This week the Annual Conference of the International Society for Military Sciences is taking place. I’ll present a paper I’m still working called ” The New Russian Security Concept and the ZAPAD-2021 Exercises.” Click here to see the presentation. The abstract is:
Since Crimea’s annexation by Russia in 2014, the West has been trying to understand better Russia’s military strategy at both the micro and the macro, or grand strategic, levels. This is often done by framing Russian statements, documents, and actions within Western theories and concepts, including popular concepts in the West such as Hybrid Warfare, Greyzone Warfare, A2AD, to cite a few. Another issue is the prevalent idea, especially among non-academics, that the Russian security and defense documents are merely empty rhetoric for internal consumption. Anecdotally, it results in the “they know” axiom, implying that the Russian political and military elite are aware that NATO and, especially the United States, have no intention of attacking Russia and manipulating internal and external audiences to get political leverage.
This results in some grave methodological problems. First, the Russian strategic documents have a different hierarchy than the Western equivalent. For example, the Russian military doctrine deals with issues at the macro level, i.e., politics and grand strategy. In contrast, the operational level is discussed within what the Russians call Military Science. In other words, it is not possible to evaluate what is and what is not considered operational. The same applies to the question of other security and defense documents being empty rhetoric.
One way to solve this issue is to compare these documents, including the military, scientific debates, with reality on the ground, i.e., operations and exercises. This allows verifying the extent of the security and defense document’s narratives being reflected in actual actions. Another issue is the revealed preoccupations of the Russian security and defense elite is a hypothetical “hybrid” attack by NATO. Thus, it is necessary to evaluate Russia’s internal idiosyncratic fragilities that would give ground for real concerns of a hypothetical hybrid (in the West understanding of the term) attack’s feasibility and possible success.
To do that, this paper relies on qualitative and quantitative analysis. First, the texts of the Russian 2000, 2010, and 2014 Military Doctrine and the 2000, 2009, 2015, 2021 National Security Concept were tokenized using R. The tokenized lists were cleaned of common stopwords and some expressions with high frequency but without explicative meanings. Word clouds were made to compare the change of narratives within years giving a robust visualization of the main issues forming narratives. It followed a textual qualitative analysis of the most recent documents to find other specific points forming a narrative. The next step was to identify Russia’s internal fragilities. Since there is a lack of aggregate data about social issues from Russian sources, the European Social Study was used. In Russia’s case, it provides data for five rounds: 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2016. Russia did not take part in the most recent round (2018). Data was tested, aggregated, and plotted using R. Finally, a qualitative analysis of the ZAPAD exercises was done to determine its scenario. The final step was to compare narratives, internal fragilities, and the exercise’s features.
The results showed that the ZAPAD-2021 exercises reflected the narratives present in the primary security and defense documents. They also showed a non-quantitative correlation with Russia’s internal fragilities. A first conclusion is that the Russian security and defense elite is aware of the country’s internal fragilities being a possible conduit to destabilization operations in Russian territory that might escalate into open military conflict. This led to the second conclusion that national grassroots movements might be considered a foreign attack, and military escalation follows. Third, conventional military capabilities are core to Russian defense strategy and include conventional and unconventional means in a whole of society approach.
Last night, the forces of group “A” of the KGB with the support of the OMON GUVD of the Minsk city executive committee detained 32 militants of the foreign private military company Wagner. In addition, one more person was found and detained in the south of the country.
According to sources from the Belarussian law enforcement agencies, there was information about the arrival of more than 200 militants in Belarus to engage in destabilization operations during the Presidential election campaign. Each man had small hand luggage and three large heavy suitcases.
Upon arrival in the capital on the night of July 24-25, the group checked into one of the hotels in Minsk and was supposed to check out on July 25. They left the hotel on July 27 and moved to one of the sanatoriums in the Minsk region.
According to the sanatorium’s administration, the visitors drew attention to their uncharacteristic behavior for Russian tourists and uniform military-style clothing. They did not use alcohol, did not visit entertainment establishments, kept themselves apart, and tried to not attract attention. They carefully studied the territory and surroundings of the sanatorium in small groups.
The list of detained citizens of the Russian Federation is:
1. Milaev Arem Viktorovich, born 02/01/1981;
2. Bakhtigaraev Takhir Minigayanovich, born on April 18, 1980;
3. Altukhov Alexander Viktorovich, born on April 18, 1980;
4. Lee Vladimir Alexandrovich, born on July 26, 1989;
5. Kozhevnikov Andrey Yurievich, born January 16, 1980;
6. Sapronov Alexey Vladimirovich, born on 08.07.1978;
7. Shcherbakov Sergey Vladimirovich, born on July 21, 1981;
8. Volgin Alexey Vladimirovich, born June 21, 1975;
9. Driga Oleg Igorevich, born 03.06.1986;
10. Pavlenko Sergey Grigorievich, born June 25, 1976;
11. Rudenko Alexander Svyatoslavovich, born on 26.12.1984;
12. Kharitonov Denis Yurievich, born on March 16, 1980;
13. Sidorov Sergey Alexandrovich, born 01.01.1972;
14. Koshman Maxim Yaroslavovich, born on 06.09.1981,
15. Bubnov Sergey Gennadievich, born on 08.01.1971;
16. Nizhnik Pavel Alexandrovich, born June 24, 1987;
17. Selikhov Vladimir Ivanovich, born on 04.10.1986;
18. Fetisov Gennady Evgenievich, born on October 22, 1986;
19. Fomin Mikhail Nikolaevich, born 03/07/1973,
20. Ekimov Vladimir Sergeevich, born on October 19, 1973;
21. Karimov Rinat, born on August 15, 1984;
22. Shubin Alexander, born January 15, 1996;
23. Shelomentsev Igor, born on August 18, 1975;
24. Maslov Sergey Alekseevich, born September 29, 1988;
25. Zaydulen Rustem, born 06.10.1974;
26. Tokarenko Andrey Viktorovich, born on January 24, 1965;
27. Serdyukov Andrey Viktorovich, born on August 16, 1975;
28. Sergeev Fedor Mikhailovich, born 05.17.1987;
29. Tanov Rafik Kabulovich, born on April 30, 1975;
30. Zyablitsev Evgeniy Sergeevich, 23.11.1992;
31. Samarin Pavel Lvovich, 11.11.1981 year of birth;
32. Bakunovich Andrey Petrovich, born on 30.12.1977;
Last week the British Parliament published a report about Russian malign influence in the UK. A considerable debate followed, ignoring Russia’s motivations and strategic objectives in the United Kingdom and in the West. Russia’s ambitions were described as “Russia’s substantive aims, however, are relatively limited: it wishes to be seen as a resurgent ‘great power’ – in particular, dominating the countries of the former USSR – and to ensure that the privileged position of its leadership clique is not damaged.” It’s much more than that. This view is too simplistic and obscures the understanding of their objectives. The discussions have been concentrating on “Putin and his cronies”, “the mafia state”, etc. This obfuscates the debate about our own problems, which they use against us. Besides, it doesn’t help much to understand their way of thinking and gives the false feeling to know what they’re after.
The independence of the Russian defense industry on foreign components has been on the table for years. There have been many talks about import substitution, vast sums of money were spent, but the situation hasn’t considerably changed. Since Crimea’s annexation, this issue became even more relevant. First, because of the economic sanctions. Second, because of the interdependence between the Russian and the Ukrainian military-industrial complexes.
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Another problem has been the relationship between the Armed Forces and the Russian Military-Industrial Complex, which is still problematic, although it was even worse until 2014. On the one hand, the military often complain that the industrial sector is unable to fulfill the procurement demands and that the Armed Forces’ needs aren’t matched. Quality is considerably low. On the other hand, the industrial sector complains that the Armed Forces don’t know what to procure, including the technical specifications and requirements. In other words, the industrial sector complains that the Armed Forces don’t know what they want. There’s poor planning.
Nevertheless, from 2008 the result was that the industrial lobby was able to impose its specifications and norms on the Armed Forces. In 2012, the then Minister of Defense Anatoly Serdyukov even blackmailed the Military-Industrial Complex saying that “if you don’t provide us with what we want, we’ll buy foreign on-the-shelf full-scale systems. This was one of the most critical factors for Serdyukov being substituted by Shoigu, who has been less confrontational. It didn’t work as expected, because of MoD officials lobbying the interests of the industrial sector.
The relationship deteriorated on such a scale that in December 2014, Putin decided to renew the Military-Industrial Commission (in Russian “VPK” like the newspaper). Its role has been to be a coordination platform between the MoD and the industry to promoting consensus and compromising. And since 2016 to promote import substitution and stimulate technological development.
In 2016 it was disclosed that some 800 weapons systems’ production depends on foreign components from NATO and EU countries, and the Security Council returned to the discussions about import substitution. Although it has been happening for decades, it never really happened despite the luges amounts of money invested. This time, the VPK asked the domestic industry to replace 127 items. One year later, in 2017, they managed seven. There isn’t more recent information.
The volume of civilian dual-use systems is supposed to increase by 30% in 2025 and by 50% in 2030. The logic is to follow the same model as the United States since the 1950s, the one of the military-industrial complex and military Keynesianism. There’s a good story about this. A real one. When the Americans had to go to space, they faced a problem. How to write with a fountain pen without gravity? They developed a pen for that, which gave the technical base for the modern pens we use today. And the Soviet Union? They used a pencil.
And this is the biggest problem. Most of the technology Russia has is still from Soviet times. There is no serious financing for Research and Development Programs. The Russians are also convinced that the best is to exploit possible spillovers with the oil and gas sector, but the industry lacks economic complexity. Although such spillovers might be good at the sectoral level, they won’t promote economic development. Nor reduce the dependence on Western technologies.
Another serious problem for the Russian military industry has been the war with Ukraine. Before Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, some sixty Ukrainian companies produced ship engines, and aircrafts and their components for the Russian military. It included nuclear weapons’ key components like the R-36M missile system and the Voyevoda RS-20 missile (which in NATO is known as the SS-18 Satan). It was developed in the 1980s in the Dnepropetrovsk Design Bureau “Yuzhny” and produced in the same place by “Yuzhmash.”
The Russian MoD has announced plans to dispose it, but at the same time, there is information that their service life is being extended. The obvious conclusion is that the Russians still don’t have a replacement for these systems yet. The deployment of the Sarmat (Satan 2) missiles is expected for no sooner than 2021. Another example is the TOPOL-M, which was developed in the Kyiv Arsenal Plant. There are rumors they will be completely withdrawn from service in 2021 to be replaced with Russian-made Yars and Yars-M missile systems.
The production plans of ships also had to be adjusted because there are no modern Russian ships engines. At the beginning of the modernization program, the MoD counted on the Ukrainian Zorya-Mashproekt’s gas turbine engines. Some ships were designed to use these engines, including the Project 11356 “Patrol Guards,” the Project 22350 “Frigates” and Project 21956 “Multi-Purpose Destroyers.” In September of 2019, the Russian government announced that the United Engine Corporation, the NPO Saturn (Rybinsk, Yaroslavl region), and the OJSC Klimov from Saint Petersburg would replace the Ukrainian engines. There isn’t a precise timing for the commissioning of the new ships.
Some import substitution has been happening in helicopters engines. The Kazan Helicopters and the JSC Kamov, which produce the Mi and the KA series, have been using engines produced by the Zaporizhzhya Motor Sich company from Ukraine. Now they are receiving the Rostech VK-2500 engine, which is more expensive and still needs a complete foreign base. Unmanned aerial vehicles are advancing more. The Forpost-R system was being produced under an Israeli license. Russian companies were able to replace all components. Another drone, the S-70 “Okhotnik” for reconnaissance and strike, was fully developed in Russia and is allegedly able to interact with the 5th generation Su-57 fighter.
Finally, the GLONASS satellites. Until 2014, the share of foreign components was 70%, mostly from the United States. Today it is approximately 40%. The Glonass-K2 satellite, with only domestic components, was expected to be ready by 2021, but there is no recent information about the program.
Import substitution was very effective in promoting South Korea’s economic development. It could work in Russia, but there is a significant barrier posed by the lack of new technologies. Before, it was possible to develop independently. The technology was free. Today, there are patents and intellectual property. One component might use multiple technologies of different owners. It is not possible to develop new technologies isolated from the rest of the world, especially when R&D is underfinanced, and the last significant technological developments were in the 1980s. One alternative is a partnership with China, which has been developing Western level technologies in some spheres, but many times ignored the international rules of property rights.
Can Russia do it? Probably not. Development based on natural resources isn’t sustainable, as discussed by the great Adam Smith already in 1786. Norway might be the exception, but it has a very complex economy. Russia’s development is to be characterized by a situation of the development of underdevelopment. In technological terms, it’ll always be catching up, unless huge, but really huge sums of money are invested in R&D, and new brains are attracted to the country. A herculean task, that, probably, won’t happen. As warfare is increasingly dependent on new technologies, with time, Russia’s operational capabilities will become outdated, forcing the Armed Forces to rely on the nuclear arsenal for deterrence and asymmetric methods for combat.
Putin signed the “Principles of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence.” It hasn’t brought anything really new. It merges many documents into one. Still, the Military Doctrine from 2014 is a far better document. Nevertheless, some points are important to note. This included See below my (poor) translation of the document with the important parts in red and my comments in green.
Principles of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence
1. These principals are a strategic planning document in the field of assuring defense and reflect the official views on the essence of nuclear deterrence, determine which military dangers and threats are to be neutralized, the principles of nuclear deterrence and the conditions which nuclear deterrence is to be applied, and the conditions for employing nuclear weapons.
2. One of the most important defense priorities is to guarantee the deterrence of a potential adversary from aggression against the Russian Federation and/or allies. Deterrence is to be achieved by the totality of the military power of the Russian Federation, including nuclear weapons.
3. The state policy of the Russian Federation in the field of nuclear deterrence (hereinafter referred to as the state policy in the field of nuclear deterrence) is a set of coordinated political, military, military-technical, diplomatic, economic, information and other measures implemented by the force and means of nuclear deterrence, to prevent aggression against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies.
4. The state policy in the field of nuclear deterrence is defensive in nature. It has the objective of maintaining the potential of nuclear forces at a levet enough to ensure nuclear deterrence, and protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state, deterring a potential adversary from aggression against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies, and in the event of a military conflict – preventing the escalation of hostilities and their cessation on conditions acceptable to the Russian Federation and (or) its allies.
5. The Russian Federation considers nuclear weapons exclusively as a means of deterrence, the use of which is an extreme and compelled measure. It is making all necessary efforts to reduce the nuclear threat and to prevent the aggravation of interstate relations that could provoke military conflicts, including nuclear ones.
6. The regulatory framework of these Principles is constituted by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, generally recognized principles and norms of international law, international treaties of the Russian Federation in the field of defense and arms control, federal constitutional laws, federal laws, other regulatory legal acts and documents regulating defense issues and security.
7. The provisions of these Principles are binding on all federal government bodies, other government bodies and organizations involved in nuclear deterrence.
8. These Fundamentals may be specified depending on external and internal factors affecting the provision of defense.
II. The Essence of Nuclear Deterrence
9. Nuclear deterrence is aimed at ensuring that the potential adversary understands the inevitability of retaliation in the event of an aggression against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies.
10. Nuclear deterrence is ensured by the Armed Forces’ combat-ready forces and the bmeans capable of using nuclear weapons to inflict unacceptable damage on a potential enemy in any situation, as well as the willingness and determination of the Russian Federation to use such weapons.
11. Nuclear deterrence is carried out continuously in peacetime, during the period of direct threat of aggression and in wartime, until the start of the use of nuclear weapons.
12. The main military dangers, which, depending on the change in the military-political and strategic situation, can develop into military threats for the Russian Federation (threats of aggression) and which can be neutralized by nuclear deterrence, are:
a) the building up of military capabilities by a potential adversary, including nuclear weapons and systems near the Russian Federation and its allies, including maritime areas;
b) the deployment of anti-ballistic missile defense systems and means, medium- and shorter-range cruise and ballistic missiles, high-precision non-nuclear and hypersonic weapons, shock unmanned aerial vehicles, and direct energy weapons by states that consider the Russian Federation as a potential adversary;
For many years the Russian Armed Forces have been developing both at the doctrinal and the operational level the idea of non-nuclear weapons having the same strategic and tactical effect as nuclear-weapons. Gerasimov have mentioned this issue many times in the last three/four years. The development of the new hypersonic weapons reflects this. There are two issues. First, hypersonic missiles can use plasma stealth to create a cloud of plasma around the missile absorbing any radio waves. This results in the missile being invisible to radars and able to penetrate air defense systems. One example is the Russian 3M22 Tsirkon and the under development BrahMos-II (with India).
Very much of the Soviet programs are still alive. Some time ago, I’ve read a paper called “Weapons of the XXI Century.” Terrifying stuff, including non-lethal biological weapons, earthquakes, radiological weapons, microwaves, and other. Of course, the question is about capacity. Do they have the technological capacity to develop such weapons? Some yes, but still most of Russia’s technology is from Soviet times. It is very much dependent of Western technology. Still, they’re trying and the idea of direct energy weapons has some populararity, since it often appears in doctrinal documents.
c) the creation and deployment in space of missile defense and strike systems;
Reagan’s Star Wars traumatizes them. At the doctrinal level they have been consistently mentioning the outer space as the next warfare frontier.
d) the presence of nuclear weapons and (or) other types of weapons of mass destruction which can be used against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies, as well as means of delivery of these types of weapons in non-allies states;
e) the uncontrolled proliferation of nuclear weapons, their means of delivery, technologies and equipment for their manufacture;
f) deployment of nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles in the territories of non-nuclear states.
This is a clear message for the Baltic States and Poland. There were some think tanks in Washington flirting with the idea.
13. The Russian Federation carries out nuclear deterrence in relation to individual states and military coalitions (blocs, unions) that consider the Russian Federation as a potential adversary and possess nuclear weapons and (or) other types of weapons of mass destruction or significant combat potential of general forces.
This is obviously about NATO.
14. In carrying out nuclear deterrence, the Russian Federation takes into account the deployment of a potential adversary’s offensive capabilities on the territories of other states, including cruise and ballistic missiles, hypersonic aircraft, attack unmanned aerial vehicles, directed energy weapons, anti-missile defense, a warning about an attack with a nuclear missile, nuclear weapons and (or) other types of weapons of mass destruction that can be used against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies.
15. The principles of nuclear deterrence are:
a) compliance with international arms control obligations;
b) the continuity of measures to ensure nuclear deterrence;
c) the adaptability of nuclear deterrence to military threats;
d) the uncertainty for a potential adversary of the scale, time and place of the possible use of forces and means of nuclear deterrence;
e) centralization of state administration of the activities of federal executive bodies and organizations involved in nuclear deterrence;
Nothing new here, but this is clearly about the National Defense Management Center.
f) the rationality of the structure and composition of the forces and means of nuclear deterrence, as well as their maintenance at a level minimally sufficient to fulfill the tasks;
g) maintaining the constant readiness of the allocated part of the forces and means of nuclear deterrence for combat use.
16. The nuclear deterrence forces of the Russian Federation include land, sea and air-based nuclear forces.
III. Conditions for the Russian Federation to using nuclear weapons:
17. The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) its allies, as well as in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation using conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened.
Again the idea of conventional and nuclear weapons having similar strategic and tactical effect.
18. The decision on employing nuclear weapons is taken by the President of the Russian Federation.
19. The conditions determining the possibility of employing nuclear weapons by the Russian Federation are:
a) the receipt of reliable information about the launch of ballistic missiles attacking the territory of the Russian Federation and (or) its allies;
b) the use by the adversary of nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction across the territories of the Russian Federation and (or) its allies;
c) the enemy’s impact on critical state or military facilities of the Russian Federation, the failure of which will lead to the disruption of the response of nuclear forces;
d) aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons, when the very existence of the state is jeopardized.
20. The President of the Russian Federation may, if necessary, inform the military-political leadership of other states and (or) international organizations of the readiness of the Russian Federation to use nuclear weapons or of the decision to use nuclear weapons, as well as the fact of their use.
IV. Tasks and Functions of the Federal Government Agencies, Other Government Agencies and Organizations for the Implementation of the State Policy in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence
21. The President of the Russian Federation exercises general guidance on state policy in the field of nuclear deterrence.
22. The Government of the Russian Federation is developing measures to implement economic policies aimed at maintaining and developing nuclear deterrence facilities, as well as formulating and implementing foreign and information policies in the field of nuclear deterrence.
23. The Security Council of the Russian Federation establishes the main directions of the military policy in the field of nuclear deterrence, and also coordinates the activities of federal executive bodies and organizations involved in the implementation of decisions adopted by the President of the Russian Federation regarding nuclear deterrence.
24. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, through the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, directly plans and conducts organizational and military measures in the field of nuclear deterrence.
Gerasimov is the boss.
25. Other federal executive bodies and organizations participate in the implementation of decisions adopted by the President of the Russian Federation regarding nuclear deterrence, in accordance with their authority.
