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Russia's Nuclear Doctrine

Nikolai Sokov

Senior Fellow, Monterey Institute of International Studies

  • Russia Russia
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  • Russia Russia
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Introduction

Statements about Russia's increased reliance on nuclear weapons have become commonplace since 1993, when it formally dropped the Soviet no-first-use policy. In reality, nuclear doctrine changed more slowly, and almost the entire 1990s was spent on debates, most of them behind closed doors. Only in 1999 did a new, post-Soviet nuclear doctrine take shape. Analysis of official documents, as well as official and unofficial statements, suggest that the main innovation was a new mission assigned to nuclear weapons, that of deterrence of limited conventional wars.

Available evidence suggests that there were two key variables that affected the emergence of the new nuclear doctrine. First, a perception of acute external threat (especially in the mid-1990s and in 1999, when Russia anticipated that NATO might threaten to use force on a limited scale to achieve limited political goals in a manner similar to wars in the Balkans). Second, acute sense of the weakness of Russia's conventional forces vis-à-vis the prospect of a limited conventional war, especially a limited war with both numerically and qualitatively superior NATO forces. From the perspective of the Russian military, reliance on nuclear weapons was a logical response to the glaring inadequacy of conventional forces premised on the perception that nuclear weapons had greater utility than deterrence of a large-scale nuclear attack. Official documents suggest, however, that reliance on nuclear weapons is seen as a temporary "fix" intended to provide for security until conventional forces are sufficiently modernized and strengthened.

Following terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001, the perceived tension in U.S.-Russian relations has diminished; both governments have proclaimed that they are allies in the fight against international terrorism, and even the disagreement over the war in Iraq in 2003 proved to be only temporary. Variation of political relations has not, however, had a visible effect on the nuclear doctrine. On the one hand, it is not directed solely against the United States, although concern about the overwhelming American military power persists, especially among the military. On the other hand, changes in foreign policy are always regarded as transitory whereas military and economic capability as a constant. It is not inconceivable that relations might worsen, and then Russia will again need a viable deterrence vis-à-vis the United States, according to this line of thinking.

Russia's 2000 National Security Concept: The Nuclear Angle

On 10 January 2000, Acting President of Russia Vladimir Putin (he was elected president in March 2000) signed the new National Security Concept of the Russian Federation.[1] Officially, the new document was classified as a "revision" of the previous, 1997 concept; this status was probably intended to emphasize the continuity of policy between the Yeltsin and Putin administrations. The work on the new version of the National Security Concept began, apparently, soon after the appointment of Putin as secretary of the Security Council in the early 1999. An earlier draft was published on 5 October 1999.[2]

By its nature, the Concept establishes only broad guidelines for national security policy, and thus addresses nuclear strategy only briefly and in general terms. These guidelines are developed and detailed in the Military Doctrine, which was approved four months later.[3]

The key articles of the new Concept pertaining to nuclear weapons are the following:

  • "The most important task of the Russian Federation is to implement deterrence in the interests of preventing aggression on any scale, including with the use of nuclear weapons, against Russia and its allies."
  • "The Russian Federation should possess nuclear weapons capable of guaranteeing infliction of predetermined damage to any aggressor state or coalition of states under any circumstances."
  • "The use of all forces and means at its disposal, including nuclear weapons, in case [Russia] needs to repel an armed aggression, if all other measures of resolving the crisis situation have been exhausted or proved ineffective."


The first two provisions repeat without changes the language of the 1997 National Security Concept, but the third one read differently. In 1997 it said: "Russia reserves the right to use all forces and means at its disposal, including nuclear weapons, in case an armed aggression creates a threat to the very existence of the Russian Federation as an independent sovereign state."[4]

The new language effectively assigned a new mission to the country's nuclear arsenal. Whereas under the 1997 document, nuclear weapons were reserved solely to deter a large-scale attack, which was not feasible neither then, nor later, the 2000 concept allowed for the use of nuclear weapons as a deterrence to smaller-scale wars that do not necessarily threaten Russia's existence and sovereignty. The new mission also implies limited use of nuclear weapons in contrast to the all-out nuclear strike in response to a massive attack.

The introduction of a new mission clearly relates to the assessment of threats to Russia, which include, according to the Concept, "the desire of some states and interstate groups to diminish the role of the existing mechanisms of providing for international security, first of all the United Nations and the OSCE;" "the strengthening of military-political blocs and alliances, first of all the eastward enlargement of NATO," "the possibility that foreign military bases and large groups of armed forces appear in the immediate vicinity of Russian borders;" and "the transition of NATO toward the practice of military actions outside its area of responsibility without the authorization of the UN Security Council."

The document recognizes the inadequacy of Russian conventional forces vis-à-vis those of leading political and military powers in the world and talks about "the growing technological gap with some leading powers and the growth of their capability to create new-generation weapons and equipment" that allow "a fundamental change in the forms and methods of combat." Under these conditions, reliance on nuclear weapons when "all other measures of resolving the crisis situation have been exhausted" looks logical and easily predictable.

The revision of nuclear strategy was apparently launched at a meeting of the Security Council in April 1999 shortly after the beginning of the war in Kosovo. That war vastly reinforced earlier concerns that the United States and NATO might threaten limited military action against Russia (or actually start a limited military action) to achieve certain political gains, such as, for example, force it to withdraw from certain new independent states or stop the war in Chechnya. Even as early as in the spring of 1999 it was clear that that war would resume in the near future. It began in the fall of 1999 in response to the incursion of Chechen militants into the neighboring republic of Dagestan.

The text of the Concept, however, creates a clear impression that reliance on nuclear weapons is intended to be a temporary "fix" until conventional forces are reformed and modernized. While provisions pertaining to the nuclear doctrine are limited to barely two paragraphs, the document concentrates primarily on conventional modernization. Arguably, when this task is implemented, reliance on nuclear weapons could be reduced.

Arms control continues to occupy an important place in Russia's national security policy, especially nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, as well as of the means of their delivery. Proliferation is included as a separate plank in the list of threats to national security, which is hardly surprising because many potential proliferants are located close to Russia and also because proliferation of nuclear weapons is likely to undercut Russia's special status in the international system as one of only five officially recognized nuclear powers. The concept also lists among priorities "measures to ensure international control over the export of military and dual-use products, technologies, and services."

The concept confirms Russia's intention to implement arms control agreements, but the attitude toward new agreements has changed. The 1997 Concept simply postulated that Russia would "participate in the process of negotiations on reduction of nuclear and conventional arms, as well as control over proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means of their delivery." The new document modifies this goal quite considerably. Now, Russia intends to "adapt the existing arms control and disarmament agreements to the new conditions in international relations, as well as develop, as necessary, new agreements, first of all with respect to confidence and security building measures."

The new provision might indicate a new attitude toward arms control. The agreements concluded during or immediately after the Cold War were adequate for a superpower, but are uncomfortable for Russia: some elements are too restrictive while other do not sufficiently restrict other countries. The START process, although it is not mentioned specifically in the concept, is one example: the ban on MIRVed ICBMs is, some suggest, no longer deemed in Russia's interest, and reportedly it seeks to revise it in START III. There is an ongoing debate about acceptability of the self-imposed restrictions on tactical nuclear weapons. Of all arms control agreements which Russia is party to, only the Nonproliferation Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention enjoyed a positive note. Furthermore, the "old," highly prescriptive, detailed agreements are no longer needed in a world that is no longer dominated by intense superpower rivalry. The new attitude is similar to the one espoused by the United States under the George W. Bush administration. The 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) illustrates that approach: the treaty is effectively a confidence-building measure, and Russia apparently insisted on the legally binding form to somewhat enhance its predictability.

Russia's 2000 Military Doctrine

The Military Doctrine, which President Vladimir Putin approved on April 21, 2000, was a culmination of several years of work and countless revisions.[5] This long-awaited document, which was promised several times since early 1997, replaced the earlier document "Main Provisions of the Military Doctrine," which Boris Yeltsin approved in November 1993.[6]

The new Doctrine elaborated the provisions pertaining to the limited use of nuclear weapons that were set out four months earlier in the National Security Concept and in this regard marks a qualitatively new stage in the development of the Russian nuclear doctrine. The first post-Soviet innovation in nuclear policy was introduced in the 1993 Doctrine, which allowed for first use of nuclear weapons. (Until then, the official Soviet policy, which was set in the 1970s and confirmed in 1982, allowed for the use of nuclear weapons only in response to a nuclear attack.) That document, however, assigned only one mission to the nuclear arsenal--deterrence of a large-scale attack that threatened the sovereignty and the very survival of the country. The situation remained unchanged despite a flurry of proposals in 1996-97 to increase reliance on nuclear weapons in the face of the first phase of NATO enlargement. The 1997 National Security Concept retained the plank about reserving "the right to use all forces and means at its disposal, including nuclear weapons, in case an armed aggression creates a threat to the very existence of the Russian Federation as an independent sovereign state."[7] In a review of an unpublished early draft of the Military Doctrine, which was produced in 1997, two officers of the General Staff noted that "some 'specialists' ... attempted to introduce into the documents language that would toughen nuclear policy," but emphasized that these proposals were rejected by the Interagency Working Group [on the new doctrine]. It was decided, they said, to retain the 1993 language, "which passed the test of time and was supported by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs."[8]

At that time the Russian government adopted a series of documents, which confirmed earlier policy and laid out development and deployment plans based on the assumption that the sole mission of nuclear weapons was deterrence of a large-scale attack. limited missions to nuclear weapons. Several decrees signed by Boris Yeltsin in 1997 and 1998[9] provided for deep reductions of the Russian nuclear arsenal, in accordance with the expiration of their planned service lives, and limited modernization programs. Still, the debate over NATO enlargement had important consequences as it propelled nuclear weapons into the center of attention and created a perception that they could be usable in a broader array of scenarios.

A meeting of the Security Council in April 1999 (the first chaired by Vladimir Putin as the newly appointed Secretary), coming on the heels of NATO military operation in Kosovo, apparently directed the military to revisit nuclear doctrine and develop ways to deter the limited use of force against Russia similar to that war. New approaches were developed in a very short time, suggesting that the military had been thinking along these lines for some time, and deterrence of a limited conventional attack was tested for the first time during the Zapad-99 (West-99) maneuvers in May-June 1999. A draft of the new Doctrine was published in the fall of 1999,[10] but the ensuing discussion did not lead to significant changes, including in the parts pertaining to nuclear weapons.

The scale and the direction of the evolution of views with regard to the utility and the methods of employment of nuclear weapons could be gleaned from a comparison of the relevant provisions of the 1993 and the 2000 doctrines.

The 1993 document defined the mission of nuclear weapons as "the removal of the danger of a nuclear war by means of deterring [other states] from unleashing an aggression against the Russian Federation and its allies." They were supposed to be used only under conditions of a large-scale (global) war that put sovereignty and the very existence of Russia at risk. The Doctrine, however, contained two important warnings: first, that even a limited conflict could escalate into a global war and, second, that any use of nuclear weapons was fraught with an all-out, unrestrained nuclear exchange. This represented, in essence, deterrence of any (including limited) conflict by threat of world annihilation. Obviously, the credibility of such a threat was limited.

The Doctrine, further, contained important limitations on the use of nuclear weapons, which repeated Russia's obligations under the negative security assurances under the Nonproliferation Treaty. Specifically, the document postulated that Russia

    will not use its nuclear weapons against any member state of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1 July 1968 that does not possess nuclear weapons unless (a) such a state, if it has an alliance agreement with a nuclear-weapons state, engages in an armed attack against the Russian Federation, its territory, Armed Forces and other troops, or its allies; (b) such a state acts jointly with a nuclear-weapons state in carrying out or supporting an invasion or an armed attack against the Russian Federation, its territory, Armed Forces and other troops, or its allies.

The right to use nuclear weapons first was not spelled out, but, rather, was introduced "by default," i.e., by not mentioning the previously traditional no-first-use plank.

Although the 2000 language sounds similar, it contains certain subtle, but important changes:

    The Russian Federation regards nuclear weapons as a means of deterrence of an aggression, of ensuring the military security of the Russian Federation and its allies, and of maintaining international stability and peace.

    The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction against itself or its allies and also in response to large-scale aggression involving conventional weapons in situations that are critical for the national security of the Russian Federation and its allies.

    The Russian Federation will not use nuclear weapons against member states of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons that do not possess nuclear weapons except in the case of an invasion or any other attack against the Russian Federation, its territory, its armed forces or other troops, its allies, or a state toward which it has obligations with respect to security, unless that attack is conducted or supported by such a non-nuclear-weapons state together with a nuclear-weapons state or under alliance obligations with a nuclear-weapons state.

First, the mission of deterrence is expanded to include "military security" of Russia and "international stability and peace." The language is extremely vague, but probably implies a broader political role of nuclear weapons, including in circumstances that do not constitute a direct threat of attack against Russia.

Second, the right to use nuclear weapons first in response to a conventional attack is clearly spelled out.

Third, the 2000 Doctrine allows for the use of nuclear weapons in response to the use of other weapons of mass destruction (the provision is similar to the one adopted by the United States).

Perhaps the most important innovation is the broadening of conflict scenarios under which nuclear weapons could be used. The Doctrine distinguished between four types of warfare:

  • armed conflict (primarily ethnic or religious in origin, waged inside the country; other states might be involved indirectly);
  • local war (one or several other states as opponents; the scope and goals of the conflict are limited);
  • regional war (attack by a state or a coalition of states pursuing significant political goals); and
  • global war (attack by a coalition of states; survival and sovereignty of Russia are at stake).

The use of nuclear weapons is associated with the last two types of conflict in contrast to the 1993 Doctrine, which associated nuclear weapons only with a global war. This new feature clearly reflects concerns about a large-scale conventional attack, which Russian Armed Forces are unable to defeat without resort to nuclear weapons and, consequently, are unable to deter - effectively, the Kosovo scenario. An article in the leading military journal Voyennaya mysl in 1999 developed a notion that nuclear weapons could be used for the purposes of "de-escalation" of a regional war:[11] even a limited use of nuclear weapons should increase the costs to the attacker sufficiently to outweigh expected political and economic benefits, and consequently the attacker would prefer to terminate the conflict on the basis of status quo ante. Accordingly, the threat to use nuclear weapons should be able to deter the attack by changing the cost-benefit calculation in the mind of the potential attacker. In the end of 1999 the chief of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, Vladimir Yakovlev, coined the term "expanded deterrence" to denote the mission of "de-escalation" of limited conflicts.

Same as in the 1993 document, the 2000 Doctrine warned about escalation of conflicts. According to a publication of the Academy of Strategic Rocket Forces,[12] the most likely escalation path is from the first directly to the third type of conflict. This view signaled that major foreign interference with the "antiterrorism operation" in Chechnya (the Doctrine was finalized against the background of the second war) could precipitate the use of nuclear weapons. In late 1999, Boris Yeltsin explicitly referred to nuclear weapons during an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit to prevent external involvement in the second war in Chechnya.

The Doctrine is rather moot on the guidelines for modernization and size of the nuclear arsenal. It only says that Russia's nuclear capability "should be able to guarantee the infliction of predetermined damage to any aggressor (a state or a coalition of states) under any circumstances." The use of the notion "predetermined (zadannyi) damage" instead of a more customary "unacceptable damage" is probably related to the concept of limited nuclear use, that is, damage from the strike should not be necessarily unacceptable to the attacker, but just sufficient to ensure that expected costs to the attacker exceed expected benefits. The term "predetermined," however, was also used in earlier documents - the 1993 Doctrine and the 1997 National Security Concept.

According to the Doctrine, strategic nuclear forces will remain the backbone of Russia's nuclear capability (it should be noted that Tu-22M3 medium bombers, which area not classified as strategic under international agreements, are customarily included into the strategic arsenal according to the internal classification). The doctrine lists among the priority areas of defense acquisition "the qualitative improvement of the strategic weapons complex," but fails to mention other classes of nuclear weapons, such as tactical nuclear weapons. This suggests that limited use missions will probably be entrusted to strategic delivery vehicles.

Since its adoption in 2000, the Military Doctrine has remained the main guidance for Russia's defense policy, including with regard to its nuclear strategy and posture and so far there have been no indication of work on its new version. A 2003 "White Paper" published by the Ministry of Defense is limited to an elaboration and limited development of various provisions of the 2000 document.

The Nuclear Debate of Summer 2000

The summer of 2000 witnessed an intense struggle within the Russian military establishment, which directly affected the country's strategic posture, the relative influence of various military services, and the fate of high-level commanders of the Russian Armed Forces. In just two months, decades-old traditions of the supremacy of the Strategic Rocket Force (SRF), which controls land-based strategic missiles (ICBMs), was shattered and the severely weakened SRF had to share its place in the strategic triad with the Navy and eventually move to the second, if not the third place. Only two years later the situation was partially reversed with land-based strategic systems restored to their dominant place within the triad, even though the SRF did not fully recover the administrative status it once had.

The events of the summer 2000 were centered around a long-simmering conflict between Minister of Defense Igor Sergeyev and Chief of the General Staff Anatoliyy Kvashnin. At a meeting of the Collegium of the Ministry of Defense on July 12, 2000 (the Collegium is an assembly of the top figures of the ministry), that conflict became public as Kvashnin unveiled his plan to reorganize the SRF.

Reportedly, this plan included reduction of the number of ICBM divisions from 19 to just two and the number of IBCMs to 150 by 2003 (some sources indicated that a revised version of his plan foresaw a more drawn-out reduction) with the overall strategic force reduced to 1,500 or even less.[13] Deployment of the new ICBM, Topol-M, was to be cut to only two or three per year whereas earlier plans foresaw the deployment of no less than 10 Topol-Ms per year with an eventual increase to 20. Savings generated by these reductions were to be channeled into the modernization of conventional forces, so that by 2016 Russia could create the "foundation" for a "future conventional deterrent capability." In the meantime, the SRF was to be eliminated as an independent component of the Armed Forces ("vid," according to Russian military terminology) and transformed into a command ("rod"), either independent or within the Air Force. [14] Minister of Defense Sergeyev objected to these proposals, and discussion was again concealed behind closed doors. Following the Collegium, Sergeyev threatened to resign if Kvashnin's plan was adopted.

The fact that Kvashnin so boldly announced his views hinted that he had been able to obtain Putin's endorsement. Indeed, according to many reports, the "denucleraization" proposals were based on a report, which Kvashnin had sent to Vladimir Putin in April 2000, shortly after the adoption of the Military Doctrine, and which was supposed to provide guidelines for its implementation.[15]

In the face of an acrimonious conflict between the two highest figures in the military hierarchy, the Collegium was unable to reach a decision. Proposals presented by Kvashnin were sent back for additional discussion, although the balance seemed to be tilting toward an outcome unfavorable for the SRF.[17] With the conflict public knowledge, Putin called both Sergeyev and Kvashnin to the southern Russian resort at Sochi to discuss the conflict (initially only Sergeyev was supposed to come, but later Putin additionally invited Kvashnin and Secretary of the Security Council Sergey Ivanov [18]). That meeting ended inconclusively [19] and it was decided to continue the discussion at a meeting of the Security Council the end of July. (The meeting took place two weeks later, on August 11, probably as a result of serious bureaucratic and political infighting.)

Kvashnin's statement at the Collegium shocked the Moscow military and political establishment, as well as independent observers because it presupposed a radical change of the Russian military posture--not just a deep reduction of the nuclear arsenal, but a radical shift of emphasis within the nuclear triad from the SRF to the Navy with the Air Force probably taking second place. The proposed changed were clearly directed against Igor Sergeyev, himself a former Chief of the SRF, and were widely interpreted as Kvashnin's claim for the position of the minister.

In terms of personal politics, this was clearly a competition for the position of the minister under the new administration (Vladimir Putin had been elected president only months before these events, in April). Kvashnin's star was quickly rising, as suggested by his rapid advancement in both the official and the unofficial hierarchy. By 2000, the General Staff had firmly consolidated operational control of all Armed Forces, partly due the initial success of the second military campaign in Chechnya, which was widely credited to Kvashnin's leadership. In June of 2000, he was made full member of the Security Council (previously the Ministry of Defense was represented only be the minister, who was the ex officio full member of that body). In contrast, SRF Chief Vladimir Yakovlev, who was widely rumored to be Sergeyev's candidate for the minister of defense, did not receive a promotion at the same time as other service chiefs (he was promoted to army general only in June, months later than the others). In fact, Yakovlev sounded resigned to his defeat in the intra-agency struggle and as early as a week before the Collegium pinned all his hopes on Putin's wisdom and statesmanship.[16]

On a deeper level, the personal rivalry between Sergeyev and Kvashnin was but a reflection of a deeper division over the future of the Russian Armed Forces. Many Russian observers suggested that the conflict was essentially between the entrenched "missile mafia," the military and industrial leaders associated with nuclear weapons, on the one hand, and the increasingly influential group of "Chechen generals," who led Russian troops during the first and especially the second military campaigns in Chechnya and who emphasized development of conventional capabilities. While the National Security Concept and the Military Doctrine foresaw the gradual shift of emphasis from nuclear to conventional weapons, the manner and the pace of that shift remained undefined. Kvashnin, who himself had made his career in Ground Forces, was a prominent commander during the first war in Chechnya and effectively commanded troops during the second war. He led the assault, advocating an accelerated revision of funding priorities.

To a certain extent, the joint offensive of Kvashnin, the Ground Forces, and the Navy was a response to an earlier plan by Sergeyev to merge all nuclear weapons into a single command--the Strategic Deterrence Forces, which was supposed to unite the SRF and the nuclear components of the Navy and the Air Force. The plan was announced in October 1998 on the heels of the just-completed merger of the SRF and Space Forces.[20] This plan generated extremely strong opposition, including on the part of the Navy, which had been reeling from vastly inadequate funding and, after the "change of guard" in the Kremlin, seemed well positioned for a more prominent place in the Armed Forces due to a close personal relationship between Vladimir Putin and Chief of the Navy Vladimir Kuroyedov. (Putin even attended the defense of Kuroyedov's doctoral dissertation, which subsequently was transformed in the the Naval Doctrine of Russia.)

Another important element of the political "game," which extended beyond the intra-service rivalry, was the future of the military organization as a whole. Reportedly, Putin's plans included delineation of responsibilities of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff in a manner roughly similar to the United States. Such a move was to be capped by the appointment of a civilian as minister of defense. In this context, the appointment of Kvashnin as a member of the Security Council was part of a broader process rather than just a reflection of his personal fortunes.

Kvashnin's plan carried with it profound consequences for Russia's foreign and defense policy. On the surface, it looked like an attempt by several leading members of the Russian military to radically reduce the nuclear arsenal and, implicitly, reliance on nuclear weapons, which could be classified as a positive development. In fact, consequences could be far less straightforward. Sea-based strategic weapons--both submarines (SSBNs) and submarine-launched missiles (SLBMs)--were nearing the end of their service lives. Development of a new SLBM was still in very early stages. It would have been necessary to radically increase the funding for the naval leg of the triad to maintain the strategic arsenal even at the proposed 1,500 warheads level. In the meantime, Russia was destined to lose its new ICBM, Topol-M, since production at the rate of two per year was simply uneconomical. In effect, the radical change in the strategic posture would have left even less money for conventional modernization than under Sergeyev's original plan.[21] Ultimately, the effect could be even greater and longer-term reliance on the diminishing and aging nuclear arsenal and possibly even the lowering of the nuclear threshold.

The plan also undermined the complicated "web of incentives" created by the Russian military to prevent the United States from deploying a national missile defense (NMD). Prior to 2000, the deep reductions of strategic weapons, including the elimination of MIRVed ICBMs (land-based strategic missiles with multiple warheads) under the START II Treaty, were closely linked to the confirmation by the United States of the 1972 ABM Treaty [see the CNS report "START II Ratification: There is More Than Meets the Eye"]; in case the United States would deploy an NMD, the Russian military promised "a material response," which could be understood as a refusal to reduce strategic arms and a limited modernization effort. The plan unveiled by Kvashnin removed both the incentive and the "punishment:" strategic weapons would have been sharply reduced regardless of what the United States did, including all or almost all MIRVed ICBMs.

