Fri. Jan 27th, 2023

Reforms launched under Vladimir Putin have restored some of the Russian armed forces’ former glory. Russia now has a streamlined, mobile and mostly professional military, equipped with modern weapons. The impact of these changes was visible in Syria, Russia’s first military intervention outside the post-Soviet region.

Reforms launched under Vladimir Putin have restored some of the Russian armed forces’ former glory. Russia now has a streamlined, mobile, and mostly professional military, equipped with modern weapons.

The impact of these changes was visible in Syria, Russia’s first military intervention outside the post-Soviet region. Despite this increased capability, there are demographic and financial constraints on Russian military power. The armed forces are not attracting enough recruits to go fully professional, and therefore still need conscripts – who are less well-trained than career soldiers – to make up the numbers.

Moscow has spent billions of dollars on new weapons, such as the innovative nuclear missiles unveiled by President Putin in 2018, but not all branches of the armed forces are equally well equipped. Russia’s increasingly assertive foreign policy raises the question of how much of a threat its military represents. Officially, the role of the armed forces is to defend Russian territory, but in practice Moscow uses military force to assert control over its post-Soviet sphere of influence, for example in Ukraine.

Russia also uses hybrid methods such as cyber-attacks, including against North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries. NATO’s overall numerical superiority means that Russia is likely to avoid all-out war with the alliance.

However, the risk that it might use nuclear weapons and other niche strengths to escape retaliation for a limited attack (for example in the Baltic region) cannot be entirely discounted.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Source: Briefing – Russia’s armed forces: Defence capabilities and policy – 10-03-2021

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