The security policy of the Russian Federation and the re-orientation of its armed forces

Siegfried Lautsch


NATO is approaching the Russian frontier – a hostile situation for the country. Due to historical reasons, Russia has strong defence awareness, and the West ought not to overstrain this. Russia will never again tolerate war on its territory. Thus, in case of war, Russia will meet the presence of NATO directed against Russia with an “anti-access strategy” on Russia’s periphery or anywhere else. The North Atlantic Alliance ought to know that the military elite of Russia will obscure from the West how many troops they will engage in a crisis or war. The Russian general staff as well as the armed forces leaders certainly do not challenge a confrontation with the NATO member states, but they are preparing for any kind of warfare. If the Alliance provokes a war, this will have serious consequences for all NATO member states. The central mission of the Russian armed forces, other troops and facilities in case of war is repelling an attack or an aggression against the Russian Federation and its allies, defeating the hostile forces, forcing the aggressor to cease his actions of wars under conditions corresponding to the interests of Moscow and its allies. In the Russian military doctrine, the military threats are signified by military conflicts and war scenarios, particularly by armed conflicts, local, regional and large-scale wars. Already today the Russian armed forces are capable of carrying out operations for defending their territory anytime and anywhere. Numerous present forces, including the Special Forces, allow both conventional and unconventional warfare. Russia has capabilities allowing the moving of armed forces into distant crisis regions. One can, however, assume that Russia will only deploy military forces with a strategic objective if a military coup is to be expected, or if an ally is threatened. Often NATO seems to be convinced that the Russian armed forces are not capable of rapid operations, either because the participating analysts know little about the obvious capabilities and availability of the Russian special troops, or because lacking self-reflexion due to vain self-assessment, which is widespread in the West, and this often leads to misjudgement. Connecting the variety of capabilities of the Russian armed forces, their weapon systems, their training and their training level, with a threat against NATO shows false assessment in certain circles of politics, economy and military. With the re-orientation of its armed forces, Russia has a lasting and punchy armament which is strongly anchored in its society, capable of dealing with the challenges of the future.