The meeting of the Security Council on August 11 did not produce a sensation. As one Russian observer correctly predicted, both Kvashnin and his leading opponent, Minister of Defense Igor Sergeyev, lost to President Vladimir Putin's preference for caution.[22] Although decisions of the Security Council were classified, the gist can be deduced from leaks and reports in the media.[23] Apparently, the meeting confirmed that the Russian strategic arsenal will eventually be reduced to 1,500 warheads. This reduction, however, was supposed to be gradual and linked to the expiration of the service life of individual weapons systems (in contrast to Kvashnin's proposal about expedited reduction). Reductions and restructuring were also linked to the outcome of arms control talks and to U.S. plans to deploy an NMD.

One major organizational change was the reduction in the status of the SRF, which was downgraded from a branch ("vid" in Russian terminology), on par with the Army, Navy, and Air Force in the United States, to the status of a command ("rod"); it was also planned to fold the SRF into the Air Force by 2006 (that decision was subsequently revised). The structure of the SRF was supposed to be simplified: intermediate army-level commands were to be abolished, and all SRF divisions made directly subordinate to the Main Staff of the SRF. The number of divisions, however, was set higher than in Kvashnin's proposals: 10-11 instead of two or three. The Space Forces, which in 1998 were merged into the SRF, were again to become independent. The deployment rate of Topol-M ICBMs was set higher than that proposed by Kvashnin (two per year), but still lower than what had been projected by the SRF; starting in 2000 deployment has consistently been six per year instead of 10, an increase to 20, as the SRF originally planned, seems highly unlikely.

The August 11 meeting effectively ended the debate over the nuclear posture, although discussion of military reform in general continued and even intensified. There were additional Security Council meetings in September and November 2000, but these did not affect nuclear forces. The final decisions were made only in January 2001, when Putin finally approved "The Plan of Reforms of the Armed Forces in 2001-2005." At that moment the first revisions of the August 11 decisions were made; reportedly, these revisions were initiated by Putin personally.[24] The long-awaited retirement of Igor Sergeyev, which had been the subject of many rumors since the spring of 2000, however, only happened in late March of 2001. He was replaced with Sergeiy Ivanov, a close confidant of Vladimir Putin and the erstwhile secretary of the Security Council, who oversaw the final stage of development of the Military Doctrine, as well as the tortuous process of laying out plans for military reform. It could be said that Anatoliy Kvashnin failed to achieve his widely reported goal of becoming minister of defense. In 2004 Sergeiy Ivanov managed to downgrade the General Staff, having stripped it of operational control of the Armed Forces and control of the defense budget and in July 2004 Kvashnin was forced to retire from military service.

The plans, which Anatoliy Kvashnin advanced in the spring and summer of 2000 and which were subsequently cut by the Security Council, were revised again in 2002 following the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. The SRF were again accorded the status of the primary element of the triad, even though its formal place in the Armed Forces was not restored to a branch ("vid"). [25] Reportedly, the decision was formalized at a meeting in the Kremlin between Vladimir Putin, Sergeiy Ivanov, and Anatoliy Kvashnin in June 2002, immediately after the formal U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty on June 13.[26] Kvashnin, referring to that withdrawal, emphasized that Russia's security vis-à-vis the NMD was guaranteed by strategic forces, first and foremost heavy ICBMs; [27] that attitude was, of course, the exact opposite of the views he had espoused two years earlier.

In August 2002 Sergeiy Ivanov slightly modified the argument and declared that the decision to retain MIRVed ICBMs was not a response to the American withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, but that existing ICBMs would be retained and that, specifically, heavy SS-18 ICBMs would remain in service until 2016.[28] This decision presupposes additional extension of these missiles' service lives and in this regard represents a further revision of the August 2000 decisions, which foresaw that ICBMs would be eliminated as their service lives expired. He also called the SRF "the most important military-political factor of deterring aggressive intentions toward Russia and our allies," effectively restoring that branch to its de facto leading status in the nuclear triad.[29]

The new chief of SRF, Nikolai Solovtsov, expanded on the minister's remarks, and openly stated that "this year plans on [the SRF] reforms have been changed by the President." According to Solovtsov, it was decided to retain at least two divisions of heavy SS-18 ICBMs and a feasibility study with regard to keeping a third division was underway. The government funded the extension of service lives of SS-18 ICBMs. Furthermore, it was also decided, he said, to retain one out of three divisions of rail-mobile ICBMs SS-24. (Keeping all three divisions was impossible anyway as service lives of solid-fuel ICBMs cannot be extended as easily.)[30] In December 2002, Solovtsov noted, with some satisfaction, that the SRF was not "fading away:" as before, its structure consisted of armies and divisions (meaning that the original plan of eliminating the intermediate chain of command had been dropped as well) and that it planned to retain, by 2020, 10-12 divisions of ICBMs organized into two armies. He also made it clear that the reduction of the SRF was primarily determined by the expiration of service lives. For example, it was planned to eventually completely remove solid-fuel SS-24 from service because their service lives could not be extended, but 10-year service lives of liquid-fuel ICBMs, including heavy SS-18s, could be extended to 25-30 years. He also discussed continued deployment of Topol-M ICBMs and further modernization of these missiles.[31]

In hindsight, the "nuclear debate" of 2000 might look like a temporary deviation from a steady course that had been set in 1999-early 2000 and reflected in the National Security Concept and the Military Doctrine. After all, proposals for deep reductions were motivated primarily by struggle for power and influence and were not rational from political, military, or financial perspectives. They were partially revised in a matter of months, and two years later almost completely reversed.

Nevertheless, that debate had some tangible consequences for Russia's nuclear policy. In the broad scheme of things, that debate helped to limit the extent of reliance on nuclear weapons in Russia's security policy and, perhaps even more important, limited the political and military role of strategic weapons in the nuclear arsenal. The original plans of Igor Sergeyev held the potential of giving excessive weight to the strategic triad: his 1998 plan to create the Strategic Deterrence Forces and, reportedly, to steer Chief of SRF Vladimir Yakovlev to the ministerial chair could have given permanent prominence to nuclear weapons in general, as well as to the strategic arsenal and to the mission of deterring the United States. After two turbulent years, strategic forces remain an important, but nevertheless subsidiary element of the Armed Forces and, moreover, reliance on nuclear weapons is still regarded as a temporary "fix" until conventional forces are modernized (the probability of genuine military reform and modernization of conventional forces is outside the scope of this paper). Barring an unexpected deterioration of Russia's security environment in the near future, there is a fair chance that in the end modernization of conventional forces will advance sufficiently to enable a decrease in reliance on nuclear weapons.

The partial "nuclear revival" of 2002 should not be accorded excessive significance. The high profile of nuclear weapons in defense policy, retention of old, Soviet-time ICBMs, and continued ICBM modernization are rational from the perspective of the Russian political and military establishment and could not have been avoided under any circumstances. The withdrawal of the United States from the ABM Treaty, continued eastward enlargement of NATO, and the establishment of American military bases in Central Asia are all viewed in Russia as a potential threat, and would not have been left without a response (including, first and foremost, higher profile for nuclear weapons). Of greater importance is the fact that under the leadership of Igor Sergeyev and his allies in the SRF, the Russian response could have been more forceful and large-scale.

A broader consequence of the "nuclear debate" is the stronger political control over military affairs and the appointment of a civilian (a former intelligence general, to be sure, but nevertheless an outsider from a professional military point of view) as Minister of Defense. The split within the military establishment, which was triggered by Anatoliy Kvashnin, gave Vladimir Putin the role of ultimate referee, who could choose one or the other side and enforce his own preferences. Such a line was always more difficult when Boris Yeltsin (or, before him, Soviet leadership) had to face a "united front" of uniformed military. The situation is far from genuine civilian control over the Ministry of Defense, but nevertheless represents an important departure from the Soviet tradition of military dominating military affairs.

Russian Ministry of Defense 2003 Policy Paper: The Nuclear Angle

At an October 2, 2003 meeting at the Ministry of Defense (MOD) in the presence of President Vladimir Putin, the top military leaders, legislators, and a plethora of other dignitaries, Minister of Defense Sergey Ivanov unveiled a report "Immediate Tasks of Development of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,"[32] which some news services have dubbed the "White Paper." The report formally represents only the views of the MOD, but its implications are broader: in effect it develops and details the 2000 Military Doctrine.[33] Where nuclear weapons are concerned, the report provides important insights into nuclear posture planning in the aftermath of the summer-fall 2000 debate on the future of Russia's strategic forces.[34]

The report did not contain many novel ideas. Probably the only serious innovation was the proposition that the MOD "can no longer completely rule out preventive use of force if demanded by the interests of Russia or its alliance commitments."[35] This statement did not specifically refer to nuclear weapons, but given their overall role in Russia's defense policy, it might imply that threat too.

Deterrence and De-escalation

Like the 2000 Military Doctrine, the "White Paper" postulates two missions for nuclear weapons: deterrence of a large-scale attack against Russia and de-escalation of a limited conflict in case deterrence fails. In contrast to the earlier document, the new guidance elaborates on these missions in considerable detail.

During the Cold War, the notion of deterrence mostly applied to a large-scale nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union - a war that could not be won and would have meant the end of the world. Now global war is considered a low probability, almost a theoretical event. The Russian military is much more preoccupied with preventing the threat that force could be used against Russia for political purposes ("silovoe davlenie" - compellence by force) and with deterrence of limited attacks. Both scenarios are deterred by the threat that Russia might use nuclear weapons. The document states, specifically:

    The main goal of the Russian Federation's policy in the area of strategic deterrence is to rule out any type of force pressure and aggression against Russia or its allies and, in the case aggression takes place, assured defense of sovereignty, territorial integrity and other vital national interests of Russia or its allies.[36]

De-escalation and, implicitly, deterrence of limited conflicts is based on the notion that Russia should be able to inflict just the right amount of damage to the attacker to make sure that aggression is not worthwhile. The central tenet of this policy is the notion of "pre-determined damage," which in the 2000 National Security Concept and Military Doctrine was one of very few indications that Russia was considering limited use of nuclear weapons. In the White Paper, references to limited use are explicit and detailed. Predetermined damage is defined as "damage, subjectively unacceptable to the enemy, which exceeds the benefits the aggressor expects to gain as a result of the use of military force."[37]

At the same time, the document emphasizes that in the context of limited conflicts nuclear deterrence requires modern and capable conventional forces; "only in that case will the threat of nuclear use in response to an attack be credible."[38] (This postulate brings to mind one of the seminal documents in U.S. nuclear policy from the 1950s, NSC-68.)

Guidance for Limited Use of Nuclear Weapons

Although the main threats to Russia listed in the report are international terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), military planning is geared toward the capability to fight any potential enemy, and this means the ability to defend against an attack by economically, technologically, and militarily advanced states (including, by default, the United States as the most powerful state in the world). Given the weakness of Russia's conventional forces today, the MOD document implicitly suggests that Russia cannot face a militarily advanced state or a coalition of states without engaging its nuclear capability. It also appears that the document assumes that an army that can fight the United States and NATO can fight any other enemy. The wisdom of this assumption seems dubious, however.

The White Paper's guidance on strategies for fighting regional and local wars suggests ways in which nuclear weapons might be utilized for the purposes of de-escalation. The section on the "nature of contemporary wars and armed conflicts" emphasizes that at the early stage of wars in the 1990s, the central role belonged to long-range strike weapons, including airborne delivery systems. It also notes that domination at the early stage of conflict ensured victory.[39] This means that, according to the Russian military's analysis, U.S. victories in a string of conflicts in the 1990s were ensured primarily by delivery vehicles operating outside the immediate theater of war.

