News

THE REFORM OF NATO COMMAND STRUCTURE: AN UPDATE
********
THE STATE OF THE RUSSIAN FORCES

Draft General Report

Mr. Rafael ESTRELLA (Spain)
General Rapporteur


North Atlantic Assembly
International Secretariat
21 aPRIL 1997
AP 90
DSC (97) 2
Original: English

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. POWERFUL FORCES IN THE SOVIET ERA - IMPERIAL OVERSTRETCH
  2. THE COMMUNITY OF INDEPENDENT STATES - NOTHING BUT A FIG LEAF
  3. PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE AND RELATION TO NATO
  4. FRAGMENTATION OF THE ARMED FORCES / NEW STRUCTURE
  5. THE FIGHTING IN CHECHNYA - FAILURE AND LOSSES
  6. MILITARY REFORM - INTENTIONS AND PLANS
  7. THE CONSCRIPTION SYSTEM
  8. MORALE
  9. CRIME

  1. The coming Madrid Summit will have to decide on NATO's new military structure. There will be a substantial reduction in the number of commands. Consistent with the New Strategic Concept, NATO forces, planning and operations should rely to a great extent on flexibility, allowing joint and combined action in NATO, coalitions of the willing or even operations with non-allied forces. Mobility and sustainability as well as augmentation capability will also be essential for the success of NATO's new missions beyond collective defence.
  2. In last year's General Report, your Rapporteur expressed the view that the reform of NATO's command structure - the so-called "internal adaptation" - seemed far from being a profound reform as demanded by the present security environment and by the nature of new tasks that NATO is already assuming. Despite the five years of preparation required by the Long Term Study, political criteria seem to have been imposed over military considerations. Some high NATO officers refer to "national selfish" as a major rationale in the current discussions on the future NATO military structure.
  3. Existing competition between SACLANT and SACEUR on the one hand and national interests on the other are implicit in the likely agreement on the existence of three Regional Commands in the Atlantic area (Norfolk, Norwood and Oeiras), even though it is clear that Russian submarines no longer sail beneath the Atlantic Ocean and that nor is there even a potential threat to NATO's security in the Atlantic.
  4. This agreement, which preserves the status quo between the two Major NATO Commands (MNC), has given greater impetus to national claims concerning the future structure of NATO in Europe. The result thus far, as last year's General Report warned, is that "the fact that the new military structure will remain based on territory might be considered as somehow contradictory with NATO's New Strategic Concept and could, in the long run, limit the Alliance's efficiency and its role to project security and stability".
  5. At the level of MNC, giving up the idea of creating a third MNC to be charged with
    force-projection raises the question of how SACEUR will, for example, cope in planning and training his core mission of collective defence with the day-to-day requirements of new missions. In the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the dilemma was solved through an ad hoc structure (not NATO's integrated) using NATO capabilities and resources. However, it is unclear whether this will be equally feasible in a non-bordering area.
  6. On other aspects, there is a clear consensus on the elimination of the fourth layer in the existing NATO military structure. Some of its components would be integrated into the third level (sub­regional), others would become components of operational capabilities and the rest would simply disappear.
  7. One of the most controversial aspects of the projected reform has been France's demand that a European should hold the Southern Regional Command based in Naples. The United States has rejected the idea of giving up the Naples Command, which includes the US VIth Fleet (now mainly oriented to US strategic interests in the Gulf region). While most European Governments share the French desire to make Europe's role in the new NATO more visible, they would support other arrangements.
  8. One of the formulas advanced was the creation of a Rapid Reaction Force (following the model of the existing ARRC) based in the South of Europe that might be placed under a French commander. A meeting of German, French, Spanish, British and Italian officials was held last March in Bonn to try to establish a common European position on the question of NATO's Southern Command. In the last weeks the formula of declaring that the Southern Command will "provisionally" continue to be in the hands of an American has gained ground. That would mean freezing the debate for the coming four to six years.
  9. It remains unclear whether this formula will suffice to change France's position. Any decision poses a political dilemma to the French Government. The idea of strengthening the European participation in the Command in the South, including the Deputy Commander at AFSOUTH (together with a Deputy SACEUR with an operational role), while welcomed, does not appear to fulfill France's needs in terms of political success. Some circles in Paris are inclined to accept the formula proposed while keeping the present status during the coming years. France - they argue - would have leverage on NATO's military decisions without integration. After the interim period, the debate would be reopened under an evolved strategic scenario (an enlarged NATO, greater European naval capacity in the Mediterranean) that might ease at last a partial European takeover of AFSOUTH.
  10. A French decision to remain outside the integrated structure would not have major operational consequences, but would devaluate the significance of the projected reform of NATO's military structure to be agreed at Madrid, making even more evident that further reforms will be required.
  11. The Spanish Parliament gave the Government a mandate to negotiate fully integration of Spain in the future new military structure. The mandate included a set of criteria concerning both the role of Spain in the new structure and the general process of internal and external reform. With the exception of United Left (the coalition led by the Communist Party), there is an overall support for Spanish integration. There is also a broad consensus on the characteristics of that integration: the disappearance of GIBMED (already agreed) and the creation in Spain of a Sub­Regional Command that would be joint and combined and would cover the entire Spanish territory covered by the Washington Treaty. Difficulties have emerged on the dependence of the Canary Islands, located in an area for which Portugal claims responsibility. Maintaining territorial coherence is viewed as a political necessity by Spanish political parties.
  12. Although initial proposals from SHAPE fell short of Spanish aspirations on the nature and scope of the Command in Spain, discussions have progressed and positions have come closer. One of the last proposals advanced by SACLANT is to consider Portugal and Spain's commands as "boundary­less"; attribution of responsibilities to one or the other would depend on the nature of the missions. This formula, that reinforces the notion of a more flexible NATO ability for force projection, raises a number of questions yet under scrutiny.
  13. No less controversial is the British claim that Spain should lift existing restrictions on Gibraltar (flights, ships), which is perceived from Spain as a means to indirectly alter the status quo of Gibraltar, the last remaining colony in Europe.
  14. Finally, a broad consensus seems to exist on the introduction of Command rotation, at least at the level of Sub­Regional Commands and maybe some of the Regional Commands. However, despite the agreement with rotation as a principle, difficulties arise when it comes to acceptance of such a principle for each and any concrete command, thus rotation becoming an issue of major controversy that will hardly be resolved by the time of the Madrid Summit.

INTRODUCTION

  1. As heir to the Soviet Union, Russia has endeavoured to face dramatic political, social and economic changes. They are the subject of a wide range of analyses and studies. However, a less mentioned issue is the current state of the Russian army, which is addressed in this year's report. The report also includes an update on last year's report on NATO's command reform.
  2. When, in the early nineties, under the auspices of the verification regime of the CFE Treaty, on-site inspections started, NATO officers were not only shocked by the partly catastrophic condition of military facilities and the poor quality of weapons and equipment, but they were also surprised to see almost no soldiers in Soviet, later Russian units. Asked where the soldiers were, Russian officers usually answered that the bulk of their conscripts had been assigned to help "bring in this year's harvest", mostly at places far away - "in the Urals". At first, inspection teams saw no reason to doubt these assertions, but when in winter no soldiers could be seen either, it gradually became clear that many Russian units just had no, or only a few, conscripts.
  3. Today, it is a well-known fact that the Russian conscription system is indeed in disarray. It is estimated that more than 75 per cent of eligible youths manage to evade the draft; also desertion is widespread. More often than not commanders are indifferent because they would find it difficult to accommodate, pay, feed, educate and train these young men anyway. Furthermore, NATO inspectors were astonished both that no flying was taking place on airfields and by the absence of activities on exercise areas.
  4. While NATO commanders, when inspected by officers from former Warsaw pact countries, were keen to prove the combat readiness of their units and to demonstrate proudly the performance of their aircraft and tanks (even far beyond any treaty obligations), Russian commanders often refused to do likewise. At first this reluctance was thought to be the result of a traditional obsession with secrecy; after some time, however, it became clear that training and exercise activities were indeed extremely scarce. There has been no ground force exercise at divisional level or above since 1992. Indeed, fighter pilots only log an average of less than 30 flying hours a year, compared with the 200 hours or more, which is NATO standard. The surface navy rarely goes to sea.
  5. What has been a state secret for many years is now one of the most explosive subjects in open political discussion. President Boris Yeltsin himself, in his address to the parliament on 6 March 1997, expressed his concern:

"Only military reform can rectify the situation. It is needed to ensure, that mothers' hearts can stop aching for the fate of their sons who are on duty in the services. It is needed so that the Russian serviceman has everything he needs and that officers' families no longer live in poverty...There is no time to lose."

  1. Similarly, the Russian Defence Minister Igor Rodionov and the head of the Defence Council, Yuri Baturin have of late put aside their quarrel over reform and asked for immediate action. Yuri Baturin complained about the lack of sufficient funding: "If things go on like this for another two years, we may have a navy without ships, an air force without planes and a military industry incapable of producing modern weapons." Igor Rodionov warned of the prospect that headquarters could lose command over their weapons: "Russia might soon reach the threshold beyond which its rockets and nuclear systems cannot be controlled."
  2. It is an open question whether this frightening decline of the forces already started as a creeping process, more or less unnoticed, back in the Soviet era or if it is simply a consequence of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the evaporation of the communist ideology. There can, however, be no doubt that frustrated and undisciplined troops are not only a threat to their own government and their own countrymen, but also a lingering danger for neighbouring states and - considering that strategic weapons are involved - a nightmare for the whole world.

I. POWERFUL FORCES IN THE SOVIET ERA - IMPERIAL OVERSTRETCH

  1. During the decades of the Cold War, the Soviet army was widely regarded as one of the most powerful military machines in the world. Even if the Soviet Union had not pursued an aggressive policy around the globe - Cuba is just one example - the sheer size of the conventional troops and the capabilities of the strategic forces compelled the other world powers, especially the United States and China, but also neighbouring countries in Europe, to respond appropriately through armaments, alliances and strategies. This led to an arms race, a fragile balance of terror and a world order based on the threat of mutually assured destruction.
  2. Even after Mikhail Gorbachev came to power and encouraged the policy of arms control and international co­operation, the dominant role and the overwhelming strength of the military did not significantly change. Although Secretary General Gorbachev himself proclaimed during the 27th Party Congress in 1986 a concept of " reasonable sufficiency", in 1988 the Soviet army still maintained more than 200 divisions and more than 50,000 main battle tanks, more than 1,400 land-based and more than 900 sea-based strategic missiles. Profound improvements in modernising tactical aircraft and command systems were taking place, partly triggered by experiences in the Afghanistan war. The submarine force numbered some 300 active units, half of them nuclear powered.
  3. Also, the military budget continued to increase, representing 15 to 17 per cent of the GNP, although there was already a growing awareness that the heavy burden shouldered to secure the system was in fact the main reason that finally brought about its collapse. Another reason which put the military under enormous strain and undermined the morale of many officers in the long term was the 10-year-war in Afghanistan.

II. THE COMMUNITY OF INDEPENDENT STATES - NOTHING BUT A FIG LEAF

  1. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Kremlin promoted a concept of a "single CIS army in a single defence space". Russian politicians and officers saw no need to split up the existing forces. The new states, on the other hand, viewed the idea of a unified army as a breach of their sovereignty and an attempt by Moscow to continue the traditional course of Russian domination. Ukraine consequently declared full control over the former Soviet forces on its territory as early as January 1992 and announced it would create its own large national army. By May 1992 most of the newly independent states followed suit and had started to organise their own national security. The dispute over unified forces in the CIS was now replaced by arguments over how to divide personnel, equipment and weapons between the successors of the Soviet Union. Finally, on 17 May 1992, President Yeltsin declared that Russia would build its own independent forces too.
  2. Army General Pavel Grachev was appointed first Russian Defence Minister. In choosing an officer, rather than a civilian, Yeltsin made clear that he was, at that time, determined to build the Russian forces on the old structures. In the following years, the huge military heritage continued to devolve into twelve separate armies - six of them tiny - with only Ukraine maintaining relatively large forces. The problems attached to this - division of weapons and of personnel - were solved despite initial complications, and all successor states more or less fulfilled the terms of various international treaties, the CFE Treaty in particular.
  3. In November 1993, Russia promulgated its own military doctrine. However, as there is growing feeling in the Russian leadership that the doctrine does not reflect the current situation, it is their intention to adapt the doctrine once the NATO-Russian charter has been signed. At the same time a campaign was launched in order that the CIS be sanctioned by the UN and the CSCE with principal peacekeeping power in the CIS, where Russia insists it has "special interests". In fact, peacekeeping interventions were, and still are, being conducted in Tajikistan, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Although the need for these operations is internationally acknowledged, there is a lingering uneasiness in the other CIS states, that Russia is manipulating these confrontations to its own advantage. Western governments too are distrustful.
  4. Furthermore, doubts remain as to whether CIS forces, which are in fact mostly Russian troops, are really fighting efficiently and according to the rule of appropriate response. Since 1994 Russia has chosen a bilateral approach in its relationship with other CIS states, thus permitting agreements about the establishment of military bases and deployment of border troops (in the Transcaucasus and Central Asia).
  5. It is clear, as expressed recently by Mr. Rodionov, that the notion of "special interest" referred to above implies not only a common economic space but the restoration of a unified strategic space, defence infrastructure and, in the longer term, a centralised command and control system.

III. PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE AND RELATION TO NATO

  1. In 1994 CIS states began to join the NATO initiative. Partnership for Peace established bilateral relations with Western institutions and allowed them to integrate into military training and exercise programmes. Finally, Russia also signed the PfP framework document and troops from several CIS states are presently taking part in the NATO-led peacekeeping missions in Bosnia (IFOR/SFOR). As far as NATO enlargement is concerned, most CIS leaders do not share the Russian view that NATO's expansion would undermine stability in Europe.
  2. With the exception of the Baltic States, none of the Soviet successor states has expressed the wish to seek entry. Nevertheless, they support a stronger role for NATO in Eastern Europe, partly as a reaction to Moscow's lasting political pressure. Even Ukraine, which felt obliged to criticise Western policy, is now also keen to expand relations with NATO; some politicians even ask for NATO membership.

IV. FRAGMENTATION OF THE ARMED FORCES/NEW STRUCTURE

  1. There is no longer one single dominant Russian military to speak of, but rather military forces have been resubordinated under the command not only of ministries but also of individuals in the inner echelons of power. In 1997, one soldier in three is on internal security duties. As demonstrated during the 1993 "putsch", it is the much smaller elite forces that are now being deployed in internal crisis situations.
  2. Of the non-MoD forces the most powerful are:

(i) Minister of Interior Kulikov's command, which amounts to 300,000 Militsia (Gendarmerie), 15,000 para-military security police (OMON), plus an establishment of 251,543 Internal Troops which today stand at about 85% of that strength, of whom half are heavily armed (i.e. with armoured vehicles, etc.);

(ii) the Border Guards, under General Nikolayev's command, established at 205,154 troops, and at almost 94% of that strength;

(iii) the State Protection Service of 25,000 troops, which guards key people and places in Moscow and other cities;

(iv) approximately one million men in private security organisations of commercial interests (banks, Gazprom, property agencies), of which about 400,000 carry weapons (machine guns, etc.).

  1. This is compared with the total strength of MoD ground forces, now at an all time low of 400,000 men and officers. Funding depends on the "feudal" relationship of the leaders of these ministries to the Presidency, and as a result, Interior Troops are much better funded and they cream off all the most talented soldiers. Whilst the MoD armed forces have been neglected and deprofessionalised, the state itself is far too militarised using military men for functions where in the West civilian security is used.
  2. The MoD army is being neglected. As Supreme Commander-in-Chief, the ultimate responsibility for the armed forces lies with the President, a step taken to ensure democratic control of the armed forces. MoD Rodionov has however said that although "...there is a direct phone line from the President to the MoD it works only one way: when the President calls me." Later in March he was quoted in the International Herald Tribune as saying that "By 2000 or thereabouts, our country's defences will be in ruins." Mr. Rodionov, a General who retired from military service to take on the position of first civilian Minister of Defence, since Trotsky, has begun an unusual, (because public), fight for his MoD troops.
  3. In autumn 1996, in the rundown to the Russian elections, Mr. Rodionov urged civilians in defence factories to picket the Russian White House. Then national security chief, Alexander Lebed, said the army was "on the brink of a mutiny" because of unpaid wages. In response, Yeltsin ordered the creation of a new high-level Defence Council, which met for the first time on 4 October, headed by Yuri Baturin, its secretary and an economist by training.
  4. A debate has broken out between Messrs Rodionov and Baturin in recent months about the need to reform and the amount of money necessary to do so. Mr. Rodionov argues that Russia needs to spend considerable sums to moderate the pace of cutbacks and cushion the harsh fates of officers to be retired, whereas Mr. Baturin argues that the government simply does not have the money, and the sooner the armed forces are down-sized and restructured the better.
  5. Although an open advocate of reform, Mr. Rodionov wants the cost of restructuring to be financed separately from the everyday maintenance of the armed forces, while Mr. Baturin (with the likely support of Messrs Chernomyrdin and Chubais) does not want to increase the defence budget (now about a fifth of Russia's tax income). Given the present state of the armed forces, there are serious doubts that they alone can face the cost of reform. An increased defence expenditure from the present 3,8 per cent of GDP to
    5 per cent is the estimated requirement to finance the reform.

V. THE FIGHTING IN CHECHNYA - FAILURE AND LOSSES

  1. The poor performance of the Russian army in the fighting in Chechnya revealed not only all the military weaknesses but it also cost many lives. According to former security chief, General Alexander Lebed, 80,000 men, women and children were killed, among them thousands of Russians and civilians. According to Russian authorities 3,000 Russian soldiers lost their lives. Chechen sources, however, speak of 15,000. Most of the depressing experiences had already been made in the Afghanistan war, but had obviously been ignored by the General Staff or even exacerbated by wrong decisions. Secrecy was the protection of flawed leadership. Now, the openness of an emerging democratic society makes it difficult to disregard terrible lessons.
  2. The main deficiencies were lack of leadership shortfalls in combat readiness
  3. Because officers were aware of these limitations, they were inclined to fall back upon the easiest tactical option: to use their overwhelming fire power, thus destroying entire villages and killing many civilians in order to fight a tiny group of Chechen soldiers.
  4. Russian politicians and military leaders have stated several times that the Chechen crisis "will possibly give the impetus for real reforms in the army". The obvious lack of competence has supported the concept of creating full professional forces in the long term. However, implementation will take decades. As the lack of funding remains the key problem of the military, the reform of the forces will depend on the overcoming of the economic misery.

VI. MILITARY REFORM - INTENTIONS AND PLANS

  1. Yeltsin in his televised state of the nation speech on 6 March 1997 stated that: "as president and supreme commander-in-chief I will in the near future be adopting fundamental decisions on military reform". Reform so far has been very slow in taking hold. A three-stage programme emerged in late 1996, developed by Igor Rodionov and Viktor Samsonov, chief of General Staff, and has won general support.

