Conflict Studies Research Centre
Professor s Blank
Russia's Armed Forces on the Brink of Reform

October 1997

Russia's Armed Forces on the Brink of Reform

Professor Stephen Blank

In September 1996, Sergei Rogov, director of Russia's Institute of the USA and Canada, (ISKAN) told a conference on US-Russian relations that while he spoke for himself and was not responsible for anybody else, "my government is also responsible for nothing. "Nowhere is this more true than in defence policy.

Russian defence policy is a study in failure. Russia has failed to develop a coherent governmental structure to make and implement effective or sensible defence policy. It has not built effective, civilian, democratic control of its multiple militaries and the burgeoning number of paramilitary and privately controlled armed forces. It has neither developed nor upheld a concept of Russian national interests or a strategy for defending them commensurate with Russia's real potential and forces. It has neither created forces that can counter threats to Russia's national interests, nor defined either the threats or those interests.

However, Boris Yel'tsin has successfully created a system of multiple militaries, a military pluralism, in order to secure his power as as a virtual autocrat above an increasingly visible financial-bureaucratic oligarchy. This system presents a growing privatization of the state and of the means of public violence; it resembles trends that figure prominently in failing African states.1 This privatization of the state is manifested by private, sectoral, or institutional players who use the multiple armed forces and accessories of public power for private, as opposed to national, interests for which they have scant regard.

Many elites view public office as merely an opportunity to advance private interests that are commingled with their public position and responsibilities. And this privatization of the state, as a phenomenon, can be analyzed separately from the concurrent and overlapping criminalization of the state and society which itself can cause the state to disintegrate.2

The media exemplifies this fusion of public and private interests. The media is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few well-connected bankers and financiers, some of whom also enjoy high office. This concentration of power even includes the State Television Network (ORT), leading newspapers, and private militaries. Thus, an unholy conglomeration of rival clans of linked media, business, mafia, military, or paramilitary interests is developing. This privatization of the means of public violence and of public power demonstrates the failure of Russian state-building, for the monopoly of legitimate public violence signifies the state. The absence of such a monopoly entails an extreme crisis. And the linkages among each sector of this fragmented elite show that the crisis transcends civil-military relations. Therefore Russia displays processes that have caused other states to disintegrate: privatization of public violence, failures in state-building and elite fragmentation.3

Yel'tsin and his retinue are now reaping their bitter harvest. Yel'tsin's autocratic attempt to impose an unsound military reform upon the armed forces and evade any Parliamentary accountability and scrutiny led the popular General and Duma member, Lev Rokhlin, to organize an opposition movement of serving military personnel, Yel'tsin's political foes, and citizens whose avowed goal is to oust Yel'tsin and his government, allegedly by constitutional means. Rokhlin's movement has united the anti-reform opposition, organized chapters across Russia, and called on soldiers and officers to disobey Yel'tsin. While the spectre of a Duma member who is a general organizing such a movement with the Communists and quasi-Fascists is alarming, Rokhlin's withering critique of Yel'tsin's non-accountability to the Duma is democratically right on target.4 While such opposition would be illegitimate in a law-governed state, Yel'tsin's Russia is not such a state. And it is largely Yel'tsin's fault that the military and state have reached this impasse. As Russia's best known defence correspondent, Pavel Felgengauer writes, "Today the Defence Ministry is a pyramid of purely military staffs and administrations whose inner workings are hidden from the public and beyond the control of the political leadership."5

The regular army can neither defend Russia's integrity nor integrate the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Russia's main foreign policy goal. Russia remains bogged down in many protracted "peacemaking" operations, most of which are far from political resolution. These incomplete operations and the Chechen war have forced a Russian military retreat from Central Asia and the Caucasus. Consequently it is difficult to see what concrete interests these adventures have served.6 Despite its earlier successes in dividing Georgia and Moldova, Russia is now a trapped gendarme in protracted, unwinnable ethnic wars on its frontiers. Therefore Russian objectives and capabilities remain grossly unbalanced and reflect the lack of national strategy or of sound military policy. While new imperial adventures must be ruled out along with operations in the CIS above the level of minor, brief police actions; we cannot be sure that Moscow fully understands this and can act accordingly.

Nor can Moscow devise credible responses to larger-scale conventional contingencies on or inside its frontiers. Russia's current doctrine instead threatens nuclear first-strikes in purely conventional contingencies. Moscow also cannot confront the exigencies of either the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) or Information Warfare (IW). Indeed, there are signs that Russian writers' concept of IW could easily degenerate into a pretext for a new round of internal political strife. Or else, Russia's failure to keep up with it could lead to terrible military outcomes due to Russia's relative backwardness.

Therefore Russian politics resemble court politics, with endless personal conspiracies, the hallmark of a semi-despotic oligarchy under a Tsar with few institutional anchors in society.

And in too many respects Yel'tsin's system uncannily resembles that of the later Tsars.7 Since the military crisis is merely part of the state's general crisis, the nature of elite linkages among military, paramilitary, political, business, and media chains means that a settling of scores, ie purges (even murder) and a search for internal enemies, remains a constant and conceivable temptation. These trends bespeak a protracted crisis of the state and society with no easy way out of this impasse.

Military Politics

Former Defence Minister Igor Rodionov conceded that Russia's military instruments are useless. The chains of command are broken and split into rival factions. There is no rule of law, systematic or regularized procedure for making and implementing policy decisions, or any accountability to the Duma or the Judiciary.8 Yel'tsin has deliberately divided governing institutions so that nobody can establish a unified policy process and direct the government. The many diverse police and security forces have overlapping functions and renewed extra-legal powers while their leaders extol the KGB's esprit de corps.9 And since nothing has replaced the old party Main Political Administration as a control instrument, the Federal Security Service (FSB) has filled this vacuum, penetrated the army and openly and regularly spies on it.10 Indeed, it openly boasts about its intense and highly visible scrutiny of Rokhlin's movement.11

There are an estimated 15-24 formal organizations of armed forces including the Cossack voiska (orders), but excluding the many private security firms or governmental guards hired out to big banks, businesses, and even to mafia leaders.12 Thus we cannot systematically count Russia's armed, police, or paramilitary forces, many of which have overlapping internal and external missions.13 These military organizations comprise an estimated 3-4 million men. But nobody knows how many men are under arms, bear arms professionally, or where defence allocations go once the Duma approves them. Nor will the Ministry of Defence or other ministries tell anyone how they spend their monies. Probably the MOD itself does not know where the money goes. So the MOD remains wholly unaccountable to legislative or even executive scrutiny, a fact that has enraged the opposition and perhaps Yel'tsin too.14 Indeed, anyone trying to analyze Russia's defence or military economy soon learns that opacity is its distinguishing characteristic.15

Each military institution has its own administration and chain of command which intersect only at Yel'tsin or his personal chancellery which also are also unaccountable to Parliament and any legal/judicial standard. These military organizations exist, not on the basis of a regular state budget, but essentially from Yel'tsin's or the cabinet's largesse. Hence, the defence and state budgetary process are wholly politicized beyond any legal accountability and there is neither public debate nor a public record of defence spending.16 While the militaries' true spending and budget remain hidden from public or legislative scrutiny, they still arguably get too much money and resources (which are stolen or misdirected) rather than not enough despite the real and painful budget cuts of 1994-96. Thus Russia is now producing five different fighter planes. One could also contend that Moscow simply does not know what it is doing in devising and implementing the military budget. Sadly, these explanations are not mutually exclusive.17

While the economy remains excessively militarized, forces are rewarded to the degree that their political reliability is essential or questionable. The MVD, upon whose performance the regime's internal security depends, is pampered. While the army starves, the MVD and the Presidential Guard (the GUO) are lavishly rewarded. Indeed the MVD's functions now overlap with those of the police, intelligence, and investigative services. The MVD operates a force of 20 divisions and 29 brigades (some 250,000 men) under regulations which remain pretty much what they were under Alexander I, 1801-1825.18

Rodionov's predecessor, General Pavel Grachev, deliberately politicized the Ministry of Defence at Yel'tsin's order, subjecting Russia's regular forces to Yel'tsin's demand that they become active in partisan politics.19 Accordingly, we should not fear a Pinochet, Rokhlin, or other forms of Bonapartism, but rather political leaders' efforts to use the various armed forces for partisan advantage. All contenders for political power now fight to control the multiple militaries and key state agencies. For example, because the regular armed forces cannot survive on their allocations, private agents who show political ambition, eg the Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, support the Black Sea Fleet, or the building of a new nuclear powered submarine in Severodvinsk, signifying this privatization of public violence.20

All these militaries are thoroughly corrupted and brutalized. Troops starve, freeze, beg, commit crimes or suicide while corrupt officers go free, brutalize their subordinates, or play partisan politics. Russia cannot afford either to maintain, demobilize and/or professionalize the army. Nor can it raise the taxes or funds from privatizing industries to support or pay the armed forces.21 Soldiers live like serfs in an anomic and demoralizing limbo of embitterment, corruption, fractionalization, hazing, abuse, violence and politicization that could explode at any time and already adds to the crime rate.22

The militaries participate in partisan politics and foreign policy, attack state policy, and form coalitions with disaffected regional leaders with impunity. Even before Rokhlin's election in 1995, serving officers in the Duma publicly criticized the government on major issues of foreign and defence policy. And they were subsequently promoted!23

Yel'tsin has responded to the military crisis by forming new extra-legal and extra-constitutional commissions to usurp existing state functions of regular organizations like the Ministry of Defence. This is an ancient Tsarist and Soviet method of building autocratic and even dictatorial states, even if ostensibly this authoritarianism is to provide for a democratic society. These commissions were led by Deputy Premier Anatoly Chubays and former Defence Council Secretary Yuri Baturin, and were supposed to oversee the Ministry of Defence and bypass their power in preparing military reform. Yel'tsin has since created new commissions and reinvigorated the defence inspectorate to once again divide and rule over these mushrooming institutions. Since 1996 these policies have been linked to Yel'tsin's and Chubays' efforts to create a strong state freed from any social restraints and welcomed by some as a new authoritarianism.24

Yel'tsin and Chubays have also tried to find funds for paying the military's social arrears (salaries, benefits, pensions) either from privatization programs or from arms sales. Since those revenues were originally earmarked for the state's and defence industry's economic recovery, the fact that officials now talk of dumping weapons abroad to pay for those costs and the corruption of the privatization process means that Russia, despite talk to the contrary, still has neither a growth strategy nor a strategy for restoring defence industry. Nor can arms sales actually restore either the armed forces or the defence industry. The newest arms deal with Indonesia for a $1billion of SU-30 fighters and MI-17 helicopters, will be compensated only in countertrade. Nobody will really see the proceeds of that sale.

Future sales will probably go the same way or at knockdown prices because the world arms market is a buyer's market and buyers can demand technology and production transfer as part of the deal, undermining Russia's lingering comparative advantages. Hence there already is not enough money to pay for professionalization and obtain a quality army rather than the disintegrating forces we now see. Nor can Russia maintain the army at even 80% of its assigned level plus the other military forces without large numbers of monthly conscripts.25 This realization has begun to sink in on the new Defence Minister, General Igor Sergeyev, the former commander in chief of Russian nuclear forces, especially as he contemplates the 1998 draft budget which further slashes investment and cannot meet the military's minimum needs. A new round of budgetary sequestration and the strangling of civil and military investment, not to mention arrears, is all too likely. And such practices hinder rather than reinforce progress to democracy.

Clearly nobody in power is either truly serious or knowledgeable about the military or economic elements of a comprehensive, intelligent military reform. There will be no effective reform in 1997 even though one has been decreed, for it is clear, and indeed conceded, that the MOD staff and the General Staff are waiting out these decrees and leaders are already backtracking on reform. For example, a professional army by 2005 has already been ruled out for the following reasons. Sergeyev has already said publicly that unless a 50% raise in salaries for officers (and presumably soldiers too) occurs nobody will want to serve and the reform will fail. Although the armed forces are now largely contract soldiers, they suffer from serious moral, psychological, mental, and physical defects that undermine quality. Thus he suggests, that the incentive structure must be comprehensively reformed.

However, the regime will pay only 3.5% of the annual budget to the armed forces and expects to raise the money by selling off state owned industries to private bidders. They invariably pay much less than these firms are worth, evade taxes, which the regime cannot collect, and thus prevent any real economic growth from occurring. The government also hopes to sell military infrastructure and surplus but those figures cannot make up the difference. And obviously arms sales, the third alternative, are already compromised.

Accordingly, no rational national security strategy or consensus exists despite some common moods. Profound policy differences preclude any coherent policy and reinforce institutional fragmentation. The trends outlined above do not only resemble those of failing states, they could abet a trend towards regional warlordism as in Primorskiy Kray (the Maritime Province) now nicknamed as Palermo on the Pacific. Already regional and local governments increasingly must assume the burden of maintaining the armed forces, a relationship that forges ties of mutual dependence among both groups.26

Yel'tsin's apparently consciously malign neglect of the army has helped bring this about. Clearly no modern, professional, democratic, and competent army is possible without major reform and democratization. The military reform, envisioned in the July 1997 decrees, now focuses on economics and bizarre plans for force structure rather than on creating a democratic state or command structure which can control defence policies.

Rodionov and the former Chief of Staff, General Viktor Samsonov were dumped because they would not try to shrink the army, modernize it, and retire officers without their legal compensation and the requisite investment in modernization. This state spending would have busted the budget. Nor did they believe that the army could be professionalized anytime soon. Apparently now neither does anyone else.27 Thus these two generals resisted a trend that would force much more accountability of the officer corps but probably ruin the armed forces as a reliable instrument of national defence.28

The reformers, on the other hand, led by ex-Security council Secretary Yuri Baturin, Chubays, and Deputy Premier Boris Nemtsov, demand that the army live within an even more straitened budget and sack generals. But whereas Rodionov demanded an end to the multiple militaries, they refused to undermine the power of the Interior Ministry (MVD), the army's strongest rival and their ultimate argument in the struggle for power. Although they do reportedly want to dismiss Kulikov, they want the MVD's power for themselves.29 Nor will they democratize civil-military relations, instead they will probably further politicize them. While the MVD may be forced to undergo structural reform as the new chief of Staff, General Anatoly Kvashnin, wants, Kulikov will not likely willingly turn it over to his political enemies, Chubays and Nemtsov. Nor will Chubays' faction accept the notion that military reform is not cost-free.30 Since they will not spend the needed funds and have appointed Sergeyev Defence Minister, the army will continue to suffer vis-a-vis the MVD and the nuclear forces. Indeed, the weight of current policy suggests an overwhelming reliance on nuclear forces for a host of military-political contingencies that these forces cannot effectively confront.

The state of the regular and military economies dictates such a solution. Defence conversion has failed spectacularly. Though outlays have fallen; the economy remains excessively militarized. Defence spending and procurement appears oriented towards nuclear war scenarios and more R&D to exploit the RMA: eg new, mobile based ICBMs, SLBMs, investments in strategic anti-submarine weapon (ASW), R&D in conventional and strategic C3I systems, and new fighter planes.31 But since internal procurement will be impossible until 2005 because of budgetary stringency, the defence industry is now being unleashed to export even state of the art systems globally, evidently without state controls.32 Russia's putative rivals or their own regional rivals (China, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Iran) can obtain high-class weapons and systems relatively cheaply since the arms business is now a buyer's market. They can also compel Moscow and other suppliers to offer them offsets to build their own weapons and further reduce sellers' leverage over them.33 Although many of these states are Russia's potential enemies, the government sees no conventional or nuclear threat at the higher end of the spectrum of warfare for another 8-10 years.34

Strategy and Operations

In this context, past policy's adventurism and strategic dead ends are hardly surprising. Chechnya exemplifies the former, an adventure that made Moscow the strategic centre of gravity, lost Chechnya to its control, and has undermined key foreign policy objectives in Ukraine, Transcaucasia, and elsewhere. The North Caucasus is now more turbulent than before the Chechen war which revealed that Moscow cannot exercise effective control over regional governments or maintain a competent army.

Russia's protracted peacemaking operations add to this depressing picture. While they arguably prevented bad situations from worsening and becoming bigger threats to Russia; beyond emplacing troops, Moscow does not know how to establish durable peace settlements that safeguard its interests while easing its military burdens. In Tajikistan it has had to retreat and support power-sharing with the rebels. In Abkhazia Russia is caught between Georgian threats to repeal the invitation to Russian forces and its demands for resettlement of Georgian refugees, a process that would fatally undermine Abkhaz aspirations to independence. Russia, as regional gendarme, could be blamed and caught between unreconciled ethnic forces who could easily resume hostilities among themselves. Since Georgia is vital to Russia's interest in a Transcaucasian hegemony, but the forces available to Moscow cannot maintain order, the whole region could either elude Russian control or break out into open warfare. Therefore Yel'tsin had to broker a peace process that the other parties had started due to their understanding of Russia's imperial tendencies or face threats of renewed war.35

In Nagorno-Karabakh, Russia broke the Tashkent collective security treaty with all CIS members including Azerbaijan, covertly ran over a billion dollars of arms to Armenia, coerced Armenia into granting it bases, and repeatedly threatened Azerbaijan. Yet no settlement is in sight, and Western influence is growing in Georgia and Azerbaijan. Though Armenia may resume hostilities, it will probably be denied any true victory as long as Western oil interests now play a major regional role. Here too, Moscow's failed economic reconstruction limits Russia only to a regional policy of military interventionism that cannot effectively sustain its political or economic objectives. Hence the outcome is a protracted, prolonged, and volatile conflict situation. Moscow may benefit from Western frustration, but will not achieve tangible material gains or lasting security thereby.

In Central Asia and around Chechnya, not only is the army in retreat, Moscow, the Border Troops led by General Andrei Nikolaev, and Kulikov also seem constantly tempted to use local Cossack paramilitaries with an atavistic imperialist outlook for patrolling the border and to threaten Kazakhstan and Chechnya.36 The use of such forces and of the Ussuri Cossacks by Governor Yevgeny Nazdratenko to defy Moscow's orders in the Far East underscores the general loss of control over paramilitary forces. Furthermore these and other uncontrolled forces could easily be incited to start something that Moscow would have to join, but which it could not finish.37

Finally, Kulikov has successfully campaigned for using the army domestically along with the MVD, against insurgencies and all kinds of undefined threats to political stability.38 Surveys tell us that army officers are very dubious, if not angry, about such missions, and conceivably might refuse to quell them. This would risk internal stability.39 But these missions are written into Russian doctrine and reflect Yel'tsin's determination to politicize the army for domestic purposes. Hence lack of control and of effectively disciplined forces could trigger another war endangering Russia's own stability and integrity.

Nuclear Issues

Absent usable conventional forces, Russia has few options other than the nuclear one. Moscow now advertises its readiness to launch even preemptive first-strikes against adversaries who are allied to nuclear powers, against conventional strikes on power plants, C3I targets, or nuclear installations.40 More recently Baturin's January 1997 reform plan, which could become a basis for the new doctrinal guidance given Sergeyev's mandate and predilections for emphasizing the nuclear forces, demonstrates that even in ethnopolitical conflicts that expand, nuclear options remain distinctly possible. Russia, when confronting local wars that expand, due to outside assistance, into large-scale conventional wars, reserves the right to use nuclear weapons as first strike and preemptive weapons. This allegedly limited first strike serves to regain escalation dominance and force a return to the status quo.41

For forty years Soviet and Russian writers stridently insisted that limited nuclear war was impossible. We now know that this was because Moscow had relatively tenuous controls over its second strike capabilities and was uncertain that they would survive a first-strike intact.42 Russia's first-strike was its only strike and entailed launching thousands of warheads. If anything, controls have eroded, and most existing nuclear weapons are diminishing assets that must be replaced by 2003-2007.43 Lastly, Russia retains a launch on warning system, meaning that it will launch nuclear weapons, not on actual attack, but if it perceives one to be in progress, rightly or wrongly. Since its military experts expect a surprise attack, and its early warning and air defence have significantly degraded since 1991, the possibilities for erroneous launch are high.

These facts have two implications, not counting the danger of rogue actions. First, there is growing danger of accidental or unintended launches due to failure to distinguish real from false enemy launches. Second, Moscow could escalate a conventional war way out of control in the crazy belief that nuclear strikes can somehow limit warfare and give it escalation control, despite forty years of contrary argument, assertion, and policy. For example there might be those tempted to reply to what they believe is an information attack by such means. Since an information attack or the perception of it is one of the easiest things in the world to misread, with a nuclear first strike, a move out of all proportion is hardly inconceivable. In January 1995, for instance, Russia almost launched a nuclear strike at a Norwegian weather rocket. Here again strategic means and strategic interests remain disconnected, another outcome of the failure to create adequate political mechanism for the making of strategy, defence policy, and overarching definitions of national interests. Moscow faces the choice of going nuclear and risking mutual suicide for purely smaller, conventional conflicts, or of losing those conflicts for lack of usable general forces. This reliance on nuclear weapons can only weaken confidence in Russian policy and power's ability to achieve Russia's self-proclaimed interests or to maintain regional or global peace.

The So-Called Military Reform

Military reform is clearly necessary, but while the issue has been on the agenda since Brezhnev, we still await effective reform. Sergeyev actually has said that his plans include ideas going back as far as Brezhnev's last Chief of Staff, Marshal Nikolay Ogarkov!44 In July 1997 Yel'tsin issued several decrees intended as the the first signs of military reform. If implemented, they could have lasting and major significance for Russia and its multiple armed forces. However, these decrees reflect the political struggles around the armed forces and each of the key players has different goals for them, a sure sign that the reform will fail.

Furthermore the national security concept and reform plan was supposed to be out originally by June 25 1997. The latest story is that they will appear in November, 1997 (It is October 1997 at the time of this writing). Obviously there is a serious struggle occurring here and Yel'tsin has already made side deals with forces that breach the principles of true reform, thereby casting doubt on the whole process. To understand the decrees' and the reform process' significance we must first grasp the goals the authors of these decrees have in mind.

Sergeyev sees seven elements to the reform plan

ùFirst the blueprint embodied in the national security concept examines threats to Russian security and concludes no direct military threats up to the level of 'wide-scale war' exist until 2005. Until then the nuclear forces - Sergeyev's former command - guarantee security and stability.

ùOn the basis of an economic-demographic survey, based on the assumption that growth will begin at a rate of about 2% in 1998, decisions about manning the army and investing in defence industry are now being taken.

ùAn assessment of the armed forces' required combat potential, based on Yel'tsin's 3.5% of GNP decree is now underway. Sergeyev hopes to give more precise definition of the other forces' missions in order to optimize them. He wants to eliminate duplicate structures, unify combat training, rear services, etc, while not encroaching on their legitimate functions.

ùOne of the real obstacles is that the defence industry cannot provide orders in full for for the existing 2000 defence enterprises. Therefore a new conversion program is needed. Russia now sells weapons abroad for less than it costs to buy them at home! Given the lamentable history of the previous conversion program, this is a confession of despair.

ùThe sixth element of the program is to reconsider the needs of the mobilization program. The Soviet economy stored vast resources for perpetual mobilization, a major factor in the ultimate collapse of the Soviet war machine. Yel'tsin has freed the factories from the need to maintain these stocks or at least has so decreed, but it is unclear what capacities and resources are needed for mobilization.

ùFinally the reform plan must match the optimum feasible reform plans to the levels of economic development and military threat.45

Kvashnin, however, has rather broader personal goals. He wants to establish six territorial formations or districts (Moscow, North Caucasus, Leningrad, Siberia, Far East and Urals) for all the power ministries and their forces on a unified basis. Military districts should be standard size with no overlap or opportunities for the MVD or other forces to have multiple districts that do not correspond with the army's districts. He believes this should allow for a more orderly and coherent devolution of policy, allowing the regions to come into their own, and seems to look rather favorably on regionalism. However, in all these districts, the regional collegial body overseeing and coordinating all these forces should be the General Staff which he leads. Under presidential authority the General Staff will see to it that all these forces do not overstep their functions and missions and will seek to unify their infrastructure.46 Thus it will assume a new and unprecedented responsibility it has never had in modern Russian/Soviet history. But against his efforts even to unify the Border Troops and Internal Troops under the General Staff, their leaders and other power ministries have coalesced to demand that not one soldier be downsized without full payment of his legally entitled compensation, a move which would bust the budget and reform. Thus the reform struggle is now heating up further.47

Accordingly, each of the reform's main authors sees in it, not only a way to overcome existing defects, but even more a way to augment their turf and power. Thus military reform is a true paradigm of the factional, bureaucratic, or more precisely court, politics around Yel'tsin. Therefore, despite the supposed content of the decrees from July 1997 and the forthcoming security concept, the actual goals of the reform have little to do in reality with creating a sound military machine. Those actual goals are:

ùTo continue the tradition of multiple politicized armed forces whose distinguishing criteria is their personal loyalty to Yel'tsin and his current retinue. The point of this operation in political terms is also to remove the Parliament, once again, from any possibility of controlling the armed forces who must remain exclusively beholden to the executive branch.

ùTo create a substantial and separate Praetorian Guard or force that is wholly at Yel'tsin's disposal and personally subordinate to him and his retinue. They view the threat as an internal threat to the stability of his government, not to Russia's integrity, sovereignty, or other vital interests. To destroy, as far as possible, the MOD's central apparatus which they are (probably rightly) convinced opposes reform and will subvert any policy counter to its corporate interests. This also entails fundamental reorganization of the regular armed forces' services in order to degrade the central control of the CINCs and their direct subordinates.

ùThis reorganization entails the creation of new reorganized institutions to deprive the MOD of its powers. In effect, this means the creation of new, extra-legal agencies of control by men Yel'tsin can trust. Thus Yel'tsin reinvigorated the Defence Inspectorate, placed former Deputy Defence Minister Andrei Kokoshin in charge of it and gave it an extensive mandate that effectively oversees the Ministry of Defence with a man and an agency responsible to him alone or to his Defence Council, not the Minister of Defence and certainly not Parliament. Although Kokoshin insists that he will not administer the armed forces, his inspectorate possesses oversight over all armed formations, monitors compliance by federal executive branch agencies and federal (provincial) agencies with acts and regulations affecting the military, including treaties.48

This also entails continuing the tradition of Yel'tsin's idea of civilian control, ie he as a civilian, controls the military and relies on his agents to make sure nobody is plotting a coup. In true Russian style, "mutual tattling" replaces control by laws. Thus the inspectorate, apart from its broad powers of supervision, monitoring, and ability to demand any and all information from the armed forces and MOD, will be under presidential control but operationally supervised by Yel'tsin's Chief of Staff.49

ùTo reduce substantially the amount of money the government spends on defence while preserving an equipping forces supposedly adequate to any future challenges.

ùAllegedly to terminate the mass volunteer army based on conscription and raise a wholly professional new army. This goal has already been undermined.

ùTo enrich the banking interests to whom the new favorites, Anatoly Chubays, Boris Nemtsov, Baturin etc are closely connected.

ùTo preserve the multiple militaries in their functions but to bring them all supposedly under more direct presidential control either through the Defence Council and the commissions chaired by Chubays, or now the General Staff, or the Defence Inspectorate led by Andrei Kokoshin.

ùTo enrich the nuclear forces by merging the space forces with them in order to gain access to Western contracts for space cargoes, shuttles, space stations, etc which allegedly are mainly built using technologies similar to nuclear weapons.50

Yel'tsin abolished the office of Commander in Chief of the Ground Forces, stated that the MOD's central apparatus will only be allocated or allowed to spend 1% of the defence budget, amalgamated the Air Force and the Air Defence Forces. Tactical Air Forces go to the Army in the six Military Districts. Those Districts will be consolidated from the current eight districts and will now be called operational-strategic directions (Napravleniya). They will no longer answer to the MOD but to their commanders. Those commanders will be virtually autonomous in their districts regarding peacetime training, operational plans, and mobilization of resources, and supposedly answer directly to the President, or more likely the Defence Council. Strategic nuclear weapons will be merged into a single Strategic Nuclear Forces (S Ya.S). This force includes ICBMs, SLBMs, space missile forces, space missile defence troops (this is a novel formulation and perhaps were a hidden formation or are simply an outgrowth of the air defence forces) and air based strategic systems. But it will also presumably include strategic ASW assets and surface vessels to protect both the SSBNs and the hunter-killer SSNs. The two non-nuclear fleets, the Baltic and Black Sea Fleets, will probably be restricted to coastal defence and naval operations in support of the army's flanks in their theatres. However, tactical nuclear weapons, both land-based and tactical air based systems, will devolve to the operational control (not release authority) of the the District CINCS. In 1997 the nuclear forces are to be merged, in 1998 the air and air defence forces will also be amalgamated. Ultimately by 2001-2005 all forces will be grouped by the designation land, sea, air.51

As regards Russia's other militaries, despite Kvashnin's postulated reform goals for them, Yel'tsin has already undermined this plan by giving the Border Troops under General Andrey Nikolayev authority for an expanded structure, comprising offices in Almaty, Tbilisi, and Kyiv, giving it a large role in Russia's foreign policy towards its three key CIS neighbors, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Georgia. Indeed Nikolayev sought offices all over the CIS, only to be rebuffed by those governments. The Border Troops are also supposed to become the major coordinator of all forces on the borders, another bureaucratic ploy.52 This "reform plan" clearly contradicts the stated goals of the reform, but not Yel'tsin's political proclivities. Thus this reform must be viewed with considerable scepticism.

While the multiple militaries, MVD, FSB, Border Troops, FAPSI, etc will remain in their current structure, forces taken presumably from them and the various special forces, including but not only Spetsnaz, will be reorganized, along with the Airborne Troops into the President's Special Reserve or Guard that are at his disposal for emergencies. Most likely these will be internal emergencies, including domestic political strife, and they will not come under any service or district commanders, making them Yel'tsin's and the Defence Council's Praetorian Guard. They will thus also be removed from any connection to the MOD and could even be used against it.53

Yel'tsin also decreed a reduction in force of 500,000 men and the move towards professionalization, but set no date for completing this task. Thousands of officers will be removed, presumably given vouchers with which to buy houses from construction companies that will be privatized and removed from the MOD's construction and trade organization. One can expect that given the fortunes that can be made by contracting to build housing for them and their families, the big banks, along with smaller entrepreneurs, will immediately establish construction firms who will be paid in these government vouchers that they can redeem for cash. This will enrich the banks and other officials' clients. While this may be called privatization; it should be noted that the banks will be doubly enriched due to these reforms.

Not only will they be able to redeem these vouchers for cash; most likely the government will bypass the MOD in paying new soldiers and officers in the districts by depositing monies or vouchers for their upkeep in the banks which commanders and district governors or Yel'tsin's plenipotentiaries can then draw on to pay them. The banks will charge for the services at each step of the way and reap a fortune from the interest float on monies deposited in them as well as from the funds for building the houses.

To students of Russian history this operation evokes Tsarism's redemption payments that were grafted onto the emancipation of the serfs after 1861. Here, because the government could not afford to pay for emancipation but felt obliged to give peasants land so they would not become pauperized or proletarianized, the regime gave peasants land, but obliged them to pay huge sums for it and their emancipation over a forty year period. Here the government cannot redeem military arrears and wages, or give generous and deserved pensions to people who, after all, risked their lives for Russia, so it gives them vouchers with which they pay for housing, but which is really a concealed subsidy to the banks and ultimately a return of some monies to the government which still lacks a central treasury and must rely on the banks to finance its operations. And even after the government sets up its own bank as it is supposed to do in early 1998, it is unlikely that it will be independent of either the government, the president, or leading factions in his entourage. That is, it will be politicized, like the current banks are.

Finally, nothing listed here allows for Parliamentary oversight either of the armed forces or of the financial operations involved, so again the government will eliminate Parliamentary scrutiny, further demolishing any notion of civilian democratic control of the military. So these operations can hardly be reckoned as strengthening either democracy or the state's capability to govern, the economy, or probably Russia's military might. This scheme, in its efforts to shove costs of provisioning and maintaining the army onto local and regional governments, also evokes memories of Peter the Great's more desperate (because it was done in wartime) scheme of quartering the armed forces on the population while his fiscal officers remorselessly taxed everything they could think of.

The military consequences of the plan are no less ruinous. This plan terminates all hope of strategic coordination by professional military people, unless the General Staff receives that function, a most unlikely procedure since it has been made a department of the MOD. Each District Commander will be an autocrat in charge of his own men, training resources, and mobilization base. There will be no practical way to coordinate training, war plans, mobilization, or resource plans in different districts. The central government will maintain those forces through supposedly direct control and by fiscal levers. But given the absence of money to pay for the reform, Moscow will probably raise regional governments' taxes and try to force them to pay for the armed forces. This step conforms to Yel'tsin's, Chubays' and Nemtsov's efforts to recentralize authority at the expense of provincial and local governments while forcing the latter to pay higher taxes.54

Russia will also be unable to plan on a national basis for any kind of economic, military, or strategic operation. Mobilization schedules and resources will not be coordinated in any reasonable way. Neither will training or manpower needs be strategically coordinated except through the Defence Council. The role of the General Staff remains unclear. There is no way Russia could defend itself conventionally above the regional level, if then. Moreover, this conventional forces disability will last, if these plans are implemented, at least through 2005-2007. For the next decade, Russia will have no truly usable conventional forces except possibly for local or regional police actions.

Thus we must confront the nuclear issue. Since tactical and strategic nuclear weapons will be separated, with the former going to regional CINCS whose operational control from Moscow has been considerably reduced, it is not clear if a unified system of strategic planning for the use of nuclear weapons or control over them can be devised. Local commanders might be granted more flexibility in deciding when to use them. When one factors this disturbing possibility into the equation that already consists of a command and control system that is not what it was or should be, and a launch on warning doctrine, the results become positively alarming. Once again the military forces needed to secure Russian national interests are lacking, as is any concept of either those interests or the proper way to defend them. Strategy and policy remain divorced in Russian thinking and action.55

The regional political alternatives are no better. They are either closer dependence of commanders upon regional governments, thereby enhancing an existing trend, or the incitement of a venomous competition between them for scarce resources coming from Moscow. Neither alternative is without serious risks to the sociopolitical stability of the state, especially as regional commanders will garner much more autonomy now. Thus there is a serious danger of a further growth of regionalization here.

The Regionalist Danger and Military Reform

The consequences of regionalization could become very dangerous indeed for Russian security. The whole trend of Russian politics today is decentralization. Power is being devolved by Moscow to local mayors and provincial governors because Moscow doesn't have the money to support them. Roughly 20 of its 89 provinces now have power-sharing treaties with Moscow, allowing them to keep much of their tax revenue and making them each small, but autonomous, alternative power centers. This means the Kremlin's ability to mobilize resources to rebuild the Russian Army diminishes with each day.56

Indeed, the regions and republics can already severely obstruct key security policies. Chuvashia's President, Nikolay Fedorov, absolved troops in the republic from going to Chechnya in 1995. Observers believed he did so not only to object to the war, but also to compel Moscow to reestablish the Council of the Heads of Republics, ie to "start toughly dictating terms to the federal center". They also viewed this move as part of a larger effort by regional figures to remove members of the government.57

Regional leaders also evidently prevailed in 1994 to cut military spending or increase it only slightly because of their interest in cutting spending on personnel and redirecting it to investment in defence production and industry which brings jobs and revenues into their bailiwicks.58 Since the MOD and the armed forces have sacrificed future investment to maintain force structure and existing operational missions, this defeat at the hands of local authorities probably had no little impact on the armed forces' declining readiness.

On the other hand, the crisis of center-periphery relations can also encourage potentially dangerous symbiotic local governmental relationships with the armed forces. Opportunistic regional politicians have formed coalitions with the armed forces to frustrate major strategic initiatives coming from Moscow. In 1992, Sakhalin's Governor Valentin Fyodorov and the armed forces coalesced to obstruct any rapprochement with Japan and the return of the Kurile Islands to Japan. This coalition's objections impelled Yel'tsin to cancel his trip to Japan and freeze relations with Tokyo, severely curtailing Russia's participation in the Asia-Pacific economy and the progress of domestic reform.59 They established a dangerous but abiding precedent showing Moscow's inability to control regional governments and the armed forces who can openly forge political coalitions with the former against central policies with impunity.

Indeed, precisely because Moscow has often abdicated its responsibilities to the regions and the armed forces or cannot fulfil them, it has frequently encouraged joint action by regional political and military authorities. In December, 1995 Kulikov requested that Stavropol's Territorial Administration help the 54th division of Ministry of Interior Troops (MVD) stationed there. The unusual nature of this request led journalist Andrey Zhukov to remark that Governor Marchenko of Stavropol Region, the governor of "democratic Nizhny Novgorod", Boris Nemtsov, and the regional government in the pro-Communist Kemerovo region were all courting the military. As he wrote, "It is quite possible that if an emergency situation occurs these military units will betray their commanders in favor of the territorial administration."60

By commanders, Zhukov clearly meant those in Moscow, not necessarily their local commanders. Nor was Kulikov's request unique. Grachev's remarks on his last inspection tour in the Ural, Siberia, and Transbaykal military districts showed the powers that regional authorities have over the armed forces. Grachev thanked Transbaykal's local administration for helping get food and housing for servicemen at a most critical time. But in Siberia's case, he noted, some local leaders ignored soldiers' interests and pocketed the money for themselves, obstructing the provision of basic supplies.61

This observation points to the powers of regional authorities vis-a-vis the armed forces on their territories. And increasingly district commanders depend on the local authorities for resources. This dependence is mutual since they depend on the military for ultimate order. Thus the army commanders also hold some trumps. In an interview, Col. General Viktor Andreyevich Kopylov, CINC of the Siberian Military District remarked that the district contains 42% of all military industry in Russia and has troops deployed in Omsk, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, and Kemerovo Oblasts, Krasnoyarsk and Altay Krays, and the republics of Tuva, Khakass, and Altay.62 Similarly, in 1995, Grachev proposed restructuring the Moscow military district so it would become an elite formation.

Autonomy presupposes that the district will exercise its own command and control of troops, provide its own communications and rear services support, and have its own paymaster for officers and enlisted men. The pay issue alone could create tendencies toward autonomy within other envious military districts.63

Moscow's weakness fosters strong incentives among local civilian and military leaders to come together to defend their autonomy or to act autonomously, even against or without Moscow. Because Moscow has conspicuously failed to provide for its soldiers' and officers' needs, both necessity and central encouragement have led officers and regional authorities to work with each other to supply those needs, often bypassing Moscow. Since the regions can withhold tax revenues from Moscow for use at home they possess real resources with which to buy support.64

While the internal fractures among the armed forces militate against a coup by a serving officer, there are several real dangers in the current situation. A regional or central leader may use the armed forces who support him in a bid for power or secession. In that case, polls conducted among army officers reveal that a large majority of them oppose using the army for internal purposes like stopping a province's secession.65 That finding raises the danger that some military forces will go over to the secessionist side or rebel against Moscow if a coup or another misconceived war like that against secessionist Chechnya is launched there.

