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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.

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.)

Data as of July 1996

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