Readers of Johnson's Russia List may be interested in learning of the publication of The Russian Military: Power and Policy, edited by Steven E. Miller (Harvard University) and Dmitri V. Trenin (Carnegie Moscow Center). The volume is published by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and available from the MIT Press. Readers can find a more detailed description as well as sample chapters at <http://www.amacad.org/projects/postsoviet.htm>
The Russian Military is the third in a series of four books on the international implications of security developments in the post-Soviet space. The first two volumes -- Thinking Strategically: The Major Powers, Kazakhstan and the Central Asian Nexus and Swords and Sustenance: The Economics of National Security in Belarus and Ukraine -- are described at the same Internet site along with sample chapters. Complete Russian translations of both volumes are available in .pdf format at http://www.amacad.org/publications/pub_ciss.htm as well as <http://www.carnegie.ru/ru/pubs/books/>
The Russian Military examines the intense debate over military reform in Russia, demonstrating the myriad ways that political and social conflicts at home, and pressures and opportunities abroad, have inhibited much-needed change.
According to Miller, "Russia is still in the early stages of a long journey from the military it inherited to a military suitable to Russia's internal and external realities." The Russian Military is a comprehensive guide to this journey, assessing the current state of Russia's military; examining the factors, past and present, that shape it; and presenting a road map for needed future reforms. The six contributors to the volume each tackle a key feature of Russia's military and security policy, bringing a new understanding to the complex issues that have stymied reform.
The volume, which Lieutenant General William Odom (U.S. Army, retired) has called a "timely and remarkably comprehensive assessment of the contemporary state of the Russian military," is intended for policy makers and scholars engaged in thinking about problems of international security and anyone with an interest in contemporary Russia.
Among the many reasons for failed military reform in Russia, the volume's studies point to a lack of action and awareness on the part of political leaders. As contributor Pavel Baev (International Peace Research Institute) discusses, key decision-making is often left to military leaders, who are less inclined to support the reforms needed for "radical modernization" of the Russian military. This analysis is consistent with the findings of Aleksandr Golts (Editor-in-Chief, Weekly Journal) who writes, "The military elite's desire for a mass army stands as Russia's largest internal impediment to reform."
Former Duma member Alexei Arbatov (Carnegie Moscow Center) offers an insider's perspective on the current state of reform debate in the Russian government, which he believes has been constrained by a lack of both information and resources. He advocates transforming the Russian military into a force that is capable of addressing actual security needs: a smaller, all-volunteer force with a well-paid and professional officer corps. The need for a fundamentally changed force has been vividly demonstrated in the two Chechen campaigns since 1994, as a discussion of these events by Roy Allison (Oxford University) makes clear.
The volume addresses two specific legacies of the Soviet military that are threats to stability both within and outside of Russia and should provide significant impetus to reform. The first, according to Vitaly Shlykov (Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, Russia), is the military-industrial complex inherited from the Soviet era, which he argues has not only prolonged military reform problems, but also deepened Russia's economic malaise. "As it is currently structured and managed," he argues, "Russia's so-called defense industrial complex has become a huge drag on the country's economy."
The Soviet legacy, which looms large in the minds of Western leaders, is the state of Russia's nuclear capabilities. Rose Gottemoeller (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) addresses this final component of military reform, noting that Russia's nuclear arsenal has become a crutch, allowing leaders to put off the reforms that would transform the Russian military into a more effective force.
"Optimization and rationalization, rather than radical reform, will be the motto of Russia's military reorganization," concludes Dmitri Trenin. Looking forward, Trenin suggests that "the current system will continue to muddle through, despite its obvious failings."
Martin Malin, Ph.D.
Committee on International Security Studies
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
136 Irving Street
Cambridge, MA 02138