Accordingly, the new document postulates "the utmost necessity of having the capability to strike military assets of the enemy (long-range high-precision weapons, long-range Air Force) outside the immediate area of conflict. To achieve this, [we] need both our own long-range high-precision strike capability and other assets that enable [us] to transfer hostilities directly to enemy territory."[40]

These guidelines fit well with a pattern of a series of military exercises starting with the "Zapad-99" maneuvers. A more recent example is the 2003 exercise in the Indian Ocean in the wake of the war in Iraq that involved the use of long-range air-launched cruise missiles against naval and land targets in the Indian Ocean. It is a fair guess that the Russian Air Force simulated strikes against U.S. naval vessels carrying sea-launched cruise missiles and the U.S. base at Diego Garcia. These assets were used during the war in Iraq and might be used in a hypothetical U.S. military action against Russia or its neighbors.

Response to the Evolution of U.S. Nuclear Policy

The MOD report, along with some earlier official statements, indicates how Russia might react to the anticipated changes in U.S. policy toward nuclear weapons. The U.S. policy shift began with the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review and became more visible recently with discussions about the development of a new, low-yield nuclear weapon.

The MOD document notes efforts by unnamed parties "to restore nuclear weapons as an acceptable military instrument by using 'breakthrough' scientific and technical developments, which are supposed to turn nuclear weapons into a relatively 'clean' weapon from the point of view of the consequences of its use." Following that assertion, the document somewhat cryptically declares that "the lowering of the nuclear threshold will demand that Russia revise the system of command and control of troops and its approaches to deterrence of threats of various levels."[41]

The oral statement of Sergey Ivanov at the October meeting offered additional details. He said that developments in U.S. nuclear policy were "undermining global and regional stability" and that he had directed his subordinates to closely monitor these trends. "Even miniscule" lowering of the nuclear threshold, he stated, might trigger a revision of the existing guidance on the employment of nuclear weapons.[42]

This statement closely correlates with an earlier remark of President Putin: speaking at Sarov, one of Russia's two nuclear laboratories, on July 31, 2003, he emphasized that Russia would continue to refrain from nuclear testing "under certain obligatory conditions, one of the most important of which is a similar attitude on the part of other nuclear states toward obligations they had undertaken."[43] In effect, this meant that Russia would not resume testing until other states do. This represented a partial change in the standard Russian position. Previously, Russian officials usually emphasized that Russia had signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and hoped that the treaty would enter into force soon. Now the emphasis has shifted to conditions under which Russia might withdraw from the moratorium. Putin's statement did not specify other possible conditions for termination of the moratorium.

The Future of the Nuclear Triad

The new document contains an overview of plans with regard to Russia's strategic nuclear posture. Information is scanty, but nevertheless the document offers useful insights into what has been a volatile issue since 2000. In summer and fall 2000, a series of meetings of Russia's Security Council revised earlier decisions with regard to the nuclear triad, providing for a radical reduction of the Strategic Rocket Forces, the land-based leg of the triad and shifting priority to the naval leg. Apparently, these decisions were partially revised in early 2002 following the U.S. notification of its intent to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (the withdrawal became final in June 2002). Reportedly, the main change was the decision to keep old types of land-based missiles, inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), to the very end of their service lives, including all possible extensions (in 2000 the General Staff wanted to reduce them at a much faster pace).

The White Paper reveals that by 2007-2008, Strategic Rocket Forces will consist of 10 missile divisions (reduced from the current 19) in line with the decision of the Security Council on August 11, 2000, but contrary to the original plans of the General Staff.[44] These divisions will consist primarily of old types of ICBMs, whose service lives will be extended; gradually these ICBMs will be replaced with "prospective missile complexes."

As an illustration, President Putin, in his closing statement at the conference, mentioned UR-100NUTTKh ICBMs (known in the United States as SS-19's). He said that dozens of those have been kept in so-called "dry storage" (i.e., missiles were not filled with fuel) and could be put into silos for combat duty.[45] Subsequently, Deputy Chief of the General Staff Yuri Baluevski added that these missiles could last as long as until 2030,[46] indirectly indicating that the projected pace of deployment of modern ICBMs will be rather slow. Sergey Ivanov explained a few days later that at the moment Russia did not have plans to transfer SS-19s from dry storage to combat duty and that Putin's statement was only intended to make Russia's ability to do so known "both to domestic and international audiences."[47]

Some commentators hastened to declare that Putin's words at the October 2 MOD meeting explained his reference in the State of the Nation address to the Federal Assembly last spring to some unnamed "new strategic weapon,"[48] but such speculations do not make sense - SS-19s are old, late 1970s-early 1980s weapons. Other commentators also called these missiles "heavy," which is incorrect since only SS-18's (the R-36 family of ICBMs, including R-36UTTKh and R-26M2 currently deployed) are officially classified as heavy ICBMs. A few months later it became clear that Putin meant a maneuvering ICBM front section, which was tested during large-scale maneuvers in February 2004.

The air-based component of the strategic forces will emphasize modernization of the Tu-160 heavy bomber, which should be able to carry high-precision cruise missiles with both nuclear and conventional warheads, as well as gravity bombs (including a Russian analogue to American Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) and support a variety of other missions. This is little news: for years now the Russian Air Force has concentrated its efforts on developing new weapons for the existing fleet of long-range aircraft as well as on modernizing these aircraft by adding new avionics, communications equipment, targeting capabilities, etc. The Air Force approach seems the most cost-effective and the most stable compared to the unending rivalries and often waste in other two legs of the triad.

The discussion of the naval leg of the strategic triad simply mentioned what is well known already: Russia plans to complete development of a new sea-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and of a new submarine to carry this new missile. Clearly, the new SLBM mentioned in the document is Bulava, a new missile reportedly capable of carrying up to 10 warheads. The Bulava should also be deployable on land. The new nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine is the Borey class. The first submarine in that class, Yuri Dolgoruky, was launched in mid-1990s, but was then put on hold to wait for a new missile.

The MOD document and in particular Putin in his closing remarks confirmed that Russia intended to utilize the flexibility accorded to it by the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty of 2002 (also known as the Moscow Treaty) in drafting its plans for the future composition and size of the nuclear triad.

Conclusion

In the end, the new document published by the Ministry of Defense demonstrates that Russia's nuclear policy has stabilized after the somewhat tumultuous first two years of Putin's presidency. Missions assigned to nuclear weapons have been confirmed and detailed; the future shape of the nuclear posture does not seem to hold any surprises. One remaining element of uncertainty is related to future U.S. policy on nuclear weapons: if the United States proceeds with the development of a new, more "usable" nuclear weapon and especially if it resumes nuclear testing as many expect, then Russian nuclear policy might begin to change and Russia will strive to acquire similar capabilities. Official U.S. position remains, however, that there has been no decision to resume testing.

Although the new document lists proliferation of WMD and international terrorism as the gravest threats to Russia's security, the military still regards U.S. military capability and the ability to repel a hypothetical attack by the United States as benchmarks for planning. On the one hand, this orientation reflects a simple (maybe even simplistic) premise: an army that can fight the United States can fight any other state or coalition of states. At a different level, however, it betrays deeply seated concerns about the future of Russia's relations with the United States and the feeling of vulnerability vis-à-vis the most powerful state in the world. In the end, the Ministry of Defense seems to believe that nothing but military power can guarantee Russia's security and interests, especially given the suspected propensity of the United States for unilateral, often not fully logical military escapades. Partnership is one thing, guaranteed security is another. Nothing can reliably contain political and military pressure, much less the use of force, except nuclear weapons.

Significant Military Maneuvers

Inevitably, key doctrinal documents, such as the National Security Concept, the Military Doctrine, or the October 2003 "White Paper" issued by the Ministry of Defense, are of very general nature. They provide broad guidelines on military posture and the use of force, but are usually short on details. As a rule, additional information could be gleaned from military maneuvers, whose patterns offer important insights into the anticipated conflict scenarios and the planned responses to different types of attack.

During the 1990s, Russian military maneuvers (or, at least, the publicly available information about them) yielded little useful information because maneuvers were few and small-scale. When the use of nuclear weapons was simulated, this usually happened independently of general purpose forces and without relationship to specific scenarios. In addition, the shaping of views on possible future conflicts and the ways of fighting them takes time. The situation began to change in 1999. On the one hand, a string of conflicts in the Balkans, especially the war in Kosovo in the spring of 1999, provided the likely scenarios that the Russian military deemed most dangerous. On the other hand, the defense budget began to grow as Russia began to emerge from the 1998 financial meltdown and the general economic situation started to improve. Significant reduction of the Armed Forces allowed the reallocation of funds from personnel support to training.

Since 1999, the Russian military has regularly conducted large-scale maneuvers that played out several conflict scenarios, including those that involved the use of nuclear weapons. As a result, many maneuvers held in the last five years allow important insights into the doctrinal and operational details that are absent from key documents. Below is a brief review of the more important exercises conducted since 1999. Their typical features could be summarized as follows.

  • Every scenario that involved the use of nuclear weapons (at least, every scenario that reconstructed from open sources) played out a variation of a "regional war" (according to the classification of the Military Doctrine) - the lowest-level conflict to allow the use of nuclear weapons. Apparently all of them assumed participation of nuclear-weapons state(s), first and foremost the United States (in one case nuclear-capable long-range aircraft was used in Central Asia, but whether they simulated the use of nuclear or conventional weapons remained unclear). Early maneuvers (1999-2002) concentrated on air attacks following U.S. military campaigns in the Balkans, especially in Kosovo in 1999; recent maneuvers added the experience of the war in Iraq in 2003. No later than in 2001 defense against tactical ballistic missiles was introduced as well. In many instances Russian forces trained for disruption of enemy satellite links to break down communications, coordination, and targeting (this element was probably present in all or the majority of maneuvers, but went unreported). Since 2002 scenarios have included simulations of large-scale attack by enemy ground forces; in these cases defense included a call-up of reserves and transfer of ground troops between theaters of operations.
  • The use of nuclear weapons usually took place at a relatively late stage of maneuvers and was associated with two situations. First, several days after an intense air defense campaign, when, according to the scenario, Russian troops exhausted their ability to withstand the assault. The second situation involved a large-scale combined air and ground attack, which required the call-up of reserves (fitting the definition of a "regional war" - the standing army is insufficient for defense and a transfer of troops from other military districts becomes necessary); nuclear weapons entered the picture also after several days of fighting with conventional forces. Call-up of reserves can be regarded as a reliable indicator of when the nuclear threshold is about to be crossed; in the case of an exclusively air campaign the threshold was less clear.
  • The weapon of choice for limited use of nuclear weapons was in all cases heavy and medium bombers (Tu-95MS, Tu-160, and Tu-22M3) using long-range cruise missiles and short-range weapons. In recent years, the same platforms were used to deliver both nuclear and precision-guided conventional weapons. The apparent number of nuclear weapons used in each case was small - less than ten. The usual choice of targets was the following: (1) airbases and other military installations in European NATO countries involved in the simulated attack against Russia and, in at least one case, in Japan; (2) undisclosed targets in the continental United States (launched either from the vicinity of Iceland or from the North-East of Russia); (3) naval targets - aircraft carrier groups in the Pacific Ocean and the Baltic Sea, as well as in the Indian Ocean and the Black Sea, once each; (4) in 2003 one other class of ground targets was added - those in the Indian Ocean (presumably, the U.S. base on Diego Garcia).
  • Land- and sea-based strategic missiles participated in most, but not every large-scale exercise. It has remained unclear whether they were integrated into scenarios or maneuvers were simply used as a backdrop for training launches. It appears that in some cases they were probably an integral part and were intended to simulate limited strikes, perhaps against targets in the continental United States.

A fairly stable pattern of maneuvers during the period of 1999-2004 demonstrated that limited use of nuclear weapons is now firmly integrated into a rather broad range of scenarios of possible conflicts. Virtually any large-scale attack by forces that are numerically and qualitatively superior to the Russian Armed Forces risks crossing the nuclear threshold. A broader view suggests several more important observations, however:

  • Russian Armed Forces apparently ceased training for a global war that involves a massive exchange with nuclear strikes - a scenario common during the Cold War. Implicitly, the capability for a large-scale strike remains an available option, but, true to all the doctrinal documents since 1993, such conflict is regarded as a very low probability;
  • the United States is considered the most dangerous opponent and apparently the likelihood that the United States might threaten - whether openly or indirectly - to use force against Russia to achieve certain political goals is still regarded as high, especially among the military;
  • There has been a remarkably low emphasis on low-intensity conflicts that involve diffuse fighting against paramilitary and guerilla forces. It is possible that the Russian military simply does not see this kind of training necessary in the view of the ongoing war in Chechnya. Regardless, the skew toward "regional wars" appears an important drawback, especially since dependence on nuclear weapons inadvertently increases.

