29.1.07

Doutrina Militar Russa - Revisão de Janeiro de 2007


Do meu colega WAis Ilya Platov recebi o seguinte:
The new Russian military doctrine presented on January 20th 2007 by General Gareev. The purpose of the new doctrine, elaborated under the auspices of the Russian General Staff and under the supervision of the President's Security Council, is to supersede the already existing "new" doctrine presented in 2000. What justifies such a change seven years later? Two issues are of interest: a) the definition of the most important threats to Russia from the outside, and b) military reform. The latter issue will be of a particular concern for Russian society, where the current draft system inherited from the USSR is considered to be corrupt, ineffective, and threatening to the lives of new recruits.

General Gareev justified the necessity for a new doctrine by announcing significant shifts in the "geopolitical and military-political sphere." He stated that some points of the previous doctrine are outdated and do not reflect Russia's new geopolitical situation. From an international relations standpoint, the fact of a new doctrine is part of a more general trend towards a "clarification" of Russia's positioning on the global arena. Priorities are much more clearly defined, as well as its main priorities and targets.

1) About the exact nature of "menaces," the doctrine is purposefully vague. Gen. Gareev made reference not only to direct military threats, but also to "covert" political, military and economic "threats," putting on the same level the collapse of the USSR and Yugoslavia, and recent "revolutions" in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan, sponsored according to him by NATO and the US. Russia clearly wants to send an unambiguous message to the West to stay out of the "Near Abroad," considered as the main geopolitical priority, hence the necessity to keep a large army capable to protect an extended border.

2) At the same time, Gen. Gareev considers that the future war will be a "partisan" war, and not a "global conflict" with a great power. Internal security threats ("terrorism and separatism"), an avowed priority, are directly linked to the situation in the former Soviet republics. While their relative autonomy in the foreign policy domain is tolerated, any attempt to go to the "enemy side" provokes a very harsh reaction (i.e. deployment of NATO troops in Crimea, Georgia, etc.).

3) Concerning nuclear power, Russia needs to continue to develop its nuclear arsenal, as the possibility of global conflict is not excluded (NATO? China?). "Wars of the future will necessitate conventional, high-precision weapons, under a permanently maintained threat of using nuclear weapons."

The doctrine is pragmatic in inspiration: it discards "ideological issues" in favour of a 19th century-style realpolitik (this is my own impression). The NATO and US are not considered as ideological rivals, but competitors with whom it is possible to cooperate in selected fields (like anti-terrorism).

Perhaps the most interesting point is a renewed emphasis on energy issues, considered to be the main source of coming global conflicts in the next 10-15 years (very likely according to Gareev). Russia's main strength seems to be its energy resources. He pointed to the USA as the main source of such a threat, using Iraq as an example of a predatory quest for energy resources; he also mentioned the likelihood of "political and economic rivalries" arising from this competition. The general restated Russia's commitment to multilateralism, and estimated that the "USA is no longer able to carry the burden of global leadership," and that Russia is called to play the role of "geopolitical referee".

Concerning the much-needed reform of the Russian military, the doctrine states the following:

1) An assessment of the "critical" situation of the current system of obligatory military service: "the army […] is incapable of supplying young military men".

2) The new doctrine does not intend to eliminate obligatory military service, but to create a mixed system with a professional core supplemented by a draft army. The obligatory military service will be reduced from 2 to 1 year, and eventually to 6-8 months. While this does not solve Russia's problems, it will certainly reduce casualties due to mistreatment (usually carried on by second-year servicemen on the new recruits). According to Gen. Gareev estimates, the new system will be put in place within 5-6 years.

It is difficult to appreciate at this moment the reaction of the Russian public to the new doctrine. Media close to Putin underplay the "hostile" element of the doctrine, stressing that US and Russia are "partners" in the war against terror. The main concern will however be the issues of the reform of the military. Some observers consider that the doctrine advanced by Gareev artificially boosts the importance of "global threats" in order to justify the maintenance of a large Soviet-style army.