Stage 1: envisages a systematic reduction during 1997-2000, designed to reduce the size of the armed forces to a manageable level

Stage 2: aims to improve levels of training and increase the number of contract/regular soldiers during 2001-2005

Stage 3: sees new-generation weapons and tactics introduced from 2005-2010.

  1. Since he was appointed, Mr. Rodionov has been calling for capable armed forces, reducing the number of under-manned formations and concentrating on the creation of fully manned and equipped units. With respect to the ground forces, the initial idea was to reduce the notional strength from about 60 divisions to a force of around twelve fully manned divisions with a mobilisable cadre of far more.
  2. In this first stage, the size of both the armed forces and the 'shadow' armies (as Rodionov refers to the internal units) should be reduced by 30 per cent. The official number of soldiers serving in the armed forces is 1.7 million, but following its humiliating defeat in Chechnya, Mr. Baturin has said: "Nobody knows the exact strength of the armed forces". Western experts estimate less than 1 million. On February 25, Rodionov announced that the 1.7 million-strong Russian armed forces would be reduced by about 200,000 before the end of 1997, according to Itar-Tass Agency. (Last October, Rodionov had announced for 1997 a 300,000 reduction to a uniformed strength of 1,200,000).
  3. In May 1996, during the Presidential election campaign, Yeltsin signed a decree according to which the Russian armed forces would, by April 2000, consist entirely of professional officers and contract soldiers. This was a vote-winning move, a testimony to the unpopularity of national service. Strapped by cash, the Russian government cannot afford to keep a poorly equipped army of 1.5 to 1.7 million men, and it is unfeasible that the military share of GDP will be increased. The only solution that remains is a drastic cutback in personnel, aiming at a well-equipped army of about 650,000 - 750,000 men. No reform has been implemented, however, so far.

VII. THE CONSCRIPTION SYSTEM

  1. Abolishing conscription entirely, as envisaged, should be accompanied by a very substantial reduction in the level of forces. Not even a professional army of more than 500,000 men can be sustained at present levels of military expenditure. Unless service conditions and remuneration are substantially improved, it will be impossible to recruit sufficient personnel of adequate quality to create a viable professional army. With the army now being a last-straw career for youths, the intake to combat training colleges is of a very poor quality. Furthermore, there is a high drop-out rate (70 per cent at the beginning of 1997). Only 60 per cent of young officer positions are currently filled.
  2. The problem of officer competence reflects the breakdown of the system of field and staff training in units; if the units cannot function properly for lack of conscripts, the officers can never become properly trained because they never carry out training exercises.
  3. New regulations for conscription provide easy loopholes to escape it to over 70 per cent of the eligible age group. In 1996, only 13 per cent of the eligible age group were conscripted, the majority proving themselves "unfit" to serve and the rest successfully prolonging student deferral, or bribing their way out. For this, Rodionov blames Russian society: " society is undergoing moral degeneration. Defensive awareness among the public has been destroyed. The defence of the motherland is considered unnecessary and military service is no longer seen as prestigious or mandatory".
  4. The deferment allowed to all in higher education also means that it is only those with minuscule career chances who now serve; a quarter of draftees have not completed secondary education, and a fifth have a criminal record, those who former security adviser Alexander Lebed says "have porridge in their heads". This situation could be rectified if the Russian army had suitable structures to train them into good soldiers. The problem can only grow because the army depends on generating its sergeants from the conscript ranks.
  5. Due to this lack of conscripts, most units of the armed forces are far below nominal strength. Even elite units, such as the airborne forces, the best organised elite force in the Russian military, have only
    85 per cent of their nominal authorised level of troops, with only a third to be relied upon in an emergency. It is estimated that, across the board, only 250,000 of the Russian armed forces are ready for military action!
  6. In summary, the only way out of the situation seems a determined effort to phase out conscription and reduce the size of the armed forces very considerably, and make the appropriate investments in the social infrastructure, training and military procurement. The most likely outcome at the present time is that the situation will be allowed to drift on, thereby increasing the cost of military reform in the future. Despite electoral promises, the presidential decree on all-volunteer forces by 2000 has been frozen and postponed till 2005.

