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russian-navy

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									                                                                                                                                    the standard Western maritime powers by virtue of        similar vein, the RFN is making every effort to maintain
                                                                                                                                    its geographic and strategic circumstances, its way of   and extend its forward diplomatic presence in the
                                                                                                                                    government and what some have termed the Russian         Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the Far East.1
                                                                                                                                    way of warfare. The old Soviet Navy certainly started
                                                                                                                                    differently, especially with its initial emphasis on     But whether such activity should really be seen as
                                                                                                                                    submarines and aircraft rather than large warships,      evidence of the imminent re-appearance of a powerful




            The Russian Navy
                                                                                                                                    and its different terminology and ways of doing          and global navy despite the ambitious declaratory
                                                                                                                                    business. But during the Cold War there was a gradual    plans occasionally announced in Moscow is open
                                                                                                                                    process of convergence as Soviet practices began to      to considerable doubt. Over the past 15 years or so,
                                                                                                                                    seem to mirror Western ones. So there is room for        the RFN has not been spared from the neglect that
                                                                                                                                    debate about the standards against which we should       was so obvious from the lumbering performance of
                                                                                                                                    be judging Russian naval aspirations and performance     Russian forces in Georgia, much of their hardware is
            Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies                                                                              and what we should think about what they say and do.     antiquated and rusty and recent customers of Russian
                                                                                                                                                                                             military equipment – such as India- have frequently
                                                                                                                                    During the Cold War, the famous RUKUS [Russia,           complained of unexpected price hikes, delays in
                                                                                                                                    UK, US] talks launched in 1989 were an attempt to        production and poor quality.
                                                                                                                                    understand Soviet thinking and practice rather better
            The Corbett Centre launched its first naval roundtable of a dozen experts on 23 march 2009.This initiative was          and to seek an improvement in maritime relations.        The RFN certainly faces a major problem in the
            inspired by our general interest in navies, the way they work, the effect they have on the strategic context in         These linkages have developed, and now include           Black Sea area where their leases on port facilities
            which they operate. Navies are often windows into national policy. Their size and shape, what they say, have            France; they have become less academic in tone           at Sebastopol are up for renewal with the Ukrainian
            and do, tell us about national foreign policy purposes. They represent state resources so they tell us about the        and composition and are now more of a venue for          authorities in 2017. The current Ukrainian regime is
            financial and institutional strengths and weaknesses of the state and the people they serve.                            practitioners to come together. Perhaps it is time to    most unlikely to renew this agreement. The Black
                                                                                                                                    revive the original idea?                                Sea Fleet is weak, and its strategic position exposed.
                                                                                                                                                                                             Russia’s apparently perverse up-grading of its facilities
                                                                                                                                    The future trajectory of the RFN may also be             (such as the Black Sea Fleet sailor’s Club] in the area,
            We thought the Russian Federation Navy particularly         Russian analysts often refer to the                         deduced from a look at the evolution of Russia’s         and support for the legions of Russian military who
            interesting because Russian naval developments may                                                                      National Security Concept, Military Doctrine and         have retired to the area, should probably be seen as
            give us insights into the country’s future trajectory.      country’s ‘exceptionalism...This                            Maritime Doctrine. The identification of the US and      largely as part of a political campaign to prevent the
            This is of great concern to the rest of us Europeans                                                                    NATO as the principal military threats to Russia, the    Ukraine from ‘going West’ for fear of its consequence
            because Russia remains a major, if sometimes rather
                                                                        may well be especially the case                             associated stress on preparation for high intensity      for the near abroad, and indeed for Russia itself.
            neglected, factor in our local strategic environment.       when it comes to defining the                               conflict, and the placing of the navy and air force,     Nor should the emotional importance of the base,
            Recent headlines over the past couple of weeks                                                                          behind the strategic nuclear forces but ahead of the     founded by Catherine the Great to act as a gateway
            indicate an on-going debate about whether                   roles of the Navy.                                          army is worthy of note. The increasing stress on the     to the south in rather the manner that Petersburg was
            Russia is likely to be a partner or a competitor,                                                                       importance of the Arctic likewise suggests increasing    expected to do in the Baltic be forgotten.
            raising questions about its likely trajectory and its                                                                   prominence for the Navy.
            implications for Europe. Will Russia prove a full partner   Alongside this, some commentators have discerned                                                                     The Roundtable came to no conclusions about the
            or will its attempt to preserve its ‘sovereign space        some stirrings of the bear, quite apart from its invasion   As far as the actual performance of the RFN is           extent of a prospective Russian naval revival, although
            in the international system’ lead to rivalry, a lack of     of Georgia. Russia’s evident military interest in           concerned the its forces were actively involved in       most were sceptical that this would be dramatic in the
            cooperation and political conflict?                         Venezuela and its recent exercises with China imply a       the invasion of Georgia, sinking Georgian ships,         foreseeable future. We did, however, resolve to follow
                                                                        rooted dislike of what it sees as Western containment       attacking Georgian ports and supporting landing          this session up with further studies. The topic clearly
            The Russian economy is in a bad state as a result of the    of Russia in Europe and an American-dominated               operations in the classic Soviet manner in the Black     deserves more attention than it is currently getting.
            frailties of fast track capitalism in an age of recession   international system. The Kuznetsov has been active,        Sea theatre of the Great Patriotic War. But, recently,
            and excess reliance on high commodity prices for oil        long-range Bear flights have resumed in the North           they have shown a much greater concern for the           Moreover the format of this session – small groups of
            and gas. The Ruble is down 35% against the dollar,          Atlantic and the North Pacific, new submarines have         defence of shipping than they did then, In recent        selected and invited people worked well and will be
            the Russian stock market lost 75% of its value through      been ordered, and their seem to be plans for a military     months, the nuclear battle cruiser Pyotr Velikiy, the    repeated, alongside larger more orthodox gatherings
            2008 and the official forecast for 2009 is a -6% growth     upgrade from 2011 which concentrates on the Navy            frigate Neustrashimy and the destroyers Admiral          on this and other topics of concern.
            in GDP. Past deficiencies in defence procurement            and the Air Forces.                                         Vinogradov and Admiral Panteleyev have been active
            remain and many in the military resist reform. This                                                                     in the troubled waters off Somalia defending Russian     1
                                                                                                                                                                                              Further details of this are available in �ee Willett‘ The
            is all likely to mean that despite financial forecasts,     Russian analysts often refer to the country’s               and other flagged merchant shipping against pirate       Navy in Russia’s ‘Resurgence’ RUSI Journal February
            the Russians will be less able to spend on defence          ‘exceptionalism,’ arguing that while all the above may      attack. Russian naval forces have not been subsumed      2009. Dr Willett was one of the Roundtable experts.
            unless its rulers see such expenditure as a way of          be true, Russia should not be judged by the standards       within Operation Atalanta or CTF 150 or 151, but their
            re-invigorating the economy and compensating for            of other countries. This may well be especially the         ships have participated in joint operations against
            Russia’s present financial weakness.                        case when it comes to defining the roles of the Navy.       pirates with the Indian and Royal Navies and they do
                                                                        Russian naval experience is radically different from        attend regular coordination meetings in Bahrain. In




2 Corbett Centre                                                                                                                                                                                              Russian Navy Seminar Report         Corbett Centre 3

								
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