Russian Strategy Seeks to Defy Economic Decline with Military Bravado

Russian troops meet the New Year in Syria.

President Vladimir Putin concluded 2015 with the approval of a revised National Security Strategy, which defines the strengthening of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a threat and commits to countering it by securing the unity of Russian society and by building up the country’s defense capabilities. In the course of the past year, Russia entered into a complex and self-propelling crisis—and the Kremlin’s only anti-crisis response has been to exploit the confrontation with the West as a means of sustaining “patriotic” mobilization and explaining away Russia’s deepening decline by pointing to hostile outside pressure. The new Strategy is more frank than the previous edition in defining the increase of NATO military activity and building of a missile defense system as “unacceptable.” At the same time, it is also dishonest, claiming the expansion of a “network of US military-biological labs in the states bordering Russia.” Finally, it is self-complimentary, describing Moscow’s foreign policy as “open, rational and pragmatic,” as well as out of touch with reality by asserting that “Russia’s economy showed a capacity for strengthening its potential despite the instability of the world economy” and the enforcement of sanctions (, December 31, 2015).


The full text of the article is in Eurasia Daily Monitor, January 4.

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