The defense comprises 845,000 men, of which just over half are conscripts with an initial service of 12 months. The reserves, which have been trained since 2000, amount to 2.0 million people. The strategic starting point is the political and military threat; According to official documents, the threats consist of the situation in the immediate neighborhood as well as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but not threats from foreign states. President Putin emphasized in a speech in June 2005, taking into account the final point that the Russian Federation must be able to respond to other states’ political and military actions.
Since 2008, important parts of the defense have been based on contracted personnel. However, set goals here have far from been achieved both for financial and location-dependent reasons. The long-standing war in Chechnya has played a major role.
Until December 1988, the Soviet Union underwent a continuous upgrading and modernization of the Armed Forces with priority on the nuclear weapons. The lack of official figures makes it difficult to judge how much of the GDP went to defense purposes. An ordinary assessment was at least 15%. A historical reorientation, which can be summed up as a strategic retreat from Europe and Asia, began with President Gorbachev’s speech at the UN in December 1988. Fundamental was the economic situation of the Soviet Union. Milestones from 1989 on the road that led the last Russian soldier to leave the eastern part of Germany (formerly the GDR) in August 1994 and at the same time the three Baltic states were 1) the 4 + 2 agreement between the victorious forces in World War II and the two German states; 2) Germany’s Unification 1990; 3) the CFE Agreement (1990) and 4) the Warsaw Pact and later in 1991 5) the dissolution of the Soviet Union. To this should be added 6) the bilateral nuclear agreement START 1 (1991) between the United States and the Soviet Union, which reduced before 2003 more than 2/3 of the strategic nuclear weapons to a maximum of 3,500 warheads per state, of which a maximum of 1,750 were submarines.. In April 2010, US and Russian Federation presidents in Prague signed an extension of START 1.
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According to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Russia ratified in 1997, all chemical weapons would have been destroyed in 2013. At this point, however, nearly 25 percent of the original stocks are still expected to have been destroyed.
A change in relations with the United States, Europe and NATO was made on May 27, 1997, when a decision was made to expand NATO eastward and to invite the Russian Federation to join a new Euro-Asian Partnership Council. This means that the Russian Federation may participate in the Council of Ministers, and with the ambassador and liaison officers, but without veto rights. The old NATO’s mission, according to its First Secretary-General Lord Ismay, “to keep the Russians out, the Americans inside and the Germans down” is replaced by the “new Russians” in the new NATO, that is, involved in European security.
The three states that became full members from 1999 – the same year that NATO celebrated 50 years – are Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. In 2004, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania were added. This new situation led to the “basic principles of the Russian Federation’s military doctrine” adopted in 1993 being renewed. Its basic features are firm and fit well into a more professionally designed defense force. General military duty that gradually moves to selective, space-based information systems, strategic new weapons systems with nuclear warheads, long-range operational missile systems, aircraft and combat vehicles, as well as research and development are prioritized. The number of fighter aircraft amounts to 1,580 and is of good class internationally. Large quantities of older material are scrapped or shipped. The development of combat forces is thus largely in line with the west. The immediately deployed combat forces are composed of air, naval and naval infantry associations as well as air landing divisions. Other mobile forces are given high mobility and the ability to behave autonomously.
The base situation in the Baltic Sea has radically changed. The military importance of the Kaliningrad area in the Baltic Sea has therefore increased. The strategic value of the coal area for the Russian Federation as a military superpower remains at at least the same level as before, which means that most of the submarine-based nuclear weapons are there while the operational center of gravity has now moved to the south-east crisis area.
The strategic forces including navy and aircraft (2013) amount to 80,000 men, including 11 nuclear-weapon submarines, 620 strategic intercontinental missiles with 2,787 warheads and 80 strategic nuclear-carrying aircraft. The army, 205,000 men, is organized with 18 army brigades, seven tip Nazi brigades and more. In total, about 11,200 tanks are disposed of. The Navy, 130,000 men, has 45 tactical submarines, 33 larger battleships and 82 patrol boats and is supported by a Marine Air Force of 28,000 men with 104 fighter aircraft and naval infantry of 209,000 men with 560 tanks. In addition to the 1,390 fighter aircraft, the Air Force, 148,000 men, also has strategic aircraft.
Operationally, the defense is distributed over the surface so that in Sweden’s immediate area there is an all-round combat group of 11,600 men in the Kaliningrad area with a brigade and a naval infantry brigade. Leningrad’s military area has 34,000 men, 300 tanks, a naval infantry brigade and 260 fighters. The Northern Navy has seven strategic submarines, one aircraft carrier and ten major battleships. The Baltic Sea Navy has two submarines and six larger battleships. Defense costs (2012) amount to 4.5% of GDP.
