Beyond an occasional news story

Site Menu                 


Russian military - modest reform

  Print This Page

  Add To Favorites

After a rapid decline in the early 1990s - when its weaknesses were exposed by the disastrous first Chechen war and the loss of the Kursk - Russia's military has recovered some of its old prestige at home. But new prosperity has had a modest impact on defence.

Russian military reform

National security still largely depends on nuclear forces. A new intercontinental missile, the Topol-M, was deployed in 1997.

There are plans for a contract-based (professional) military, but conscription still accounts for many personnel.

Despite increases in procurement and ambitious designs like the fifth-generation fighter jet project, the defence industry relies heavily on exports. 

Russian intercontinental ballistic missile

Although its invading troops may have looked fearsome in Georgia in August 2008, Russia's conventional military is no match for NATO or China.

Much of the navy is rusting on decaying piers in Murmansk. Their backup, a large nuclear arsenal (Russia possesses half of the world's nuclear weapons), is unlikely to factor into future regional conflicts.

Russia does not represent the strategic threat to Western interests as the Kremlin cannot afford to excessively antagonize the international community in the long term.

Back to Top



Special Note