Russian Military 'Should Not Be Ignored'

A strategic dossier suggests Russian armed forces are "more capable" now than at any time since the end of the Soviet Union.

Russia is a far more capable military power than it was at any time since the fall of the Soviet Union, a strategic dossier has suggested.

According to a document published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Russia's armed forces have benefitted from more than a decade of investment and reform.

'Russia's Military Modernisation: An Assessment' looked at the country's armed forces in the context of the 2010–20 State Armament Programme and the New Look reform programme, which was launched in the wake of the country's poor performance in the short war with Georgia in 2008.

It found that Russian military forces are "significantly smaller" than their Soviet predecessors, but are better equipped with professional personnel increasingly widespread. 

Ground forces are better equipped than they were in the past and, together with the Airborne Forces, many of their elements are held at higher readiness than before.

Moscow now has "well-equipped conventional armed forces" that are built around professional rather than conscript personnel.

Russia's International Army Games 2020 240820 CREDIT RUSSIAN MOD
A Russian military vehicle during the International Army Games 2020 (Picture: Russian MOD).

Military modernisation efforts are also providing Russia with military tools that can help it pursue national policy goals, the dossier said.

Russia's navy has also benefitted from the programme and it has seen its firepower extended by the "widespread introduction of land-attack cruise missiles".

Similarly, the Aerospace Forces' capability has been improved by the introduction of "upgraded types of combat aircraft and associated weapons".

The dossier also highlighted that Russia continues to see nuclear forces as "the ultimate security guarantor".

It concluded that while Russian armed forces are now more capable than a decade ago, it is not certain that this level of progress can be maintained.

However, the IISS's document also stressed that Russia's armed forces in 2020 "constitute a capability that should not be ignored".

Cover image: The Russian military putting out an oilfield fire (Picture: Russian MOD).