VIII. MORALE

  1. "The Russian military's morale has been in free-fall since 1989", a senior Pentagon official has said.
  2. Since the armed forces cannot train, due to lack of funds, and they are often not paid for three months at a time, officers and enlisted men turn to moonlighting and crime. In large cities where it is easier to find work as security guards in night-clubs and supermarkets, or as drivers of limousines for the new Russians, commanders turn a blind eye. In small towns, the men can only find manual labour. Even in Moscow, colonels can be found unloading trucks, to the detriment of their direct duties. Corruption has been unleashed on a grand scale.
  3. With officer accommodation already in shortage before the collapse of the Soviet Union, and many troops returning from their East European bases in need of housing according to MoD figures in 1996, there were around 120,000 officers plus their families living in temporary accommodation such as garages.
  4. The social cohesion of the armed forces has been undone by the division into "elite" and "non-elite" units and Yeltsin's statement that the Chechnya war was "a mistake".

IX. CRIME

  1. Many reports suggest that the most lucrative way for the army to supplement their wages is by selling off arms. During the Chechen crisis a Russian army Kalaschnikov cost one million roubles (around $240) for which the Chechen rebels were placing orders; even military vehicles were sold to them.
  2. There have been ample anecdotes about the Russian army selling off tanks when leaving East Germany, to be then broken down into spare parts. The Moscow military expert, Alexander Shilin, has said that criminal gangs have contacts in the armed forces and choose their arms in the army depots, or they buy directly from the arms-production factory. In 1995, a very large depot of the Pacific fleet exploded; Mr. Shilin suspects it was arson, to hide the fact that everything in the depot had been sold. It is impossible to know how many arms are in civilian circulation, and whether chemical and biological weapons are among them.
  3. In consideration of how conventional weapons are sold off, it is the fate of Russia's 22,000 tactical nuclear weapons that causes the most alarm. The theft of weapons-grade materials, such as plutonium and enriched uranium, has already been witnessed at Munich airport. The possibility of an accident caused by neglected atomic warheads is also more likely than Russian nuclear missiles being fired or detonated by accident.

CONCLUSION

  1. Some experts believe, that there is, although slim, the danger of a military mutiny or of another coup, possibly causing civil war and chaos, which will sooner or later draw other countries into the conflict.
  2. It is, however, not necessary to speculate about hypothetical dangers in order to underline the need of countermeasures, as real dangers are grave enough to raise concern. In any case, frustrated, undisciplined, underpaid troops and officers, disenchanted with their place in society and desperate about their social situation, are a permanent source of potential unrest. It seems quite understandable that many of them believe in the need to re-establish the old powerful empire. The decline of the Russian military is, therefore, not only a problem for Russia, but also for its neighbouring countries, and consequently for NATO.
  3. By exposing the weakened state of the Russian military, the Kremlin can argue with justification that it is in no position to threaten any of its neighbours, thereby undermining the rationale for NATO enlargement to Central and East European countries.
  4. As a morally broken army that survives via corruption, by placing weapons in the wrong hands and in the world conflict zones, there is also no guarantee during peacekeeping operations that such an army will stick to the rule of appropriate response. Since the primary reason behind such misery is the depressed situation of the Russian economy, which will take many years to rectify, all efforts at military reform from the Russian side will be extremely difficult.
  5. It is recommended that NATO commits itself to offering more assistance to Russia, in addition to the schemes begun for temporary exchange of officers, joint manoeuvres and officer training. NATO should encourage the Russian military to take part in international peacekeeping missions to boost the army's confidence and improve its means of leadership via co­operation with NATO forces. This is an important part of the enhanced Partnership for Peace and should also play a major role in the planned NATO-Russian charter.