Are the Russian People Ready for War?

NEWPORT, R.I., Feb. 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As the high-stakes standoff in Ukraine continues, the world is holding its breath to see whether Vladimir Putin and the Russian State are willing to invade that country despite the high costs likely to be incurred. Capable of taking a deep dive into the psyche of Putin and the Russian people and available for interview, is U.S. Brigadier General Peter B. Zwack (ret.) who not only was in the Soviet Union and Russia during the 1990s before and after the Soviet Union unraveled, but has recently published Swimming the Volga, a memoir offering cogent insights that offer context for what is happening today. He was on duty in Moscow when Russia first invaded Ukraine.

Zwack has recently appeared on CNN, NPR’s "All Things Considered," The BBC, MSNBC, The Washington Post and The Economist. He can go further in depth for long-form interviews. He says that Putin whose military is threateningly poised on the brink of invading Ukraine carries deep "scar tissue" from unresolved issues from the fall and break-up of the Soviet Union, 30 years ago, when the Russian people were initially filled with euphoria, only to have their hopes dashed by the emergence of internal and international challenges, the black market, major ruble devaluations, scammers, oligarchs, and hard times.

The Russian people, Zwack says, are patriotic and support their government, but not blindly. "They do not want to go to war and are likely on edge or tuning out the drumbeat of news about Ukraine," he says. "Meanwhile, Putin’s desire to return Ukraine to Russian control comes from deep in his psyche."

Praise for Swimming the Volga

"Loaded with great insights and stories from his days before serving as U.S. Defense Attaché in Moscow and from his deep involvement with Russia, Brigadier General Zwack brings the past alive to help us understand what Putin is doing today. It is very rare to have pages filled by someone who really knows Russia and knows how to write about it."  

— the late Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations

"One of the great joys of serving as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation was working with General Peter Zwack. Every day, he demonstrated a deep commitment both to serving our great nation and to understanding Russia. The latter helped him do the former. Swimming the Volga* shows just how deep into Russian society, history, and culture Peter dug. Jumping from the analytic to the personal with ease, it’s a brilliant story."           

—  Michael McFaul, U.S. Ambassador to Russia, 2012-2014

"Few Americans understand Russians better than Peter Zwack. As a traveler, student, observer and head military attaché to Moscow, he has come to know them in the many aspects of their lives. This memoir … is a sharp-eyed view of a complex, contradictory and yes, extraordinary nation." 

—  Robert Cowley, Founding Editor, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History

About Peter Zwack

Brigadier General Peter B. Zwack (ret.) served as a senior defense official and attaché to the Russian Federation from 2012-2014. He spent 34 years as a military intelligence and Eurasian foreign area officer serving in Russia, West Germany, South Korea, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. He is a global fellow at The Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars which is widely regarded as the foremost institute for advanced Russia studies in the United States.

Terri Beavers 
; (434) 409-5687

SOURCE Peter Zwack