The Russian Bear has been a symbol of military might handed down from the cold war. Is it all that mighty? The author of this article paints a different picture. Pointed out are the extreme and sometimes bizarre measures Putin has used in order to pull off his foreign policy using his military. Read the full story below.
Don’t buy the hype: Russia’s military is much weaker than Putin wants us to think.
Today is Defenders of the Fatherland Day in Russia, a public holiday and a celebration of all things military: triumphalism about the latest weapons, about operations in Syria, about the seizure of Crimea. Meanwhile, from the West we hear bloodcurdling warnings about the threat posed by the Kremlin’s war machine.
Perceptions matter, though: Arguably being thought to be dangerous is actually a more powerful geopolitical asset than actually being it. So long as the West believes Russia could surge into Ukraine, escalate in Syria, or even roll into the Baltic states, it inevitably feels a greater pressure to make concessions and invite Vladimir Putin to the table.
No one seems willing to question just how formidable Putin’s new military really is — and he seems to be counting on that.
Ever since he first strode into the Kremlin, at the end of 1999, Vladimir Putin has beenpouring money into his military. But he was trying to modernize a military that was in a truly catastrophic state after not just years but decades of underfunding and neglect. It had performed abysmally in the first Chechen War. Draft dodging, embezzlement, and corruption were rife.
IN ORDER TO SEND NAVAL SQUADRONS FLYING THE FLAG ACROSS THE GLOBE, MOSCOW HAS TO ACCOMPANY THEM WITH TUGS FOR WHEN THEY BREAK DOWN
Certainly Russia’s military has lifted itself up from this pitiful state, but it’s still very much a work in progress.
Today, Russian military might as we know it is halfway between a fact and a psychological warfare operation.