Articles by Ruslan Pukhov



Nothing 'Hybrid' About Russia's War in Ukraine

Russia's actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine over the past year gave rise in the West to a widespread theory about some kind of "hybrid war," an innovative form of military intervention that Moscow created specifically for this crisis.

Serdyukov Leaves Big Shoes to Fill

Serdyukov accomplished more than anyone had expected of him. But as a ruthless reformer, he became too much of a political liability.

What Drives the Kremlin's Syria Policy

Western analysts have suggested that the Kremlin's main motivation for supporting the Syrian regime is a desire to preserve Russia's military base in the port of Tartus and its profitable weapons sales to Damascus. But upon closer inspection, these factors do not seem to play a leading role.

What Drives the Kremlin's Syria Policy

Western analysts have suggested that the Kremlin's main motivation for supporting the Syrian regime is a desire to preserve Russia's military base in the port of Tartus and its profitable weapons sales to Damascus. But upon closer inspection, these factors do not seem to play a leading role.

Joint Missile Defense Is Limited to Data Sharing

There is a huge amount of mutual mistrust between Russia and the United States on missile defense. Nevertheless, there are still several possibilities for cooperation on the project.

The U.S. Obsession With Absolute Security

Moscow believes all U.S. assurances that its missile defense system "will not be aimed against Russia" to be empty. How can they be taken seriously if the ultimate goal of all U.S. missile defense programs is to achieve the complete defense of U.S. territory against all nuclear missile strikes Ч something that would eventually negate Russia's strategic nuclear capability? Russia regards preserving its strategic nuclear deterrence capability as an absolute national security imperative.

Arms Sales High, But Hard Times Loom

When the official 2011 figures for Russian arms exports were released last month, most analysts and journalists focused, as they usually do, on the fact that it was another record year for deliveries Ч $13.2 billion, up from $10.4 billion in 2010. That is a significant increase. But the figure reflects the fulfillment of contracts that had been signed in previous years.

Quality Over Quantity

In his recent article on national defense published in the Feb. 20 issue of Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin once again confirmed his ambitious plans for building up the military over the next decade. The degraded, demoralized and poorly equipped army must be transformed into a modern mobile military force that is designed for fighting local and regional conflicts.

Medvedev's Missile Threats Are His 'Plan B'

On Nov. 23, President Dmitry Medvedev Ч who, by the way, is still president Ч announced the measures with which Russia would respond if the United States deploys its missile defense system in Europe. Many commentators in the West and Russia agreed that there was nothing new in his threats to withdraw from the New START treaty with the United States and deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, saying his rhetoric was aimed primarily at Russian voters during a national election season.

Serdyukov's Reforms 3 Years On

The third anniversary of the radical military reforms that Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov first announced to the top brass on Oct. 14, 2008, passed virtually unnoticed. We all remember in 2009 and 2010 the relentless criticism against Serdyukov's reforms, but this has all but disappeared. And there is good reason for this.

The Real Cost of Modernizing the Military

Throughout the summer, a serious conflict broke out between military manufacturers and the Defense Ministry over the fulfilment of weapons contracts for the state's defense and rearmament program through 2020.

The Military's Achilles Heel

Russia's aircraft industry suffered two significant setbacks at the MAKS air show held outside Moscow from Aug. 16-21. First, the MiG-29 0VT had to abort its flight plan, and second, an engine surge prompted the pilot of the fifth-generation T-50 stealth fighter to abort at takeoff. The incidents could have led to disaster, and both drew attention to problems with the construction of the aircrafts' engines.

Defending the Defense Industry

The political shoving match that Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and defense contractors have been playing for the last two years erupted into a full-fledged fistfight in July.

Why Missile Defense Talks Will Fail

At a news conference on May 18, President Dmitry Medvedev once again made the claim that the elements of a U.S. missile defense system to be deployed in Europe would actually be aimed against Russia because the "rogue" states for which they are ostensibly intended do not constitute a threat.

Mistral Ship Agreement Is Losing Steam

Apart from the ongoing battle between Russia's top brass and defense industry, the top military story has been the developing crisis over the planned purchase of two Mistral helicopter carriers from France.

Army Needs a New Beginning

Both the Defense Ministry and the military contractors must find a new model and modus operandi, but that will be possible only when the government learns to manage the relevant ministries effectively and appoints far more competent deputy ministers to oversee the process.

Serdyukov 4 Years On

Last month marked four years since the once little-known Anatoly Serdyukov was unexpectedly named defense minister. At the time, most observers assumed that the former tax official's main mission would be to put the military's financial affairs in order. But within 18 months of becoming defense minister, Serdyukov understood the need for radical reforms.

The West Will Help Us

After 50 years of RussiaТs military-industrial complex striving for complete self-sufficiency and dictating its own interests to the army, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has sent a clear and unequivocal message: The era of its monopoly over the domestic military market has come to an end.

Iran Is Much More Bark Than Bite

Last week's three-day visit to Moscow by Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Najjar renewed the debate over Russia's weapons sales to Iran -- particularly the S-300 air defense system.