Russian Military Capability in a Ten-Year Perspective – 2011


  • Carolina Vendil Pallin
  • Bengt-Göran Bergstrand
  • Märta Carlsson
  • Jakob Hedenskog
  • Johan Norberg
  • Susanne Oxenstierna
  • Roger Roffey
  • Fredrik Westerlund

Publish date: 2012-09-10

Report number: FOI-R--3474--SE

Pages: 186

Written in: English


  • Russia
  • CIS
  • military capability
  • Armed Forces
  • democracy
  • security policy
  • economy
  • defence economy
  • energy
  • R&D
  • weapons of mass destruction
  • foreign
  • policy
  • domestic policy
  • nuclear arms
  • chemical weapons
  • biological weapons
  • doctrine
  • defence industry
  • procurement
  • defence exports
  • Putin
  • Medvedev


Russia intends to increase its conventional military capability and correspondingly plans to increase its defence budget in both relative and absolute terms. If the Russian political and military leadership is successful in this ambition, the overall military capability of Russia could increase significantly as early as in 2020. The Armed Forces that emerge at the other end of this process will look radically different compared to the military that Russia sent to war in Georgia in 2008. Russia has started to abandon an army based on mobilisation in favour of a military organisation that is smaller but better able to respond quickly to the military challenges that Russia might expect. Russia's development of its military capability will, however, not be dependent only on the military reform process and goals set by the military leadership. Economic, political, demographic and industry-related factors will decide how quickly and how successfully Russia can push forward towards creating a stronger and more modern military. In a ten-year perspective, Russia will remain dependent on nuclear arms - both strategic and tactical - for its military security. During the next two to five years, the Armed Forces will be undergoing restructuring and reorganisation in order to develop new capabilities. Their conventional capability could decline somewhat during this process, but this will be a temporary set-back in order to build a more effective organisation and greater military capability.

Share page on social media