The Russian Federation has military units located in Armenia (3,500 men), on the occupied peninsula of Crimea in Ukraine (13,000 men), in the Caspian Sea (Navy fleet, 5,000 men), in Kyrgyzstan (500 men), in Syria (150 man) and in Tajikistan (5,000 men). In addition, the Russian Federation has bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia (7,000 men) who proclaim themselves independent of Georgia and in Transnistria (1,500 men) who proclaim themselves independent of Moldova. It has UN observers in Ivory Coast, Liberia, UNTSO (Middle East surveillance), Sudan and South Sudan.
Russia has a post-selection military service, with initial service of 12 months. Russia is a member of NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). In 2002, a separate NATO-Russia Cooperation Council was established (NATO-Russia Council, NCR).
Russia’s total force is 900,000 active personnel, with a reserve of about 2,000,000 (2018, IISS). In addition, 554,000 are semi-military, of which about 160,000 are border guards and about 340,000 are in the national guard.
Russia has strategic nuclear forces that include ballistic missiles that can be fired from submarines, land-based (including mobile) silos and launch ramps, and aircraft with air-to-ground missiles.
The Army has about 280,000 active personnel, including conscripts. Of materiel, the Army has 2750 tanks (of which 1950 are T-72, 450 T-80, 350 T-90, 350, 1,600 clearing vehicles, 5,140 storm tanks, over 6,100 armored vehicles and 1610 self-propelled artillery. In addition, the Army has armored fighters, heavy artillery, ballistic missiles (short-range), cruise missiles, long-range anti-aircraft missiles, anti-aircraft artillery, and heavy and light drones.
The Air Force has a personnel force of about 165,000 active personnel, and about 45,000 airborne troops. Materials include 222 fighter jets (70 MiG-29, 92 MiG-31 and 60 Su-27), 482 fighter aircraft (70 Su-24, 66 Su-27, 112 Su-34, 50 MiG-29, 111 Su-30 and 73 Su-35), 194 attack aircraft of the type Su-25, 139 bomber (63 Tu-22, 60 Tu-95, and 16 Tu-160), 87 Surveillance and reconnaissance, 31 ELINT aircraft, 18 AEW & C aircraft, 15 tankers, 427 transport aircraft, 227 training aircraft (120 L-39 Albatros and 107 Jak-130), and over 800 helicopters, of which over 375 combat helicopters (100 Mi-24, 117 Ka-52, about 90 Mi -28, and over 60 Mi-35). In addition, the Air Force has long range missiles and medium-heavy drones.
The airborne forces have around 45,000 active personnel. Materials include 60 T-72 tanks, 20 storm tanks, 776 armored personnel vehicles, 1291 airborne combat vehicles, and about 136 armored fighters. In addition, the airborne forces have medium-heavy artillery and air defense artillery.
The Navy has a combined personnel force of about 150,000 active personnel, including conscripts. Materials include 58 submarines, of which ten are strategic, one aircraft carrier of the Kusnetsov class, four cruisers, 16 fighters, 14 frigates, 49 corvettes, 56 patrol vessels, 43 minesweepers and mineships, 48 landings, and 267 logistics and auxiliary vessels.
The Navy has its own infantry, with a staff of about 35,000, 300 tanks, 1061 storm tanks and 400 armored personnel vehicles.
The Navy also has its own aircraft with a personnel strength of about 31,000. Materials include 67 fighter jets, 85 fighter jets, five attack aircraft, 44 anti-submarine aircraft, 17 reconnaissance and patrol aircraft, 49 transport aircraft and 92 helicopters, of which 56 rescue helicopters.
The strategic nuclear forces
The strategic nuclear forces have about 80,000 personnel, including Navy and Air Force personnel, and the arsenal includes 334 nuclear intercontinental missiles, 10 submarines and 76 bombers.
Russia has about 554 000 semi-military forces. These include the National Guard, with a personnel force of about 340,000, 1,650 storm tanks and armored personnel vehicles, 29 transport aircraft and 71 helicopters, and federal border guards, with a personnel force of about 160,000, 1,000 storm tanks and armored personnel vehicles, three frigates, 191 patrol vessels, – and auxiliary vessels, 86 transport aircraft and about 200 helicopters.
Forces outside Russia
Russia has stationed forces in several former Soviet republics. An agreement on sharing the Black Sea Fleet with Ukraine was signed in 1997. In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula.
Russia has forces in Armenia (3300 personnel, including 74 tanks and 18 fighter jets), in Georgia (7,000 personnel, with bases in Abkhazia and in South Ossetia), in Kyrgyzstan (about 500 personnel, 13 attack aircraft, two helicopters), in Moldova (around 1500 personnel), in Syria (5000 personnel) and Tajikistan (5000 personnel). In addition in Ukraine (28,000 personnel in the Crimean Peninsula, and 3,000 reported in Donetsk and Luhansk)
Russia also has radar stations in Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Russia participated in the 2018 UN operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) with two personnel and 14 observers, in the Middle East (UNTSO) with five observers, in Sudan (UNISFA) with one observer, in South Sudan (UNMISS) with three personnel and two observers, and in Western Sahara (MINURSO) with 16 observers.