2020 - RUSSIAN MILITARY MODERNISATION: CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR NATO ALLIES

Cédric PERRIN (France)

04 August 2020

Clear messaging from policy declarations and actions signal Moscow is doing its best to assert Russia’s power in a multipolar world. Increasing Russian national levers of power will permit Russia to counterbalance US power in the Euro-Atlantic and beyond. Understood in Russian strategic policy publications and reinforced by the words and deeds of the nation’s leaders is the idea of Russia’s de facto leadership and sway in the post-Soviet space, and a Russian veto at the bargaining tables of the globe’s key conflicts and challenges.

The bleak international security environment depicted in the Russian national security strategy and military doctrine present a broad spectrum of threats and dangers seeking to weaken or upend Russia either from the outside or within. To construct only a partial list, Russia is focused on the dangers and threats emanating from increased and widespread global instability, WMD proliferation, precision strike, information warfare, and other transnational threats such as violent extremism. The dangers of a global arms race to out-innovate in modern weapon systems also pervade the documents. It is clear Russia views its key challenge in this domain as coming from the United States and its Allies. 

Russia’s strategic documents underscore a belief in Moscow that the nation’s defence goals depend on the full spectrum of national power to be at the service of defending the state: This translates into a whole of government approach to defence and deterrence, to include the nation’s economic, political, and informational power as well as societal mobilisation and resilience in the defence of national interests. Ultimately, however, as Russian Chief of General Staff, Valery Gerasimov underscored recently: Russia’s military forces are the ultimate guarantor of the nation’s defence.  [...]