Russian History


The Doctrine of 1993

Although it is verbose and highly theoretical, the 1993 military doctrine contains important indicators of policy under various scenarios. It is the statement of the military policy of the Russian government, arrived at after long and intense debate among all interested parties, whose input reflects their relative political power. Russian military doctrine is roughly the equivalent of a formal statement of the military policy of a presidential administration in the United States.

The official Russian definition of military doctrine is "a nation's officially accepted system of scientifically founded views on the nature of modern wars and the use of armed forces in them, and also on the requirement arising from these views regarding the country and its armed forces being made ready for war." Military doctrine answers these five basic questions for the Russian armed forces: Who is the enemy in a probable war? What is the probable character of a war, and what will be its aims and tasks? What forces will be necessary to fulfill these tasks, and what direction will military development follow? How should preparation for war be carried out? What will be the means of warfare?

The demise of the Soviet Union made the formulation of a new military doctrine to replace that of the Gorbachev regime an obvious necessity. However, urgent political questions delayed the onset of deliberation on a new doctrine until May 1992. From that time, completion of the doctrine required seventeen months, much of which was filled with acrimonious debate. In November 1993, the final version was approved by the Russian Federation's Security Council and signed by President Boris N. Yeltsin as Decree Number 1833 (see The Security Council, ch. 8).

Although the full doctrine text had not been published as of mid-1996, detailed accounts have been released to the public. According to these summaries, the document includes three main sections, entitled political principles, military principles, and military-technical and economic principles.

The introduction to the 1993 military doctrine defines the document as an interim policy covering the period of transition from the Soviet Union to the establishment of Russian statehood and the emergence of a new form of international relations. The interim period is defined as continuing from the time of adoption to 2000.

From 1993 until 1996, the primary goal was to restructure and reduce the armed forces as units were withdrawn from locations outside Russia. The remaining four years would be devoted to conversion from a purely conscript personnel base to a mixed (conscript and voluntary) system, together with the creation of a new military infrastructure.