Swords and Sustenance

From American Academy Studies in Global Security

Swords and Sustenance

The Economics of Security in Belarus and Ukraine

Edited by Robert Legvold and Celeste A. Wallander





The stability of the former Soviet states is threatened by their precarious geopolitical position within a turbulent economic and political environment. Swords and Sustenance explores the complex economic dimension of national security for two key post-Soviet countries, Belarus and Ukraine—that is, how they have dealt with the challenges posed by internal economic and political reform and their relationships with Russia and the West.

The book first examines how differing commitments to economic and political reform (reform is largely absent in Belarus) affect Belarusian and Ukrainian approaches to security. It then considers the central role of Russia, and how Russian interests and policies toward Belarus and Ukraine limit the two countries' foreign and domestic policy choices. Two chapters discuss the national security implications for Belarus and Ukraine of two key economic factors in their foreign policy: energy trade (in the form of oil, gas, and pipelines) and military-industrial cooperation (including the sale of arms). Finally, the book considers the relationships of Belarus and Ukraine with regional and global institutions and explores the policies of the EU, NATO, and the United States toward Belarus and Ukraine.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262122641 256 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$24.00 X ISBN: 9780262621823 256 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


Robert Legvold

Robert Legvold is Professor of Political Science at Columbia University.

Celeste A. Wallander

Celeste A. Wallander directs the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.


  • Fixing a historical and contemporary eye on the cases of Ukraine and Belarus, this outstanding collection of essays represents the best of scholarship on the highly complex links between politics and economics—between national identity and interstate relations—in the post-Soviet space and its relations with the world at large.

    Roman Szporluk

    Harvard University

  • Swords and Sustenance serves as an important reminder that it is simply impossible to understand international relations without integrating political economy and security studies. This volume's contributions offer lessons for all IR students, regardless of specialization.

    Jonathan Kirshner

    Cornell University

  • A thoughtful and penetrating analysis of the complex interdependence of security and economics in the post-Soviet space. It provides a valuable framework of analysis for both scholars of the region and policymakers.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski