Russian Military Capability in a Ten-Year Perspective - A Renewed Appraisement 2002


  • Leijonhielm Jan (projektledare)
  • Clevström Jenny
  • Knoph Jan
  • Nilsson P-O
  • Oldberg Ingmar
  • Unge Wilhelm
  • Vendil Pallin Carolina

Publish date: 2003-01-01

Report number: FOI-R--0811--SE

Pages: 213

Written in: Swedish


This study, commissioned by the Swedish Defences and appraises the Russian military capability in a ten-year perspective. It assumes, like the earlier studies made in 1998 and 2000, that military capability is determined by the development of Russian society. Therefore, the Russian Armed Forces, WMD, military R&D and military industry are studied together with sectors that influence this capability: Russian democratisation, domestic and foreign policy, civil-military relations and economy. The conclusions are then applied to two examples of future development. These are intended to illustrate the scope of possible outcomes. Thus, one example proceeds from assumptions of successful democratisation and favourable economic development while the other assumes an isolated Russia that is moving towards authoritarianism. Between 2000 and 2002, weak democracy together with corruption, centralisation and increased influence for the security structures are worrying. However, there are positive tendencies as well. Putin has overcome several dead- locks that existed under Yeltsin and his political position is stable. Russian foreign policy is oriented towards the US and Europe, albeit with the clear goal of preserving its influence within the sphere of the CIS. Overall, the economic development has been favourable. The defence budget grew considerably in 2002. This does not necessarily imply that military capability increased. The Armed Forces continued to struggle with considerable problems concerning both personnel and equipment. However, military reform has gained new impetus. In a ten-year perspective, Russia will probably be able to create smaller but more efficient and modern Armed Forces.