saradzhyan


Saradzhyan: View from Global Tank


[sticky post]My Selected Op-Eds in Reverse Chronological Order
saradzhyan
"Why Hopes of Putin's Unconditional Surrender Could Prove to Be Futile." Moscow Times, July 25, 2014.

"How Russia's Red Line in Ukraine Got Real." Russia Direct, April 16, 2014.

"Comparing Crimean Apples with Georgian Oranges." Moscow Times, April 6, 2014.

"Putin's Long Game." The National Interest, March 21, 2014.

"Stand-off in Crimea: Cui Bono?." Power & Policy Blog, March 12, 2014.

"Threat of a Failed Ukraine." Boston Globe, February 22, 2014.

"Knowing when it’s war and how to avoid it," Financial Times, March 18, 2015.

"The West should not count on Russian sensitivity to casualties to deter Putin," Washington Post, February 24, 2014.
Read more...Collapse )

О 'переосмыслении' моей статьи о партнерстве Армении и Китая господином Ситниковым
saradzhyan
Уважаемая редакция онлайн ресурса «Свободная Пресса»!

Ваc беспокоит сотрудник Гарвардского университета Симон Сараджян.
Один из моих коллег обратил мое внимание на 'переосмысление' моей статьи о партнерстве Армении и Китая Dашим автором Александром Ситниковым: ( http://svpressa.ru/politic/article/142084/)

Пробежав его заметку, я хотел бы заявить следующее:

  • Во-первых, я считаю, что ни одна страна не развивает отношения только с одним партнером, будь то Армения или Россия или Китай или США. Для полноценного поступательного развития страны требуется развивать отношения со всеми державами, интересы которых представлены в регионе. И Армения – не исключение.

  • Во вторых,  господину Ситникову полезно было бы ознакомиться с оригиналом моей статьи на сайте Noravank.am
    (http://noravank.am/eng/articles/detail.php?ELEMENT_ID=6385). Может, тогда ему стало бы ясно, что я вовсе не призываю Армению развивать сотрудничество с Китаем в ущерб отношениям с Россией. Более того в статье сказано, что Россия – основной стратегический партнер Армении: “Armenia’s natural choice of Russia as its main strategic partner, if not a guarantor, is also a factor, as are more than 5,000 kilometers that separate Armenia from China.”(«Сыграли свою роль и вполне естественный выбор Арменией России в качестве основного стратегического партнера, или даже гаранта, а также и те 5,000 километров, которые разделяют РА и КНР».)


Прошу опубликовать мой ответ на публикацию господина Ситникова, рядом с его заметкой,  разместив также ссылку на перевод моей статьи на русский язык (http://www.noravank.am/upload/pdf/6.Simon%20Saradjyan%2004_2012.pdf). Перевод этот пусть и несовершенный (в частности, пропущено упоминание России как гаранта Армении), но достаточно близкий к оригиналу, чтобы составить мнение о перспективах развития отношений между РА и КНР с моих собственных слов, а не со слов господина Ситникова,  который так увлекся в своем ‘вольном пересказе,’ что приписал мне то, чего в моей статье  нет -- нигде в тексте статьи я не называю «закрытие Черкизовского рынка неразумным шагом Москвы», как утверждает господин Ситников со ссылкой на меня.


