Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Science and Society / Analytical work: the experience of Russian and foreign experts / Articles
Strategy and strategic foresight in the work of A. Snesarev
Material posted: Medvedev DmitryPublication date: 13-11-2013

Modern cultural-historical and political situation in Russia is characterized by a systemic crisis and a number of fundamental problems in the social and public spheres. Although, at first glance, she seems unique, but nevertheless, there is sufficient typological similarity with the questions that were on the agenda in Russia a century ago, including similar conditions of strategic instability in the world.

The scientists of both eras faced with the task of reflection of the world of transformation processes and developing appropriate methodological approaches to improve the management and forecasting tools.

In this regard, we believe it is important to study the intellectual heritage of the classics of Russian philosophical and political thought of the XXcentury, Andrei Evgenievich Snesarev, whose works created a century ago, but not lost, and may have become particularly relevant in our days.

The writings and researches of Lieutenant General and Professor A. Snesarev in the field of politics, geopolitics, philosophy and strategy are characterized by in-depth analysis, the breadth of the formulation of military and political problems and scientific approach to their solution. Like his contemporary, A. A. Bogdanov, Andrei leaving behind a storehouse of military-political thought, and the totality of his intellectual action ahead of the development of science for several decades.

The need to develop qualitatively new concepts and scientific approaches to strategic forecasting and planning in the beginning of the last century was dictated by "fluctuations and neurosis strategic thought", lack of understanding of the ongoing changes in politics and military Affairs. "The people were disunited, as the old steering the thread was lost, and new paths were not clear and were understood to be different" [1].

One of the key themes of his research was the problem of reflection of the phenomena of "war", "strategy" and "strategic foresight".

Studying the issues of strategy, General A. E. Snesarev developed the provisions of the founder of the philosophy of strategic thinking sun-Tzu, emphasizing the main task of military-political strategy in securing "victories without battles." "Hannibal beat the Romans in all cases, but won in the Rome; in the middle ages, in other moments, the art of victory was reduced to ensure not to give battle and we are now clear that it is not so already it was funny, as was previously thought..." [1, p. 76]. It is the ability to bend opponents to his will without the use of means of warfare, according to A. E. Snesarev criterion of the greatness of the commander and politics.

Absolutisation of armed clashes convincingly criticized A. E. Snesarev. The Professor agrees with A. A. Sveceny in the objective backwardness of the former "geometric strategies with its operating line, March-maneuvers" [2]. Popular military thought in the XIX-early XXV. V. the concept "crushing offensive" would have required substantial resources and "by design was simple and all the complexity was limited only by the complex means applied to the execution process" [1, p. 75]. Thus, the crisis in strategic thinking and the actualization of non-military means of struggle (A. E. Snesarev especially emphasizes the information-psychological component) were the prerequisites for further research and development of new approaches in military and political Sciences.

Revealing key factors of strategic importance in the prediction, a military scholar said, in addition to objective economic and political factors, the role of geo-strategic and political environment in which "placed" the enemy. This environment, referred to in the works of modern scientists (V. E. Lepsky, V. I. Arshinov and others) "polysubject", in addition to the entities includes a set of cultural and ideological values (socio-political, cultural and religious landmarks and constants), the impact of which provides the desired result at lower cost.

In this regard, special attention in his works is paid to the socio-cultural and mental approaches to the study of military-political processes and phenomena. Released in 1924, the textbook "Introduction to military geography" formulates the aim of the developed discipline - "the study and description of landscapes, both natural and cultural" [3, p. 52]. They develop a complex geo-historical policies", including military geography, geopolitics and military strategy can be seen as a theory of world historical and political process. Thus, the conclusions of A. Snesarev about the necessity of formation strategies in the context of value-semantic orientation of the object are sort of forerunners of the "environmental approach" and ethnomethodology, which gain relevance in the post-non-classical scientific paradigm.

A special place in the works of your father is "early progrevanie features" of future conflict - in other words, the strategic foresight of the conditions and trends that can significantly affect the development of the conflict [4]. In this case, the function of foresight is to study such factors, including implicit, which, if reasonable exposure to ensure a strategist "seize the initiative" and the will of the enemy. It was the initiative of the enemy describes Snesarev A. E. as a key factor in the strategy, and the introduction of the will of the enemy radically changes the structure of your actions partly on the technical side, and mainly from a psychological" [5].

On the initiative of Professor snesareva an psychological laboratory at the Academy of the General Staff, the aim of which was to study the psychological component in the army, as well as improving the skills of managers "through dissemination in a military environment, commanders need psychological knowledge and, perhaps, create a new school of military leader-the psychologist" [6, p. 439]. It is in the knowledge of the "mind and spirit" of its people and the ability to anticipate the opponent's will is the strategic talent of the commander.

"National nerve" Andrei was considered the main spiritual capital strategy." Research and create strategies and tactics Professor suggests, based on national cultural traditions, the experience of the people and their mentality. Achievement of strategic success in the confrontation, in this case, it shall be ensured also through exposure to the cultural and psychological spheres. Pokolban the foundations of the development of society, state, civilization, the opponent loses "points of support", constants, leading to fragmentation and incoherence of his actions, reactivity and unreasonableness of conduct.