Summer 1999: West-99 (Zapad-99) Maneuvers

West-99 maneuvers were conducted a few months after a crucial April 1999 meeting of the Security Council. Held shortly after the beginning of the war in Kosovo, that meeting apparently initiated the development of a new military doctrine designed to deter limited use of force against Russia. By all indications, the West-99 maneuvers were designed to test a doctrinal innovation - limited use of nuclear weapons for the purposes of deterring a limited conventional attack or, if deterrence failed, for deescalating the conflict and returning the status quo ante.

From the start, official Russian military representatives claimed that the West-99 maneuvers had no relationship to the war in Kosovo (they had been planned well before that war, in late 1998) and that they did not involve simulated use of nuclear weapons.[49] Only after the end of the maneuvers Minister of Defense Igor Sergeyev admitted that the intention was, indeed, to test defense against an attack against Russia that was similar in style and scale to the war in Kosovo and that an important element of these maneuvers was demonstration of the ability and the willingness to use nuclear weapons under conditions when "all means of resistance have been exhausted," i.e., when conventional forces are unable to repel the attack on their own.[50]

The scenario included three stages. In the first stage (June 21-22), the alert status of troops in all Western military districts was enhanced and troops in Leningrad military district were transferred to full combat mode. In the second stage (June 22-25), Russian troops and the Baltic fleet together with the Byelorussian army defended against an attack from the West. That attack included a strike with 450 aircraft and 120 cruise missiles against the territory of Belarus and with 110 aircraft and 40 cruise missiles against Kaliningrad oblast. In the final stage (June 25-26), Russian troops repelled the attack and returned the situation to the status quo ante; that stage included simulated use of nuclear weapons. Primary attention was paid to Kaliningrad exclave - a piece of Russian territory between Poland and Lithuania widely considered Russia's "Achille's heel" as it is the part of the country most difficult to defend. According to the scenario, troops in Kaliningrad oblast and the Baltic fleet were supposed to repel the attack without reinforcements.[51]

The "nuclear component" included simulated strikes with air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) from heavy bombers from "around the corner" - a Russian Air Force slang, which denotes a flight toward the northern tip of Norway and then a turn left toward the north Atlantic, and represented a typical training and combat mission in Soviet times. Two Tu-95MS heavy bombers undertook a 15-hour flight "around the corner" toward Iceland, where they simulated the launch of ALCMs against U.S. territory. Simultaneously, two Tu-160 heavy bombers took a similar route, but simulated ALCM launches against continental Europe from near the northern tip of Norway. According to newspaper reports, their targets were airbases in Poland and the Baltic states (it was assumed that the territory of these countries was used by NATO), Norway, as well as aircraft carrier groups in the Barents Sea. Upon their return to the Russian territory, heavy bombers conducted live launches against test ranges in southern Russia.[52]

Following the end of the West-99 maneuvers, deputy chief of the General Staff, Yuriyy Baluyevski, told reporters that not only aggressors, but also countries, whose territory is used for an aggression would become potential targets [53] in a clear reference to the relevant provision of the Military Doctrine that allows the use of nuclear weapons not only against nuclear states and their allies, but also states that attack Russia "in concert with" nuclear states.

In September 1999, smaller-scale maneuvers were conducted in the Far East. The main purpose of these maneuvers was compatible with West-99: the Pacific fleet and the Long-Range Air Force simulated defense from and strikes against aircraft carrier groups.[54]

April 2000

April 2000 Air Force maneuvers were relatively small-scale. They simulated defense against strikes by land- and carrier-based aircraft. These maneuvers were conducted in the southwest of Russia between the Black and the Caspian seas and included strikes against land and sea targets. In addition to tactical aircraft, Tu-22M3 medium bombers (classified in Russia as long-range or strategic) played a prominent role, as well as Tu-95MS and Tu-160 heavy bombers, which for the first time conducted launches of conventional long-range Kh-101 ALCMs. Maneuvers also included the use of S-300 anti-aircraft and tactical anti-missile systems.[55,56,57,58,59]

September 2000

In early September 2000, the Russian strategic Air Force participated in a large air defense exercise that included armies of Central Asian states, Armenia, and Belarus. Tu-95MS, Tu-160 and Tu-22M3 long-range bombers flew missions in the vicinity of the Black and Caspian seas, as well as in the west of Russia. Launches of cruise missiles were conducted in the north of Russia by Tu-95MS and in the south by Tu-22M3. These maneuvers had several distinguishing features that set them aside from earlier exercises, including West-99:

  • According to Chief Instructor-Pilot of the 37th Air Army (the "home" of strategic bombers) Maj.-Gen. Vasiliy Malashchitskiy, this was the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union that long-range Air Force units simulated combat missions over the Black sea;
  • Anti-naval component: Russian Air Force simulated attacks on carrier groups;
  • 11 heavy bombers (eight Tu-160 and three Tu-95MS), which had been acquired from Ukraine in 2000, for the first time participated in maneuvers;
  •  For the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian strategic bombers were temporarily based in the territory of Belarus;
  • Heavy bombers trained for other temporary basing options - forward bases in the north of Russia (Vorkuta, Tiksi, Anadyr); all these bases can potentially be used for strikes against U.S. territory.[60,61,62,63,64]

February 2001

During a "strategic command and staff training" conducted February 13-16, long-range Air Force units performed missions in the north of Russia ("around the corner" mission around Norway toward the North Atlantic, reaching the distance for launches against U.S. territory) and in the Far East close to Japan; these flights apparently simulated strikes against U.S. bases in Japan. Japanese authorities filed a formal protest, accusing Russian aircraft of violating their country's airspace. After that, heavy and medium bombers performed traditional live launches in the south of Russia. As part of maneuvers, Strategic Rocket Forces launched a Topol ICBM from Plesetsk test range; this launch was conducted by a crew from the division where that missile had been deployed rather than the test range personnel. Almost simultaneously, a strategic submarine launched an SLBM (type not reported) from the Barents sea. According to unofficial reports, launches of the ICBM and the SLBM were synchronized with live ALCM launches in the south of Russia; this allowed the early warning systems to be tested.

According to unofficial assessments, activities of strategic forces, both air- and land-based, simulated limited use of nuclear weapons under conditions when a limited conventional conflict gets out of control and escalates. An American estimate (with references to a National Security Agency report) suggested that in the Far East Russian strategic forces simulated interference into a conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan on the side of China. According to that estimate, the Russian scenario supposedly began with a Chinese attack against Taiwan, followed by the use of American naval and ground forces, after which Russia threatened nuclear strikes against U.S. forces in the region, including in South Korea and Japan. According to that report, the scenario in the western part of Russia assumed the now-traditional scenario of a NATO attack that had been practiced in several earlier maneuvers. None of Russian open sources mentioned the "Taiwan scenario;" all of them referred only to an attack against Russia itself.[65,66,67,68,69]

April 2001

The next "command and staff training" took place less than two months later and was primarily devoted to air defense. It was part of larger maneuvers "Yuzhnyi Shchit Sodruzhestva-2001" ("The Southern Shield of the Commonwealth-2001"). According to Chief of the Air Force Anatoli Kornukov, these maneuvers featured the largest number of long-range bomber sorties in the previous three years. Russian long-range bombers (two medium Tu-22M3 and two heavy Tu-95MS) again landed in Belarus. That mission was used to test the air defense in the west of Russia and in Belarus; the routes of these bombers were intended to simulate likely attack routes of NATO aircraft. Similar raids were also conducted in Central Asia over Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Practice bombing with high-yield gravity bombs FAB-3000, which had not been used since the war in Afghanistan, was conducted by Tu-22M3 at a test range in Saratov oblast near the main basing site of heavy bombers. Subsequently, Tu-160 and Tu-22M3 bombers conducted practice launches of Kh-55 long-range and Kh-22 short-range cruise missiles, accordingly, in Kazakhstan. Newspaper reports hinted at a possible relationship between these launches in the unstable situation in Afghanistan. Toward the end of the maneuvers, Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers also made raids toward Alaska in what American officials described as routine annual springtime maneuvers, closely skirting American airspace.[70,71,72,73]

September 2001

Maneuvers to simulate defense against a large-scale airspace attack began on September 10. According to Chief of the Air Force Anatoli Kornukov, they were intended to cover the whole Arctic, as well as northern parts of the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, including, specifically, the vicinity of Norway, Iceland, the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. The main task was reportedly to penetrate air defense of NATO and North America (NORAD). As part of the exercise, long-range bombers were moved to auxiliary bases in Anadyr, Tiksi, and Vorkuta. A new element of these maneuvers was, according to newspaper reports, training for the use of long-range ALCMs outside the reach of NORAD (since Russia has had long-range nuclear ALCMs since the 1980s, apparently these reports meant conventional ALCMs, which began to appear in Russian Armed Forces only in the late 1990s). The only real launches planned in these regions involved short-range missiles launched from Tu-22M3 over Kamchatka Peninsula in a simulated attack against an aircraft carrier group.

The plan was abruptly changed immediately after news of terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC on September 11, 2001 reached Moscow. To avoid possible complications and misperceptions, the Air Force terminated all "practical activities" planned for the ongoing maneuvers following a request from the United States. This included a termination of flights not only toward U.S. territory, but also "around the corner" toward Norway and Iceland. Launches of short-range ALCMs from five Tu-22M3 bombers (three belonging to the Naval Air Command and two from the Air Force) over Kamchatka against seaborne targets were still conducted, but only within Russian territorial waters. Also, both heavy and medium bombers practiced missile launches at an internal Russian test range near the Caspian sea.[74,75,76,77,78]

February 2002

These maneuvers were dubbed a "compensation" for the cancellation of Strategic Air Force maneuvers in September 2001. The scenario was changed, however: instead of flight routes toward U.S. territory and Europe, this time Russian long-range bombers simulated attacks against targets to the south of Russian border consistent with the plans (developed in the mid-1990s) of defeating possible incursion of Islamic extremists from Afghanistan to Central Asia. Activities of the Air Force were closely coordinated with the 201st Russian division deployed in Tajikistan. It is possible that earlier plans were cancelled in part out of a desire to reemphasize U.S.-Russian cooperation in the fight against international terrorism. It is difficult to determine whether U.S. bases, which appeared in Central Asia in the end of 2001, figured in the exercises.