So, this is the part of Putin’s address to the Federal Assembly which frightened some people, with the videos. He has some valid points as the USA withdrawing from the ABM and announcing the deployment of new nuclear weapons, besides the perception of an increasing willingness of American officials in the Trump administration to use them. Overall, his main audience was the Russian public. Since living conditions are deteriorating in Russia and elections are in March 18, he played the great power card. Overall, people shouldn’t be worried about it. The main issue with nuclear war isn’t the destruction and the causualities. The main problem is the nuclear winter and the spread of radiation by winds, which is believed to extinct human life in the planet. Look:
The fact is that these weapons are still being tested or are projects. He didn’t mention other missile systems like Onyx, Kalibr, Tsirkon and Brahmos which aren’t as incridible as the Sarmat II, but if real can cause great headaches for the Western defense planners. I’ll write more about them soon. Now to the speech:
The operation in Syria has proved the increased capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces. In recent years, a great deal has been done to improve the Army and the Navy. The Armed Forces now have 37 times more modern weapons. Over 300 new units of equipment were put into service. The strategic missile troops received 80 new intercontinental ballistic missiles, 102 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and three Borei nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. Twelve missile regiments have received the new Yarsintercontinental ballistic missile. The number of long-range high-precision weapons carriers has increased by 12 times, while the number of guided cruise missiles increased by over 30 times. The Army, the Aerospace Forces and the Navy have grown significant stronger as well.
Both Russia and the entire world know the names of our newest planes, submarines, anti-aircraft weapons, as well as land-based, airborne and sea-based guided missile systems. All of them are cutting-edge, high-tech weapons. A solid radar field to warn of a missile attack was created along Russia’s perimeter (it is very important). Huge holes appeared after the USSR disintegrated. All of them were repaired.
A leap forward was made in the development of unmanned aircraft; the National Defence Control Centre was established; and the operational command of the far maritime zone was formed. The number of professional service members has increased by 2.4 times, and the availability of equipment in the Armed Forces grew from 70 percent to 95–100 percent. The years-long queue for permanent housing was eliminated, and the waiting period was cut by 83 percent.
Now, on to the most important defence issue.
I will speak about the newest systems of Russian strategic weapons that we are creating in response to the unilateral withdrawal of the United States of America from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the practical deployment of their missile defence systems both in the US and beyond their national borders.
I would like to make a short journey into the recent past.
Back in 2000, the US announced its withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Russia was categorically against this. We saw the Soviet-US ABM Treaty signed in 1972 as the cornerstone of the international security system. Under this treaty, the parties had the right to deploy ballistic missile defence systems only in one of its regions. Russia deployed these systems around Moscow, and the US around its Grand Forks land-based ICBM base.
Together with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the ABM Treaty not only created an atmosphere of trust but also prevented either party from recklessly using nuclear weapons, which would have endangered humankind, because the limited number of ballistic missile defence systems made the potential aggressor vulnerable to a response strike.
We did our best to dissuade the Americans from withdrawing from the treaty. All in vain. The US pulled out of the treaty in 2002. Even after that we tried to develop constructive dialogue with the Americans. We proposed working together in this area to ease concerns and maintain the atmosphere of trust. At one point, I thought that a compromise was possible, but this was not to be. All our proposals, absolutely all of them, were rejected. And then we said that we would have to improve our modern strike systems to protect our security. In reply, the US said that it is not creating a global BMD system against Russia, which is free to do as it pleases, and that the US will presume that our actions are not spearheaded against the US.
The reasons behind this position are obvious. After the collapse of the USSR, Russia, which was known as the Soviet Union or Soviet Russia abroad, lost 23.8 percent of its national territory, 48.5 percent of its population, 41 of the GDP, 39.4 percent of its industrial potential (nearly half of our potential, I would underscore), as well as 44.6 percent of its military capability due to the division of the Soviet Armed Forces among the former Soviet republics. The military equipment of the Russian army was becoming obsolete, and the Armed Forces were in a sorry state. A civil war was raging in the Caucasus, and US inspectors oversaw the operation of our leading uranium enrichment plants.
For a certain time, the question was not whether we would be able to develop a strategic weapon system – some wondered if our country would even be able to safely store and maintain the nuclear weapons that we inherited after the collapse of the USSR. Russia had outstanding debts, its economy could not function without loans from the IMF and the World Bank; the social sphere was impossible to sustain.
Apparently, our partners got the impression that it was impossible in the foreseeable historical perspective for our country to revive its economy, industry, defence industry and Armed Forces to levels supporting the necessary strategic potential. And if that is the case, there is no point in reckoning with Russia’s opinion, it is necessary to further pursue ultimate unilateral military advantage in order to dictate the terms in every sphere in the future.
Basically, this position, this logic, judging from the realities of that period, is understandable, and we ourselves are to blame. All these years, the entire 15 years since the withdrawal of the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, we have consistently tried to reengage the American side in serious discussions, in reaching agreements in the sphere of strategic stability.
We managed to accomplish some of these goals. In 2010, Russia and the US signed the New START treaty, containing measures for the further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. However, in light of the plans to build a global anti-ballistic missile system, which are still being carried out today, all agreements signed within the framework of New START are now gradually being devaluated, because while the number of carriers and weapons is being reduced, one of the parties, namely, the US, is permitting constant, uncontrolled growth of the number of anti-ballistic missiles, improving their quality, and creating new missile launching areas. If we do not do something, eventually this will result in the complete devaluation of Russia’s nuclear potential. Meaning that all of our missiles could simply be intercepted.
Despite our numerous protests and pleas, the American machine has been set into motion, the conveyer belt is moving forward. There are new missile defence systems installed in Alaska and California; as a result of NATO’s expansion to the east, two new missile defence areas were created in Western Europe: one has already been created in Romania, while the deployment of the system in Poland is now almost complete. Their range will keep increasing; new launching areas are to be created in Japan and South Korea. The US global missile defence system also includes five cruisers and 30 destroyers, which, as far as we know, have been deployed to regions in close proximity to Russia’s borders. I am not exaggerating in the least; and this work proceeds apace.
So, what have we done, apart from protesting and warning? How will Russia respond to this challenge? This is how.
During all these years since the unilateral US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, we have been working intensively on advanced equipment and arms, which allowed us to make a breakthrough in developing new models of strategic weapons.
Let me recall that the United States is creating a global missile defence system primarily for countering strategic arms that follow ballistic trajectories. These weapons form the backbone of our nuclear deterrence forces, just as of other members of the nuclear club.
As such, Russia has developed, and works continuously to perfect, highly effective but modestly priced systems to overcome missile defence. They are installed on all of our intercontinental ballistic missile complexes.
In addition, we have embarked on the development of the next generation of missiles. For example, the Defence Ministry and enterprises of the missile and aerospace industry are in the active phase of testing a new missile system with a heavy intercontinental missile. We called it Sarmat.
Sarmat will replace the Voevoda system made in the USSR. Its immense power was universally recognized. Our foreign colleagues even gave it a fairly threatening name.
That said, the capabilities of the Sarmat missile are much higher. Weighing over 200 tonnes, it has a short boost phase, which makes it more difficult to intercept for missile defence systems. The range of the new heavy missile, the number and power of its combat blocs is bigger than Voevoda’s. Sarmat will be equipped with a broad range of powerful nuclear warheads, including hypersonic, and the most modern means of evading missile defence. The high degree of protection of missile launchers and significant energy capabilities the system offers will make it possible to use it in any conditions.
