go to top
A Russian soldier stands guard near a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system in central Moscow. A Russian soldier stands guard near a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system before a military parade, in central Moscow, May 9, 2020 (Sputnik photo by Evgeny Odinokov via AP).

Russia’s New Nuclear Doctrine: Don’t Mess With Us—But Let’s Talk

Monday, June 22, 2020

For the first time ever, the Russian government has publicly released a document laying out the logic and principles underpinning its approach to nuclear deterrence. Formally titled “Fundamentals of Russian State Nuclear Deterrence Policy,” the report was approved by President Vladimir Putin and posted on the government’s official information web portal on June 2. Previous iterations of Russia’s deterrence policy, such as the one associated with the updated military doctrine it unveiled in 2010, were alluded to in public, but never published.

Why did Russia decide to publish its deterrence policy now? In part, it could be to dispel alleged Western misperceptions about when Russia might use nuclear weapons, specifically the Pentagon’s assessment that Moscow would threaten to use nuclear weapons—or actually do so—to intimidate an adversary into yielding in a major crisis. Previously referred to as “escalate to de-escalate,” U.S. officials currently describe this strategy as “escalate to win,” and have used it to justify developing U.S. low-yield nuclear weapons options to counter it. ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.