Russia soon departed from the practice of demonstrative restraint, and in April Russian heavy bombers performed the now-routine flights toward U.S. airspace near Alaska. Some observers attributed that change in behavior to the American decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty.[79,80]

June-July 2002

Public reports did not mention the participation of nuclear-capable delivery vehicles in maneuvers that took place in June-July, 2002, but the event was interesting in many respects. For the first time since the 1980s, the Russian army simulated the call-up of reserves, the rapid transfer of reservists from the European part of Russia to Siberia, and then, using these troops, to repel an external aggression. According to the Military Doctrine, the call-up of reserves takes place during regional and large-scale wars, i.e., the types of conflicts that are associated with use of nuclear weapons.[81]

August 2002

Large-scale maneuvers in the Caspian sea did not involve nuclear-capable delivery vehicles, but they were held in a strategically important region, which is widely considered a hotbed of tension and an area of possible conflict, including that between Russia and the United States. On the surface, these exercises simulated the use of special forces against terrorists who captured an oil rig. The scale of maneuvers was considerably greater, however: 10,500 personnel, 60 ships, and more than 30 aircraft. According to many independent assessments, Russia intended to show muscle and assert its dominant role in the region.[82,83,84,85,86]

October 2002

In October 2002 Russia conducted unprecedented large-scale launches of strategic weapons: a sea-launched ballistic missile from Okhotsk Sea launched against a target on the Kola Peninsula (a highly unusual trajectory for Russian test launches); a Topol (SS-25) from a road-mobile launcher; a SS-N-18 SLBM from a Delta III submarine, ALCMs launched from two Tu-160 and two Tu-95MS heavy bombers against targets in the Volga region and in the north of Russia. All ballistic missiles were launched within one hour. According to unofficial assessments, the exercises tested Russia's ability to conduct a large-scale nuclear strike.[87]

February 2003

On February 12-13 Tu-22M3 medium bombers conducted strikes at test ranges in Saratov oblast (eight aircraft on February 12) and in Kazakhstan (eight aircraft on February 13). According to Chief of Long-Range Air Force Igor Khvorov, in both cases aircraft practiced destruction of enemy airbases. He noted that, in contrast to the Soviet period, land targets have become the main priority of long-range aircraft, including medium bombers, whereas previously their main targets were sea-based (probably carrier groups).[88]

March 2003

The Strategic Rocket Force held a relatively small-scale exercise combined with an inspection by the Ministry of Defense. The exercise was conducted in the Teykovo division, which consists of road-mobile Topol ICBMs, and lasted for ten days. The central element of the event was an attempt by Russian satellites to find Topol mobile launchers when dispersed from the basing area. In addition to satellites, several groups of Special Forces also searched for the launchers. Following that phase of the exercise, a Topol ICBM from the Teykovo division was launched from Plesetsk test range; an unusual element of the event was that the launch command was relayed by radio instead of customary phone lines. In the meantime, the "service of radio-electronic suppression" ("sredstva radio-elektronnoi borby," or REB) tried to jam the signal in vain. Similar, but barely reported, maneuvers were conducted by strategic Air Force (the 37th Army).[89,90,91]

May 2003: Indian Ocean Maneuvers

In May 2003, Russia conducted unprecedented maneuvers in the Indian and Pacific Oceans together with India. They took place immediately after the end of major combat action in Iraq. Official military sources announced that these maneuvers had been planned in advance and had no relation to the war in Iraq. That statement appeared credible: the first trip of Russian naval ships to the Indian ocean since the 1980s undoubtedly required many months of preparation; coordination with India also required time and effort. The departure of ships, originally planned for February, was postponed until early April due to the increasingly tense situation in the Persian Gulf.[92] Still, it appears significant that Russia decided to hold maneuvers in spite of the still-ongoing war. Many elements of these maneuvers can be interpreted as a signal to the United States that American power was not invincible where the Russian military was concerned.

According to newspaper reports, the scenario of these exercises simulated escalation of a regional conflict to the nuclear level; they were supposed to improve coordination between the Strategic Air Force, the Navy and other branches of the Armed Forces in the west, east, north and south of Russia, as well as in South Asia.

The "air" component of the exercises included four Tu-160 and nine Tu-95MS heavy bombers, twelve Tu-22M3 medium bombers, and four "flying tankers" Il-78. Two Tu-160 and four Tu-95MS heavy bombers flew to the Arabian Sea and after a five-hour flight, Tu-95MS bombers launched cruise missiles against naval targets from a distance of 3,000 km; Russian ships in the area provided targeting information and in-flight trajectory correction. The missiles that were launched were nuclear-capable Kh-55. (Originally news sources mistakenly reported a new modification - Kh-65SE equipped with conventional warheads.) Cruise missiles were unarmed, though. In the meantime, Tu-160s, according to newspaper reports (there was no official confirmation), simulated the launch of cruise missiles against Diego-Garcia; reportedly, they targeted U.S. military installations on the island. According to Chief of the Air Force Vladimir Mikhailov, en route to the Indian ocean, Russian heavy bombers crossed the territories of "two CIS countries", Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Other long-range bombers held practice bombing at test ranges inside Russia. In the Pacific ocean, four Tu-22M3 medium bombers (two belonging to the Air Force and two to the Navy) launched four Kh-22M anti-ship short-range missiles against simulated naval targets (probably carrier groups).

Russian ships in the Arabian Sea (the group consisted of nine ships from the Pacific and the Black Sea Fleets) simulated the search-and-destroy mission vis-à-vis American Los Angeles class SSNs and launched sea-based cruise missiles. Simultaneously, strategic submarines from the Northern and the Pacific fleets conducted SLBM launches while Russian Space Forces simulated disruption of American satellite communications.[93]

The second stage of maneuvers, which began only a few days later, was devoted to joint actions of the Russian and the Indian navies and included, among other elements, submarine search-and-destroy missions (two Indian submarines served as notional targets).[94]

August 2003

In August 2003 the Russian Pacific Fleet held maneuvers in the Sea of Japan, Sea of Okhotsk. Several submarines belonging to the Northern Fleet were moved to the area under ice. Two Tu-160 heavy bombers were transferred from their main base at Engels (Saratov oblast) to the Pacific; Russia's Minister of Defense Sergeyy Ivanov flew to the maneuvers on board of one of these bombers. Long-range bombers (including Tu-160s, Tu-95MS from Ukrainka base in the Far East, and Tu-22M3) simulated elimination of a large enemy naval group together with the Navy at a large distance (more than a thousand kilometers from shore). The exercises also tested the brand-new system of sea and air surveillance that had been created in the Far East.

Almost simultaneously Russian troops and the Navy held another exercise in the Caspian Sea, this time their scenario assumed defense against an attack from the sea instead of the 2002 scenario of anti-terrorist operations.[95]

February 2004: Security-2004

These exercises were advertised as the biggest in over 20 years. They lasted about a month - from late January to February 17 with some elements continuing beyond that point - and involved all branches of the armed forces as well as all six military districts. Officially they were classified as "command and staff training" (komandno-shtabnaya trenirovka) as opposed to maneuvers. Deputy Chief of the General Staff Col.-Gen. Yuriy Baluyevski described the difference in the following way: exercises (training) primarily involve the command and staff level while troops play a subsidiary role while maneuvers emphasize operations of troops.[96]

Like similar events in previous years, these exercises were apparently intended to test the ability of the Russian Armed Forces to fight the most likely conflicts of the future - limited and regional wars; among them the latter category allows for limited use of nuclear weapons for the purposes of deescalation and termination of conflict that cannot be won by conventional weapons alone. Formally the scenario assumed attacks "by terrorists" from four directions - east, south, west, and north-west. Accordingly, defense was simulated on all four fronts (with the emphasis on the south and the north-west), plus against air and space attacks.[97]

In an attempt to dispel the impression that Russia was training for a war against the United States, Col.-Gen. Baluevski emphasized at a press conference: "There is no hint that [the enemy] is the United States of America. There is no hint that it is any other state, whether European or Asian: the opponent is notional."[98] Many observers remarked, however, that from a military point of view there is no such thing as an abstract opponent. Specific states are always kept in mind.[99] A prominent expert, former director of the research institute of Strategic Rocket Forces (SRF) Vladimir Dvorkin rhetorically asked, which country other than the United States could mount a space attack, against which Armed Forces were defending Russia.[100] Indeed, Baluevski noted Russian concerns that the United States apparently contemplated making nuclear weapons "an instrument of achieving military missions and lowering the nuclear threshold." His reference to the October 2003 Ministry of Defense document was also telling: that document did list the enlargement of NATO and a string of U.S. military campaigns in the 1990s and the early 2000s as security challenges. He also admitted that "one does not fight bin Laden with strategic missiles."

The phase that involved General Purpose troops included mobilization of 10,000 reservists in the Siberian Military District (MD) and their transport to several training centers in the European part of Russia for live-fire exercises. After that troops from the Moscow MD were transferred further to the Leningrad MD to reinforce border guards in a simulation of an external attack from the northwest (it is likely that the scenario assumed the territory of Baltic states used by NATO for an attack on Russia). Reportedly, new systems of command, control and communications were tested during the exercises.[101]

The naval phase involved 10 surface ships and seven submarines and included, among other elements, live-fire exercises of anti-missile defenses: the heavy cruiser Petr Veliki intercepted cruise missiles launched from Russian heavy bombers, a sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM) launched from a submarine (at least, this was the plan, but it has remained unclear whether this part was implemented), and an intermediate range ballistic missile (there is no information about where it was launched from and reports indicated that these were simulators of ballistic missiles).[102] According to some reports, these exercises tested the naval version of the tactical missile defense system S-300, which is called "Fort-M."[103]

Simultaneously, 14 heavy bombers (Tu-160 and Tu-95MS) conducted flights in three directions: to the North Atlantic, to the north of Russia (over the Barents Sea), and to the south (the Ashuluk test range in Astrakhan Oblast).[104] In contrast to previous exercises, Tu-160s that flew over the North Atlantic did not conduct launches of ALCMs. However, three Tu-95MS bombers launched ALCMs over the Barents Sea. Two were launched at the Novaya Zemlya test range and at least one was intercepted by surface ships as part of the anti-missile defense practice.[105]

Launches of strategic ballistic missiles occupied an unusually prominent place: one SLBM, two ICBMs, and a civilian launch vehicle with a military satellite.

In a rare exception, the launch of SS-N-23 (RSM-54 or RM-29RMU) toward the usual target - the test range Kura in Kamchatka - from a Delta-IV (Project 667BDRM) submarine Novomoskovsk failed. It happened at the most inopportune moment - as President Vladimir Putin observed the launch from the strategic submarine Archangelsk of the type known in the West as Typhoon and in Russia as Project 941. An attempt to immediately launch another missile failed as well.

Immediately following the first failure, a flurry of reports made contradictory claims: there was an explosion, the missile fell into the water, the launch was blocked by a satellite, etc. The Chief of the Navy Adm. Vladimir Kuroyedov quickly declared that no "physical" launch should have taken place at all: it was supposed to be a simulation.[106] Not a single commentator believed that announcement, however. In the end, it became clear that between the third and the fourth minutes of the launch sequence the targeting system of the submarine failed and the electronic system immediately blocked the launch.[107]

The day after the Novomoskovsk's failed launches, another submarine of the same class, Karelia, made a fresh attempt to launch an SLBM of the same type. At first, the flight was normal, but after 98 seconds (at the time of the separation of the first stage) the missile began to deviate from its trajectory, activating the self-destruction mechanism.[108]

In contrast to several failures of the Navy, the SRF passed the exercise with flying colors. The SRF and the Space Troops planned three launches: a Molniya (R-7) space-launch vehicle with a military satellite, a Topol ICBM, and an SS-19 (a.k.a. RS-18, a.k.a. UR-100UTTKh), which was remotely launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, demonstrating the ability to control ICBMs directly anywhere in Russia without passing through the full command chain.

The central piece of the exercise was the launch of a Topol ICBM (an earlier version of Topol-M) conducted from a mobile launcher about 50 kilometers from Plesetstk.[109] The missile carried a new warhead equipped with hypersonic engines that allow the warhead to reach speeds of 6 Mach and change its trajectory.[110] A combination of complicated trajectory and high speed makes the new warhead very difficult to intercept. Some sources reported that the new Topol warhead was based on a new hypersonic cruise missile X-90 (AS-19 Koala), which eventually is supposed to replace the old Soviet X-55 ALCM.

