Russia and Iran have created a durable alliance, according to Alexey Pushkov, a member of the upper house of the Russian legislature and close ally of President Vladimir Putin. He told Foreign Policy that Russia would naturally ally with countries, such as Iran, which face pressure from the U. Russia is emerging as a lesser interventionist power in the region. Moscow has national interests in the Middle East and demands that they be respected.
Russia is therefore seeking to keep oil and gas channels open to Russian trade, fight extremist political Islam so it will not spread to Russia, and to protect its military bases in Syria. In Russia sent air and ground troops to Syria—allegedly to fight terrorism. Russia and Iran did help to defeat the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and other extremists. But they also waged a brutal war against any group opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In , Syria signed an agreement to expand an existing Russian naval base and establish an air force base in the country. The agreement lasts for 49 years, with the option of a year extension. Syria granted Russia extraterritoriality , which prohibits Russians from being tried in Syrian courts. The bases provide Russia with a permanent military presence to project power throughout the region, and a means to support its allies Syria and Iran. Russia further enhanced its regional influence by signing onto the nuclear accord, which allowed Iran to develop nuclear power while providing for intrusive inspections that prohibit the construction of nuclear weapons.
The agreement was ratified unanimously by the U. Security Council, which mandated the lifting of nuclear-related economic sanctions against Iran.
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One year ago, the Trump administration unilaterally pulled out of the accord. Although Iran continued to abide by the agreement, according to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency , the United States began reimposing harsh, unilateral sanctions in August Washington believes that such actions will decrease the time Iran needs to produce enough uranium to eventually make a nuclear bomb.
Russian experts view the situation differently. They argue that Iran is seeking only to pressure Europe to lift sanctions and engage in trade with Iran, not build a bomb. And should the U. Russia criticized the U. But Russia has limited resources and does not plan a military response if the United States attacks.
While Moscow rhetorically opposes unilateral U. Russia is building two more nuclear power facilities in Iran but otherwise has few business dealings there. Moscow finished building the Bushehr nuclear energy complex, which had been partially built by German companies and then abandoned after Russia is now expanding one reactor at Bushehr and building a second expected to be completed in In the Soviet period, these enterprises were favored institutions blessed with a customer—the Soviet government—that had an insatiable appetite for its products.
When the USSR collapsed, the market for defense industrial products collapsed as well. How has the Russian government and defense sector adapted to the new realities of the post-Soviet period? In chapter 5, Vitaly Shlykov examines the defense industrial sector in Russia.
Book The Russian Military Power And Policy American Academy Studies In Global Security 2004
The Russian defense industrial complex has staggered through the past decade by exploiting stockpiles of materials accumulated during the Soviet period and by pursuing arms exports as much as possible. But neither of these approaches is sufficient for the long run, and neither represents an adequate adaption of the defenses industrial complex to new conditions. But here too, Shlykov details the poverty of reform ideas for the defense sector and bemoans the lack of political leadership in moving the defense sector in the direction of needed reforms. Nuclear Weapons in Current Russian Policy It was the enormous Soviet nuclear threat that, above all else, haunted Western fears and gripped Western attention.
This gave rise to unprecedented new forms of nuclear cooperation between the United States and Russia, as the two powers found ways of working together to enhance the safety and security of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union. Meanwhile, in an era when a new political relationship between East and West seemed to promise great new opportunities for nuclear arms control and restraint, the more traditional arms control process played an important role at times but often sputtered and produced surprisingly modest results, while the nuclear postures of the two powers proved surprisingly resistant to major changes.
These questions are addressed by Rose Gottemoeller in her chapter on nuclear weapons and arms control in Russian security policy. The present volume represents a stocktaking of the journey so far—a journey that has been difficult, contentious, politically demanding, and more fruitless than not.
Aleksandr Golts portrays a demoralized and dissolute Russian military struggling to create an effective military organization with discontented officers and unhappy, unmotivated recruits. Thus, though some changes have been made and some progress has been achieved, the conclusion that military reform is imperative seems as inescapable today as it did when the Soviet Union collapsed in B AEV S ince the end of the Cold War, the Russian military has deteriorated so badly that instead of providing security it has become a major source of insecurity for the state it is supposed to protect.
The demilitarization of the Russian state during the s was as drastic as it was debilitating: the massive military machine inherited from the Soviet Union was reduced by a factor of three in terms of the numerical strength of the army and by at least a factor of ten in terms of share of gross domestic product GDP allocated to defense. Vitaly Shlykov provides a useful estimate of the militarization of the Soviet economy in his chapter in this volume.
