COLD WAR, PART DEUX: Russia Rearms For A New Era

COLD WAR, PART DEUX: Russia Rearms For A New Era

COLD WAR, PART DEUX: Russia Rearms For A New Era

Russia has bolstered its military and asserted itself on the world stage with a forcefulness not seen since the
Cold War, ratcheting up tensions with the West. Here is what Russia has been doing to reclaim its influence.

Russia Is Building and Expanding Bases in the Arctic

Russia is reinvesting in its bases in the Arctic: building new ones, expanding old ones and deploying personnel to operate them. Analysts say Russia’s efforts in the Arctic are driven in part by climate change, as the country seeks to exploit and defend maritime trade routes and oil and natural gas resources in areas made more accessible by melting ice.

Its Military Budget Has Been Growing Steadily

Russia has made big increases to its military budget, including a jump of nearly $11 billion from 2014 to 2015. According to Moscow, it is making up for years of disinvestment after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But sanctions from the Ukrainian conflict, dropping oil prices and other financial problems have weakened the Russian economy, and analysts expect military spending to slow.

Large-Scale Military Exercises

Russia has scheduled mobilizations of more than 100,000 troops, as well as unannounced exercises that move thousands of troops with almost no notice. These efforts serve as combat training for the troops and as a show of military strength to the world. They often involve units that control Russia’s nuclear arsenal, calling attention to the country’s nuclear abilities. NATO has responded by expanding its own exercises.

“The image that Russian official sources convey is that they’re preparing for large-scale interstate war,” said Johan Norberg of the Swedish Defense Research Agency. “This is not about peacekeeping or counterinsurgency.”