C уважением
Симон Сараджян
 

последствия сбития Су-24 для плана Олланда по создания широкой коалиции против ИГИЛ
saradzhyan
Ответил во вторник вечером на вопросы Александры Братерского для Газеты.ру о последствиях сбития Су-24 для плана Олланда по создания широкой коалиции против ИГИЛ. Полный текст моего письменного ответа составленного вчера вечером здесь:В целом, я считаю, что России, западным странам и некоторым из их союзников в регионе следует отложить разногласия и объединить усилия против ИГИЛ, который представляет не только угрозу и для Москвы и для Запада странам, но и абсолютное зло, бороться с которым – моральный императив для всех ответственных держав. Однако, к сожалению, на практике этого не происходит и сбитие российского бомбардировщика турецкими ВВС делает участие России в уже существующей коалиции, действия которой координирует США, невозможным, по крайней мере, в обозримой перспективе, поскольку в ней участвует Турция. Как известно руководство России приняло решение прервать военные контакты с Турцией после инцидента - невозможно представить взаимодействие в рамках одной анти-террористической коалиции двух стран, одна из которых намеренно сбивает самолеты другой, другая же обвиняет вторую страну в поддержке террористов, с которой эта коалиция призвана бороться, и между военными которых нет никаких контактов. Непропорциональность реакции на кратковременное пребывания российского самолет в воздушном пространстве Турции (меньше минуты по данным источников США, а по российским данным его вообще не было) навлекает на мысль, что руководство Турции намеренно искало любой предлог продемонстрировать силу России, которая игнорировала предшествовавшие инциденту жалобы Анкары на имевшие якобы место авиаудары ВКС России по тюркским деревням в Сирии в ноябре, а также на нарушения турецкого воздушного пространства в октябре. В Москве, без сомнения, не оставят без последствий действия Турции, чем бы военно-политическое руководство этой страны не руководствовалось, допустив уничтожение российского военного самолета. При этом у российского руководства достаточное обширное меню опций для ответа, включая меры военного и экономического характера (см мой пост в фейсбуке). Также, думается, что, если подтвердится, что члены так называемой Сирийской свободной армии имели отношение к гибели летчиков, то это формирование может не только забыть о российских авиаударах по наводке ССА по ее конкурентам, но и готовиться к авиаударам по ней самой.
Однако, даже если бы инцидента с Су-24 и не случилось, то все равно создать единую коалицию с участием России Олланду было бы затруднительно:
Не надо забывать и таком изначальном препятствии на пути к объединению усилий по Сирии, как разногласия по вопросу о роли ВС Сирии – Россия и Иран видят сирийские ВС частью большой антитеррористической коалиции, а США, Турция и из союзники против этого. Также США и Западная Европа настаивают на том, что Россия должна переключить внимание на ИГИЛ и перестать атаковать позиции тех, кого на Западе принято считать умеренной оппозицией, если она хочет быть принятой в коалицию западных стран и их союзников в регионе, а Россия утверждает, что ИГИЛ была одной из целей российской компании изначально. Все эти противоречия позволяют заключить что, при всей похвальности усилий французского президента, ему вряд ли ему удастся либо убедить Россию вступить в коалицию западных стран и их союзников в регионе либо создать новую широкую коалицию, о стремлении создать которую он заявил после терактов в Париже, с участием России. При этом, я считаю вполне вероятным сотрудничество между Россией и Францией по борьбе с ИГИЛ на двухсторонней основе, с учетом наличия у и той и у другой военно-воздушных и военно-морских сил и средств в регионе и желанием и Москвы и Парижа бороться с общим врагом. Если России и Франции удастся наладить взаимодействие, то может быть такой формат двухстороннего взаимодействия при нанесении ударов станет в дальнейшем и с некоторыми другими участниками западной коалиции (как-то Иордания).
На данном этапе, с моей точки зрения, не столь важно проводить совместные ударные операции, сколько создать эффективную и четкую систему заблаговременного оповещения всех стран вовлеченных в боевые действия в Сирии о проведении своих операций и предупреждения инцидентов подобных сбитию Су-24. Россия заключила соглашения об уведомлении с США, Иорданией и Израилем, но как видим этого оказалась недостаточно, чтобы предотвратить весьма негативный инцидент с участием Турции, являющейся союзником США по НАТО. Это особенно важно с учетом наращивания группировок – а значит и интенсивности действий, а также в связи с решением России о сопровождении бомбардировщиков истребителями. C одной стороны, конечно, то, что истребители будут осуществлять сопровождение российских бомбардировщиков и то, что ПВО крейсера Москва, который направляется в район боевых действий, перекрывает весь этот район, конечно, заставит военных летчиков и их командиров ВВС Турции, подумать дважды, стоит ли не то, что пускать ракету, а даже держать российские цели на ‘прицеле’ своих радаров. Но в то же если они решаться на такое действий, то у российских военных будет возможность упреждающего удара. Все это несомненно повышает риск инцидентов, которые могут закончится весьма неприятно для обеих сторон.

