The new, 10-year Russian military doctrine inked last week by President Dmitry Medvedev does not specifically authorize the pre-emptive use of nuclear force, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Nov. 18, 2009).
Kremlin officials had previously indicated that the document might allow for a nuclear strike as a means of warding off an overwhelming conventional attack or another major threat (Associated Press/Yahoo!News, Feb. 5).
Instead, it says that "Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction against it and its allies, as well as an aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons jeopardizing the very existence of the state," the Press Trust of India reported (Press Trust of India/Rediff.com, Feb. 6).
"Some clever people won over those who wanted to scare everybody with Russian nuclear weapons," military analyst Alexander Golts told Reuters.
Among the dangers facing the nation are the spread of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear-armed states, NATO expansion, and "the creation and deployment of strategic antimissile systems that undermine global stability," according to the document.
Moscow was a vehement opponent of Bush administration plans to field U.S. missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic, and has expressed continued reservations about the Obama administration's revised initiative (see related GSN story, today; Conor Sweeney, Reuters I/Yahoo!News, Feb. 5).
''Nuclear weapons will remain an important factor in preventing nuclear military conflicts and major conflicts with the use of conventional means of destruction (a large-scale or a regional war),'' the doctrine states.
Moscow pledged to continue to upgrade its land-, air- and sea-based nuclear weapons systems, the United News of India reported (United News of India/New Kerala, Feb. 6).
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Saturday that the alliance is not a threat to Russia, Reuters reported.
"I have to say that this new doctrine does not reflect the real world ... NATO is not an enemy of Russia," he said. "It does not reflect realities and it is in clear contradiction with all our endeavors to improve the relationship between NATO and Russia" (David Brunnstrom, Reuters II/Yahoo!News, Feb. 6).