Alternatively a commander could begin conducting his own foreign policy, eg the Border Troops, who now have official authority to act abroad, and/or a political leader could create their own military-police forces from official and paramilitary forces. In areas of mixed ethnicity, like the North Caucasus, the potential for an Algerian-like scenario, reminiscent of the French forces in Algeria 1954-62, could also develop.66 In short, there are numerous dangers that could result from the preexisting regionalism and from trends towards regionalism in the new decrees that could be exploited for regionalist objectives.

Another military danger results from the inchoate structure of the state administration. A 1996 analysis of the state's structure concluded that despite Moscow's so-called new policies, The Russian Federation will remain a complex federated-unitary state with different systems of administration in different territories (okrugs, republics, and oblasts or krays) and different relationships between these territories and the center until 2000 - until the end of the new president's term.67

This administrative diversity, if not chaos, is found in the structure of the military districts which has not changed since 1991 and which remains amorphous and normatively undefined.68 Absent the rule of law or conformity of Russia's regional economic structure to that of the military districts; over 30 different military organizations: Border Troops, MVD Internal Troops, Russia's Ministry for Civil Defence and Emergencies, etc have unilaterally formed their own districts and regional centers that do not correspond to each other's borders or the existing administrative system.69 As military districts fulfil vital administrative, military, operational, and mobilization tasks, they cannot currently coordinate among themselves or with civil authorities to fulfil their responsibilities effectively.70

Since military districts do not conform to the economic principles according to which Yel'tsin is reorganizing local government, failure to reverse this situation will gravely disrupt civilian-military interaction. Because all current military districts are effectively first echelon and border troop districts, this lack of coordination among military organizations and with the economic administration emanating from Moscow constitutes a grave risk to security in a military conflict. This absence of coordination among the army and the MVD's troops has been a constant throughout the war in Chechnya.71

Therefore, the author of this report decries the independent creation of new districts by what are essentially former internal districts that lack the needed infrastructures, airfields, C2 facilities, operating areas, depots, etc. Instead the state must create a new military administrative system to realize civilian-military and inter-service coordination realities and provide for effective command, control and deployment of military assets.72 Obviously Kvashnin has a real point, for all his turf-grabbing.

But as long as Moscow cannot frame coherent regional policies and create a stable legal basis for Russian federalism and for the armed forces' military administrative structure, further breakdowns like Chechnya's are all too likely and the necessary administrative coordination will not take place. For this reason Yel'tsin, Chubays, and Nemtsov are steadily attacking the regional governors in an effort to recentralize power in Moscow and deprive them of autonomy.

Final Notes on the Reform Plan

While this reform plan is clever with ulterior political and financial motives, the foregoing shows that it is also a recipe for strategic and military disaster by people who are seriously deficient in understanding military issues. The already large gap between objectives and capabilities is widening not shrinking. Furthermore because the national command structures and their politicization of the MOD, General Staff, and the multiple militaries are not addressed, this is in reality only a reform of the armed forces (Reforma Vooruzhennykh Sil), not a true military reform (Voennaya Reforma) in the sense of past Russian historical reforms. God alone knows what will come of this melange of graft, opportunism, strategic ignorance and regression to Tsarist models. But if a serious attempt is made to implement this sham reform, we can be reasonably certain that Russia will continue to be anything but a stable, democratic partner. The status quo is already not holding, as this series of decrees shows us. The question then becomes, what structure will be the next to buckle and what happens then?

Information Warfare

Russia's failure to confront strategic realities in conventional and nuclear warfare also appears with regard to thinking about future war, namely IW. Russian writers on this subject are as interesting and visionary as their predecessors in the 1970s and 1980s in writing about the RMA, or in the 1920s and 1930s about future wars. Indeed, Soviet writers coined the term "revolution in military affairs" and greatly developed the concept before US writers and officers appropriated it.73 Russian writers have a much broader definition or notion of information warfare than do American writers. They include warfare targeted against the minds and physiques of enemy combatants and even of whole societies. They see this form of warfare as ushering in a new series of weapons or technologies that can strike enemies in wholly new ways, including biological or psychotropic weapons.74

Many commentators, civilian, and military officials, eg former Chief of Staff Col General Viktor Samsonov, contend that IW proceeds during peacetime. Some are clamouring for a new definition of war to include this kind of bloodless, peacetime campaign against key political and informational strategic targets. Allegedly Russia has, for several years, been in an information war with the United States and the West. Moreover, Russia is losing or lost that war. Its domestic anomie and loss of values reflect the West's successful targeting of the Russian media who have then betrayed Russia as servants of the West.75 Echoes of this doctrine appear in the new, 1997 security doctrine that stresses internal threats, including threats to Russia's spirituality, morale, and moral integrity.76 Other officials, like Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, evoke threats to Russia's intellectual, communications, or information space.77 The discussion about an intellectual or ideological threat is pervasive, even if assessments vary. While this discourse of informational threat reflects Russia's profound disenchantment, it does not necessarily entail the sense of being presently in an information or psychological war.

But those disaffected elites who believe this war is occurring are updating Lenin's notion of constant political or ideological warfare with the West to our time and openly raising the Leninist-Stalinist notion of internal enemies. Political opposition equates with sabotage and opens the way to a domestic war. War at home and war abroad could become a seamless web. The ties of office, political power, access to military, paramilitary, and/or private armed forces and media outlets on the part of almost all of the key players make it clear that any major political initiative, even merely a personnel reshuffle, means a bitter struggle among both the possessors of armed force and the media barons. Often they are the same persons or factions. Internal wars and purges could easily take place if the fragile political system collapses due to elite fragmentation or falls into the opposition's hands. Many oppositionists are particularly attracted to this notion of contemporary politics and warfare.

We already see signs of a forthcoming investigation into the state television network, ORT, which is owned by the government though controlled by interests controlled by Deputy Security Council Secretary Boris Berezovskiy. Berezovskiy has already admitted that he and his cronies in the financial and media elite, who are now falling out with each other, effectively bought themselves and Chubays and Nemtsov into the government to defend their private interests.78 If this trend towards bitter elite fragmentation combines with the aforementioned privatization of violence, the consequences are utterly unpredictable. In other words, as Russia's own power struggle remains unconsummated and perhaps is entering a new and dangerous phase, one or more groups may try to exploit this alleged external danger or threat for purely domestic purposes connected with taking power.

Information technology could thus tremendously expand the scope for political and military conflict beyond anything we can envision, targeting whole sectors of societies through what used to be called "the hidden persuaders". Current US boasting about this capability betrays a touching innocence about its strategic potentialities in troubled societies and about the nature of war in general.79 Such bragging only fuels Russian paranoia. But these new weapons could, in the Russian definition, include whole series of biological or psychotropic weapons, or simply novel uses of information and other technologies to destabilize a society from within. And Russia is still building or devising biological and chemical weapons which could play an enormous role in this context. For us there is the warning that we must renounce our ingrained ethnocentrism and realize that for other cultures information warfare, as they understand it, is a radical, even revolutionary development that puts their whole society at risk and makes it the center of gravity. We ignore these considerations at our peril.


While this is not the whole story of Russian writing on IW, when taken in tandem with the other developments outlined here, it is only one of all too many grounds for alarm about Russia today and tomorrow. Russia is not a democratic state, and arguably is not proceeding further towards democracy. Neither is it stable or predictable. Its strategic mechanisms are flimsy and ephemeral. Its armed forces cannot defend against threats to Russia but may be quite useful for internal coups or insurgencies. Its doctrine and strategy place an inordinate stress on nuclear scenarios without the means to control them. And the opportunities presented by IW are beyond Russia due to socio-economic constraints and the failure of military reform. Or else they open up radical and terrifying prospects for mass domestic warfare of a new type having terrifying vistas for future conflicts. Soviet propaganda used to say the army and the people are one. Is it not true that their crises are also one?


1. This notion of the Africanization of Russian security policy is discussed at length in Stephen Blank, "Towards the Failing State: The Structure of Russian Security Policy," Problems of Postcommunism, Forthcoming, March-April, 1998 and the sources cited therein.

