Abstract. This paper traces the changes in the state of the world community and analyzes how well state military and political decisions responded to the former in global conflicts of the 20th century. It assesses the current nature of military threats to Russia and ways of countering them in light of historical experience.
Growing tension in international relations and the mounting threat of war in the last decade (2010-2020) stemmed from the crisis of the global system. Contemporary social thought is searching for ways out of the crisis and new formats of socioeconomic and international relations.
In the realm of the military security of the state, the role of nonmilitary methods of settling foreign policy disagreements has increased, but the threat of military force or its local use persists, which calls for relevant comprehensive countermeasures. These problems cannot be solved without analyzing the social processes of the 20th century and considering the experience of the recent past. Several approaches to the issue are given in this paper. The significance of history, including in military education, was noted by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in his Address to the Federal Assembly on April 21, 2021.
The 20th century brought exceptionally monumental shifts to international affairs. Socioeconomic relations were changing, social contradictions worsened, revolutions occurred, the social and political system of states transformed, international contradictions grew more acute, and two world wars broke out with growing scale and intensity. Russia, as the biggest Eurasian state, was invariably drawn into warfare. Especially precipitous and tremendous changes occurred in Russia.
History is made by people, by their decisions to change the objective conditions of public life. When public life is in crisis, public attention is drawn to how public consciousness corresponds to the actual state of society, especially to how well the military-political decisions of the state leadership respond to the real situation in the country and meet the needs of public life.
That was the case in Russia in the early 20th century. And a similar period is starting now. Growing tension in international relations and a new type of confrontation in international affairs, hybrid warfare, which may well turn into large-scale hostilities, determine the nature of military threats and their direct link to the internal condition of Russian society.
In its most general form, the problem of people adequately responding to changes in their lives is expressed on the philosophical level as the correlation of being and consciousness. It must be emphasized that philosophy and history are interconnected, and the relationship between being and consciousness is both a philosophical and a historical issue, and thus also a matter for military theory.
The philosophical concept of being is the real life of a person in the real world; consciousness is the mental conception of the former. Social being is real public life, while social consciousness refers to ideas about the state of society, public life, and public relations at a given time and in a given society.
Human being and consciousness are interrelated and tend to change over time and in mutual influence. Mutual influence finds expression in the comprehension of new being and a person’s response to that by altering the nature of their life activity or by changing the conditions of their being. In these changes, it is important to establish the content of both and their correlation in the prevailing living conditions of people and society.
The contemporary notion of social being includes the real vital functions of the state: the real economy, economic relations within the country and international economic ties; technological means of transport, communications, and the infrastructure of everyday life; the social structure (classes) in a given society and in the global community; the political system in the country and international relations; and the armed forces of the country and their correlation with their counterparts in other countries.
Social consciousness is the comprehensive idea that the educated stratum and the state leadership have of the condition of social being, social relations in the country and in the world community. It is determined by the level of scientific knowledge about society, generalization of the life experience of society, educational standards of the people and the entire information field that a given nation possesses, as well as the information field of the global community.
The interrelation of social being and social consciousness in the life of society as a controlled complex sociocultural system (state) is manifest in national politics and public response to the latter. Successful state governance requires awareness of the actual state of society. If the consciousness of state leadership does not correspond to the state’s being and its objective development tendencies, being quickly transforms into “beating” from the conditions of life itself. This beating, moreover, is rather painful for society and at times even life-threatening.
Military-political decisions that do not correspond to the real being of society are extremely detrimental to the state, resulting in loss of territory or the destruction of the state. History knows too many examples. I would like to mention just a few of the most hotly debated examples in Russian society at the moment, because modern military thinking simply must possess scientific-historical knowledge of those events.
The main events of the early 20th century in Russia were the First World War; the February Revolution of 1917; the collapse of the autocracy and disintegration of the Russian Empire; the October Revolution of 1917; and the formation of the new Russian state. These historical events and facts are interconnected. All of them stemmed from military-political decisions by the state leadership – state figures and their response to changes in social being. They affected the changes in social being and social consciousness and determined the course of events. That historical experience should be taken into account in today’s military-political thinking. Let us take a brief look at the content of social being and consider how well military-political decisions have matched the former in those events.
All military history suggests that economic development standards determine the condition of the armed forces, as well as the scale and forms of armed struggle. Changes in economic life cause changes in the content of warfare and military affairs as a whole. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Europe’s leading countries and the United States entered the stage of imperialism. Big industrial capital merged with banking capital and demanded new markets and sources of raw materials. New colonial powers joined the fight to repartition colonies and spheres of influence in the world. The increased economic and military-technology potential created million-strong armies and huge navies. Hostilities could encompass vast areas, form front lines thousands of kilometers long, and last almost indefinitely. War required immense material resources.
These changes in military being, in the nature of armed struggle, have already been noted by some military theorists, but top political and military circles in major states were preparing for war proceeding from their conception of the nature of fighting exemplified by wars of the second half of the 19th century. The aggressive bloc of Germany and Austria-Hungary (the Central Powers), eventually joined by Turkey and Bulgaria, was at the start of the 20th century preparing to oppose France and Great Britain, the Entente Cordiale, into which Russia had been drawn. By 1914, the Entente states were also prepared to enter a coalition war. The general staffs of both opposing blocs planned for brief mobile warfare with general engagement in a single campaign supported by prewar reserves of material means and the partial resupply of the army in the field with products of specialized enterprises and peacetime agriculture.1
Yet the 1914 campaign, contrary to the calculations of the general staffs, failed to yield decisive results, despite the strategic success of German troops in France and of Russian troops in Galicia. In the late fall of 1914, enormous ground fronts stabilized, and the war assumed positional forms of trench warfare, with years of bloody hostilities aimed at depleting the parties’ military-economic potential and the physical and moral strength of the nations.
The Russian Empire, weakened by defeat in the Russo-Japanese war, the 1905-1907 revolution, and revolutionary ferment, was not capable of successful large-scale fighting, which could lead to dire consequences. The emperor was informed of that by ex-minister of the interior RN. Durnovo (interior minister in 1905-1906). All to no avail. A military convention was signed in the summer of 1914. The nature of Russia’s military cooperation with Entente members was eloquently described in the reminiscences of Prince S.Ye. Trubetskoy: “And just look at the latest Franco-Russian convention signed by our top military! One does not have to be a military expert to see that it is utterly inadmissible in terms of our interests, and even in terms of our abilities…. But having flippantly (not to say, criminally) issued these bills, we liberally settled them with floods of Russian blood.”2
The policies of Nicholas II that in no way corresponded to the social being on the eve of the world war and in its course resulted in the total exhaustion of Russia at the end of 1916. The defeat at the front, the devastated rear, and the distress of the people led to the spontaneous February Revolution of 1917, which culminated in the fall of the autocracy. Nicholas II had been warned of the risk of revolution by his brother, Grand Duke Michael Romanoff, who wrote to him from London in November 1916: “Intelligence Service agents … predict a revolution in Russia. I sincerely hope, Nicky, that you will manage to meet the just demands of the people before it is too late….”3 But the Tsar paid no heed, hoping to rely on military force, but a popular revolution did in fact break out.
The new liberal Provisional Government, headed first by Prince Lvov and then by Socialist (a Socialist Revolutionary and in fact also a liberal) Kerensky, was pressured by the allies to continue to fight in the ranks of the Entente, which required offensive operations at the front. The policies of Kerensky and the SR-Menshevik Soviets that were out of touch with the state of society caused the disintegration of the Russian Empire, demoralization of the army, growing devastation and misfortunes for the people, and ultimately the 1917 October Revolution led by Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks. These are historical facts that must be known if one is to form a proper idea of objective historical processes in a critical period of history in military-political thinking.
In the wake of the October Revolution, a new Russian state emerged in January 1918: the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (RSFSR) that got its name with the adoption of the first Soviet Constitution on July 10, 1918. The RSFSR government headed by Lenin achieved victory for Soviet power in the Civil War and the withdrawal of the Entente interventionist forces in 1920, and managed to unite around Soviet Russia new Soviet republics that took shape in the course of the Civil War on the territory of the Russian Empire. That was how the Soviet Union was formed in December 1922. This is another historical fact. It cannot be denied that it happened the way it did.
