Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Research Report

Russia’s Military Reforms: Victory after Twenty Years of Failure?

Marcel de Haas
Copyright Date: Nov. 1, 2011
Published by: Clingendael Institute
Pages: 58

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. (pp. [i]-[iii])
  2. (pp. 1-2)
  3. (pp. 3-4)
  4. (pp. 5-6)

    This work describes twenty years of Russian military restructuring. Since its foundation after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Federation (RF) has experienced numerous (attempts at) military reforms. Until the restructuring, which was initiated by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2008, the previous modernization plans had, to a large extent, been in vain. In the 1990s, during Boris Yeltsin’s presidency, military reforms had mainly focused on troop reductions and changes in the format and number of services, and in the first decade of this century, under Vladimir Putin’s presidency, the minimalist approach to military restructuring of...

  5. (pp. 7-10)

    After the break-up of the Soviet Union in December 1991, the Russian Federation became its legal successor state. The Russian military and political leadership was initially of the opinion that the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) would develop towards an organization with which Russia could maintain influence over the other former Soviet republics. In the framework of the CIS, a Collective Security Treaty (CST) was signed in May 1992 in Tashkent, thus the so-called ‘Tashkent Treaty’. Just as with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), this treaty comprises a military assistance provision, which stated that aggression against one party will...

  6. (pp. 11-17)

    By fulfilling consecutive positions such as Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation (SCRF), Prime Minister and (earlier) President Vladimir Putin has clearly played a crucial role in the coordination and fine-tuning of Russia’s military policy. During his two presidential terms, he conducted a resolute policy against his predecessor Yeltsin’s ‘divide-and-rule’ strategy towards security actors. Putin fulfilled his aspiration to control RF defence and military policy by establishing a strongly centralized monopoly on security affairs, combined with a strict personal command. He was well aware of the clashes of opinion among the security organs, as had been the...

  7. (pp. 18-30)

    Around the beginning of 2008, at the end of Putin’s second term as President and start of Medvedev’s period in office, the Kremlin, because of the strong energy-based economy, felt powerful enough to take an assertive course in consolidating its interests, with political but if necessary also with military instruments. As the successor state of the Soviet Union, protracted influence in the former Soviet area had been one of the consistent characteristics of Russia’s foreign and security policy. During the previous decade, Western actors—especially the United States, NATO and the European Union (EU)— had increasingly paid attention to the...

  8. (pp. 31-35)

    Military reform became inevitable for Moscow, considering the obsolete conditions of the RF Armed Forces, domestic violence in North Caucasus, China’s rise as a military power and the desire for nuclear arms’ parity with the United States, to underline Russia’s international position. Lower staff levels and a lesser burden of command and control (by deleting armies, divisions and regiments), having more troops available for combat action (by creating a more balanced ratio of officers versus soldiers and lowering the average age), as well as concentrating on modern-equipped permanently ready and rapid-reaction units, were all intended to improve decision-taking and the...

  9. (pp. 44-50)
  10. (pp. 51-52)
  11. (pp. 53-54)