Resources

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Articles and Brief Reports

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[1] Kontseptsiya natsionalnoy bezopasnosti Rossiiskoy Federatsii. Utverzhdena Ukazom Prezidenta RF ot 17 dekabrya 1997 g. No. 1300 (v redaktsii Ukaza Prezidenta RF oт 10 yanvarya 2000 g. No. 24), www.scrf.gov.ru.
[2] Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye, No. 46 (169), 26 November 1999.
[3] Voyennaya Doktrina Rossiiskoy Federatsii, Utverzhdena Ukazom Prezidenta RF ot 21 aprelya 2000 g. No. 706.
[4] Kontseptsiya natsionalnoi bezopasnosti Rossiiskoy Federatsii. Utverzhdena Ukazom Prezidenta RF ot 17 dekabrya 1997 g. No. 1300, http://194.226.83.2/documents/decree/1997/_1300-1.html.
[5] Voyennaya Doktrina Rossiyskoi Federatsii. Utverzhdena Ukazom Prezidenta RF ot 21 aprelya 2000 g. No. 706.
[6] "Osnovnyye polozheniya voyennoy doktriny Rossiyskoy Federatsii," Rossiyskaya gazeta, 18 November 1993, pp. 1, 4.
[7] Kontseptsiya natsionalnoy bezopasnosti Rossiiskoi Federatsii. Utverzhdena Ukazom Prezidenta RF ot 17 dekabrya 1997 g. No. 1300, http://194.226.83.2/documents/decree/1997/_1300-1.html.
[8] Anatoliy Klimenko and Aleksandr Koltuykov, "Osnovnoy dokument voyennogo stroitelstva," Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye, 13 February 1998, p. 4.
[9] These included a decree of Boris Yeltsin "On urgent measures toward reforming the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation," (July 1997), and two Security Council documents: "The Concept of Development of Nuclear Forces until 2010" and "The Foundations (Concept) of State Policy in the Area of Defense Development until 2005" (July-August 1998). These documents are classified, but their general thrust could be gleaned from newspaper publications: "Sovet Bezopasnosti RF Reshil Sokhranit Trekhkomponentnyi Sostav Strategicheskikh Yadernykh Sil," Interfax daily news bulletin, No. 4, July 3, 1998; "Russia to be Major Nuclear Power in 3d Millennium—Official," ITAR-TASS, July 3, 1998; Ivan Safronov and Ilya Bulavinov, "Boris Yeltsin Podnyal Yadernyi Shchit," Kommersant-Daily, July 4, 1998; Yuri Golotuyk, "Yadernoe Razoruzhenie Neizbezhno," Russkii Telegraph, July 11, 1998; Yuri Golotuyk, "Moskva Skorrektirovala Svoi Yadernye Argumenty," Russkii Telegraph, July 4, 1998; Anatoli Yurkin, "Perspektivy Voennogo Stroitelstva," Krasnaya Zvezda, August 5, 1998, p. 1, 3; Oleg Falichev, Vpervye So Vremeni Miluykovskikh Reform," Krasnaya Zvezda, August 18, 1998, p. 1, 2.
[10] "Voennaya Doktrina Rossiyskoy Federatsii: Proyekt," Krasnaya Zvezda, 9 October 1999, www.redstar.ru.
[11] V. Levshin, A. Nedelin, M. Sosnovskiy, "O primenenii yadernogo oruzhiya dlya deeskalatsii voennykh deystviy," Voennaya Mysl Vol. 3, May-June 1999, pp. 34-37.
[12] V. Prozorov, Yadernoye Sderzhivaniye v Teorii Primeneniya RVSN [Nuclear Deterrence in the Theory of Use of the SRF] (Moscow: Pyotr Veliki Military Academy, 1999), p. 19.
[13] Petr Romashkin, "Nuzhny li Rossii raketnye voiska," commentary published on www.armscontrol.ru; Alexander Golz, "General-terminator," Itogi, July 5, 2000, www.itogi.ru; Alexander Shaburkin, "V vooruzhennykh silakh gryadet bolshoi peredel," Vremya MN, July 12, 2000, www.vrenyamn.ru; Vladimir Temnyi, "Ministr oborony proigral," Vesti.Ru, July 12, 2000, www.vesti.ru; Vladimir Yermolin, "Zvezdnye voiny," Izvestiya, July 15, 2000, www.izvestia.ru; Sergeiy Sokut, "Igra bez kozyrei," Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 15, 2000, p. 6.
[14] "Rossiiskii Genshtab planiruet usilit' gruppirovki voisk na Yugo-Zapadnom i Tsentralno-Asiatskom strategicheskikh napravleniyakh," Interfax, July 12, 2000; "Minoborony Rossii dorabotaet kompleks predlozhenii po razvitiyu vooruzhennykh sil strany," Interfax, July 12, 2000.
[15] Vladimir Temnyi, "Yadernoe raskulachivanie," Vesti.Ru, July 4, 2000, www.vesti.ru.
[16] Vladimir Yermolin, "Vladimir Yakovlev: sudbu raketnykh voisk opredelit politicheskoe reshenie," Izvestiya, July 5, 2000; Vladimir Yermolin, "Zvezdnye voiny," Izvestiya, July 15, 2000.
[17] "Ministerstvo oborony dorabotaet kompleks predlozhenii po razvitiyu vooruzhennykh sil strany," Interfax, July 12, 2000; Mikhail Timofeev, "Sopernichauyshchie klany v Minoborony ne vyrabotali edinogo mneniya o putyakh voennogo stroitelstva. Predmet razdora – raketnye voiska," Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 13, 2000, p. 1; Vladimir Yermolin, "Mech nad yadernym shchitom," Izvestiya, July 13, 2000, p. 2; Ilya Bulavinov and Ivan Safronov, "Poka otkladyvaetsya..." Kommersant-Daily, July 13, 2000, www.kommersant.ru.
[18] "V Sochi President RF vstretitsya s ministrom oborony," RBK News, July 16, 2000; "I. Sergeyev i nachalnik Genshaba Anatoliy Kvashnin v srochnom poryadke vyleteli v Sochi," RBK News, July 16, 2000.
[19] "I. Sergeyev: vozmozhnye varianty reformy RVSN svedeny k minimumu," RBK News, July 17, 2000; Yevgeni Krutikov, "Termoyadernaya voina," Izvestiya, July 18, 2000; Vadim Solovyov, "Skandal otlozhen: glavnye bitvy po voennomy reformiromaniyu vperedi," Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 18, 2000, p. 1.
[20] For details see Nikolai Sokov, "Russia Unites Nuclear Forces," Jane's Defense Weekly, February 10, 1999, 23-25.
[21] Petr Romashkin, "Nuzhny li Rossii raketnye voiska," commentary on www.armscontrol.ru.
[22] Vladimir Temnyi, "Sovbez kushaet sladkuyu parochku," Vesti.ru news service, August 10, 2000, www.vesti.ru.
[23] Nikolai Petrov, "Putin ne uvolil ni Sergeyeva, ni Kvashnina," Kommersant-Daily, August 12, 2000; "Sovet Bezopasnosti prodlil zhuzn; raketnym voiskam," Lenta.ru news service, www.lenta.ru; Vladimir Atlasov, "Dalshe otstupat nekuda," Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 12, 2000; "Sudba rossiiskikh vooruzhennykh sil reshena," SMI.ru news service, www.smi.ru; Vladimir Temnyi, "Dvoevlastie v Minoborony zakonchilos," Vesti.ru news service, www.vesti.ru; Alexander Bekker, "Armiuy oboshli s flangov," Vedomosti, August 14, 2000, p. 1; Igor Danilov, "Itogi zasedaniya Soveta Bezopasnosti RF: boevaya nichya v polzu voennoe reformy," Interfax, August 14, 2000; "Vice-premier RF oprovergaet soobshcheniya o cokrashchenii raskhodov na natsionalnyuy oborony v budushchem godu," Interfax, August 14, 2000; Andrei Korbut, "Sovbez soglasilsya s predlozheniyami Genshtaba," Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 15, 2000, p. 3.
[24] Dmitriy Safonov, "Khozhdenie po Kadrovomu Krugu," Izvestiya, May 2, 2001, p. 3.
[25] Vladimir Georgiev, "Rossiya Peresmotrit Svoyu Yadernuyu Stregetigyu," Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 11, 2003, p. 2.
[26] Vladimir Georgiev, "Armiya-Pravitelstvo: 1:0 v Polzu Raket," Nezavisimaya Gazeta, June 21, 2002, p. 2.
[27] "Anatoliy Kvashnin: U Nas na Vooruzhenii Ostanutsya Tyazhelye Rakety," Strana.ru, June 19, 2002, www.strana.ru.
[28] Nikolai Novichkov, "Russia to Retain MIRVs Beyond START II Deadline," Jane's Defense Weekly, August 28, 2002.
[29] "Rossiya Sokhranit Tyazhelye Rakety 'Satana'," Strana.ru, August 16, 2002, www.strana.ru.
[30] Salavat Suleimanov, "Moskva Gotovitsya Dat Obratnyi Khod," Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 16, 2002, p. 6; Dmitri Litovkin, "Rakety Poletyat v Druguyu Storonu," Izvestiya, August 15, 2002, p. 4; "Missile Trains," Moscow Times, August 12, 2002, p. 4.
[31] "'Satana' Ostanetsya na Dezhurstve do 2016 goda," Vremya Novostey, December 16, 2002, www.vremya.ru.
[32] "Aktualnyye Zadachi Razvitiya Vooruzhennykh Sil RF," www.mil.ru.
[33] For analysis of nuclear policy-related elements of the 2000 National Security Concept and Military Doctrine see Nikolai Sokov, "Russia's New National Security Concept: The Nuclear Angle" (January 2000) and "An Assessment of The Draft Russian Military Doctrine" (October 1999).
[34] For analysis of this debate see Nikolai Sokov, http://cns.miis.edu, "Denuclearization of Russia's Defense Policy?"(CNS Report, July 17, 2000) and The Fate of Russian Nuclear Weapons: An Anticlimax on August 11 (CNS Report, August 14, 2000).
[35] Statement by Sergey Ivanov, www.mil.ru.
[36] "Aktualnyye Zadachi Razvitiya Vooruzhennykh Sil RF," p. 42.
[37] "Aktualnyye Zadachi Razvitiya Vooruzhennykh Sil RF," p. 43.
[38] "Aktualnyye Zadachi Razvitiya Vooruzhennykh Sil RF," p. 30.
[39] "Aktualnyye Zadachi Razvitiya Vooruzhennykh Sil RF," p. 25.
[40] "Aktualnyye Zadachi Razvitiya Vooruzhennykh Sil RF," p. 32.
[41] "Aktualnyye Zadachi Razvitiya Vooruzhennykh Sil RF," p. 24.
[42] "Vystupleniye Sergeya Ivanova na Soveshchanii v Ministerstve Oborony RF," October 2, 2004, www.mil.ru.
[43] Sergey Ivanov, "Zakluychitelnoe Slovo na Vstreche s Uchenymi Rossiiskogo Federalnogo Yadernogo Tsentra," July 31, 2003, www.president.kremlin.ru.
[44] Nikolai Sokov, "A New Old Direction in Russia's Nuclear Policy," Disarmament Diplomacy, September 2000, www.acronym.org.uk.
[45] Vladimir Putin, "Zakluychitelnoe Slovo na Soveshchanii s Rukovodyashchim Sostavom Vooruzhennykh Sil Rossii," October 2, 2003, www.president.kremlin.ru.
[46] Mikhail Vorobyov, "Raket u Nas Na Vsekh Khvatit," Vremya Novostei, October 3, 2003, www.vremya.ru.
[47] "Sergey Ivanov: Slova Presidenta o Raketakh SS-19 'Stiletto' Kasauytsya Vsekh," Lenta.Ru, October 6, 2003, www.lenta.ru.
[48] Nikita Petrov, "Fundament Bezopasnosti," Strana.Ru, October 3, 2003 www.strana.ru.
[49] "Strategicheskiye Komandno-Shtabnyye Ucheniya Proidut na Territoriyakh Dvukh Voyennykh Okrugov," Interfax, June 15, 1999; Sergey Sokut, Oleg Ternovski, "Nashi Letchiki Nanosyat 'Udary po NATO'," Nezavisimaya gazeta, June 25, 1999.