The interwar period between the end of WWI and the start of WWII (1919-1939), including the Great Depression of the 1930s, and also the history of the entire World War II (1939-1945), abound in examples of harmful consequences of poor military-political decisions. This is an important subject in its own right for another article. However, for further analysis of contemporary social being and its relation to the historical experience of World War II, it must be said that in 1936, a military-political bloc of aggressive fascist states was established that included Germany, Japan, and Italy, which actively prepared in concert for a new world war. The Soviet Union had grown into a mighty power in 20 years (1921-1941) and won the Great Patriotic War against fascism (1941-1945).
The current Russophobic propaganda campaign in the West distorts the essence and goals of fascism. It is important to note that fascism is a sociopolitical phenomenon of the 20th century that came into being after WWI in capitalist countries of the West and the East. In essence, it is the most reactionary terrorist state system of the dictatorship of big capital created for aggressive warfare.
Fascism in each country in the 1930s-1940s assumed its own national forms; German fascism was Nazism, Japanese fascism was militarism, the Italian variety was fascism per se as the originator of the phenomenon. Other countries, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, and also the countries occupied by fascists, displayed their own national features. All fascist states shared the same ideology and common goals – i.e., dominance over other nations.
The ideology of fascism rests on the claim of supremacy of one’s own allegedly superior nation and race over inferior peoples and, as it were, the natural right to rule over them, and resorts to genocide, the political and economic enslavement of peoples, and the transformation of people into biorobots. Characteristically, in gnoseological terms, this ideology is rooted in the ideas of social Darwinism that equates human society with the nature of the animal world ruled by the right of the stronger, and the Malthusian theory of the overpopulated Earth. This is carefully concealed by today’s advocates and propagandists of liberalism.
The bloc of fascist states led by Germany sought to win world supremacy and establish a new world order. It was supposed to achieve that by routing major opponents one after another, capitalizing on their disunity. In the 19th century, Russia was a geopolitical foe for the West, and in the 20th century, this role passed on to the Soviet Union. The USSR was also the main ideological and political adversary of fascism as an antipode to the fascist states.
The anti-Soviet and Russophobic propaganda campaign currently being unleashed in the West must be opposed using the following major documented facts of WWII history that must be asserted in military education at all stages.
First. Fascist Germany planned and unleashed a war in Europe making use of the anti-Soviet policy of Chamberlain (Great Britain) and Daladier (France). They refused to form an alliance with the USSR in the spring and summer of 1939 to counter Germany’s aggression against Poland, and already in the spring of 1939, devised a global war strategy. That policy resulted in the downfall of Poland and also of the Anglo-French coalition that declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939, but did nothing to render military aid to Poland. The Phoney War of the coalition against Germany intended to direct the aggressor against the Soviet Union ended in the defeat and capitulation of France in 1940.
Second. The threat of fascist world domination that appeared in the wake of Germany’s aggression with its allies in Europe against the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, and later Japan’s aggression against the United States and Great Britain in the Pacific and Southeast Asia on December 7, 1941, compelled Roosevelt and Churchill to acknowledge the necessity of a military alliance with the Soviet Union, which Stalin had tried to secure back in the spring and summer of 1939. On January 1, 1942, an antifascist coalition was set up led by the USSR, the US, Great Britain, and China. It defeated the fascist bloc in Europe and Asia in 1945, with the Soviet Union playing an instrumental role in the great Victory.4 These are the facts that Western historians and propagandists hide or distort.
As a result of the Second World War, fascism was defeated. The world shuddered in horror when it learned of the atrocities committed by fascism during the war. The fascist ideology was condemned and banned. The chief war criminals were punished. The peoples of Europe and Asia sustained tremendous losses, vast devastation, and ruin during the war. The United States, having waged war overseas both in WWI and WWII, increased immensely its economic potential and capital, and became the leader of the world economy.
The Soviet Union, despite sustaining horrendous losses and destruction, retained its military-economic potential and had powerful Armed Forces at the end of the war. Its standing in the world community had grown immeasurably as it was the main conqueror of fascism. In contrast to WWI, the young Soviet Russia, the USSR, endured the enormous ordeal and achieved victory. The result of the war was that the Soviet Union became the second biggest military force in the world.