In this regard, the second war in Chechnya helped not only to secure his election but also to boost morale in, and societal support for, the military. Shortly after taking office, Putin increased military funding. Conditions within the armed forces continued to deteriorate, and the lack of security remained a huge concern.
Cimbala, ed. More significant than the time already lost is the realization that the Russian armed forces are not just resistant to reform but are fundamentally incapable of achieving it. But these are not the only factors. The chapter weighs the relative importance of these inputs for the absence of military innovation in Russia first under Boris Yeltsin and then under Vladimir Putin.
The chapter also seeks to explain why the Russian armed forces have failed to adapt to their new reality, despite the continuing deterioration of Soviet-style military structures and the emergence of new challenges—including the pressing need to modernize. What is clear is that the fatal blow was struck with the failed coup of August 19—21, , for which many would hold the military responsible. The obvious analogy is with military reform under Peter the Great, who abandoned the streltsi traditional forces and created the potyeshny token regiments.
Institute of Peace, , p. The new president clearly recognized the need to exercise control over this colossus if he were to win the battles for power ahead.
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His newly appointed defense minister, Pavel Grachev, a former paratrooper with little respect for bureaucratic order, completely altered the composition of the leadership. As commander in chief, Yeltsin ordered massive cuts in the size of the armed forces, but was careful not to downsize the central military apparatus, which would ultimately evolve into an unwieldy superstructure with huge redundancies.
Yeltsin thus missed the best opportunity his government would have to redesign and streamline the post-Soviet military. Instead, he would continue to focus on securing the loyalty of the military elite. Although reassured that its core institutional interests were safe, the high command still had to implement two nonnegotiable presidential orders: 1 to make deep cuts in the force size of every branch of the armed forces, and 2 to accelerate troop withdrawals from East Germany, as well as from several newly created post-Soviet states.
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At the start of this process in the late s, there was some semblance of a master plan. Tank divisions of the first line were hastily squeezed into hundreds of trains, often to be unloaded in the middle of nowhere to wait in vain for logistical support in the building of new bases. Earlier that month, the military leadership, perhaps against its better judgment, had ordered tanks onto the streets of Moscow—this time in support of the president. They may have also been motivated by a desire to erase memories of the failure of the coup.
In the political battles to come, Yeltsin believed that he would need more reliable instruments of power than just the Russian military. Meanwhile, blueprints for the creation of mobile forces were hastily drawn up. The resulting new culture was a peculiar mix of old bureaucratic ways and new war-fighting skills, of deadly corridor intrigues and battlefield maneuvering, of a high respect for paperwork and low respect for human life.
The failure of the Russian military to defeat the Chechen separatists only strengthened its self-protection impulses. The lack of support among the Russian people for the Chechen mission left the military feeling betrayed and ostracized. One of the few sound ideas that Defense Minister Grachev had tried to advance prior to the war was the need to transform the North Caucasus into a frontline military district that could shield Russia against rising instability in the region.
However, most of the units redeployed there e. Yet as debilitating as the conflict was in the midterm, it had the short-term effect of forcing the Russian army to close ranks. Surprisingly, neither the Chechen war nor the urgent need for military reform was a major issue in the presidential election.
The specter of a communist revanche overshadowed the campaign. Herd and Anne Aldis, eds. After his abrupt departure in mid-October , the military, under a new defense minister, Gen. Igor Rodionov, began a reassessment of its institutional interests. It is therefore incredible how little intellectual energy and organizational effort the high command channeled into drawing lessons from this experience. Rodionov would not have dared take this direction in the absence of a permissive political environment, which the first round of NATO enlargement conveniently supplied.
After being skillfully undermined, Rodionov was replaced by the considerably savvier Air Marshal Igor Sergeev. Earlier, as a deputy to Defense Minister Grachev, Kokoshin had implemented a moderately useful agenda. He was given a real chance to push for the radical modernization of the high command with his surprise appointment as secretary of the powerful Defense Council.
This time, however, there was a new factor: a clash of cultures. Fueled by both a lack of funds and a lack of attention from the ministry of defense, the trend toward regionalism involved the growing dependence of military units on supplies provided by regional political authorities.
Related The Russian Military: Power and Policy (American Academy Studies in Global Security)
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