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Vedomosti, October 3, 2003

One War Is Not Enough
General Staff wants the army ready to fight two wars at once

Analysts look at "The Public Part of the Military Doctrine" By Alexei Nikolsky

A 70-page document entitled "The Public Part of the Military Doctrine" was circulated among participants at a meeting yesterday attended by President Vladimir Putin, military commanders, and members of the public.

According to its preamble, the document released yesterday is a corollary of the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation approved by presidential decree in April 2000. Ivan Safranchuk of the Center for Defense Information (Washington) says, however, that some provisions of the document conflict with the postulates of the Military Doctrine: "Inter alia, it makes no mention of a multipolar world as the main trend, and does not refer to the expanded NATO as a major threat to Russian security."

Alexei Arbatov (Yabloko), deputy chairman of the Duma Defense Committee, says this document is far too controversial to be regarded as a military doctrine. It is instead being used to acquaint the public with the views of the military command. "On the one hand, the document mentions that a global war is less likely. On the other hand, analysis of the lessons of modern wars do not leave any room for doubt - the matter concerns readiness for a war against NATO," noted the legislator. For example, the authors of the document emphasize the need to prevent non-contact warfare (bombing) in favor of contact warfare. However, this means that Russia needs weapons to use against the high-precision weapons that only the United States possesses. To accomplish this goal, Russia will have to double or even triple its Armed Forces, says Arbatov, while the document plainly states that troop strength should amount to 1 million.

Military analyst Yevgeny Putilov considers that "incompatibility with the economic capacities of the state" is the main problem of the document. Inter alia, the document doesn't include a forecast of the future military-political situation: "The survival of NATO as an alliance with an offensive military doctrine will require a dramatic reorganization in the construction of the Russian Armed Forces and changes to Russia's nuclear strategy." Putilov asked: "Who needs a doctrine that doesn't stipulate changes for this particular turn of events and essentially acknowledges its shortcomings if NATO survives"?"

Judging by the document, nuclear deterrence remains the basis of Russia's military policy. The document emphasizes, however, that nuclear deterrence is "not effective without modern general application forces". These forces are supposed to be able to fight two localized wars at the same time, Ivanov said yesterday.

Putilov believes that this is an attempt to ape the American military doctrine of the Clinton era, an attempt that is doomed to failure owing to the current state of the Russian Armed Forces.

Safranchuk says that some provisions in the document are quite risible v such as the assumption that a rise in civilian oversight for the military can be seen from the increase in the number of lawsuits against the Defense Ministry in civilian courts from 2,746 in 2000 to 3,507 in 2002.

Arbatov and Safranchuk agree, however, that the decision to publish the document is certainly good news as it provides a pretext for a public discussion on the future of the Armed Forces. On the other hand, Ivanov's statement that the military reforms are over is bad news indeed.


See also:

The Russian Army

Russia and NATO

Vedomosti, October 3, 2003

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