Academic journal article The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies

Toward a New Quality: The Russian Military Doctrine and Eurasian Security

Academic journal article The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies

Toward a New Quality: The Russian Military Doctrine and Eurasian Security

Article excerpt

Russian military actions since 1991 have brought debate and speculation to the international community regarding Russian designs toward the "near abroad," the states which formerly constituted the Soviet Union. Operations in Moldova, Georgia, Tajikistan, and even on the territory of the Russian Federation in Chechnya have proceeded with many observers failing to come to terms with the "broad picture." Largely, the question of Russia's intent in these theaters has been ignored or handled in a cursory manner. This paper is an attempt to provide the conceptual framework for interpreting such events. Currently, there exists few means at the disposal of scholars to determine exactly what Russian military philosophy is and how that philosophy relates to foreign policy in general. Perhaps the best tool to date for this purpose is the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation. Environmental Influences on the Drafting of the Military Doctrine of 1993

Since its conception, the Russian Federation (RF) has had to cope with a number of political realities. These realities, whether understood immediately, or through trial and error, are foundational in the RFs quest for nationhood. One of the most pressing elements in all of Eurasia is the necessity to achieve international security. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the space that was once the whole of the monolith has been inherited by new states with new archetypal problems in terms of security.

In addressing this and many other defense related issues, the RF drafted its first military doctrine early in 1992. This doctrine was dually influenced by the Russian Liberals and "hawks" within governmental circles. This draft doctrine ultimately failed to meet the political and military expectations of many within Russia. Finally, with the firing upon the parliament building in October of 1993 by the armed forces, the President was able to achieve many political goals which were stalled by intra-governmental battles prior. One of these battles won by the President was over the content of the military doctrine.

The current military doctrine of the Russian Federation is essentially a political statement establishing the mission of the Russian armed forces in the post-Soviet world in which NATO and the United States' nuclear arsenal no longer poses a major threat to Russia, and in which the armed forces no longer support "progressive" revolutions in distant countries. According to the doctrine, approved by the Security Council on November 2, 1993, "Though the threat of world war has not been eliminated yet, it has considerably reduced by now. The main current source of danger is local wars and regional conflict. This danger is constantly growing."1 This new doctrine, while similar to its predecessor in a number of ways, did differ substantially. Initially, the new document went further in abandoning the Cold War influence regarding potential adversaries and thinking in terms of a possible major conventional war. Secondly, the doctrine gave greater attention to possible local wars and the need to prepare for them. These new interpretations regarding threat assessment had a radical impact on the general posture of the armed forces. Military strategists now assert, with some level of credence, that the armed forces in Russia and the CIS should not be seen as a threat to anyone, while at the same time they should be sufficient to rebuff any type of aggressor. According to Ruslan Khasbulatov, the future of Russian and CIS armed forces will be defined first by the situation on the home front and second by the new international environment which, in the last few years, has "significantly improved." These two influences have created a radically new political base for the military doctrine of Russia and for the military-political concept of the CIS Joint Armed Forces.2 With the adoption of the new military doctrine, a policy of radical transformation of the armed forces has been undertaken, the goal of which is to advance them to a new level of quality. …

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