2. On the extent to which criminality alone can destroy the state see, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Global Organized Crime Project, William H. Webster, Project Chair, Russian Organized Crime, Washington, D.C., 1997, and for recent Russian sources, Moscow, Nezavisimaya Gazeta in Russian, September 26, 1997, Foreign Broadcast Information Service Central Eurasia (Henceforth FBIS SOV)-97-276, October 3, 1997, and Moscow, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in Russian, October 1, 1997, FBIS- SOV-97-279, October 6, 1997.

3. Blank, Op. Cit., Klaus Segbers, "Systemic Transformation in Russia: A Critical Revision of Methods and a New Agenda," Klaus Segbers and Stephan de Spiegeleire, Eds., Post-Soviet Puzzles: Mapping the Political Economy of the Former Soviet Union, Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 1995, I, pp. 7-21. One can see the relentless press and television war now occurring between the factions of Chernomyrdin, Berezovskiy and Kulikov, the old bears and the young wolves, Chubays, Nemtsov, and their respective supporters and media outlets that they control. Yevgeny Grigoriev, "Chubays Versus ... Kulikov," Pravda Rossii, July 9, 1997, from Johnson's Russia List,, No. 1032, July 11, 1997. As for how elite fragmentation plays into state failure see, Pauline Baker and John A. Ausink, "State Violence: Toward a Predictive Model," Parameters, XXXVI, No. 1, Autumn 1996, pp. 19-31.

4. See Rokhlin's speech to the congress of supporters of his movement, Moscow, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, September 25, 1997, FBIS-SOV-97-274, October 1, 1997.

5. "Does Latest Shakeup Bode Civilian Control of Army?," Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press, (Henceforth CDPP), XLIX, NO. 35, October 1, 1997, p. 7.

6. Pavel Baev, Challenges and Options in the Caucasus and Central Asia, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 1997, pp. 6-8, 15, Taras Kuzio, "NATO Enlargement: the View From the East", European Security, VI, 1, Spring, 1997, pp. 57-58.

7. David McLauren MacDonald, United Government and Foreign Policy in Russia, 1900-1914, Cambridge, Ma: Harvard University Press demonstrates what late Tsarist foreign policy was like and the resemblances to Yel'tsin's court are striking.

8. Blank, Op.Cit.

9. "The Man From Lubyanka," Vek, No. 34, September, 1996.

10. This goes back at least to 1995, if not earlier, for example see the law on the FSB, Moscow, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, in Russian, April 12, 1995, FBIS-SOV-95-076, April 20, 1995, pp. 19-28; Moscow, Segodnya, in Russian, February 16, 1995, FBIS-SOV-95-033, February 17, 1995, p. 19.

11. Moscow, RIA, Novosti, July 19, 1997, Translated in Johnson's Russia List, July 19, 1997,

12. Moscow, Moskovskiy Novosti, in Russian, July 6-13, 1997, FBIS-SOV-97-190, July 9, 1997.

13. Moscow, Armeyskiy Sbornik, in Russian, March, 1995, Joint Publications Research Service, Military Affairs, (Henceforth JPRS UMA)-95-021, May 9, 1995, pp. 4-9.

14. For an examination of Russia's incredible defence economy see, OMRI Daily Digest, October 30, 1996, Vitaly Shlykov's articles, "Russkaya Ruletka ili Soldatskaya Kasha iz Topora," Sreda, No. 4, September, 1996, pp. 67-75; "Biudzhet i Armiya," Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, May 16, 1996; "Voennyy Kamuflazh Rossiyskoy Ekonomiki," Sreda, No. 2, 1996, pp. 19-24; and "Economic Readjustment Within the Russian Defence-Industrial Complex," Security Dialogue, XXVI, No. 1, 1995, pp. 19-34; and Sergey Rogov, Military Reform and the Defence Budget of the Russian Federation, Alexandria, VA.: Center for Naval Analyses, 1997.

15. Ibidem.

16. Ibidem.

17. Ibidem.

18. Mark Galeotti, "Russia's Interior Troops on the Rise," Jane's Intelligence Review, June, 1997, pp. 243-246.

19. Stephen Blank, "The Code and Civil-Military Relations: The Russian Case," Gert De Nooy, Ed., Cooperative Security, the OSCE, and its Code of Conduct, The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1996, pp. 93-112.

20. E-Mail transmission by Peter Heinlein for the Voice of America, October 14, 1996; Chrystia Freeland, "Russia: Banker Offers to Pay Civil Servants," Financial Times, September 4, 1997, p. 2.

21. Despite claims that the government has fully compensated the soldiers and officers' arrears by 1 September, 1997 Boris Nemtsov had to admit a week later that this was not fully the case and besides the government had no clear idea how much it owed. Moscow, Krasnaya Zvezda, in Russian, September 10, 1997, FBIS- SOV-97-253, September 10, 1997. At the same time as he and Sergeyev talk of selling arms to pay for social support, Russia's new arms deal with Indonesia will be compensated wholly in counter trade not cash, indicating again a lack of coherence and dishonesty in policymaking. Stephen Blank,"Playing With Fire: Russian Arms Sales to Southeast Asia and South Korea," Jane's Intelligence Review, April, 1997, pp. 174-177.

22. Graham H. Turbiville, Jr.,"Weapons Proliferation and Organized Crime: The Russian Military and Security Forces Dimension," Occasional Papers of the Institute for National Security Studies, US Air Force Academy, No. 10, Colorado Springs, Colorado, June, 1996; "Shootings, Suicides Point to Crisis in the Army," CDPP, XLIX, No. 24, July 16, 1997, pp. 1-4; Moscow, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, in Russian, August 29-September 4, 1997, FBIS-SOV-97-252, September 9, 1997.

23. Stephen Blank, "The Code," pp. 106-109; Herbert J. Ellison, "The Debate Before the Summit, James E. Goodby, Vladimir I. Ivanov, and Nobuo Shimotamai, Eds., Northern Territories and Beyond: Russian, Japanese, and American Perspectives, Westport, CT.: Praeger Publishers, 1995, p. 95.

24. Alexander Bykovskiy, "Country Awaits Change," Sel'skaya Zhizn', October 28, 1995; Marshall Ingwerson, "For Yel'tsin's Top Aide, Can-Do May Be Ticket to Power in Kremlin," Christian Science Monitor, November 1, 1996, both from Johnson's Russian List, For Chubays' dictatorial proclivities, and more recently, Moscow, Kommersant, in Russian, September 30, 1997, FBIS-SOV-97-281, October 8, 1997.

25. FBIS-SOV, September 10, 1997, Moscow, RIA Novosti, October 9, 1997, from Johnson's Russia List Reuters, September 4, 1997, Moscow, Kommersant, in Russian, August 19, 1997, FBIS-SOV-97-174-S, August 19, 1997.

26. See below and Stephen Blank, "Is Russia a Failing State," Forthcoming, Cahiers du Monde Russe et Sovietique.

27. FBIS-SOV, August 19, 1997, see also the section on military reform in "Yel'tsin Launches Controversial Military Reform," CDPP, XLIX, No. 29, August 20, 1997, especially pp. 5-6, and RIA Novosti, October 9, 1997, cited in Johnson's Russia List, October 10, 1997. Rogov, pp. 1-25 and Shlykov's works show how bad the defence budget situation really is. Sergeyev's recent call for a professional army by 2005 underscores that it is already slipping away, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Newsline (Henceforth RFE/RL Newsline), September 12, 1997; Blank, "Playing with Fire," pp. 174-177.

28. Blank, "Towards the Failing State,".

29. Press Conference with the Council for Foreign and Defence Policy, July 10, 1997, from Johnson's Russia List, No. 1035, July 11, 1997; Rogov, p. 31; Grigoriev.

30. Press Conference with the Council for Foreign and Defence Policy, July 10, 1997.

31. Russia Reform Monitor, No. 304, September 2, 1997; U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, Worldwide Submarine Challenges, Washington D.C., USGPO, 1996.