Could you please show the video.
Voevoda’s range is 11,000 km while Sarmat has practically no range restrictions.
As the video clips show, it can attack targets both via the North and South poles.
Sarmat is a formidable missile and, owing to its characteristics, is untroubled by even the most advanced missile defence systems.
But we did not stop at that. We started to develop new types of strategic arms that do not use ballistic trajectories at all when moving toward a target and, therefore, missile defence systems are useless against them, absolutely pointless.
Allow me to elaborate on these weapons.
Russia’s advanced arms are based on the cutting-edge, unique achievements of our scientists, designers and engineers. One of them is a small-scale heavy-duty nuclear energy unit that can be installed in a missile like our latest X-101 air-launched missile or the American Tomahawk missile – a similar type but with a range dozens of times longer, dozens, basically an unlimited range. It is a low-flying stealth missile carrying a nuclear warhead, with almost an unlimited range, unpredictable trajectory and ability to bypass interception boundaries. It is invincible against all existing and prospective missile defence and counter-air defence systems. I will repeat this several times today.
In late 2017, Russia successfully launched its latest nuclear-powered missile at the Central training ground. During its flight, the nuclear-powered engine reached its design capacity and provided the necessary propulsion.
Now that the missile launch and ground tests were successful, we can begin developing a completely new type of weapon, a strategic nuclear weapons system with a nuclear-powered missile.
Roll the video, please.
You can see how the missile bypasses interceptors. As the range is unlimited, the missile can manoeuvre for as long as necessary.
As you no doubt understand, no other country has developed anything like this. There will be something similar one day but by that time our guys will have come up with something even better.
Now, we all know that the design and development of unmanned weapon systems is another common trend in the world. As concerns Russia, we have developed unmanned submersible vehicles that can move at great depths (I would say extreme depths) intercontinentally, at a speed multiple times higher than the speed of submarines, cutting-edge torpedoes and all kinds of surface vessels, including some of the fastest. It is really fantastic. They are quiet, highly manoeuvrable and have hardly any vulnerabilities for the enemy to exploit. There is simply nothing in the world capable of withstanding them.
Unmanned underwater vehicles can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads, which enables them to engage various targets, including aircraft groups, coastal fortifications and infrastructure.
In December 2017, an innovative nuclear power unit for this unmanned underwater vehicle completed a test cycle that lasted many years. The nuclear power unit is unique for its small size while offering an amazing power-weight ratio. It is a hundred times smaller than the units that power modern submarines, but is still more powerful and can switch into combat mode, that is to say, reach maximum capacity, 200 times faster.
The tests that were conducted enabled us to begin developing a new type of strategic weapon that would carry massive nuclear ordnance.
Please play the video.
By the way, we have yet to choose names for these two new strategic weapons, the global-range cruise missile and the unmanned underwater vehicle. We are waiting for suggestions from the Defence Ministry.
Countries with high research potential and advanced technology are known to be actively developing so-called hypersonic weapons. The speed of sound is usually measured in Mach numbers in honour of Austrian scientist Ernst Mach who is known for his research in this field. One Mach is equal to 1,062 kilometres per hour at an altitude of 11 kilometres. The speed of sound is Mach 1, speeds between Mach 1 and Mach 5 is called supersonic, and hypersonic is above Mach 5. Of course, this kind of weapon provides substantial advantages in an armed conflict. Military experts believe that it would be extremely powerful, and that its speed makes it invulnerable to current missile and air defence systems, since interceptor missiles are, simply put, not fast enough. In this regard, it is quite understandable why the leading armies of the world seek to possess such an ideal weapon.
Friends, Russia already has such a weapon.
The most important stage in the development of modern weapons systems was the creation of a high-precision hypersonic aircraft missile system; as you already know for sure, it is the only one of its kind in the world. Its tests have been successfully completed, and, moreover, on December 1 of last year, these systems began their trial service at the airfields of the Southern Military District.
The unique flight characteristics of the high-speed carrier aircraft allow the missile to be delivered to the point of discharge within minutes. The missile flying at a hypersonic speed, 10 times faster than the speed of sound, can also manoeuvre at all phases of its flight trajectory, which also allows it to overcome all existing and, I think, prospective anti-aircraft and anti-missile defence systems, delivering nuclear and conventional warheads in a range of over 2,000 kilometres. We called this system Kinzhal (Dagger).
But this is not all I have to say.
A real technological breakthrough is the development of a strategic missile system with fundamentally new combat equipment – a gliding wing unit, which has also been successfully tested.
I will say once again what we have repeatedly told our American and European partners who are NATO members: we will make the necessary efforts to neutralise the threats posed by the deployment of the US global missile defence system. We mentioned this during talks, and even said it publicly. Back in 2004, after the exercises of the strategic nuclear forces when the system was tested for the first time, I said the following at a meeting with the press (It is embarrassing to quote myself, but it is the right thing to say here):
So, I said: “As other countries increase the number and quality of their arms and military potential, Russia will also need to ensure it has new generation weapons and technology.
In this respect, I am pleased to inform you that successfully completed experiments during these exercises enable us to confirm that in the near future, the Russian Armed Forces, the Strategic Missile Forces, will receive new hypersonic-speed, high-precision new weapons systems that can hit targets at inter-continental distance and can adjust their altitude and course as they travel. This is a very significant statement because no country in the world as of now has such arms in their military arsenal.” End of quote.
Of course, every word has a meaning because we are talking about the possibility of bypassing interception boundaries. Why did we do all this? Why did we talk about it? As you can see, we made no secret of our plans and spoke openly about them, primarily to encourage our partners to hold talks. Let me repeat, this was in 2004. It is actually surprising that despite all the problems with the economy, finances and the defence industry, Russia has remained a major nuclear power. No, nobody really wanted to talk to us about the core of the problem, and nobody wanted to listen to us. So listen now.
Unlike existing types of combat equipment, this system is capable of intercontinental flight at supersonic speeds in excess of Mach 20.
As I said in 2004, in moving to its target, the missile’s gliding cruise bloc engages in intensive manoeuvring – both lateral (by several thousand km) and vertical. This is what makes it absolutely invulnerable to any air or missile defence system. The use of new composite materials has made it possible to enable the gliding cruise bloc to make a long-distance guided flight practically in conditions of plasma formation. It flies to its target like a meteorite, like a ball of fire. The temperature on its surface reaches 1,600–2,000 degrees Celsius but the cruise bloc is reliably guided.
Play the video, please.
For obvious reasons we cannot show the outer appearance of this system here. This is still very important. I hope everyone understands this. But let me assure you that we have all this and it is working well. Moreover, Russian industrial enterprises have embarked on the development of another new type of strategic weapon. We called it the Avangard.
We are well aware that a number of other countries are developing advanced weapons with new physical properties. We have every reason to believe that we are one step ahead there as well – at any rate, in the most essential areas.
We have achieved significant progress in laser weapons. It is not just a concept or a plan any more. It is not even in the early production stages. Since last year, our troops have been armed with laser weapons.
I do not want to reveal more details. It is not the time yet. But experts will understand that with such weaponry, Russia’s defence capacity has multiplied.
Here is another short video.
Those interested in military equipment are welcome to suggest a name for this new weaponry, this cutting-edge system.
