Center for International Security fellows comments on Russian defense strategic planning document


Basic Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Deterrence, approved by Executive Order of the President of the Russian Federation of June 2, 2020 No.355, have beem published for the first time ever.

IMEMO RAS Center for International Security Fellows Konstantin Bogdanov, Natalia Romashkina and Dmitry Stefanovich provided comments regarding this official document.

K.Bogdanov emphasized: "The Basic Principles are important, first of all, because they create a clearly defined narrative officially signed by the Russian state...the Basic Principles are, to some extent, a conceptual response to the current American Nuclear Posture Review 2018.

In the Review, such scenarios are stated openly, and indeed, such forms of combat use have existed for more than a decade in the U.S. nuclear strategy. Another question is that this “mirroring” in itself lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons and can trigger a large-scale escalation in a crisis situation."

N. Romashkina paid attention to the links with the cybersecurity domain:

"... the first and third conditions on the actions against critical governmental or military sites of the Russian Federation, the failure of which will lead to the disruption of the response of nuclear forces, raises an extremely urgent problem of ensuring global information security. Such wording addresses the possibility of a cyber attack on critical infrastructure, including nuclear military and support facilities."

D.Stefanovich noted, that "...Arms control and non-proliferation treaties (Paragraphs 6, 12 (Clause E), 12 (Clause F), 15 (Clause A)) appearing in the document should not be taken for granted. Russia takes this seriously, and this very fact clearly illustrates the understanding of the interconnections of these areas with nuclear deterrence. It should also be noted that the Basic Principles do not categorize nuclear weapons into tactical and strategic, which to some extent, may serve as a sign of official support for the thesis that "any nuclear weapon is strategic."

"Expert Opinions on Russia’s Basic Nuclear Deterrence Principles":

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