General Gareyev: Russia changing its military doctrine


MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti commentator Viktor Litovkin) Part 2 of the interview with General Gareyev.

Part 1 was posted on January 17, 2007.

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 territorial integrity.

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.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

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