Social being and social consciousness of the world community changed radically after WWII. The two world powers with different ideologies became locked in confrontation. Another element of the global historical process was the powerful national liberation movement in the countries of Asia, the Asia Pacific Region (APR), and Africa that were colonies of or depended on the West; it originated during the struggle against the fascist aggression. The struggle for influence in those countries aggravated relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The 75 years of social being after 1945 can be divided into two periods in terms of the nature of international relations. Period one (1945-1991) was the US-USSR standoff, the 46-year epoch of a bipolar world. Period two (1991-2020), following the destruction of the Soviet Union, was the time of the unipolar world, the global leadership of the United States, and the rise of China. Let us briefly go over the changes in social being, social consciousness, and global historical trends in each period.
The first period. For 46 years, the two world systems battled and competed with each other in conditions of the science-and-technology revolution and the Cold War, waged by the US and other NATO countries against the Soviet Union and other socialist countries of the Warsaw Pact Organization, as well as the constant threat of a nuclear attack on the USSR. In the circumstances, the Soviet Union outpaced the leading countries in terms of economic development rates and science-and-technology progress. Soviet military might guaranteed that the strategic balance and peace would not be disturbed. This is a historical fact; this is historical experience.5
The US military threat to the Soviet Union required that the permanent strength of the Soviet Union’s large Armed Forces be kept in operational readiness and systematically rearmed with modern weapons, and that strategic groupings of Soviet troops be deployed in Europe opposite major groupings of ground forces left by the United States after the war and NATO troops. The science-and-technology revolution and the creation of nuclear missiles brought radical changes to military affairs. US territory was no longer invulnerable. The main factor preventing aggression was progress in the Soviet Strategic Nuclear Missile Forces. The nuclear arms race to the point of their critical accumulation resulted in a series of treaties between the USSR and the US on averting a nuclear war and limiting nuclear arms.
Scientific and technological progress in the Soviet Union, especially in the area of armaments, made it possible to preserve strategic balance and peace. It also compelled the state to expend tremendous amounts of forces and assets. Another acute form of confrontation was support by the Soviet Union of the national liberation struggle of peoples in the colonies and countries dependent on the West. In several cases, that was fraught with the direct threat of a military clash with the United States (the 1950-1953 War in Korea, the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis).
The experience of WWI and even more so of WWII demonstrated the enhanced role in wartime of the people’s ideological and political unity, moral stamina, and soundness of the state system. The Cold War goals of the United States were to undermine the moral and political unity of the people and weaken the state system of the USSR and Warsaw Pact countries.
The nascent socialist system comprised states with underdeveloped economies that moreover had suffered devastating losses during the war and were in tatters. It could not compete economically with the developed world system of capitalism, while the Soviet Union started to lag behind the West in terms of the level of production and quality of mass consumer goods and the infrastructure of everyday life.
The United States and NATO countries focused their information efforts on discrediting the socialist way of life, citing the variety and quality of goods in Western countries, but keeping quiet about the fact that this abundance and high living standards came from plundering and exploiting Third World countries. Importantly, public life of that period witnessed a new stage in the technological revolution. Efficient data transmission resources such as television (TV) and the Internet appeared, impacting human consciousness and psyche. The achievements of psychology made it possible to develop forms of information that could influence people’s psyche and thinking. The combination of this information and TV and the Internet became a tool for zombifying people and controlling their emotions and behavior. This is a tragedy of contemporary humankind. TV and the Internet turned from a miracle into a monster, a means of controlling and enslaving humans.
The US brain trusts made use of these possibilities during the Cold War against socialist countries. The Soviet Union’s lag in countering this threat enabled the West to change social consciousness in some people living in the USSR and Eastern Europe, and more importantly, in some of their leaders, persuading and bribing them to destroy the social system from within. The rise to power of Mikhail Gorbachev in the USSR and his perestroika supported by Western efforts led to the destruction of the Soviet Union and to velvet revolutions in East European countries. Thus transpired the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” that changed the world, to quote Russian President Vladimir Putin. Study of those developments is a special subject beyond the scope of this article.
The second period. Once the Soviet Union disintegrated, the peoples of the Russian Federation and newly formed independent states felt the telling blows of destructive processes, the collapse and assimilation of their economies into the world market system. The republics of the destroyed Soviet Union, as well as East European countries, turned into raw-material appendages of Western capital and into markets for its commodities while undergoing deindustrialization and losing any chances of independent economic development. Production and the living standards declined, education and culture degraded, glaring social differentiation occurred, and the population decreased. Particularly worrying is the deteriorating literacy among young people caused by so-called educational reforms funded by grants from the Soros Foundation and the formation of aggressive selfishness with mosaic thinking nurtured by anti-Soviet propaganda and Western mass culture. Unfortunately, these are indisputable facts of life. We must be aware of them to counteract them.
