Investing US resources in some kind of new Great Game in the region is both wrong-headed and impractical. Russia and China border on the region and have obvious economic and security interests there. On the practical side, the United States is far away.
In July, the Russian military completed the largest spot check exercise it has conducted since 1991. The overall assessment of these exercises from the military has been largely positive, though some areas did come in for criticism. This is not ideal, but is certainly a better statistic than in the bad old days a decade ago.
President Vladimir Putin has staked his reputation on the 2014 Winter Olympics, scheduled to take place in Sochi, a city on the Black Sea coast, near the Abkhazia border. As preparations for the games enter the home stretch, the Russian government has intensified efforts to ensure security at the event.
It seems that the Russian shipbuilding industry has improved in recent years but remains in relatively poor shape overall. Yantar Shipyard in particular has been reported to be in fairly poor shape due to a lack of investment.
The cover article of the brand new issue of Moscow Defense Brief from the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, examines developments in Russian military shipbuilding in 2012, written by Dmitry Boltenkov. Since the article is not publicly available, I thought it might be useful to provide a brief summary. Part 1 covers submarines and surface ships. Part 2, coming soon, will cover auxiliary ships, export contracts, and provide some analysis.
The Russian military will remain on track to be transformed away from the Soviet mobilization army to a more modern, more mobile, and more unified military force. All of these elements have recently been affirmed by the country’s top political leadership and by top officials at the MOD.