Elements and Consequences of Russia's Response to Downing of Su-24 by Turkey
saradzhyan
Expect Moscow's response to downing of Russian aerospace force's Su-24 warplane by Turkish F-14 to be strong, though not necessarily symmetric, even if Davutoglu comes out to claim there is what he defines "360 degree difference” between downing of the Russian bomber and downing of Turkish RF-4 plane over Syria in 2014 (while RF-4 ventured into Syrian airspace, Russian bomber was most likely outside the Turkish airspace when shot down - the plane went down inside Syria and so did the pilots, who ejected from it). The question is what elements will constitute this response.
My bet is that one element could be intensification of bombing of positions of ethnic Turkish rebels inside Syria [11.25.15 update: already happening] (Turkey has recently complained about Russian bombing of Turkic village in Syria. Also if claims that Free Syrian Army members have destroyed one of Russian gunships sent to the site of the crash prove to be true, then Russia's interaction with FSA (from which, according to Putin, Russia has sought and received info for targeting ISIS and which Russia has identified as one moderate force that could participate in talks on peaceful resolution of the conflict) will change from token cooperation to relentless bombing.
Neither can I rule out that more Russian military assets could be deployed to the conflict area
[11.25.15 update: already happening] and that one Russia’s air defense systems in or off (naval systems) Syria may be employed to shoot a Turkish warplane patrolling the border with subsequent claim that the plane has ventured outside the Syrian airspace, but then exited it as the missile chased it (won’t be unlike Turkey’s claim on Su-24). However, I believe that it is unlikely that the Kremlin will resort to such a tooth-for-tooth measure in its response. Even less likely would be cover supplies of Russia's Igla or Strela MANPADs to Kurds in Syria, given the threat of proliferation
In addition to such direct targeting, Russia can also take other military measures to send strong signals to Turkey just like Turkey has shot down the Russian plane for purposes of signaling to Russia [There was no military need for Turkey to shoot down a plane that even Western sources admit to have has spent some 30 seconds to fly some 4 km over Turkey, especially given that it had already left the Turkish airspace when the missile hit it. But Turkish leadership probably saw plenty of need to come up with a way to send a strong signal to Russia: after all Ankara had earlier complained about alleged bombing of Turkic villages by Russian planes in November and violations of Turkish airspace in October, but to no avail. Ankara may have hoped it could send a strong signal by shooting down a Russian plane, but letting pilots escape - after all pilots often note incoming missile on radar and eject before impact, and even if they don't, air-to-air heat-seeking missiles sometimes fly right into the engine of the plane, allowing pilots from the armored capsule of the Su-24 to eject safely. But those hopes were ruined by rebels on the ground shot one of the pilots dead as he parachuted down. Erdogan overplayed his hand - Russia would not heed his signal. Moroever, it is likely to up the ante],

Russia could signal back to Turkey to refrain from shooting down Russian planes in a number of ways. It could for instance deploy longer-range air defense systems to cover the entire conflict area to discourage Turks from shadowing Russian planes across the border.  It could also have Russian multi-role fighters escort the bombers (and that’s something GenStaff has already ordered). Further down the road I can also see massive maneuvers of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, Southern Strategic Command and Russian forces in Armenia (impact of Russian-Turkish tensions on which merit a separate analysis [[11.25.15 update: already happening - Duma calling for criminalization of denial of Armenian genocide]) in areas adjacent to Turkey to remind Turkey which country remains the superior military power in the region in spite of the break-up of the Soviet Union. (Speaking of late USSR - recall Soviet Russia’s support for PKK).

In the economic domain one immediate consequence of the incident could be a ban on Russian tourists’ travel to Turkey [11.25.15 update: already happening - self-imposed ban by Russian travel companies after government's call to do so] under the pretext that it is not safe to do so (Turkey led among foreign destinations with more than 3 million Russian tourists in the first nine months of 2014, so it would be quite a tangible loss for Turkish tourism industry). I also cannot rule out that Gazprom will launch some major technical repairs (perhaps preceded by an accident) of the gas pipeline to Turkey, which depends on Russia for 60% of its needs for natural gas. And, of course, Turkish companies, which are well represented in Russia’s construction sector and retail sector, may soon start to discover that their tax filings and safety certificates are not quite in order [11.25.15 update: already happening - Russia to stop import of Turkish poultry from Dec. 1].
Now, of course, Turkey won't sit still if some of these measures are implemented. It could, for instance, cancel Turkish Stream and cancel Russia's contract for building of NPP in Turkey. One could also, for instance, recall that as of 2004 Turkish citizens were most numerous among foreign members of networks of insurgency and terrorism in the North Caucasus, according to S. Ivanov's estimate. 10 years later, however, that insurgency has waned to such an extent, than no Turkish reinforcements can revive it to the levels seen in the early 2000s. Hopefully, it won't come down to that, though if does, Russia can indeed seriously examine pros and cons of Moscow's aforementioned support for PKK in Soviet times.
Rising of tensions between Ankara and Moscow coupled with deployment of additional military assets in the conflict area by Russia and Western countries increase the risk of an accident that could lead to a conflict between Russia and NATO. Such a conflict will represent a net loss for both sides, but a net gain for ISIS and al-Qaeda.

What U.S. Gets Wrong (or Wrongly Claims About) Russia
saradzhyan
Some graphs to illustrate  some of the points in my HuffPo piece on what U.S. leaders and policy-shapers get wrong (or wrongly claim about) Russia

Russia’s population is declining: Former deputy U.S. Treasury secretary Roger Altman asserts that “a lot of people misunderstand how profoundly weak Russia is.” In Altman’s view, “Russia is on the edge with “its population is small and declining, life expectancy is falling.” Jeffrey Gedmin of Georgetown University too sees negative demographic trends in Russia, arguing that “in Mr. Putin's Russia, infant mortality is up and life expectancy is down.” But here's World Bank's data says about Russia's population, showing that the opposite of Mr. Altman's and Mr. Gedmin's claims are true:


Levada On What Russians Are Most Proud Of and Worried About
saradzhyan
Interestings results of a September 2015-October 2015 national, multiple-choice polls conducted by Russia’s leading independent pollster, Levada Center, on what Russians are most proud and scared of. 30+% Russians are most proud about their country’s natural resources,  history and armed forces, whereas less than 15% are proud of Russian science and only 4% are proud of Russian economy's performance, which may be a reflection  of Russians’ lack of confidence in modernization record/and or prospects of their country.  40+% of Russians worry about possibility of unemployment, war and economic crisis. Strangely, Levada didn’t even bother to ask about terrorism, which, Russia has suffered a great deal from in the past, and which tops Americans’ list of concerns.

What is it about Russia that you feel most proud about?
%/Oct.2014 %/March 2015 %/ Oct.2015
Russia’s natural resources 40 41 39
Russian history 39 43 38
Armed forces 24 24 35
Russian culture 30 34 30
Russia’s standing on the international arena 26 24 30
Achievements in sports 33 32 29
Size of the country 28 31 26
Contemporary achievements of the Russian science 16 15 14
Fellow citizens 8 7 9
Economic successes 6 5 4
Russian system of education 6 6 4
Russian system of healthcare 2 2 2
None of the above 3 3 6
Difficult to say 3 3 3
Could not find an American equivalent of this poll, but did find the following: 81% of American respondents of a July 2015 Gallup poll said they were proud of being American.

Do you worry about Russia’s future? If so, what do you feel most worried about?
%/January 1991 %/September 2015
Unemployment 26 42
Possibility of war 29 41
Economic crisis 59 40
Crime 65 24
Bad ecology 48 16
Inter-ethnic conflicts 35 15
Political chaos 41 14
International isolation 6 12
Natural disasters 7 9
Religious conflicts 3 6
Other 4 2
Future of Russia doesn’t invoke the feeling of worry in me <1 11
I don’t care about the future of Russia whatever it is 1 3
Difficult to say <1 5


Compare with Gallup’s polling of Americans’ top concerns, topped by terrorism: http://www.gallup.com/poll/182018/worries-terrorism-race-relations-sharply.aspx

Summary of Vlast's insights on preparation and execution of Russian military campaign in Syria
saradzhyan
“Russia and Syria: View from Above. Results of the 1st month of Russian military’s presence on the Syrian land and in the Syrian air,” Ivan Safronov, Sergei Goryashko, Kommersant Vlast, 10.26.15.
The Russian military operation in Syria began on September 30. The Russian air force had struck at hundreds of facilities that belong to terrorists of the Islamic State since then, but not all of these actions were welcomed by everyone in the international community. Kommersant Vlast has summed up the first results of the Russian military’s presence in Syria.
The Russian Defense Ministry had started preparing for the first full-fledged military maneuver since the 2008 war with Georgia long before President Bashar al-Assad officially appealed for help and long before the Security Council of the Russian Federation met on September 29 to decide to help the Syrian troops in the fight against terrorists. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Vladimir Putin informed President Barack Obama about the upcoming strikes at a meeting "on the sidelines" of the UN General Assembly in New York. Obama's answer was brief: "That’s what we have expected."
According Vlast’s sources, reinforcement of the forces and means at the naval facility in Tartus began in August, when large landing ships "Novocherkassk", "Korolev", "Saratov", "Azov", "Tsezar Kunikov" and cargo ferry "Alexander Tkachenko" were fully loaded with special equipment, ammunition, fuel and lubricants at the Novorossiysk port and then went through the Bosporus to the Mediterranean Sea. Having accumulated a sufficient number of weapons (aircraft gun rounds, bombs and "air - ground" missiles), the military had only one task left to solve- the relocation of the aircraft. It was not very difficult to do, with the  "Center-2015" exercise, which involved 150 aircraft, running in the background. Under the cover of this exercise, Russia’s Su-30SM, Sukhoi Su-34 and Su-24M, Su-25 flew to airfields in Krymsk and Mozdok, and then, bypassing the Caspian Sea (or the airspace of Azerbaijan), flew through Iran and Iraq to Syria. By 30 September a full-fledged mixed aviation group of more than 50 aircraft had been established at the Hmeimim air base near Latakia. By that time also Mi-8 and Mi-24P helicopters had arrived. Since then, they were carrying out strikes at Syrian provinces, where rebels of "Islamic State" and "Al-Nusra" are located.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian pilots performed 934 sorties (of which more than a hundred took place at night), and destroyed at least 819 objects on September 30-October 22. The warplanes mostly used precision "air to surface" Kh-29L missiles and guided KAB-500S bombs, whose maximum deviation from the target, according to the military, is not more than 5 meters. According to Vlast’s sources in the military-industrial complex, due to increased demand in the supply of military weapons for the operation in Syria, Russia’s corporation "Tactical Missiles" had to switch to production in three shifts a day (24 hours). Russian Navy urgently bough eight transport ships from Turkish ship-owners and commissioned them as auxiliary ships because the Navy’s existing fleet of landing ships could not cope with the demand for transportation of materiel to Tartus.
In addition to the aircraft, four ships of the Caspian Flotilla (small missile warships "Uglich", "Grad Sviyazhsk," "Great Ustyug" and "Dagestan") launched 26  3M14 "Caliber-NK" cruise missiles to 11 ground targets on October 7. This launch stood out: Russian reconnaissance discovered rebel facilities, which the Russian Defense Ministry decided to immediately destroy. The military succeeded in a very short period of time to obtain Iran’s consent to send the missiles via Iran's airspace.
According to the updated data of the Defense Ministry,  Russian strikes were mainly concentrated in the provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa, Latakia, Palmyra, Damascus and Hama. According to Russian intelligence, it is in these provinces that the majority of rebels’
positions are located (in particular, fortified areas and mortar positions), as well as armories and training camps. The first attack immediately drew criticism from Western countries.
Vlast’s source in t in the General Staff said the selection of targets is not only based on their own Russian data (monitoring of the situation almost around the clock is carried out by electro-optical reconnaissance "Persona N2” satellite and unmanned aerial vehicles "Orlan-10"), but also based on  information received Iran, Iraq and Syria. An information center was set up by these countries  in Baghdad to coordinate the actions: its main function is to collect, process, summarized and analyze the current information about the situation in the region. Officers of the armed forces of the four countries will rotate to head the center for three months each (currently the center is headed by commander of the Russia’s 6th Combined Arms Army General Sergei Kuralenko).
Deputy chief of Russian General Staff General Kartopolov insists that a special form gets filled out for each target before it gets attacked. Computer modelling of the pending strikes is carried out before it is decided whether to strike a target.  "We strike only at facilities of the internationally recognized terrorist groups. Our planes do not work in southern Syria, where according to our information, formations of the Syrian Free Army are located,” Kartopolov said.
The Kremlin and the Defense Ministry have been saying from the beginning that Russia does not intend to participate in ground operation. The military contingent is present in Syria. It consists of  contract servicemen of the 810th separate Marines Brigade (based in Sevastopol) and the 7th Air Assault Mountain Airborne Division (Based in Village Raevskaya), according to Vlast’s source in the General Staff. However, the main task of these soldiers is to defend facilities, not participate in combat operations in accordance with  Italian General Giulio Douhet’s doctrine. In 1921 he published a book on supremacy in the air, which describes the leading role of aviation in war and insists that air strikes on key enemy targets can lead to victory. Prior to the Syrian operation, the Russian armed forces had conducted maneuvers in a completely different way: relying on the land component.

Carter's Assessment of Russia as a Threat and His Formula for Post-Crimea Policy On Russia
saradzhyan
Ashton Carter has clearly thought to end debate among US top brass on ranking Russia in  hierarchy of threats and crafting the U.S. military's new strategy toward Russia in his August 20 remarks.In those remarks Carter calls Russia an “existential threat,” but notes that this threat is not new because Russia has had nukes for decades. What’s new, according to Carter, is Putin’s antagonistic behavior and US is responding to that by adoping a new “strong, but balanced” strategy of being prepared to confront Russia’s aggressive behavior, but also cooperating on issues of common vital interest.  I believe Carter’s formulation of strategy is in line the approach advocated by the realist school of American thought and is more sound than the neocons’ calls for full-blown containment. Note, how deft he is. On one hand, Carter avoids publicly overruling those of outgoing and ingoing top military commanders and officials who have described Russia as an existential threat, but on the other hand he puts the threat into perspective by noting that it has been always of existential nature ever since Russia acquired enough nukes to destroy U.S. Also note how he avoids calling Russia the main threat. By doing so, he implicitly shows he doesn't necessarily agree with those of his subordinates (such as Secretary of Air Force), who have referred to Russia as the "main threat.":

Q: Generals Dunford, Milley and Breedlove have said recently that Russia is the number one threat to the United States, not ISIL. Do you agree with that assessment? And if so, why? And if that is the case, are we doing enough to deal with that threat?
SEC. CARTER: Well, it is a very, very significant threat, and it is — and I think a point that they’ve made, but I would certainly make, it — Russia poses a existential threat to the United States by virtue simply of the size of the nuclear arsenal that it’s had.
Now, that’s not new. What’s new — and I think also that they were pointing to and where I agree with them — is that for a quarter century or so, since the end of the Cold War, we have not regarded Russia as an antagonist. Vladimir Putin’s Russia behaves, in many respects, as — in some respects and in very important respects, as an antagonist. That is new. That is something, therefore, that we need to adjust to and counter. And we’re doing that in an approach that I’ve called strong and balanced. And let me take the strong part first.
The strong part means we are adjusting our capabilities qualitative and in terms of their deployments, to take account of this behavior of Russia. We are also working with NATO in new ways, a new playbook, so to speak, for NATO, which has been preoccupied with Afghanistan for the last decade or so, more oriented towards deterrence on its eastern border and with hardening countries at the — on the borders of Russia, NATO members and non-NATO members, to the kind of hybrid warfare influence or little green man kind of influence that we see associated with Russia in Ukraine. So that’s the strong part.
And the balanced part is we continue to work with Russia because you can’t paint all their behavior with one brush. There are places where they are working with us: in counterterrorism in many important respects, in some respects, with respect to North Korea, in some respects with respect to Iran and elsewhere.
So where Russia sees its interests as aligned with ours, we can work with them and will continue to do that. And then we’ll continue to hold open the door so that if either under Vladimir Putin or some successor of his in the future, there’s a leadership that wants to take Russia in the direction that, I believe, is best for Russia, which is not one of confrontation with the rest of the world and self- isolation, which is the path they’re on now, but better economic and political integration with the rest of the world in a way that still keeps the wonderful history and culture and so forth and greatness of Russia in tact that that leadership do so.
So that’s our strategy with respect to Russia. And, you know, it’s not something, Tom — and I think this is what they were reflecting in their testimony — that for a quarter century, we thought we’d have to do, but it is. And so we are. And so they’re absolutely right. That’s an adjustment that we need to make.
 his 

On ELN's Brief on Dangers of NATO and RF Training Against Each Other
saradzhyan
So I have read European Leadership Network’s policy brief on risks posed by Russian NATO and Russian exercises that show that each side is training with the other side’s capabilities and most likely war plans in mind. The authors warn that while one side may aim its training actions at strengthening deterrence and preparing for defensive actions, the other side perceives the same exercises as provocative and deliberate aggravation of the crisis.  They also warn that such heightened training activity increases the risk of the dangerous military encounters between Russian and Western military units, and give recommendations on how to reduce these risks.
While I find most recommendations useful (though none of them are new and some call for things already in place to a certain extent), I don’t fully share the authors’ alarmism with exercises per se. Yes, increased patrolling increases risks, but exercises are part of the military's routine.  After all, it is the military’s job to plan for worst-case scenarios, so it is difficult to either blame NATO and RF militaries for training to fight each other on each other’s territory, given the significant deterioration of the Western-Russian relations. In fact,  Russia had been doing that for years during the Zapad (West) exercises even before this deterioration.
What I find more alarming, but what the brief doesn’t mention, are exercise of the kind that the upcoming joint NATO-Ukraine exercise in Ukraine belong to . This exercise essentially provides for NATO to send troops to help Ukraine repel an armed attack by Russia. Now, of course, the official scenario of the exercise doesn't mention Russia. Rather it says that "a multinational force is sent to assist the host nation and the challenge is to bring together and train a multinational brigade, which would then be sent to assist the host nation in its defense," according to Defense News. However, it is obvious what country (Russia) the host nation (Ukraine) would defend against. It is also clear that no non-aligned nations in Europe would contribute troops to a brigade that would be sent off to fight Russia, and, therefore, that hypothetical brigade can only be manned with NATO forces (perhaps, some of the official candidate nations might contribute personnel to).
If NATO’s intention is to signal through this upcoming wargame to Russia that the alliance would be prepared to put boots on the ground in FSU outside Baltics to help post-Soviet states fight off Russia, then it is a whole different game. That would represent significant change that Russian military strategists would account for in planning and deployments.

What's actually new in Russia's new Maritime Doctrine?
saradzhyan
The new documents contains strongest language yet on further expansion of NATO as Russia’s red line, contains multiple references to the need to develop Crimea, calls for permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean, asserts Russia’s interests in Arctic, lists Antarctic as a priority, mentions need to develop relations with China. See comparison with 2001 doctrine below.

2015 Maritime Doctrine 2001 Maritime Doctrine
Identifies Russian National Interests in the World Ocean as follows:

  • Inviolability of sovereignty of RF applies to internal sea waters, territorial sea and airspace above it.

  • Sovereign rights and jurisdiction of RF in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

  • Freedom of movement on high seas.

  • Preservation of human lives on seas.

  • Functioning of vital sea communications.

  • Prevention of pollution.

  • Comprehensive utilization of resources and spaces of the World Ocean for the economic and social development of the country.

Essentially the same.
Lists presence of Russian Fleet in Arctic, Antarctic and far-flung areas of World Ocean among the principles of RF maritime policy Arctic not mentioned among principles, but is mentioned among areas where RF maritime policy is being pursued
Identifies following areas, which represent regional priorities for RF maritime activities:
Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific, Caspian, Indian Ocean and Antarctic
Areas, which represent regional priorities for RF maritime activities, same as in 2015 doctrine, but do not include Antarctic.
Unacceptability of the plans for advancing military infrastructure of NATO to Russia’s borders for the Russian Federation and attempts to assign global functions to this alliance remain the defining factor in (Russia’s) relations with NATO.” So strongest language yet on expansion of NATO being a red line in a Russian strategic document. Even the 2014 doctrine didn’t refer to unacceptability. Rather it said “The following shall be the main external military dangers: buildup of force potential of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and its endowment with global functions being realized in violation of rules of international law; an approach of the military infrastructure of NATO member countries to borders of the Russian Federation, including by further bloc expansion.” “National maritime policy in the Atlantic region is determined by the growing economic, political and military pressure from NATO countries, its eastward advancement, and a sharp reduction in the capacity of the Russian Federation to implement its maritime activities.”
Contains multiple reference to the need to develop Crimea’s military and economic potential:

  • “Perfection of the structure of the forces of the Black See Fleet, development of its infrastructure in the Crimea.”

  • “Formation of large business and economic centers in… Crimea.”
    “Increase in energy supplies that would take into account the development of port and coastal infrastructure of Crimea.”

  • “Ensuring transport accessibility of Crimea.”

  • “Development of ship-building and ship-repairing complex of the region that would take into account the potential of ship-building and ship-repairing enterprises of Crimea.”

No references to Crimea.
“Ensure sufficient naval presence in the (Mediterranean) region on the permanent basis.” No references to military presence in the Mediterranean.
“The national maritime policy in the Arctic… is defined by the special importance of ensuring of free gateway for Russian fleet into the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, riches of the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, growing importance of the Northern sea route for sustainable development and security of RF, decisive role of the Northern Fleet in defense of the country from the sea and ocean directions.”
Refers to the need to ensure that Russia’s rights to extended shelf in the Artic are legitimized in international agreements.
Essentially the same as in 2015 document.
“Development of friendly ties with China represents an important component of the maritime policy in the Pacific” China not mentioned at all.
Refers to the need to create indigenous high-tech sea platforms that would not only extract, but also refine shale oil and gas. Clear attempt to cut dependence on Western technologies that have been affected by sanctions. No such references.

?

Log in