Russian Mistral Purchase Leaves Neighbors Wary

Russian Mistral Purchase Leaves Neighbors Wary

TBILISI, Georgia -- Despite disagreeing over whether France should sell four Mistral-classamphibious vessels to Russia, most Western defense analysts seem tobelieve that the deal will not only happen, but is an item of overblownconcern. However, prevailing opinion in Washington and Brussels standsin sharp contrast to Eastern European capitals, where unease over thesale remains strong and is rooted in very different assumptions overMoscow's intentions.

Many in the West simply do not believethe vessels would significantly alter the balance of power in theregion, pointing to the relatively minor combat capability they wouldadd compared to existing capabilities in Russia's fleet. Proponents andthose indifferent to the deal have also used the poor overall conditionof the Russian fleet as well as the worldwide upswing in the acquisition of similar amphibious platforms to relativize Russia'sintentions. While technically correct, such observations gloss oversome key issues that lie at the heart of Eastern European fears.

Certainly,there is no question that the Russian navy has qualitatively declinedsince the demise of the Soviet Union. And to be sure, even thecomparatively advanced Mistrals do little to address the imminentshortfall in Russian surface warfare assets, such as cruisers,destroyers, frigates and corvettes. From this perspective, the Mistraldoes little to shift the balance of power.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review