[50] "Na Ucheniyakh 'Zapad-99' Otrabatyvalos Uslovnoye Primeneniye Yadernogo Oruzhiya," Interfax, July 9, 1999; Vladimir Georgiyev, "Dve Nedeli Nazad Rossiya Primenila Yadernoye Oruzhiye," Nezavisimaya gazeta, July 10, 1999.
[51] Yuriyy Golotyuk, "Dan Prikaz Emu na Zapad," Izvestiya, June 22, 1999.
[52] "V Ramkakh Uchenii 'Zapad-99' Rossiiskiye Letchiki Proveli Uspeshnyye Puski Raket po Nazemnym Tselyam," Interfax, June 23, 1999; Igor Korotchenko, "Rossiiskaya Armiya Gotovitsya k Otrazheniyu Agressii," Nezavisimaya gazeta, June 23, 1999; Sergey Sokut, Oleg Ternovski, "Nashi Letchiki Nanosyat 'Udary po NATO'," Nezavisimaya gazeta, June 25, 1999; Alexander Koretskiy, "Rossiya Nanesla Yadernyi Udar po SShA," Segodnya, July 2, 1999; Dana Priest, "Russian Bombers Make Foray to Iceland," Washington Post, July 1, 1999, p. 1.
[53] Yuriy Golotuyk, "Premiera Minoborony na 'Zapadnom Teatre'," Izvestiya, June 29, 1999.
[54] Valeri Aleksin, "Samolyoty i Rakety Nad Okeanom," Nezavisimaya gazeta, September 15, 1999.
[55] Ivan Safronov, "Yugoslavskie Uroki Rossiiskikh VVS," Kommersand-Daily, April 18, 2000.
[56] Sergey Sokut, "Razvorot v Yuzhnom Napravlenii," Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye, April 21, 2000.
[57] Sergey Sokut, "Strategii Letyat na Yug," Nezavisimaya gazeta, April 18, 2000.
[58] Olga Bozhieva and Vyacheslav Martunuyk, "S-300 Protiv Tu-22," Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye, May 19, 2000.
[59] Sergey Balashov, "U 'Dalnikov' Khoroshie Perspektivy," Krasnaya zvezda, April 24, 2000.
[60] Vladimir Mukhin, "Na Prostorakh SNG - Voennye Ucheniya," Nezavisimaya gazeta, September 8, 1999.
[61] Anatoliy Dokuchayev, "Novaya Formula Udara," Krasnaya zvezda, October 11, 2000.
[62] "Strategi Otbombilis," Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye, September 15, 2000.
[63] Yuriyy Golotyuk, "Belorusskii Front," Vremya novostey, January 16, 2001.
[64] Sergey Sokut, "Kurs na Lokalnyye Konflikty," Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye, February 8, 2001.
[65] Yuriy Golotuyk, "I v Vozdukhe Tozhe Problemy," Vremya novostey, February 19, 2001.
[66] "Strategicheskaya Komandno-Shtabnaya Trenirovka VS Rossii," Nezavisimaya gazeta, February 17, 2001.
[67] Sergey Grigoriyev, "Rossiya Pobedila," Nezavisimoe voyennoye obozreniye, February 28, 2001.
[68] Alexander Golts, "Sovershenno Sekretnyi Sabotazh," Itogi, February 28, 2001, p. 14-15.
[69] Bill Gertz, "Russian Forces Help China in Mock Conflict," Washington Times, April 30, 2001, p. 1.
[70] Sergey Babichev, "Shchit u Sodruzhestva Prochen," Krasnaya zvezda, April 7, 2001.
[71] Dmitriy Vladimirov, "Osobennosti Natsionalnogo Bombometaniya," Izvestiya, April 10, 2001.
[72] Boris Talov, "Pokazatelnaya Bombezhka s Pritselom na Obshchuyu Bezopasnost," Rossiiskaya gazeta, April 6, 2001.
[73] "Russian Bombers Skirt U.S. Airspace off Alaska," Washington Post, April 30, 2001, p. 5.
[74] Yuriy Golotuyk, "Bombardirovshchiki Letyat na Vraga," Vremya novostey, September 11, 2001.
[75] Yuriy Golotuyk, "Yadernyi Konflikt Otstavit," Vremya novostey, September 12, 2001.
[76] "Pod Saratovom Nachalis Ucheniya Dalnei Aviatsii," RIA Novosti, September 13, 2001.
[77] Ivan Safronov, "Rossiiskaya Dalnyaya Aviatsiya Uletela Nedaleko," Kommersant-Daily, September 15, 2001.
[78] "Na Kamchatke Zavershilis Komandno-Shtabnye Ucheniya Tikhookeanskogo Flota," Kommersant-Daily, September 19, 2001.
[79] Yuriy Golotuyk, "Bombardirovshchiki Letyat na Yug," Vremya novostey, Febraury 14, 2002;
[80] Marina Kalashnikova, "Soglasny ne Soglashatsya," Nezavisimaya gazeta, April 29, 2002.
[81] Yuriy Golotuyk, "Ot Taigi do Yaponskikh Morei," Vremya novostey, June 24, 2002.
[82] Sergey Sokut, "Voennye Vozvrashchayutsya na Kaspii, Nezavisimoye voyennoe obozreniye," August 16, 2002.
[83] Tatiana Koroleva, "Voprosy Bezopasnosti Kaspiiskogo Regiona Otrabatyvalis vo Vremya Uchenii 'More Mira-2002'," Panorama (Almaty, Kazakhstan), August 16, 2002.
[84] Igor Plugatarev, "Kto Est Kto na Kaspii," Nezavisimaya gazeta, August 1, 2002.
[85] Nikolai Lubyanskii, "Sbor-Pokhod na Kaspii," Nezavisimoye voyennoe obozreniye, August 2, 2002.
[86] Rosa Tsvetkova, "Na Kaspii Rossiya Perekhodit ot Voennoi Teorii k Praktike," Strana.ru, August 8, 2002, www.strana.ru.
[87] Nikolai Poroskov, "V Pomoshch Amerikanskomu Drugu," Vremya novostey, October 14, 2002.
[88] Mikhail Timofeyev, "Strateg Tu-160 Uchitsya Bombit," Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye, March 13, 2003.
[89] "Inspektsiya Minoborony Proveryaet Raketnye Voiska," Izvestiya, March 25, 2003.
[90] Dmitriy Litovkin, "Burya pod Snegom," Izvestiya, April 2, 2003.
[91] Vladimir Mukhin, "Flot Rossii Gotov k Pokhodu v Araviiskoe More," Nezavisimaya gazeta, April 2, 2003.
[92] Vladimir Mukhin, "Morskie Pekhotintsy iz Rossii Gotovy k Vysadke v Irake," Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 21, 2003; "Sergey Ivanov: Pokhod Rossiiskikh Korablei v Indiiskii Okean ne Svyazan s Situatsiei Vokrug Iraka," Strana.ru, February 25, 2003, www.strana.ru; Oleg Zhundusov, "Ne Shandarakhnut by v Kogo ne Nado," Izvestiya, March 5, 2003.
[93] Igor Korotchenko, "Moskva Repetiruet Yadernyi Udar po SShA," Nezavisimaya gazeta, May 14, 2003; "Rossiiskie Krylatye Rakety Porazili Tseli v Araviiskom More," RIA-Novosti, May 14, 2004; Sergey Ezhov, "Takogo Eshche Ne Bylo," Strana.ru, May 15, 2003, www.strana.ru; Viktor Maysnikov, "Indiiskaya Mnogokhodovka," Vremya MN, May 16, 2003; "20-21 Maya Nachnutsya Sovmestnye Ucheniya Rossiiskogo i Indiiskogo Flotov," Strana.ru, May 18, 2003, www.strana.ru; "Rossiiskie Strategicheskie Bombardirovshchiki Porazili Tikhii Okean," Kommersant-Daily, May 15, 2003; "Otryad Rossiiskikh Korablei Vypustil v Indiiskom Okeane Krylatuyu Raketu," Strana.ru, May 16, 2003, www.strana.ru; Igor Korotchenko, "Potentsial Sokhranen," Nezavisimoe voyennoye obozreniye, May 23, 2003; Dmitri Litovkin, "Rossiiskie Moryaki Vozvrashchauytsya s Uchenii," Izvestiya, July 4, 2003; T. Geynutdinov, "The 'Long' Road to the Ocean," Morskoy Sbornik, August 17, 2003, p. 49-54.
[94] Ivan Safronov, "Rossiiskii Flot Budet Poyavlyatsya v Indiiskov Okeane Chashche," Kommersant-Daily, May 21, 2003; Sergey Gorbachev, "INDRA-2003: S Bala na Korabl," Krasnaya zvezda, May 28, 2003.
[95] Aleksey Chernyshov, "Anatoli Kvashnin Gotovit Tikhookeanskii Flot k Ucheniyam," Kommersant-Daily, June 9, 2003; Vladimir Mukhin, "Novye Geopoliticheskie Tseli Rossii," Nezavisimaya gazeta, August 29, 2003; "Sergey Ivanov Vyletel na Ucheniya na Bombardirovshchike," Interfax, August 22, 2003; "Chetyre Osobennosti Voennykh Manevrov na Dalnem Vostoke," Oborona i Bezopasnost (WPS), August 29, 2003; Ivan Safronov, "Sergey Ivanov Poletel na 'Belom Lebede'," Kommersant-Daily, August 23, 2003.
[96] Press conference of the first deputy Chief of the General Staff Col.-Gen. Yuriy Baluevski, February 11, 2004, www.mil.ru.
[97] Ibid.
[98] Press conference of the first deputy Chief of the General Staff Col.-Gen. Yuriy Baluevski, February 11, 2004, www.mil.ru.
[99] Alexander Babakin, Oleg Yelenskiy, Vladimir Mukhin, "Yadernye Zuby Sergeya Ivanova," Nezavisimaya gazeta, February 13, 2004.
[100] Alexander Babakin, Oleg Yelenskiy, Vladimir Mukhin, "Bessrochnye Ucheniya do Pobednogo Kontsa," Nezavisimoe voyennoye obozreniye, February 13, 2004.
[101] Sergey Vasiliev, "'Skiff' Startuet iz Glubiny," Krasnaya zvezda, February 17, 2004; "V Barentsevom More Nachalis Ucheniya Severnogo Flota," MurmanNews.Ru, February 17, 2004, www.murmannews.ru.
[102] "Uchimsya Voevat Po-Sovremennomu," Krasnaya zvezda, February 11, 2004; Vladimir Mukhin, "Neudachnye Puski Raket Rassleduet Komissiya," Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 20, 2004.
[103] Dmitri Litovkin, "Giperzvukovaya 'Koala'," Izvestiya, February 20, 2004.
[104] Nikita Petrov, "NPRO-2004 Soedinennykh Shtatov - Nenadezhnyi Shchit Protiv Rossiiskikh Raket," Strana.Ru, February 3, 2004, www.strana.ru.
[105] "'Petr Veliki' Otrazil Vizdushnye Ataki," Strana.Ru February 17, 2004www.strana.ru; Vladimir Mukhin, "Dalnyaya Avitsiya Porabotala v Barentsevom More," Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye, February 20, 2004; "Putin Nabluydaet za Ucheniyami Severnogo Flota," Strana.Ru February 17, 2004.
[106] "Glavkom VMF: Stsenarii Uchenii Predusmatrival Tolko Uslovnyi Pusk Raket," Strana.Ru February 17, 2004, www.strana.ru.
[107] Dmitriy Litovkin, "Ballisticheskie Rakety Putina ne Porazili," Izvestiya, February 18, 2004; Vadim Solovyov, Vladimir Ivanov, Viktor Myasnikov, "Ne v Raketakh Delo, a v Umnoi Nachinke," Nezavisimoe voyennoye Obozreniye, February 20, 2004.
[108] Vladimir Mukhin, Andrei Riskin, "Morskoi Shchit Rossii Vzorvalsya nad Severnym Morem," Nezavisimaya gazeta, February 19, 2004; "Rossiiskii Yadernyi Shchit Dal Treshchinu," Kommersant-Daily, February 19, 2004.
[109] Andrei Borisov, Vadim Solobyov, "Putin za Tri Chasa Zapustil v Nebo Tri Rakety," Nezavisimaya gazeta, February 19, 2004; Dmitriy Litovkin, "U Rossii - Novoe Oruzhie," Izvestiya, February 19, 2004; "Chto i Kuda Zapustili Kosmicheskie Voiska," Kommersant-Daily, February 19, 2004; Yuriy Avdeev, Alexander Bogatyrev, Vladimir Gundarov, Alexander Dolinin, "Garantiya Neuyazvimosti," Krasnaya zvezda, February 19, 2004.
[110] Dmitri Litovkin, "Giperzvukovaya 'Koala'," Izvestiya, February 20, 2004; Nail Gafutulin, Segei Severinov, Alexander Bogatyrev, "Proryv k Oruzhiyu Novogo Pokoleniya," Krasnaya zvezda, February 20, 2004; Fyodor Rumyantsev, Yelena Shishkunova, "Rossiiskaya Raketa Probila Amerikansuyu PRO," Gazeta.Ru, February 20, 2004, www.gazeta.ru.

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