Over the last decade, for the first time in history, the world economy has steadily decreased by 1% to 1.5% annually, while a global systemic crisis is developing that will inevitably provoke social unrest. The United States, meanwhile, is no longer the leader in global production; its share has dropped from 40% to 18%. China is taking first place. So, the age of the unipolar world is over.
The worsening global crisis is already being acknowledged by the G20 leaders. At their summit meeting on November 21-22, 2020, in Saudi Arabia, Russian President V.V. Putin remarked that a systemic economic crisis has begun on a scale that the modern world has probably never seen since the time of the Great Depression, and the worst risk is still mass long-term unemployment with a subsequent increase of poverty and social disorder. However, the leaders were hopeful they would manage to avoid that, and their attention was focused on combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under these conditions, a new type of fascism, American (a notion introduced by the author), is becoming increasingly aggressive. The rise of fascism that originated in the course of WWII in the United States is a dangerous trend. This fact is assiduously concealed by Western ideology and historiography. The first act of American fascism may be considered America’s use of nuclear weapons against the civilian population of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in August 1945, on the orders of President Truman, a stooge of US pro-fascist circles.
Fascism in the United States, as a national sociopolitical phenomenon, grew during the Cold War against the Soviet Union in the second half of the 20th century. Waging the Cold War became the chief motif in the politics of all subsequent US presidents. American fascism has the same social essence as the 1930s-1940s variety: dictatorship of big capital and anticommunism. It aims to establish world supremacy and enslave world nations.6
This domination may assume different forms, but the essence remains unchanged, especially since American fascism by way of war spoils used the “achievements” of Hitlerite and Japanese war criminals, experts in anti-Soviet propaganda, psychologists, developers of biological and chemical weapons, and the entire agent network in various countries. This legacy is still being used with the application of modern achievements of science and technology. The fact that Anglo-Saxons were continuing the ideas of German fascism was pointed out by Joseph Stalin in 1946, when Churchill announced the start of the Cold War against the USSR.7
In the course of the Cold War against the Soviet Union, the US state system and American society became increasingly fascist, with fascist ideology taking root. Leading Cold War ideologist, rabid anticommunist, and Russophobe Zbigniew Brzezinski, an adviser to US presidents for many years, wrote that soon it would be possible to control every individual…. The existing authorities would be replaced by institutions for managing precrisis situations whose job would be to anticipate social crises and work out programs of managing these crises.8 As one can see, American fascism was preparing for the current critical state. It is important to emphasize the adage by Brzezinski that he who controls information controls the world. This principle governs the entire world press at present. The recent US presidential election and Operation Navalny are graphic testimony that this premise is being translated into reality.
US sociologists studied American fascism as a sociopolitical phenomenon in the 20th century with its own predecessors. They explored it both in the McCarthy Republican version (Robert Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism) and the liberal version practiced by Democrats (Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Change).
Russia’s literature, regrettably, cannot boast similar works, while the very term American fascism has been neither recognized nor disseminated (for reasons of political correctness with regard to our so-called partners). Yet American fascism is the real being of today; moreover, the kind of being fraught with “beating,” including military beating. The distinctive feature of contemporary American fascism is that while projecting the image of the US as a model democracy, where power is transferred during elections from one party to the other, it retains its essence, i.e., dictatorship of big capital seeking world domination and the enslavement of other nations – these days, technotronic slavery (to quote Brzezinski). In countries dependent on America, the US is reviving overtly fascist regimes on the basis of anti-Sovietism and Russophobia. Fascism in those countries, serves American fascism. Ukraine, the Baltic states, and Poland are prime examples.
The incipient global economic crisis has aggravated the contradictions between the two US parties. The December 2020 election of the 46th president exposed the whole falsehood of supposed democracy in America. The Democratic Party that expresses the interests of the global financial oligarchy and is subordinate to the latter is establishing a total dictatorship of liberal fascism in the United States, subordinating national industrial capital and the entire state. Now the world financial oligarchy can use this state to establish its global domination, involving US military might and establishing a “world order.”
