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Apr 08

The Russian Military: Modernization and the Future

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

This year, heavy military equipment will once again roll down Moscow's Red Square for the Victory Day military parade. Tanks, missiles, and 6,000 troops will be joined overhead by fighter aircraft and military helicopters. Last year, President Vladimir Putin ordered a resumption of strategic bomber patrols deep into the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The recent Russian TU-95 Bear fly-over of the USS Nimitz and intrusions of Russian bombers which led to the scrambling of Japanese and British jets, were just the latest Cold War-style incidents. In January for the first time in 15 years, the Russian Navy staged a large-scale exercise in the Bay of Biscay. Before presidential elections on March 2, Putin had promulgated a massive military budgetary ramp-up for a five-year, $200 billion modernization. In reality, this amount may be much higher.

Putin has justified Russia's military resurgence by claiming that the new arms race has been triggered "by the world's most developed countries," in reference to the U.S. and the West. In response, the Kremlin plans to deploy new weapons systems said to be as good as or better than its Western equivalents, including strategic nuclear submarines and mobile ICBMs. Russia is also providing weapons and military technology to a number of anti-status quo international players, including Iran, Syria and Venezuela.

What does the Russian military reform and modernization mean for the US and NATO? To answer this question, Heritage has assembled a panel of the leading Russian military experts.

More About the Speakers

Opening Remarks by:

Kim Holmes, Ph.D.
Vice President of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies
and Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis
Institute for International Studies,
The Heritage Foundation

Followed by a Panel featuring:

Stephen Blank, Ph.D.
Research Professor of National Security Affairs,
Strategic Studies Institute,
U.S. Army War College

Alexander Golts
Deputy Editor-in-Chief,
Yezhednevnyi Zhurnal

Dale R. Herspring, Ph.D.
University Distinguished Professor,
Department of Political Science,
Kansas State University

Eugene B. Rumer, Ph.D.
Senior Research Fellow,
Institute for National Strategic Studies,
National Defense University

Mikhail Tsypkin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor,
Center for Contemporary Conflict,
Naval Postgraduate School