How dangerous is the Russian army?

Intelligence Agency of the Pentagon published a new expert evaluation of Russian military power, reviving the practice of the cold war. The Agency came to the conclusion that the modern Russian armed forces develop on the basis of the Soviet heritage, but they are improving their capabilities and doctrine, bringing them into line with today’s requirements.

“The Russian armed forces based on military doctrine, organizational structure, and the potential of the former Soviet Union and are still using a fairly old examples of Soviet military equipment. However, the Russian has given the modern nature of its military strategy, doctrine and tactics to include provisions on the use of asymmetric weapons such as cyber systems and indirect action, what we are seeing in Ukraine”, — stated in the report the DIA.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the Russian army weakened, becoming a pale shadow of its powerful Soviet-time predecessor. If the Soviet Union renounced the first use of nuclear weapons, the new Russia relies on these weapons to compensate for its weakness in conventional weapons. However, Russia seeks to reduce its dependence on nuclear weapons and to this end develops non-nuclear forces and adopting modern precision-guided munitions.

“One of the most serious difficulties in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union lies in the fact that she has to rely on nuclear forces to deter aggression, and as a result, she declares her readiness to use nuclear weapons first,” — noted in the assessment of intelligence agencies.

“Russia builds the capacity of its conventional forces, at the same time modernizing nuclear forces and thus forming a more balanced army. Moscow pays special attention to creation of non-nuclear high-precision weapons, to eliminate a critical gap in its Arsenal. Lately she is testing such weapons in Syria to create a modern impact potential combat situation”.

In the long term Russia has plans to again become a great power, as it was in the era of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. At least, so says the expert evaluation of the DIA.

“Russia’s desire to be a leader in a multipolar world and to regain the status of great power it was in tsarist times and the Soviet era, requires it to create and maintain an army capable to deter aggression, conduct military operations in a variety of conflicts, from local crises to a nuclear war, to demonstrate its strength and power, and, if necessary, to apply it, intervening in conflicts around the world”, says RUMO.

“Despite the economic downturn, which will negatively affect the plans of the Russian armed forces to increase their combat capability, Russia is rapidly creating a modern army able to challenge the opponents and to support its great power aspirations.”

For the realization of their ambitions, and Russia is modernizing the armed forces.

“Long-term goal is to build the army, ready to participate in a variety of conflicts, from local to regional and strategic war that could lead to the exchange of powerful nuclear strikes”, — noted in the analysis of the Pentagon.

In General, the expert assessment of the DIA, as the reports of the cold war, entitled “Soviet military power”, which started publishing in 1981, gives a very unfavorable prognosis. Time will tell how accurate an analysis of us military intelligence, but as we found out after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, reports “Soviet military power” very often contained large exaggeration, what must have been the result of shortcomings in the work of the intelligence services.

Dave Majumdar is editor of the National Interest, covering military issues.