The threat of fascist global domination is on the rise. The January 2021 speech by Klaus Schwab, organizer of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he presented a project of resetting international relations, was in fact a claim to establish fascist world domination with technotronic slavery (according to Brzezinski).
Only two leaders spoke out against the concept voiced in Schwab’s report: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. After a 12-year pause in speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF), President Putin said, “The age related to attempts at constructing a centralized and unipolar world order is over….” With regard to the makeup of the would-be world economy, he reminded the audience of the words of former FRG Chancellor Helmut Kohl to the effect that Western Europe and Russia should be together. He also stressed that “we hold the same view and position.”9 Xi Jinping in his address disclosed the essence of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with 15 APR countries set up in November 2020 on China’s initiative.
At the center of the modern being of the world community in the 21st century is the confrontation between American fascism, which is seeking to retain its political position and absolute military superiority in the world, and developing China, which is using its multistructural economy and international economic ties. The world economic crisis is exacerbating their confrontation.
In the geopolitical confrontation of the US and China, Russia is objectively playing a major role. Russia’s military might in alliance with China is the main deterrent to the aggression of American fascism. For 75 years, US diplomatic efforts have been directed against this alliance. The desire to pit the two great powers against each other, with one of them in “partnership” with the US, is a time-honored trick of US foreign policy. US President Nixon and Henry Kissinger succeeded very well in this regard during Leonid Brezhnev’s time in office in the USSR.
Nowadays, admirers of partnership with democratic America both in Russia and in China had better remember that there is no room in the mindset of US businesspeople for partnership; the only option is competition: “Bolivar cannot carry double” (to quote O. Henry). Fascism sees world war as a way out of the crisis. That is the lesson of 20th century history. The threat of war is looming. As a great world power, Russia can only fulfill its role if it ensures its defensive capability and the durability of the state. A threat to the durability of the state these days is a serious hazard both to Russia and to China, as competent analysts point out. The United States and the world oligarchy allocate lots of money for subversive activity, forming and openly using internal subversive forces there (the fifth column).
Public thought in Russia is considering new forms of economic and social structure in the country in the conditions of the 21st century. Historical experience suggests that ideology cannot exist without a conception of the past and of the future, and of the objectives of public life. Patriotism is based on ideology, on a clearly perceived objective of public life, on pride for one’s past, on confidence in the present, and on hopes for the future of one’s country. Soviet patriotism, nurtured by ideas of the friendship of peoples, the continuity of generations, and the Soviet Union’s social development objectives, became a major factor in its victory in the Great Patriotic War.
To devise a modern ideology and socioeconomic model, it is necessary to view the experience of history objectively and draw scientific conclusions to solve urgent social problems in accordance with the specific conditions of being in the early 21st century. This is the task of current social consciousness in Russia.
The growing world economic crisis is inevitably worsening the international situation. The military threat to Russia is multifaceted. An adequate response to it must be comprehensive, provide for various variants of the use of military force by the prospective adversary, and also methods of weakening and dismantling the Russian state from within, bearing in mind the experience of the 20th century. In today’s conditions of geopolitical confrontation and military threat, we cannot confine ourselves to passive defense; there must also be preemptive actions based on effective and reliable intelligence, as Colonel General F. Ladygin stressed in one of his latest articles.10
Currently, the West is acting on the theory of hybrid warfare that combines Cold War methods and active subversion, sabotage, terrorist acts, military provocations, ideological and psychological influence on the population and leadership of countries, staged unrest and mutinies, and separatist movements, all coupled with the threat of large-scale warfare or escalation of its dimensions. The threat of the use of military force is already an element of war, as K. Clausewitz used to say.
Readiness to counter a war of scale should be accompanied by measures to consolidate the internal security of the state, cohesion of society, and public support of state leadership. To study the situation and address issues of military and internal security, there needs to be a single state analytical center working in close cooperation with the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces.
In accordance with the current development level of combat assets, the main condition for countering military threats to Russia remains strategic parity in the ratio of the Armed Forces to the degree of their combat readiness to match the degree of the threat of large-scale warfare. One should bear in mind that June 22, 1941 (fascist aggression in Europe against the Soviet Union) and December 7, 1941 (Japanese aggression against the United States and Great Britain in the Pacific and in Southeast Asia) were a harsh lesson of history. These days, the chief factor in the strategic parity system, as before, is the ratio of strategic nuclear missile forces to the degree of their preparedness, which ensures deterrence of a large-scale war, including resort to a surprise massive preemptive attack (disarming strike). This is provided for in the Basics of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Area of Nuclear Deterrence, first published in 2020.
