The draft military doctrine was published in the newspaper “Krasnaya Zvezda” on October 9: an unprecedented fact in the latest history of the country that a document of such magnitude is published for discussion. Unfortunately, the discussion proved to be a sham. Already on October 20, Senior Deputy Chief of the General Staff Valery Manilov called a press conference talking about the document as if it were completely ready. Later that day Defense Minister Igor Sergeev chaired a sitting of the editorial commission which was supposed to give the final touches to the document. The PR Department of the Defense Ministry says that heads of federal ministries and departments, members of the Defense Ministry Board, and directors of main and central directorates of the war office were present at the sitting. Top brass was assembled indeed, but it is hard to rid oneself of the impression that this was the last discussion.

Addressing those present at the sitting, Manilov outlined the proposals forwarded in the course of the discussion, recommendations submitted by members of the editorial commission, heads of ministries and departments, organizations, scientists, and suggestions made by the media. After that Manilov suggested that the commission either adopt all of it or discard the entire package. Those present resolved to complete the work on the draft military doctrine and forward it to the Security Council.

According to Manilov, there is a presidential decree which specifies that the Security Council should discuss the draft military doctrine in November. He says, however, that most probably the document will be adopted and signed by the president only after the discussion in the Security Council of the national Security Concept, the said document being prepared now. In the meantime, it is clear that the country urgently needs a new military doctrine.

The doctrine’s predecessor, The Major Statutes of the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation, was drafted in the corridors of power. It came into effect in accordance with Presidential Decree No 1833 on November 2, 1993, during the period of the so called power vacuum. In October 1993, the Russian Supreme Council was disbanded, the draft Constitution was being prepared and parliamentary election organized. Several years later NATO expanded its facilitation of the idea of a monopolar world and extremism and terrorism in the Caucasus became a reality. In other words, Russia encountered new external and internal threats to its safety and security. That is why the draft military doctrine specifies certain provisions. The document states, for example, that “a number of potential external and internal threats to the military security of the Russian Federation and its allies, large-scale threats including, preserves and even increases in some directions,” This is something new. This provision collides with what was written in the previous document which stated that Russia did “not foresee” any large-scale aggressions against it in the near future. This was the assumption ex-Defense Minister Igor Rodionov and other high-ranking generals used to attack with such fervor.

Without referring to NATO directly, authors of the draft military doctrine imply that external threats to Russia mean “attempts to ignore (encroach on) the interests of the Russian Federation in the resolution of problems of international security… creation (build up) of groups of troops (forces), that may wreck the existing parity… enlargement of military alliances, unions, and so on…” It sounds convincing, too.

Russian “may use nuclear weapons when the existence of the state, its sovereignty, or territorial integrity is jeopardized.” This is another postulate that made it into the document for the first time. Manilov says that this position in the matter of possible deployment of the nuclear arsenals “concerns all states, nuclear and non-nuclear alike.”

Appraising the new document, Manilov said that “the threat of a global nuclear war was reduced to a minimum” but Russia is facing new threats all the same.

Manilov: When the Warsaw Pact disintegrated, it seemed as if NATO was not needed anymore. This never happened. On the contrary, a new serious threat appeared: NATO’s eastward expansion.

To quote Manilov, “expansion of the NATO military structure and the attraction of new countries into its orbit signifies an appearance of new dividing lines in Europe… Objectively, it constitutes a threat to Russia because these lines approach us.

Granted that very many provisions of the draft military doctrine are important indeed, some postulates of the document give birth to doubts. This fact was mentioned by “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” and “Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie” which featured articles by Andrei Korbut. The newspapers point out that the article of the document titled “Military-Political Foundations” includes a provision specifying the functions of the president, government, Defense Ministry, General Staff, and so on in maintenance of military security. Nevertheless, authors emphasizes that all of these functions are already specified by the acting Constitution and Russian laws. Why repeat it again?

The draft military doctrine states that “Activities in maintaining military security of the Russian Federation are headed by the president” while the “government of the Russian Federation supervises these activities.” In the meantime, the Constitution states that the government “carries out the measures aimed at maintaining the defense of the country and state security.” It can supervise the activities on the basis of the powers specified by the laws and presidential decrees. Still, the draft military doctrine does not mention it.

Journalists are surprised that the document was drafted by the military instead of politicians. The draft was not discussed widely, but it has to be signed by the president. Will he agree with the wording offered by the Defense Ministry?

In short, despite political and socioeconomic instability, the Russian Federation is drafting a document which is supposed to fortify the security of the state. On the whole, provisions of the draft military doctrine are constructive and fit the objective reality. The doctrine is aimed at the creation and perfection of foundations of the military organization of the state as the major method of preventing military threats.