Russian History


Political Principles

The first main section of the doctrine describes the Russian Federation's attitude toward armed conflicts, and how the armed forces and security troops are to be used in them. It defines what the Russian Federation perceives as the military danger to it, the sociopolitical principles supporting military security, and national policy for ensuring military security. The underlying goal of the principles is to maintain domestic and international political stability on the borders while the Russian Federation is consolidating itself. In describing this goal, the doctrine makes no reference to defending an ideology or the gains of previous years, as was standard practice in all Soviet military doctrines.

Peace on the borders, especially in and among the newly independent republics of the former Soviet Union, is part of the defensive strategy. The only departure from this self-interested approach is a stated willingness to participate in international peacekeeping efforts. In 1996 Russian participation in the Bosnian Peace Implementation Force (IFOR) was justified by this clause in the military doctrine.

The military doctrine retains no vestige of the international activism that pervaded its Marxist-Leninist (see Glossary) antecedents. Resolution of internal Russian economic, political, and social problems is the principal order of business. The only formal international obligations that are recognized are formal treaty obligations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS--see Glossary); the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), since 1995 known as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE--see Glossary); and those resulting from membership in the United Nations (UN). The document does not refer to the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE Treaty--see Glossary), which in the 1990s is a key constraint on Russia's deployment of military forces in certain areas.

The paramount goal of this interim doctrine is to protect Russia from attack in the weakened condition in which it has found itself in the 1990s. The principal threats to the Russian Federation are defined as wars and armed conflicts on the Russian borders, the potential employment of weapons of mass destruction against the Russian Federation or on its borders, the buildup of armed forces along Russian borders, or physical attacks on Russian installations or territories. The term "installations" refers to Soviet-era bases in the newly independent former Soviet republics that continue to be garrisoned by Russian troops. (The last Russian troops in Central Europe left Germany in August 1994.)