Of course, we will be refining this state-of-the-art technology. Obviously, there is far more in development than I have mentioned today. But this is enough for now.
I want to specifically emphasise that the newly developed strategic arms – in fact, new types of strategic weapons – are not the result of something left over from the Soviet Union. Of course, we relied on some ideas from our ingenious predecessors. But everything I have described today is the result of the last several years, the product of dozens of research organisations, design bureaus and institutes.
Thousands, literally thousands of our experts, outstanding scientists, designers, engineers, passionate and talented workers have been working for years, quietly, humbly, selflessly, with total dedication. There are many young professionals among them. They are our true heroes, along with our military personnel who demonstrated the best qualities of the Russian army in combat. I want to address each of them right now and say that there will absolutely be awards, prizes and honorary titles but, because I have met many of you in person many times, I know you are not after awards. The most important thing is to reliably ensure the security of our country and our people. As President and on behalf of the Russian people, I want to say thank you very much for your hard work and its results. Our country needs them so much.
As I have already said, all future military products are based on remarkable advances that can, should and will be used in high-technology civilian sectors. I would like to stress that only a country with the highest level of fundamental research and education, developed research, technology, industrial infrastructure and human resources can successfully develop unique and complex weapons of this kind. You can see that Russia has all these resources.
We will expand this potential and focus on delivering on the ambitious goals our country has set itself in terms of economic, social and infrastructure development. Effective defence will serve as a guarantee of Russia’s long-term development.
Let me reiterate that each of the armament systems I referred to is uniquely important. Even more importantly, taken together all these advances enable the Defence Ministry and General Staff to develop a comprehensive defence system, in which every piece of new military equipment will be assigned a proper role. On top of strategic weapons that are currently on combat alert and benefit from regular updates, Russia will have a defence capability that would guarantee its security in the long term.
Of course, there are many things that we have to do in terms of military construction, but one thing is already clear: Russia possesses a modern, high-technology army that is quite compact given the size of the territory, centred on the officer corps, who are dedicated to their country and are ready to sacrifice anything for its people. Sooner or later, other armies will also have the technology, the weapons, even the most advanced ones. But this does not worry us, since we already have it and will have even better armaments in the future. What matters is that they will never have people or officers like the Russian pilot Major Roman Filipov.
I hope that everything that was said today would make any potential aggressor think twice, since unfriendly steps against Russia such as deploying missile defences and bringing NATO infrastructure closer to the Russian border become ineffective in military terms and entail unjustified costs, making them useless for those promoting these initiatives.
It was our duty to inform our partners of what I said here today under the international commitments Russia had subscribed to. When the time comes, foreign and defence ministry experts will have many opportunities to discuss all these matters with them, if of course our partners so desire.
For my part, I should note that we have conducted the work to reinforce Russia’s defence capability within the current arms control agreements; we are not violating anything. I should specifically say that Russia’s growing military strength is not a threat to anyone; we have never had any plans to use this potential for offensive, let alone aggressive goals.
We are not threatening anyone, not going to attack anyone or take away anything from anyone with the threat of weapons. We do not need anything. Just the opposite. I deem it necessary to emphasise (and it is very important) that Russia’s growing military power is a solid guarantee of global peace as this power preserves and will preserve strategic parity and the balance of forces in the world, which, as is known, have been and remain a key factor of international security after WWII and up to the present day.
And to those who in the past 15 years have tried to accelerate an arms race and seek unilateral advantage against Russia, have introduced restrictions and sanctions that are illegal from the standpoint of international law aiming to restrain our nation’s development, including in the military area, I will say this: everything you have tried to prevent through such a policy has already happened. No one has managed to restrain Russia.
Now we have to be aware of this reality and be sure that everything I have said today is not a bluff ‒ and it is not a bluff, believe me ‒ and to give it a thought and dismiss those who live in the past and are unable to look into the future, to stop rocking the boat we are all in and which is called the Earth.
In this connection, I would like to note the following. We are greatly concerned by certain provisions of the revised nuclear posture review, which expand the opportunities for reducing and reduce the threshold for the use of nuclear arms. Behind closed doors, one may say anything to calm down anyone, but we read what is written. And what is written is that this strategy can be put into action in response to conventional arms attacks and even to a cyber-threat.
I should note that our military doctrine says Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons solely in response to a nuclear attack, or an attack with other weapons of mass destruction against the country or its allies, or an act of aggression against us with the use of conventional weapons that threaten the very existence of the state. This all is very clear and specific.
As such, I see it is my duty to announce the following. Any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, weapons of short, medium or any range at all, will be considered as a nuclear attack on this country. Retaliation will be immediate, with all the attendant consequences.
There should be no doubt about this whatsoever. There is no need to create more threats to the world. Instead, let us sit down at the negotiating table and devise together a new and relevant system of international security and sustainable development for human civilisation. We have been saying this all along. All these proposals are still valid. Russia is ready for this.
Our policies will never be based on claims to exceptionalism. We protect our interests and respect the interests of other countries. We observe international law and believe in the inviolable central role of the UN. These are the principles and approaches that allow us to build strong, friendly and equal relations with the absolute majority of countries.
Our comprehensive strategic partnership with the People’s Republic of China is one example. Russia and India also enjoy a special privileged strategic relationship. Our relations with many other countries in the world are entering a new dynamic stage.
Russia is widely involved in international organisations. With our partners, we are advancing such associations and groups as the CSTO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and BRICS. We are promoting a positive agenda at the UN, G20 and APEC. We are interested in normal and constructive cooperation with the United States and the European Union. We hope that common sense will prevail and our partners will opt for honest and equal work together.
Even if our views clash on some issues, we still remain partners because we must work together to respond to the most complex challenges, ensure global security, and build the future world, which is becoming increasingly interconnected, with more and more dynamic integration processes.
Russia and its partners in the Eurasian Economic Union seek to make it a globally competitive integration group. The EAEU’s agenda includes building a common market for electricity, oil, petroleum products and gas, harmonising financial markets, and linking our customs authorities. We will also continue to work on a greater Eurasian partnership.
As every year, General Gerasimov’s address to the General Assembly of the Academy of Military Sciences was published by the VPK (http://www.vpk-news.ru/articles/35591), Military-Industrial Courier, Issue No 10 (674), 15th March 2017. Below is Mark Voyger from NATO LANDCOM’s brilliant translation. My comments are in green.
A World on the Brink of War
Tracking the current challenges is not enough, it is the future ones that must be forecast
Army General Valeriy Gerasimov, Chief of General Staff of the RF AF
This article is based on the report “Contemporary Warfare and the Current Problems of the Defense of our Country” presented by the ChoGS to the General Assembly of the Academy of Military Sciences.
It was Clausewitz who compared warfare to an expanded single combat, defining it as an act of violence whose purpose is to force the adversary into acting according to our will. The prominent Russian and Soviet theoreticians from the early 20th century Andrey Snesarev and Aleksander Svechin had their considerable contribution to the development of the science of warfare. The subject of their research became the main trends in the conduct of warfare that are the result of not only the political, but also of the economic and social relations. By the early 1990s a firm understanding had been formed of warfare as the means of attaining political goals based exclusively on armed struggle.
Svechin and Snesarev are very important Russian military thinkers. The first was the first chief of the Soviet General Staff.