32. Reuters, September 4, 1997; Alexei Arbatov's remarks at the V Annual Conference on Russian Defence Decision-Making and Policy, Monterey Ca. US Naval Postgraduate School, March 25-27, 1997.

33. Blank, "Playing With Fire," pp. 174-177.

34. John Thornhill, "Russia Justifies Rapid Military Upgrade," Financial Times, August 6, 1997, p. 2.

35. Baev, pp. 6-8, 15-17.

36. "Cossack 'Separatism' Reality or Political Ploy", CDPP, XLIX, No. 32, September 10, 1997; Moscow, Russian Television Network, in Russian, September 29, 1997, FBIS-SOV-97-272, September 29, 1997.

37. Tatiana Mastyugina and Lev Perepelkin, An Ethnic History of Russia: Pre-Revolutionary Times to the Present, Vitaly Naumkin and Irina Zviagelskaia Eds., Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997, pp. 160-211.

38. "Kulikov Sends Chechnya Tough Message", Reuters and Interfax, April 29, 1997, Moscow, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in Russian, October 2, 1997, FBIS-SOV-97-277, October 4, 1997.

39. Deborah Yarsike Ball, "How Reliable are Russia's Officers?," Jane's Intelligence Review, May, 1996, pp. 204-207. Since then there have been widespread reports that the soldiers were on the verge of revolt, including statements to this effect by Rodionov when he was defence minister.

40. "Osnovnye Polozhenii Voyennoi Doktriny Rossiyskoy Federatsii," Rossiyskiye Vesti, November 19, 1993.

41. Moscow, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in Russian, January 22, 1997, FBIS-SOV-97-015, January 24, 1997.

42. Bruce Blair, The Logic of Accidental Nuclear War, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1993, and Global Zero Alert for Nuclear Forces, Washington,DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1995, pp. 18-23, pp. 43-72, and his interview with John Newhouse, Europe Adrift, New York, Pantheon Books, 1997, pp. 211-212.

43. Ibidem. As for the reliability of controls see the two works of Bruce Blair cited above.

44. Moscow, Krasnaya Zvezda, in Russian, September 26, 1997, FBIS-SOV-97-269, September 26, 1997.

45. Ibid.

46. Kvashnin's ideas appear in the following interviews, Moscow, Interfaks AiK, in Russian, August 25-31, 1997, FBIS-SOV-97-190-S, October 2, 1997, and 97-265, September 23, 1997; Kaliningrad, Kaliningradskaya Pravda, in Russian, August 31, 1997, Foreign Broadcast Information Service Military Affairs (Henceforth FBIS UMA)-97-259, August 31, 1997.

47. This information is found in the two articles in Moscow, Russkiy Telegraf, in Russian, October 8, 1997, FBIS UMA, 97-282, October 10, 1997.

48. CDPP Oct. 1, 1997, pp. 6-7.

49. Ibid.

50. See Chubays' confirmation of this last point, Moscow, Krasnaya Zvezda, August 29, 1997, FBIS-SOV-97-241, August 29, 1997; and SRF Forces CINC, Colonel General Vladimir Yakovlev's confirmation Moscow, Rossiyskiye Vesti, in Russian, August 19, 1997, FBIS-SOV-97-231, August 19, 1997. The charge was first made by Pavel Felgengauer in Segodnya, "Felgengauer; Pay, Not 'Reform" Is Key for Army," CDPP, XLIX, No. 32, September 10, 1997, pp. 10-11.

51. "Russia Outlines Reform Objectives for Forces," Jane's Defence Weekly, October 1, 1997, p. 4; "Yel'tsin Launches Controversial Military Reform," pp. 1-6.

52. The Monitor, September 8, 1997; Moscow, Krasnaya Zvezda, in Russian, July 3, 1997, FBIS-UMA-97-185, July 4, 1997; Moscow, ITAR-TASS, in English, September 1, 1997, FBIS-UMA-97-244, September 1, 1997; Moscow, RIA, in English, FBIS-UMA-97-244, September 1, 1997.

53. Moscow, Moskovskiy Komsomolets, in Russian, September 1, 1997, FBIS-UMA-97-248, September 5, 1997.

54. Brian Whitmore, "Kremlin Uses President's Men To Cut Region's Powers," St. Petersburg Times, July 28-August 3, 1997, E-Mail from Johnson's Russia List.

55. Vladimir I. Ivanov, "Russia's New Military Doctrine: Implications for Asia," Michael D. Bellows Ed., Asia in the 21st Century: Evolving Strategic Priorities, Washington, DC : Institute for National Security Studies, National Defence University, 1994, p. 223 made this point in 1993 and it still is valid.

56. Thomas Friedman, "Sucked Into the Wrong Vacuum," New York Times, July 14, 1996, p. E17.

57. "Nikolai Fyodorov 'Exempts' His Servicemen From Being Sent to Groznyi," CDPP, XLVII, No. 2, February 8, 1995, p. 23.

58. Philip Hanson, "Regions, Local Power and Economic Change in Russia," Alan Smith, Ed., Challenges for Russian Economic Reform, Washington, DC : Brookings Institution for the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, 1995, p. 26n.

59. Stephen Blank, "The New Russia in the New Asia," International Journal, XLIX, No. 4, Autumn, 1994, pp. 875-877.

60. Andrei Zhukov, "Gubernatorial Elections," Prism, II, No. 2, Part 4, September, 1996.

61. Moscow, Krasnaya Zvezda, in Russian, May 28, 1996, FBIS-SOV- 96-103, May 28, 1996, pp. 29-30.

62. Timothy L. Thomas, "Fault Lines and Factions in the Russian Army," Orbis, XXXIX, No. 4, Fall, 1995, p. 538.

63. Ibid.

64. Jacques Sapir, "What Kind of Armed Forces the Russian Economy Could Support," Paper Presented to the SSI, RAND, University of London, Conference on the Russian Armed Forces, University of London, May 16-18, 1995, pp. 22-23.

65. Ball, pp. 204-207.

66. Sapir, pp. 22-24.

67. Moscow, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in Russian, June 27, 1996, FBIS-SOV-96-139-S, July 18, 1996, p. 80.

68. Moscow, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye (Supplement to Nezavisimaya Gazeta), in Russian, May 30, 1996, FBIS-UMA- 96-138-S, July 17, 1996, pp. 12-17.

69. Ibid.

70. Ibid.

71. Ibid.

72. Ibid.

73. Col. General N.A. Lomov, The Revolution in Military Affairs: A Soviet View, Translated and published under the auspices of the United States Air Force, Washington, DC: USGPO, 1973; John Erickson, Edward L. Crowley and Nikolay Galay, Eds., The Military-Technical Revolution, New York: Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, 1966; William R. Kintner, and Harriet Fast Scott, Translators and Editors, The Nuclear Revolution in Soviet Military Affairs, Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968.

74. Lester W. Grau and Timothy L. Thomas, "A Russian View of Future War: Theory and Direction," Journal of Slavic military Studies, IX, No. 3, September, 1996, pp. 501-518.

75. Moscow, Armeyskiy Sbornik, September, 1996, FBIS-UMA-96-241-S, September 1, 1996; Col. E.G. Korotchenko, "Informatsionno-Psikhologicheskoye Protivoborstvo v Sovremennykh Usloviakh," Voyennaya Mysl', No. 1, January-February, 1996, pp. 22-28.

76. FBIS SOV, September 1, 1996.

77. "Russia's National Interests," Obshchaya Gazeta, August 14, 1997, from Johnson's Russia List,

78. Andrei Piontkovsky, "Power Talk a Shameless Business," St. Petersburg Times, August 11-17, 1997, from Johnson's Russia List,

79. Admiral William T. Owens and Joseph Nye, "America's Information Edge," Foreign Affairs, LXXIV, No. 2, March-April, 1996, pp. 20-36.

Professor Stephen Blank is MacAurthur Professor of Research Strategic Studies Institute, US Army Coillege, Carlisle Barracks, PA. 17013.

The views expressed here do not in anyway represent those of the US Army, Defense Department or Government.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the UK Ministry of Defence