Russia's Baltic Sea Fleet - Development and Missions


  • Ingmar Oldberg

Publish date: 2008-07-03

Report number: FOI-R--2543--SE

Pages: 57

Written in: Swedish


  • Russia
  • Baltic Sea
  • Baltiisk
  • development
  • mission
  • doctrine
  • structure
  • submarines
  • air force
  • economy
  • crisis
  • exercises


The report showa that Russia´s Baltic Sea Fleet during its 300 years of history scored its greatest victories against Sweden and the Ottoman Empire the 18th and 19th centuries, but it has mostly avoided battle or lost against the modern great powers Great Britain, Germany and Japan. Not even in wars against Finland has it contributed much. At the end of the Tsarist period and during the Cold War, when Russia/The Soviet Union held a major part of the Baltic Sea coast, the Baltic Fleet was built up for offensive operations, but it did not came to great use. In both case there were instead political breakdowns at the centre of power. As a result of the demise of the Soviet Union and NATO´s eastern enlargement the Russian Baltic Fleet was pushed back into the Gulf of Finland as in the interwar period, plus the exposed Kaliningrad exclave. On top of this came the Russian economic crisis during the 1990s, which imposed drastic force reductions, not least in the Baltic Sea Fleet. Afteer the turn of the century, when the Russian economy had recovered, the Baltic Sea Fleet has stabilised and its preparedness improved. While the Northern and Pacific Fleets mainly serve to defend Russia´s strategic great power interests in the world ocean, the main task of the Baltic Fleet nowadays is to safeguard Russia´s growing economic interests, especially its vital energy exports across the Baltic. This interest is certainly shared by Putin, now prime minister, and the new President Medvedev, who both hail from S:t Petersburg.