|GENERAL GAREYEV: RUSSIA CHANGING ITS
MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti military commentator Viktor Litovkin)
The Academy of Military Sciences will hold a conference in the Defense
Ministry in Moscow on January 20. Its president, Army General Makhmut
Gareyev, will deliver a report on Russia’s new military doctrine.
Military leaders and academics will discuss the changes and amendments to
this key document, which will be presented to the military community.
General Gareyev discusses the new doctrine in an interview with Viktor
Question: Why is Russia going to adopt a new military doctrine? What new
features will it have? Why does it concern the Academy of Military
Sciences, a public organization?
Answer: The creation of a new military doctrine has been prompted by
considerable changes in the geopolitical and military-political situation,
as well as in the nature of the threats to security that have emerged
since the endorsement of the current doctrine in 2000. We have now
specified the tasks facing the military and other defense forces. The
government system, the social and economic standards, and the demographic
situation have also changed.
Moreover, some provisions of the current doctrine have become obsolete.
They do not reflect recent developments and do not help enhance national
security. This is why we have to draw up and make into law new views on
our national defense.
The military doctrine embodies the government’s views on ensuring the
country’s security, resisting threats, and preventing wars and armed
conflicts; it reflects official ideas on military development and on
preparing the nation and its armed forces to defend the fatherland. The
doctrine also deals with ways of conducting armed (and other) conflicts in
the nation’s defense.
Russian President Vladimir Putin charged military leaders with the task of
formulating a new military doctrine in June 2005. This task cannot be
resolved without a new concept of national security. It would be helpful
if the military community and authorities from the Academy of Military
Sciences had their say on this question. In the 1920s, the whole nation
and the army were discussing the military doctrine and the program of
military reform suggested by Mikhail Frunze. Not only political and
military leaders but also rank-and-file soldiers and citizens understood
what the doctrine was all about.
I believe that the military doctrine, which is the government’s
declaration of its defense policy, should be openly presented to the
nation and the rest of the world. We are not going to hide anything or
intrigue against anyone.
Q: What is the gist of the military doctrine?
A: We must analyze what threatens Russia’s security and what we should
do to provide for an adequate defense. We should then define what military
organization we need in order to neutralize and repel potential threats.
We should define potential ways of using our armed forces and other
troops, as well as the types of wars and armed conflicts that we could
encounter today and up to the year 2015. This will determine the direction
of military training and education. The main point is that we should know
how to prepare the nation for defense, primarily in the economic,
military-political, and moral arenas.
It is necessary to avoid excessive emphasis on politics and ideology,
instead concentrating on practical efforts to build up defenses.
Ecological and energy factors will be the main causes of political and
military conflicts in the next 10-15 years. Some states will try to
control the energy resources of others, as happened in Iraq, while others
will have no choice but to resist or die. Sooner or later, the world
community will have to limit, regulate, and drastically change the scale
and nature of production.
If the UN, other world organizations, the governments of leading
countries, and major multinational corporations fail to regulate
production and consumption, the survival of many nations may be in peril.
Political, economic, or armed confrontation could occur as a result. The
huge gap between the living standards of the “golden billion” and the
rest of the world might lead to terrorism and a war of “everyone against
everyone.” This is one of the potential threats to our security.
Needless to say, poverty is not the only cause of terrorism. North Korea
and Cuba are poor countries, but they have not produced terrorists. Those
who attacked the U.S. in 2001 were far from being poor.
Nevertheless, the character of threats will largely depend upon the
world’s future political structure. It is becoming increasingly obvious
that even such a superpower as the United States cannot cope with its
self-assumed burden of leadership and responsibility. Its Democratic Party
is not the only domestic force that suggests sharing this burden with
other leading powers.
Reality and pragmatism should motivate even the thickest Congressmen to
think once again about which is better: to treat Russia as a partner, or
as an enemy that must be neutralized. It is perfectly obvious that not a
single serious issue in the modern world can be resolved without Russia.
We don’t need confrontation with the U.S., or with the West, or the
It is abundantly clear that there is no alternative to a multi-polar world
with major centers of influence (the U.S., European Union, Russia, China,
and India). The current alignment of the world’s forces makes it more
rational for Russia to cooperate – while always relying on the UN –
with NATO, the OSCE, EU, China, India and other interested countries, in
order to persistently resist confrontation-prone politics in the world
arena and seek the adoption of international legal standards that would
ban aggression against other countries. In a multi-polar world, other
interested countries and organizations could support a campaign for a
fundamental improvement in international relations.
The analysis of trends in the development of the world situation suggests
that Washington’s political course will inevitably lead to confrontation
with many countries. Under the circumstances, Russia will have to act as a
geopolitical arbiter for objective reasons. On the one hand, it is
necessary to show restraint in defining and upholding national interests.
A country should be tough only when it comes to its vital interests. On
the other hand, national interests should not be underestimated.
Otherwise, opportunities for economic development and the use of
geopolitical factors will be limited. At the same time, the postwar years
showed that extreme and unrealistic conceptions of national interests and
attempts to defend them at all costs engendered confrontational foreign
policy and military doctrines, undermined economies, and totally destroyed
those misinterpreted national goals. We should not allow this to happen.
Q: What threats to Russian security will be covered by the new military
doctrine? What will the armed forces have to do in this context?
A: This is one of the most complicated questions and the one where
opinions differ the most. There are two approaches to the problem. The
first one is included in the new doctrine, which is oriented only to
military threats and means of resisting them militarily. The advocates of
the second approach suggest proceeding from the fundamental
military-political changes in the world and taking into account a broad
range of military and other threats, for instance, in politics, diplomacy,
the economy and information. The Soviet Union’s disintegration,
Yugoslavia’s collapse, and “color” revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine,
and Kyrgyzstan make it plain that the main threats are carried out not so
much militarily as by covert methods.
This leads to the conclusion that military and non-military threats should
be viewed as an integral whole. Social, political, economic, territorial,
religious, national and ethnic disputes between regions and states remain
the main potential causes of an aggravation of the military-political
situation in Russia.
To begin with, if we were to generalize about the numerous and versatile
threats we face today, the list would include above all the efforts of
certain international forces and leading countries to encroach on
Russia’s sovereignty and prejudice its economic and other interests;
different forms of political and informational pressure and subversion, as
was the case in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan; and territorial claims
along the entire length of our borders. The threat to energy security is
becoming particularly serious for us. Top NATO leaders view even a change
in prices for energy resources as a kind of aggression. Hence, our task is
to prevent, localize and neutralize such threats by political, diplomatic,
economic, informational, and other non-military methods.
Secondly, the use of nuclear arms and the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction continue to threaten Russia. The nuclear weapons of all major
nuclear powers are ultimately designed to be used against Russia, whether
we want to admit it or not. In this context, the task of curbing a
potential aggressor by means of a strategic nuclear deterrent is becoming
more important than in the past.
Thirdly, there are military threats to Russia, including a risk of armed
conflicts and even a large-scale war. The leading powers are clearly
trying to leap towards military-technical predominance; powerful armed
formations on Russia’s borders are sharply upsetting the military
balance. NATO is expanding its sphere of operations and intends to act on
a global scale.
At home, the most dangerous threats are terrorism and separatism, which
are usually provoked from outside to disrupt Russia’s unity and
In this context, the military doctrine should provide for the readiness of
the armed forces and other troops to carry out combat missions in local
armed conflicts and counterterrorist operations, and to be mobilized for
large-scale regional wars.
The world’s leading countries (Russia, China, the U.S. and other NATO
members) face common threats that can only be neutralized by common
efforts. In view of this, the Russian military doctrine should contain
provisions that align it with the military doctrines of other countries,
particularly in the fight against terrorism.
Transnational dangers can only be resisted by transnational mechanisms. It
is also possible to demarcate zones of responsibility between NATO and the
CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization].
Q: What do you think about the doctrine’s provision on a possible first
strike using nuclear arms?
A: Future wars are likely to be conducted with high-precision conventional
arms in the context of a permanent nuclear threat. If Russia is faced with
an extremely unfavorable alignment of forces in all strategic directions,
nuclear weapons will remain the most important and reliable strategic
deterrent against foreign aggression.
At the same time, the effectiveness of nuclear weapons should not be
overestimated. It would be wrong to assume that Russia’s security is
guaranteed as long as it has nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union had nuclear
arms, but it does not exist anymore. These weapons are not universal. They
cannot be used in such conflicts as in Chechnya, or to neutralize
economic, information, and other forms of aggression.
Now that the potential of our space-based weapons, missile warning system,
and strategic nuclear force has decreased, we may not be capable even of
effective retaliation against a potential enemy, not to mention a
launch-under-attack strike. Therefore, we should maintain and build up our
nuclear deterrent. The doctrine should also pay attention to the
development of general-purpose forces: the air force, navy, and ground
troops. Russia has a vast territory, and it will not be able to cope
without strong general-purpose forces if it has to deal with an invasion
by ground troops of a potential enemy in the east and south.
The new military doctrine pays attention to the transformation of the
armed forces, the development of an integrated air and space defense
system, the use of contact and non-contact methods of warfare, the conduct
of active pre-emptive strikes, and other vital issues of military
development, including the formation of mixed units and detachments
consisting of professionals and draftees, all of which simply cannot be
described in a short interview.
Nevertheless, the new doctrine will be based on the concept of active
defense. The Russian president will endorse it in line with our
Constitution. But it will become viable only when it wins the support of
the military community and public, and when it unites the majority of our
people, who are not indifferent to the fate of our homeland.