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This book would not be possible without the many special people who taught, encouraged, supported, and challenged me. Sometimes, it was essential that they simply stood by my side. My studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame opened the topic of asymmetric conflicts to me in the mid-1990s. My dear teachers and colleagues Savely Wolfson, Vasily Zinoviev, Alexei Timoshenko, Inna Karataeva, Valentina Sumarokova, and Anna Korchuganova from Tomsk State University deserve credit for making this book happen. I am immensely thankful to Professor Alexei Bogaturov for his encouragement and life investment into the development of international relations studies in Russia’s vast territory beyond Moscow. Richard Sakwa, Judith and David Marquand, and Eric Remacle provided intellectual guidance and models to follow, and their warm friendship crossed borders. I owe a lot to Professor Sir Hew Strachan, Chichele Professor of the History of War at All Souls College, Oxford University, who generously provided me with exceptional insight into British military literature while being critical of the very concept of asymmetric conflict as such. The greater part of this manuscript was written during my time as a Fulbright scholar at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. This “academic paradise” gave me a refuge for productive intellectual work with excellent library and logistic support, as well as a rich and diverse landscape of research projects that challenged my ability to concentrate on my own project. I want to express my deep appreciation to the Kennan Institute staff, and especially to Blair Ruble, for their support and the feeling of belonging to this very special institution devoted to Russian studies in the United States, with the belief that Russia is a country that deserves to be known better. For the English edition of the book, translator Nina Rozhanovskaya and editor Marjorie Pannell provided important revisions that helped to bring this project to a strong conclusion. Finally, my family—Denis, Vasily, Lena, Sergey, and Asya—have never doubted my work, and they are my biggest source of energy and reward.

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