World Nuclear Weapons Survey, 2015
I would probably like to divide my address into several blocks, and not to talk much about tactical and technical characteristics, but rather concentrate on the threats that exist for Ukraine and for us on the part of the Russian Federation.
As indicated in the military doctrine of Russia, nuclear weapons remain a factor of preventing nuclear and conventional conflicts. The main contribution to the Russian deterrence potential is made by the Strategic Nuclear Force. This article will show the current state and prospects for the development of the Strategic Nuclear Force of Russia.
The Russian national military strategy is formed under the influence of the attempts not to lose its influence at least in the nuclear sphere, in which it is a monopolist leader, with the account of nuclear potential accumulated during the Soviet years. In the beginning of 1990th having no sufficient funds for maintenance of its nuclear potential, Russia, in the language of nuclear deterrence, tries to reaffirm such its category, as the credibility of retaliation.
After gaining independence by the Russian Federation, its Arctic policy was to a large extent the continuation of the policy of the Soviet Union and covered similar range of military-political issues, cooperation on the rational development of regional resources, environmental protection, the use of the Northern Sea Route for international shipping, etc. At the same time, unlike the Soviet period, activities in the Arctic region have gradually become one of the main vectors in the Russian domestic and foreign policy. Also, the significance that Moscow has given to each of the above areas of activity has also changed.
First of all, I would like to draw your attention to one thing. You have the Black Sea Security magazine in your hands. Strategy XXI Centre for Global Studies has resumed production of this famous quarterly, published by the Nomos Centre in Sevastopol, where I had the honour to work from 2006 to 2014 (in fact, till the occupation of the Crimea). Dmytro Shtyblikov and Olexiy Bessarabov worked at the editorial office of this edition. Today is the 183rd day of their unlawful detention by the Russian FSB following the falsified charges in organizing acts of sabotage.
The security environment in the Arctic has undergone significant changes in recent years, as have the dynamics of Russia’s relationship with its Western neighbors. Since 2008, Russia has invested heavily in the modernization of its armed forces. Many of the new capabilities, including some that are designed specifically for operations in the Arctic, were showcased at the Victory Day parade in Moscow earlier this week. The country’s military presence and activity in the Arctic has grown in scope, scale, and geographic reach. The military exercises are larger, more frequent, and more complex than before, and they often come with little or no advance notice. Russia’s military actions in other parts of the world, most notably in Ukraine since 2014, have had a distinctly negative impact on Russia’s relations with the West and created new security concerns also for the country’s northern neighbors. Within NATO, renewed attention is being paid to “the Russia factor” and to the emerging military security challenges on the northern flank of the Alliance.
Since the mid-2000s, Russian politics began to take more and more signs of neo-imperialism, accompanied by direct and indirect expansionist steps in foreign policy. The analysis of the Russian politics and projects in the Arctic shows that its implementation has objectives other than officially declared on the strategic doctrinal level. Corruption, political, symbolic and demographic factors are more significant in the system of Russian expansionism in the Arctic zone than economic ones. Thus, the policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic should be especially considered in the context of internal and external political positioning of military-political leadership, their access to resources, budget allocation and investment finance, and management of electoral preferences within the state.
One of the global impacts of the world economy is the aggravation of the international struggle for access to natural resources and key transcontinental transport routes. This issue is becoming of particular relevance as proven deposits of energy and minerals get exhausted, while freight and passenger flows grow.
The increase of the interest to the Arctic region in recent decades has contributed to the emergence of a solid array of various kinds of governmental projects, plans, programmes, concepts, and hypotheses. The scientific community did not remain aloof from this problem, enriching the circumpolar science with an impressive library, which includes both publications devoted to highly specialized topics and general issues. The Arctic agenda is formed from four main plots in an established format, including the international level: the prospect of economic development of the Arctic shelf, the possibility of organizing new transport routes, protecting the environment, protecting the rights of indigenous small peoples inhabiting the Far North.