This book brings to light Russia's undeservedly-obscure military past, rectifying the tendency of Western military historians to neglect the Russian perspective. Russia, as both a Western and non-Western society, challenges conventional thinking about Western military superiority. Russia has always struggled with economic backwardness in comparison with more developed powers, at some times more successfully than others. The imperatives of survival in a competitive international environment have, moreover, produced in Russian society a high degree of militarisation. While including operational and tactical detail that will appeal to military history enthusiasts, this book also integrates military history into the broader themes of Russian history and draws comparisons to developments in Europe. The book also challenges old assumptions about Russia, arguing that Russian military history cannot be summed up simply in a single stock phrase, whether perennial incompetence or success only through stolid, stoic defence; it also shows numerous examples of striking offensive successes.