would it? It would only be for acquisition of information. As for Syria, it has an internationally recognized government, which is something that can be unambiguously defined and hence represents the country's wishes. I'm aware the question is hard, but that's why I ask it; if it were easy I'd probably be able to Google.
    – Allure
    Oct 8 at 9:34
  • 2
    Excluding intervention in a foreign civil war is quite a caveat you came up with. Russia didn't just build a base in Syria, they bombed the crap out of the factions opposing Assad, by many accounts allowing him to win the war.
    – Fizz
    Oct 8 at 13:58
  • 1
    @Allure My instinctive reaction would have been to say that the only purpose of getting information through spying is advancing one's policy goals. But I won't argue too much in comments since I honestly don't what to suggest to improve your question.
    – Evargalo
    Oct 8 at 14:19
  • 2
    In other words, by only including the deployment of personnel to a country, it excludes a number of very effective actions for foreign intervention.
    – Obie 2.0
    Oct 8 at 18:35

Since 2000, off the top of my head

US: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Yemen (covert support for Saudi war and campaign of mass starvation), Iran (post JCPOA unauthorized sanctions, petroleum blockade, assassination of a prominent leader, stated goal of regime change), China (support of HK independence, economic warfare, pressured Canada to arrest Meng Wanzhou), Australia (sabotaged France sub deal), Germany/Russia (sabotaged NS2 pipeline, then when crunch time, proceeded to send US LNG to asia instead of europe), overt support for regime changes in Ukraine, Georgia, etc, continuing decades long interference in politics much of Latin America (support right wing governments, overt and covert support [funding, political recognition, economic blockade] for attempted regime change in Venezuela)....

Russia: Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, Armenia (as peacekeepers in the aftermath of the recent conflict with Azerbaijan), probably a handful of other post soviet states. Level of mass death generally far lower than example set by Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan etc

  • 3
    Is the US, with a GDP 11 times bigger than Russia's, a good country to use as a "contemporary" of Russia?
    – Michael W.
    Oct 8 at 15:48
  • "overt support for ... Venezuela" "over support ... Israel" ... Does overt support = "to deploy your personnel to that country to advance your country's policy goals, against the wishes of that country"? Please edit your lists to fit the author's criteria. I'm not suggesting the US isn't worse/bad/evil, I'm simply suggesting your list goes beyond what the OP has stipulated.
    – CGCampbell
    Oct 8 at 16:36
  • I have removed mention of Israel and Palestine as requested, and clarified regarding Venezuela
    – Pete W
    Oct 8 at 17:13
  • 2
    I am not sure this answer is too useful, even now that the question has been edited back to focus on (presumably permanent) members of the UN Security Council. Primarily, that's because the USA is a single country, and there are four non-Russia members of the Council, whom the answer does not touch on. Further, most of the examples given for the United States do not meet the stated criteria (which, admittedly, can be argued to be too narrow), because they do not involve personnel being deployed against a country.
    – Obie 2.0
    Oct 8 at 18:11
  • Without talking about France, Britain, and China, all the answer establishes is that Russia is less interventionist than the USA, while not eliminating the possibility that it could still (hypothetically) be the second-most interventionist permanent member of the UNSC. There are other issues with misleading terminology ("economic blockade" and "economic warfare," mainly), but that is the main issue that I see.
    – Obie 2.0
    Oct 8 at 18:19

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