Global Insights: Russia’s New Military Doctrine Reaffirms Old Values

At a Feb. 5 session of the Russian Security Council, President Dmitry Medvedev finally approved Russia's updated comprehensive military doctrine, which was published on the president's Kremlin Web site the following day. But notwithstanding a lengthy period of discussion and consideration, and despite all the developments of the past decade -- including the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Georgia -- the latest version generally supports the same policies as the previous military doctrine adopted in 2000.

The doctrine depicts Russia as the target of increasing military threats emanating from NATO collectively and its members individually. It also expresses unease at the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile technologies, the advent of conventional high-precision weapons capable of achieving results previously requiring nuclear weapons, the militarization of outer space, territorial claims against Russia and its allies (as well as interference in their internal affairs), and the spread of global terrorism, interethnic tensions, religious extremism, separatism, and other sources of international tensions.

Russia's 2010 military doctrine expresses particular dissatisfaction with NATO, complaining about the growth of NATO military infrastructure close to Russia's border as well as the alliance's alleged efforts to acquire "global functions in contravention of international law." NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, attending this year's Munich Security Conference, professed to be taken aback by the depiction of the alliance as Russia's primary security threat, and insisted that "this new doctrine does not reflect the real world" because "NATO is not an enemy of Russia."

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