The document stipulates that parity rests on the permanent high combat readiness of a certain strength of invulnerable nuclear missile forces and a system of their control that can retaliate in any circumstance, inflicting unacceptable damage on the adversary. The composition of combat service forces, including reconnaissance, is determined by the degree of the threat of war, but has a certain minimum level. The adversary must understand and fear our ability to retaliate in any conditions. The basis of deterrence is science-and-technological progress in the development of the strategic nuclear forces.
However, the prevention of a nuclear missile war does not preclude the possibility of waging conventional war on a large scale, as conventional arms have acquired great striking potential and are able to perform strategic missions on their own and achieve military-political goals, especially in combination with the limited use of nuclear weapons in the course of armed struggle and the escalation of its scale.
Strategic parity that ensures deterrence includes, in addition to parity in nuclear forces, the necessary armed forces of conventional warfare capable not only of defending the country, but also of changing the international situation. In addition, nuclear missile confrontation deterred in alliance with China becomes a decisive factor in conventional warfare. The experience of past conventional wars of scale has lost none of its significance. These days, strategic parity includes the presence of permanent mobile groupings of troops/forces in the main strategic sectors for both defense and attacks on a strategic scale with mobilization possibilities for stepping up the latter. Military theory and operational-strategic preparation of the armed forces, combat training of the troops in accordance with the current state of affairs, and the combat potential must be constantly improved.
Today’s international situation, as before, requires that the Armed Forces also be prepared to wage local wars and armed conflicts in various parts of the globe where Russia’s interests are affected. To this end, special forces groupings must be created to act in concrete situations. This is a specific area of armed struggle that requires furthering the theory and special forms of actions. It has lately commanded enhanced attention from the state leadership, and extensive combat experience has also been acquired. It is important to note that waging local wars is combat area-specific, and forces must be prepared for concrete conditions in advance in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Intelligence Service.
Such, in my view, is the general nature of military threats and their direct connection with the country’s internal security in the conditions of a worsening global economic crisis.
The campaign of Russophobia unfolding in Europe and the United States, the rise of fascism in Eastern Europe and Ukraine, the attempted coup d’etat in Belarus, the military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, and disturbances in Kyrgyzstan are posing a threat in these three strategic sectors. The redeployment of units of the US Armed Forces from Germany to Poland and the Baltic states and the installation of missile systems in Romania testify to the growing threat of a large-scale war by conventional means, with an escalation of hostilities by provocations on the border or against Russian peacekeepers outside of it.
The US withdrawal from many treaties on arms limitations and its deployment of space attack assets in combination with measures of economic, political, and ideological-psychological impact on Russia aim to weaken this country internally. The American mindset tends to conform to standards. The destruction of the Soviet Union became the benchmark for color revolutions in other countries. It is not unfathomable that it will be applied to present-day Russia, too, and that China will be a subsequent or concurrent target. The world crisis and overt claims of world supremacy call for vigilance with regard to the threat of contemporary fascism.
In his Address to the Federal Assembly of April 21, 2021, RF President Vladimir Putin clearly outlined measures of maintaining strategic parity and displayed the resolve of state leadership to curb attempts to cross the red line of Russia’s state interests and attack its security. Military theory and the training of the Russian Armed Forces must ensure the most effective implementation of decisions by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. I hope this paper will be of help.
1. Shaposhnikov, B.M., Mozg armiyi [The Brain of the Army], Book 1, Moscow-Leningrad, 1927, pp. 246, 247.
2. Trubetskoy, S.Ye., Minuvsheye [The Past], Moscow, 1991, p. 141.
3. Bokhanov, A.N., Sumerki monarkhiyi [The Twilight of the Monarchy], Moscow, 1993. p. 244.
4. Olshtynsky, L.I., Razgromfashizma. S.S.S.R. i anglo-amerikanskiye soyuzniki vo Vtoroy mirovoy voyne: fakty, vyvody uroki istoriyi [The Rout of Fascism. The U.S.S.R. and Anglo-American Allies in the Second World War: Facts, Conclusions, Lessons of History], ITRK Publishers, Moscow, 2010.
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