Russia names its prime enemy

Russia is changing its military doctrine due to the expansion of NATO, the missile defense problem and the situation in Ukraine and around it. The current doctrine, the provisions of which can be adjusted given the changing nature of military dangers and threats, was adopted in 2010.

Since then, the military-political situation in the world has changed dramatically.  The new version of the document is to be ready by the end of the year. Experts believe that the language of the current version of the doctrine is too diplomatic due to Russia's unjustified expectations regarding the partnership with the United States and NATO. Now, when relations with the West have become extremely strained, Russia must clearly identify where threats come from, what they are and at what stage they can materialize.

The news about the preparation of the new doctrine was announced by Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Mikhail Popov in an interview with RIA Novosti. The information appeared on the eve of the NATO summit, to be held on September 4-5 in Wales.

The United States and NATO member states have designated intentions to increase their strategic offensive potential, including through the development of the missile defense system and the adoption of new strategic concepts of warfare (including hypersonic weapon). Therefore, the approach of the military infrastructure of NATO member states to Russia's borders remains one of the major issues of foreign military threat to Russia, the representative of Russian Security Council believes.

In its ambition to expand to the East, NATO acts deliberately and methodically. In a while, army bases of the alliance will appear in Poland. The alliance signed an agreement on special relations with formally independent Nordic countries - Sweden and Finland. This means that army bases of the alliance may appear in those countries as well. NATO has been strengthening its troops in the Baltic countries too. "They have already planned the moves to deploy heavy weapons and military equipment, including tanks and armored personnel carriers on the territory of Estonia - right near Russian borders," said Popov.

On the threshold of the summit, several countries of the Alliance urged to abandon the fundamental Russia-NATO treaty, which imposed certain restrictions on the deployment of forces, bases and infrastructure on the territory of new members of the alliance. Although it did not find support among the majority, it is possible that the discussion of the issue would continue.

According to Popov, changes in the doctrine are dictated by the emergence of new military dangers and threats that emerged as a result of the Arab Spring, the conflict in Syria and the situation in Ukraine, which is another stage of the policy to export color revolutions. The border between Russia and Ukraine is protected by border units, rather than troops. The situation around the Crimea also gives cause for concern, taking into consideration the fact that Ukrainian President Poroshenko repeatedly stated that the peninsula should again be Ukrainian. Deputy secretary of the Security Council of Russia warned everyone against any efforts and attempts to try to return the Crimea to Ukraine. Any invasion on the territory of the republic of Crimea will be regarded as an attack on Russia. The group of Russian troops in the Crimea is self-sufficient and strong enough to repel the invasion of a potential aggressor. The Black Sea Fleet has all resources to ensure safety and security of the Russian Federation within the limits of its responsibilities.

Chief Editor of National Defense Magazine, a member of the Public Council of the Ministry of Defense, Igor Korotchenko, said that the current version of the Russian doctrine contains too abstract, subtle and diplomatic formulations. "We had illusions about partnership with NATO and the United States, so the formulations that were adopted four years ago, are abstract," he said.

Now illusions are gone. Korotchenko does not doubt that at the coming NATO summit in Wales, Russia will be proclaimed as the prime enemy of the Alliance. Afterwards, the alliance will continue moving its military infrastructure closer to Russian borders. NATO bases will appear in Poland and Baltic countries. "NATO forces will be permanently deployed in the Baltic States. This is obviously the time for the Russian military doctrine to clearly designate the enemy, proceeding from who sees Russia as the prime enemy. This will be a response to the decision of the NATO summit in Scotland," said the expert.

Deputy chairman of the Duma Committee on Defense, Franz Klintsevich, also believes that the new Russian military doctrine should clearly define real enemy. The current version of the document does not have such a formulation. "In view of the emerging missile defense system that is being built against Russia, rather than Iranian missiles, the enemy will be designated. And this enemy is NATO. We understand that security services are working, aggressive intentions may come from different sides, and countries-provocateurs are likely to be used," the MP said.

Chief editor of Russia in Global Affairs, chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, Fyodor Lukyanov, believes that the designation of enemy in the doctrine is quite logical. "It is clear that the relationship between Russia and the West have mentally returned to the cold war. Both sides see each other as a potential enemy. One shall probably expect remilitarization of Europe," Lukyanov told Expert Online.

Franz Klintsevich: "Today, there is one task - to put Russia in place and divide it. It would be better for the West, of course, if it had happened in Russia like it did on Kiev's Maidan - through internal contradictions, revolution and nationalists. But today, doing it in Russia is very difficult, as we have a solid, united and patriotic civil society."

Noteworthy, in the current doctrine, it is indicated that Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction against Russia or its allies. Russia can also use nuclear weapons in response to large-scale aggression with the use of conventional weapons, when the existence of the Russian state is endangered.

"The alliance, which is going to march to the East, is 4.5 times bigger and stronger than Russia in terms of both manpower and military equipment. We should consider how to deter NATO, eliminate disparities and prevent the threat of war in Europe, in particular, with the use of tactical nuclear weapons."

Based on designated threats, the new document will most likely regulate the phenomenon and the role of color revolutions as a tool to manipulate social and political processes from the outside to overthrow legitimate governments. Various threats in cyberspace and their analysis in terms of potential danger to Russia are likely to be analyzed as well. "Technologies to manipulate mass consciousness, including through social networks, are also a threat to national security. Information is one of the elements of modern warfare. Communication with Western public opinion will be an important tool, as we must explain that Russia does not initiate new confrontation," says Korotchenko.

However, the move to alter the military doctrine is caused not only by external factors, but also by changes in the composition and organizational structure of the Russian Armed Forces. This is connected with the creation of aerospace defense troops and the adoption of legislative amendments in the military industry.

"Experience shows that the reliability of some of our Western partners is a temporary phenomenon, and it is associated, unfortunately, very closely with the political situation," said Popov. According to him, effective functioning of the military-industrial complex of the country is one of the most important factors in the ability of the army to protect the state, which is possible only under the conditions of technological independence in the field of arms production.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov