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34 responses to “About

  1. Good morning,

    the piece ‘Military prestige’ you posted on 22 septembre is very interesting. It is interesting to see how the prestige of the military has declined so much the last years. Especially because I am doing research in exactly this subject: the prestige of military service in Russia.
    is it possbible that I call you this week to ask more about this subject?
    you can e-mail me at: michelle.salomons@student.hu.nl.

    I hope to hear from you.

    Best regards, Michelle

  2. Okay, thanks. What is, do you think, the main cause, why the prestige of militants has declined that much the last years? And (how) is it possible to uplift the prestige?

  3. Remember Michelle that this is a public blog. We are not getting a classified perspective of Russia in relation to their defense policy. Things could be very different on the inside and it’s not like Putin’s intelligence agencies are going to be running about telling everything about what their defense policies really are.

  4. You’re right, this isn’t based on classified intelligence reports. In this particular example, it’s understandable every military in the world has its own closely-held internal assessment of the state of its morale. But this author believes if you picked either intel reporting or media reporting, the latter would get you a more accurate picture of what’s happening inside the Defense Ministry. In Cold War days, we had intel and official media. We often disregarded intel that said they were doing poorly. Run this out to its logical conclusion, and that’s how we failed to provide strategic analytical warning of the USSR’s impending collapse. Read correctly (kind of like tea leaves), the official media could tell us about macro changes in defense trends.Today we have large and largely independent Russian (commercial and social) media which can tell us a tremendous amount about what’s happening in the military and elsewhere. And it’s harder (not impossible) for the regime to keep things secret. Don’t take this the wrong way, really good intel reporting can still be a game-changer. But there probably isn’t enough of it to provide a full picture of Russia’s military.

  5. Morale is a complex issue and vitally important. But the state of it should never be ultimately judged/evaluated by the participants themselves and any such evaluations must be objective in extremis.
    And for a bad report do not shoot the messenger, he deserves rewarding (if he got it right). Don’t interview the officers, listen to the grunts and foot-sloggers.

  6. Can anyone explain why this site is blocked in Kazakhstan?

  7. Dear Sir or Madam,

    I’m writing on behalf of a professor who would like to republish an image from this site (https://russiandefpolicy.wordpress.com/vice-admiral-burtsev/) in an upcoming case study. Could you kindly indicate where I should direct our copyright permission request?

    Best regards,

  8. Nick, really sorry but not sure on that one. Probably an uncited one (stolen from somewhere else) on Yandex.ru. Have tried to give credit for all photos where possible, but this one escaped somehow. There are lots of pics available from Mil.ru (which can basically be regarded as public domain) but not of Burtsev specifically. Glad to help if there’s anything else that comes up.

  9. Hello Mr. Russia Defence Policy,

    I’ve been writing about modern Russian weapon systems for some years now.

    Lately, I’ve been alarmed at the rabid speculation on social media about Putin’s absence from public view.

    In the worst case scenario where he is actually compelled to leave office, who do you think his enemies are?

    Are there any in the armed forces?


  10. Unfortunately, not something followed closely here…but, Putin’s worst potential enemies are the state oligarchs who’ve made a fortune from his policies over the last 15 years and Putin’s strong potential rivals inside his close Kremlin circle. Unless he just dies, he may not go quietly. At a minimum, he’ll want to live out his days in peace with the billions in wealth he’s amassed. Some people may not let him. But don’t look for the military to help oust him; it’s benefited from his reign. There may be a few officers though who question the rationale and cost of helping Russians kill their cousins in eastern Ukraine. Recommend you look at Mark Galeotti’s latest post — https://inmoscowsshadows.wordpress.com/ and RFE RL — http://www.rferl.org/content/the-sick-man-of-moscow-putin-kadyrov-nemtsov/26898042.html and http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-succession-scenarios/26899859.html. You won’t get better than these short pieces.

  11. Also see Paul Goble’s reflection on the situation being even more dangerous in an immediate post-Putin era… http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-post-putin-russia-might-be-bad-news.html.

  12. Thanks Mr. Russian Defence Policy. I appreciate the perspective.

    Apparently, Mr Putin has come out from a week’s absence for a meeting with the President of Kyrgyzstan.

  13. Hello.
    How may I contact you (the author) over e-mail please?

  14. I have replied to your id. Thank you.

  15. Do you have an email contact?

  16. Hi,
    Could I contact you over e-mail? I have a couple of background questions for an article I’m doing on Russian SF

  17. Jānis Bērziņš

    I would like to thank you for the blog. I read it with great interest.

  18. Hello,
    Is there an email address that media inquiries can be sent to?
    Thank you!

  19. Hi,

    Is it possible to find detailed information somewhere on the specific military technology used in Russian (or American) air strikes in Syria? I mean really specific (i.e. what equipment used during a specific strike; location of manufacture; developer; etc).


  20. It’s possible…for example, Tu-95MSM / Bear bombers delivered Kh-101 conventional ALCMs against ISIS targets on February 17, 2017. Tupolev designed the bomber, and it was likely built in Kuibyshev (now Samara) during the 1980s. The Kh-101 was designed and built by MKB Raduga in Dubna.

    The difficulty is who pays for that kind of granular work and how much. And it can’t be done effectively without really good Russian and lots of experience searching Runet for these topics.

    Only Russian military issues treated here.


  21. Thanks for your blog, very useful information on a regular basis!
    Keep up the good work!
    Greetings from Europe.

  22. Great blog. Anything coming out on the postponement of the May 9th parade?

  23. A few questions, please.

    What is Russia’s equivalent to Link-16? If they’ve got one.

    Also, is it correct to assume that Russia’s tactical ISR is better than their operational recon?

    Finally, is it a bit premature for Russia to celebrate their new missiles’ range if they lack good operational and strategic ISR systems?

    • The Soviets / Russians developed various automated command and control systems (ASU). Vozduk-1 was a 1960s era fighter direction system. Manevr was a ground warfare system of 1970s vintage. Today there are systems like Polyana-D4M1 and YeSU TZ. Something of the equipment is known, but probably nothing about their data transmission standards, protocols, and software (at least in open sources). We don’t know what they call their Link 16. But NSA, GCHQ, CSE, etc. must study these transmissions. They’ve likely given the signals a provisional name even if they don’t know the actual one.

      Here’s a old piece with detail on Manevr — https://bit.ly/2Vgd3QU. It talks about creating APDs — data transmission devices — several of which are named. NIISA in Minsk created the language and syntactical rules for transmission between Manevr’s subsystems. NIISA is now OAO “AGAT-Control Systems” — an important company in Russia’s OPK.

      One can imagine people making a case that Russia’s operational recon is better than its tactical ISR if the former relies more on human collectors and the latter on technical means. But what does “better” mean? Are they both effective for Moscow’s requirements? Probably, especially given they’re likely to be aimed at adjacent territory already well-known to Russia and even populated by some number of ethnic Russians. Tactical has the advantage of being short range and remote by nature. Operational recon is on-scene and becomes more difficult the greater the distance from Russian territory (operational range could be 1,000 km — the distance from Pskov to Berlin). But it’s comparing apples and oranges. Both need to be studied. Clearly, we know more about Russia’s tactical ISR though.

      Not sure where new missile ranges have been “celebrated” by Russia. At any rate, like any military establishment, the Russian MOD probably prefers fixing targets that matter and accuracy over sheer reach. Again there’s the issue of what “good” means. Moscow’s long-range ISR is getting better year by year. And maybe it’s good enough in the context of Russian operational and strategic campaign planning. Russia’s targeting is not like the U.S. or NATO’s and it may be an easier task.

  24. Thanks for the reply. By celebrated I mean the obvious bragging from the RuMoD.

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