A classification was developed in the USA that includes traditional and non-traditional warfare, and in the beginning of 21st century the American theoreticians posited that hybrid warfare should be added to it. They define it as actions taken during a period, which is impossible to define purely as either war or peace.
The concept of Hybrid Warfare was fully developed by Frank Hoffman, but I remember to see a Master Thesis from some USA’s military institutional calling similar strategies “hybrid” already in the beginning of the 1990’s. It was mostly about developments of Low Intensity Conflict. If someone find it, please drop me a line.
“The mobilization capacities of the social networks were first revealed during the conflicts in the Middle East”
Our country’s science and practice offers a more balanced approach to the classification of contemporary armed conflicts that accounts for a larger number of parameters. At the same time, the definition of warfare is lacking in the international and domestic official documents. The Military Doctrine of the RF calls it a form of resolving interstate or intrastate conflicts by using military force.
An active discussion is ongoing in trying to clarify the term itself. Some of the scholars and specialists adhere to the classical definition. Others propose a radical revision of the views on the content and substance of the term “warfare”, as they think that armed struggle is not one of its mandatory attributes. At present one can encounter definitions, such as information, economic, hybrid warfare, and numerous other variations.
The General Staff pays due attention to the discussion of the said problem. In 2016 a discussion was organized at the Military Academy of the General Staff on the meaning of the term “warfare” under the current conditions. The said issue was being discussed during the session of the Security Council’s scientific council section. In the course of the discussions a common position was elaborated on the necessity of analyzing the characteristics and features of contemporary armed conflicts, and of revealing the trends in their emergence and evolution.
This is most the result of authors as Chekinov. Bogdanov, Maruyev and others claiming for “futurology” to be recognized as a branch of Military Sciences. The Russian General Staff has great interest in the subject.
The No-Contact Warfare has been replaced by the Hybrid One
Such conflicts of the end of the 20th and early 21st centuries differ from each other in the composition of their participants, the types of weapons used, the forms and methods of troop actions. At the same time, however, they do not exceed the limits of the overall content of warfare, while they include as components various forms of struggle – the direct armed one, along with political, diplomatic, information, and others. New features have appeared nowadays. These include the change in the ratio of contribution of one or another type of struggle into the overall political success of the war, the overwhelming superiority of one of the sides in terms of military power and economic strength.
Basically, it is a development of Low Intensity Conflict. New technologies, etc., of course changed the character of warfare.
Contemporary conflicts can be characterized by a number of features.
The experience of NATO’s operations in Yugoslavia that ushered in the age of the so-called no- contact or distance warfare, did not gain universal distribution. The reason for this was objective since the limitations of geographical, as well as economic nature impact the attainment of the goals of war. The factor of the cost of armaments, and of the war as a whole, started to play an important role in the choice of methods for conducting military actions.
He is referring to Slipchenko’s discussion about 6th Generation Warfare. Also, Putin’s idea that warfare has to be asymmetric, as explained by him already in 2006. Besides, it is clear he knows Russia doesn’t have the money to afford engaging in long traditional wars. Russia isn’t a rich country.
An important feature is the increased use of the newest robotic systems and unmanned aerial vehicles of various purposes and actions.
New forms of application of the diverse forces and means have appeared. For example, in the course of the operation in Libya, a no-flight zone was created while simultaneously imposing a naval blockade in conjunction with the joint actions of private military companies from the NATO member- states, and the armed formations of the opposition.
Here it’s clear how the Russians see the West as a mirror. If they use private military companies as mercenaries in the orst sense of the word, of course the US and NATO do the same.
The army operating concepts of the leading states postulate that achieving information dominance is an indispensable pre-requisite of combat actions. The means of mass media and social networks are used to perform the set tasks. Simultaneously, the forces and means of information-psychological and information-technical influence are activated. Thus, the mobilization capacities of the social networks were first revealed during the conflicts in the Middle East.
The conflict in Syria became a visual example of the use of hybrid methods. It involved the simultaneous use of traditional and non-traditional actions of military, as well as non-military nature.
It’s implicit that the Hybrud part was the proteste of the populaiton agains Assad. Of course it has to be Western interference…
During its first phase the internal Syrian contradictions were transformed into armed demonstrations of the opposition. After that, they became organized in nature with the support of foreign instructors, accompanied by active information warfare.
It’s the West again. And the United States is to blame. The CIA, the illuminati, the Free Mansonry and Soros. :-))))))
Later on, terrorist groups supplied and directed from abroad entered the fight against the government forces.
The hybrid actions are actively introduced in practice on the international arena by the USA and the NATO countries. In many respects this is conditioned by the fact that this variation of activities does not fall under the definition of aggression.
In the Western media the combination of such methods has received the name “hybrid warfare”. However, it is still premature to use this term as an established one.
I agree, Sir.
The New Perception of a Common Term
The analysis indicates a number of trends testifying of the transformation of armed conflicts in the beginning of the 21st century. Nowadays the erasing of the boundary between the state of war and peace is obvious. The negative side of hybrid actions is becoming the new perception of peacetime, when no military or other overt violent measures are used against one or another state, but its national security and sovereignty are under threat and can be violated. The range of reasons and causes for using military forces is widening, as it is activated ever more often to secure the economic interests of states under the slogans of defending democracy, or the inculcation of democratic values into one country or another.
He’s clearing referring to the USA again, but he has a point.
The emphasis of the content of conflict methods is moving toward the wide application of political, economic, diplomatic, information and other non-military means, implemented by involving the protest potential of the population.
It’s post-modern Low Intensity Conflict.
The non-military forms and means of action have experienced unprecedented technological development, and have acquired a dangerous, often violent nature.
Their practical use can trigger the collapse of the energy, banking, economic, information and other spheres of the state’s vital functions. The example can be adduced of the impacts of the cyberattacks against Iran’s energy infrastructure sites in 2015.
Or Russian attacks against Estonia…
The analysis of the characteristics, features and trends in the evolution of contemporary conflicts demonstrates that all of them share a common feature – the use of violent military means. At the same time, almost classical armed struggle is used during some of those, such as the two US wars against Iraq or the NATO operations against Yugoslavia. In other conflicts, such as Syria, for example, the armed struggle was waged by one of the parties in the form of anti-terrorist operations, and by the enemy – in the form of actions of the illegal armed formations and terrorist groups. This way, the essence of wars in modernity and in the foreseeable future will remain the same. Their main feature is the presence of armed struggle.
This is a very important point. It isn’t only asymmetric Low Intensity Conflict (Hybrid, if you prefer). Concentional military force is and will be part of the Russian strategy.
Along with that, the question of defining the nature of warfare has not been closed, it is still relevant and requires constant studies and a thorough development.
For this purpose, the scientific-business program of the international military-technical forum “Army-2017” to be held in August of this year will include a “roundtable” discussing the topic of “Contemporary warfare and armed conflict: characteristics and features”. The scientists from the Academy of Military Science must take the most active participation in it. It is necessary to continue working on the inter-institutional standardization of the military-political and military terms and definitions.
The rise of the world’s conflict potential underlines the relevancy of a number of tasks in the sphere of our country’s defense.