The nation, symbolizing the organic unity and cohesion of the people, reflects the harmony and the order reinforces "the sense of connectedness or of the Commonwealth, driven mainly by the unity of action and techniques" [7]. So is generated by a summing effect, in the thesaurus of complexity theory called "synergetic". Achieving the above mentioned effect Andrei offered not only to achieve the unity and cohesion of the armed forces, but of conscious activity in the doctrinal field, combining military and political strategy in a single military-political doctrine of the state.

Elementarism and mechanistic rejected Andrey Evgenyevich also in the analysis of the conceptual foundations of strategic documents. Doctrine or strategy, in accordance with his thoughts, are not mere mechanical sum of the constituent parts (ideas) and United the "seamless unity". Anarchy of ideas about short-term goals are understandable and can exist, but the strategy is only possible "combined, so as soon as it is in modern life States will lead to victory and the nature of such only interesting to explore and justify" [7].

A fundamentally important role in creating a common strategy playing the "age-old features and skill of the people who play a role or adjustments, or interlayer, or replacement of this people will be proposed as theoretically ideal" [7]. In other words, the works of the outstanding scientist of the early twentieth century also describe the principles of the mental approach to strategy development has been studied, which is becoming increasingly popular in the modern scientific paradigm of structuralism as the dominant paradigm, are not always able to provide a comprehensive understanding of contemporary world politics ' process.

Rejecting the limitations of the approaches of many scientists, concentrated solely on the economy or tactics, Snesarev saw "the end result... the larger concept of factors, which will include tactics, unions, the economy, the people's nerves, tenacity in the intended aspirations" [1]. Strategic training, according to Andrew Paton, should begin "a penny saved" and ends with "a particular brochure or piece of paper, which somehow had to respond to the troubled, sarcastic, indignant, or even hoping the agitated currents of thought" [1].

Despite the diversity and scope of research A. Snesarev, we have identified a number of approaches and concepts that anticipated the direction of the military and scientific thought, particularly in issues of strategic foresight and the establishment of military-political strategies. Conducting research of a century ago, Andrey developed the basis for many modern scientific approaches, including mental and environmental, to strategy development has been studied in the field of defense and security. The rejection of the classical, outdated forms of creating strategies provided creative progress of science, and many of its assumptions and hypotheses clearly resonate to the current historical moment and allow a better understanding of the root causes of cross-cutting systemic issues.

Modern and futuristic strategic scenarios and projections (F. Fukuyama, S. Huntington, etc.), focused on the key role of ideological and religious-cultural factors towards the development of the global social organism. Advanced technologies and mechanisms of strategic management and planning of socio-political space involve a conscious impact on the social and cultural environment and a thorough study of the "ideological core" of the control object.

Thus, due to soundness and innovation, research and development A. Snesarev became the basis of scientific approaches in Russian and in the modern world of predictive thought.


Medvedev D. A.



  1. Snesarev, A. E. Grimaces strategy // Military thought and revolution. 1923, vol. 4. - P. 74 - 85.
  2. Snesarev, A. E. book Review A. Svechin Strategy [Electronic resource] URL:
  3. Snesarev , A. E. Introduction to militarygeography. Moscow: Military Academy of the red army,1924. - 414 p.
  4. A. E. Snesarev War as a business enterprise / the Telegram of the Supreme commander of the king September 8, 1914, No. 4141.
  5. A. E. Snesarev Speech at the Academy of the General staff on 1 September 1919 [Electronic resource] URL:
  6. Snesarev, A. E. Experienced psychological laboratory at the Academy of the General staff // Military Affairs. 1920, No. 14. - P. 437 - 439.
  7. Snesarev , A. E. unified military doctrine // Military Affairs. 1920, No. 8. - S. 227.

Further reading:

  1. Snesarev , A. E. the Philosophy of war. M.: Financial control, 2003. -288 p.
  2. Snesarev , A. E. the Life and writings of M. Clausewitz:Zhukovsky, 2007. - 433 p.
  3. Smirnova N. M. The ratio of hard and soft patterns of social control: a socio-epistemological analysis // Science and social technology. - M.: IPH RAS, 2011. 54 to 72 C.
  4. Okara A. N. The ideology of solidarism as a tool to build new social actors // Reflexive processes and management - M.:"Kogito-Tsentr, 2013, Pp. 295-298
  5. Kokoshin A. A. On the strategic planning policy in Moscow:Komkniga, 2007. – 224 p.
  6. Kokoshin A. A. About the system and the mental approaches to micropolitics research. Moscow: LENAND, 2008.
  7. Zotov O. V. A. Snesarev – a commander, scientist, philosopher (life, work, contribution, legacy) [Electronic resource] URL: a-e-snesarev.narod.EN/zotov1.html
  8. Yaroslavtseva E. I. culture as a synergetic effect of human activities.// SB. abstracts of III Russian cultural Congress "In space of traditions and innovations". – SPb.: "Eidos", 2010 P. 405-406.

RELATED MATERIALS: Science and Society
Возрастное ограничение