JRL NEWSWATCH: “Vladimir Putin Is No Mastermind, But He Has Played Russia’s Cards Well; It verges on impossible to forecast what Moscow will do tactically. What it will do strategically, however, is more intelligible and thus more predictable.” – The National Interest/ James Holmes

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“…. The Russian armed forces … have to live within their means. Russia depends heavily on exporting oil and natural gas … [L]ow energy prices constrict … national income and … ability to afford pricey armaments. Prices …  have run off a cliff amid coronavirus lockdowns. … [F]or instance … the Severnoye Design Bureau, a division of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, has halted … development of a nuclear-powered destroyer and a bulked-up variant of the Russian Navy’s Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate. Summarily canceling two marquee projects can’t be good tidings for Russian sea power. … Russian weapons acquisitions invert … the Cold War [pattern] …. prefer[ring] to invest in small numbers of high-quality armaments at the expense of quantity. Whether Russian mariners, aviators, and soldiers can compensate for the resulting shortfall … remains in doubt. … [I]f the lynchpin … is to deliver more combat power than the foe at the scene of combat at the decisive time, a few impressive platforms may not suffice. Quantity still matters. * * * … Fear blends with the Russian thirst for honor. During the 1990s … the West intruded into … former Soviet space and, in some cases, made allies out of former Soviet republics or Warsaw Pact clients. NATO waged war in the Balkans … Events fanned Russia’s ingrained paranoia about Western martial endeavors around its periphery, … [T]here was little Moscow could do about them during that chaotic phase in Russian history. It only seems natural for Moscow to reassert itself … now that it sports the wherewithal to do so. …”

Click here for: “Vladimir Putin Is No Mastermind, But He Has Played Russia’s Cards Well; It verges on impossible to forecast what Moscow will do tactically. What it will do strategically, however, is more intelligible and thus more predictable.” – The National Interest/ James Holmes