The High-Precision Measures
The main among those remains the same – the guaranteed repelling of potential aggression against the Russian Federation and its allies from any direction. At the same time, it is necessary to guarantee the neutralization of the threats to the security of the country by relying on the existing forces and means in the course of performing the activities of strategic containment in peacetime. In that regard, the role and importance of forecasting the military threats and dangers increases, as it is expedient to conduct it in conjunction with the assessment of economic, information and other challenges.
“The strike potential of high-precision weapons in the RF Armed Forces will increase fourfold by 2021”
The improvement of the capabilities of the Armed Forces is implemented by means of the balanced development of all of the troops (forces) branches and services, the mastering of high-precision weapons and the modern means of communication, reconnaissance, automated command and control, and electronic warfare. At present, a large-scale re-armament of the Strategic Rocket Forces with modern systems is underway. The navy is receiving new nuclear submarines armed with ballistic and cruise missiles that have no analogues in the world. The strategic aviation airplanes, our legendary missile carriers Tu-160 and Tu-95MS are being actively modernized. This will allows us to re-arm the strategic nuclear forces with 90 percent of modern weapons by 2020. The strike potential of high-precision weapons in the RF Armed Forces will increase fourfold by 2021, which will allow for guaranteeing the security of Russia along the entire perimeter of our borders. By 2021 the share of modern weapons and military hardware in the Ground Forces will be no less than 70 percent. The Aerospace Forces will receive new-generation airplanes, which will increase the combat capabilities of the air force by 50 percent. The Navy will receive modern ships armed with high-precision long- range missiles.
It WILL. One day. The important point here isn’t about they having the capabilities or not at this moment. First, it is about the strategic changes on the Russian strategy, the way of fighting. Second, that they’re trying to catch up and sooner or later they might surprose the West with some new technologies.
A considerable role in increasing the combat capabilities is played by robotics. The large-scale and substantiated application of robotic systems of various purposes will increase the effectiveness of troop actions, and will guarantee the considerable reduction of personnel loss.
It’s like an Industrial Revolution in combat capabilities.
The Science of Preemption
Nowadays the Armed Forces are gaining combat experience in Syria. They have had the unique opportunity to check and test the new models of weapons and military hardware under complex climatic conditions. It is necessary to continue summarizing the experience gained by using the means of armed struggle during the Syrian campaign, and draw lessons for their improvement and modernization.
We must remember – victory is always achieved by using not only the material, but also the spiritual resources of the people, its cohesion and its drive for resisting aggression by using all its strengths. The military-political leadership of the Russian Federation is exerting serious efforts to restore the nation’s confidence in the army. Nowadays the Armed Forces are reaching a fundamentally new level of combat readiness, and it is enjoying the utmost support of society. In the interest of increasing their prestige further, it is important to develop the linkages between army and society, and in order to achieve that we must improve the system of training of service members and of patriotic upbringing of the youth.
Solving the current problems of our country’s defense would be impossible without studying them in a thorough and preemptive fashion. In that regard, it is worth focusing the attention on the priority tasks of the Academy of Military Science.
The study of the new forms of conflict between states and the development of efficient methods to counter that stand above all.
In other words, Russian miltary scientists will look very closely to what the US and NATO do. They will reframe what they’ve seen within their own moral system, beliefs, etc., and that will become the new developments of Russian New Generation Warfare.
A relevant task is the development of scenarios, long-term forecasts of the evolution of the military- political and strategic situation in the most important regions of the world. It is necessary to study operationally the features of contemporary armed conflicts and based on them to develop the work methodology of military command and control and the troop actions under various conditions.
General Gareev, did you understand? Enough of your guys writing about WWII. It’s the second time he saying that.
A separate study is required of the problems related to the organization and conduct of regrouping of forces (troops) to distant theaters of operations. The standard tasks of military science have not lost their relevancy, as they also need further development.
Voyennaya Misl will start to publish such articles soon. I’m ready to bet.
Explaining growth of the military budget Shoigu refers to founder of political economy Adam Smith saying that in his work “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” he stated that defense of the country was more important than wealth and called the military art “the noblest of all arts.” Thus, Shoigu concludes that it is not worth arguing with Smith proposing an alternative “army or economy.”
I believe many people in the West use to project their views on other people. This might explain the failure when dealing with Russia. I’ve been arguing that Russia, including Putin, are very clear about their world view, including Geopolitics. Please, read the man:
– We see how some of our partners continue stubborn attempts to retain their monopoly on geopolitical domination. They put to use centuries of experience in suppressing, weakening, and setting opponents against each other, and turn to their advantage enhanced political, economic, financial and now information levers as well. By this, I mean, for example, the practice of intervening in other countries’ internal affairs, provoking regional conflicts, exporting so-called ‘color revolutions’ and so on. In pursuing this policy, they sometimes take on as accomplices terrorists, fundamentalists, ultra-right nationalists, and even outright neo-fascists. We see direct evidence of the harm this policy causes right on our borders. Two years ago, the list of regional hotspots got the addition of Ukraine, much to our regret, where the flames of internal conflict were fanned at the cost of human lives, destruction of economic ties, and streams of refugees, including into Russia.
– We are not going to let ourselves get intoxicated by these military passions. It seems that others are trying to nudge us this way, provoke us into a costly and futile arms race so that we divert resources and effort from our great socioeconomic development tasks at home. We will not do this, but we will always ensure our reliable defense and will guarantee the security of our country and its citizens.
– Syria has found itself at the epicenter of the fight against terrorism. It is no exaggeration to say that Syria’s future will be decisive not only for the future of the Middle East. It is in Syria that the fight against terrorism is being decided, the fight against this same Islamic State that has gathered terrorists and extremists of all stripes under its banners and united them in a desire to expand throughout the entire Muslim world. We know that they have set the goal of gaining strongholds in Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, the countries of Central Asia, the regions along our borders. This is why we responded last autumn to the Syrian government’s request for help in fighting this terrorist attack. I would .like to thank once again our military service personnel, who did all they could to push back the terrorists, prevent an illegitimate external armed intervention in Syria’s affairs, and preserve Syrian statehood.
– Brexit was a decision of the British and Russia is not going to interference into this process although it will watch the divorce of London and Brussels attentively.
– Russia will accept any choice of the American people and will work with any new president of the US. We want is to work in close cooperation with the United States on international affairs, but we will not accept the approach of that part of the U.S. establishment that thinks they can decide themselves in which areas we will cooperate and in which areas they will turn up the pressure, including through sanctions. We seek a partnership based on equality and consideration of each other’s interests.
– We must put up strong resistance to the Western media’s information monopoly, including by using all available methods to support Russian media outlets operating abroad. Of course, we must also act to counter lies about Russia and not allow falsifications of history.
The Russian MoD has been very kind to make available the panelists’ speeches of the firsts day. Unfortunately, they didn’t make available the Q&A sessions. Below you can find the videos of the 3rd (Global security and military cooperation) and 4th (Problems of War and Peace in Europe: a new security system in Europe) panels in English and with Q&A. At this time, these videos are not available anywhere else.
Nikolay N. Bordyuzha’s speech and answers were very interesting (3rd panel). In the 4th panel, it was interesting to hear to the Belarussian minister of defense, but General Sergey Makarov was able to make a great resume of the Russian strategic view.