The State of Russia's Armed Forces and Military Reform


© 1999 Walter Parchomenko

From Parameters, Winter 1999-2000, pp. 98-110.

Despite several partial breakthroughs recently in the military reform process, Russia's armed forces continue in a state of deep crisis, and few resources are readily available to improve the situation. Although still a nuclear superpower, Russia faces daunting problems in virtually every aspect of its armed forces. Too often, Russian soldiers are homeless, unpaid, hungry, humiliated, brutalized, and angry. Moreover, the poor state of Russia's conventional forces necessarily means a greater reliance on strategic nuclear forces in their military strategy and, consequently, a much lower threshold for resort to nuclear weapons.

For more than five years after the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, there was much talk but no real military reform in Russia. Finally, in the wake of President Yeltsin's humiliating dismissal of Defense Minister Rodionov in May 1997, military reform at long last got off the ground and seemed to be gaining momentum. Yeltsin, although chronically ill, was forced by steady calls for his resignation within the Duma to concentrate on the military's crisis and to act through his latest Defense Minister, Marshal Igor Sergeyev. Today, while there is finally a blueprint for military reform, there is still no coherent and integrated government military reform strategy in sight, no balancing of stated commitments and available resources. Fundamental military reform will for some time likely remain hostage to a growing pyramid of foreign and domestic debt and a strained internal situation. The Russian state is hampered by poor tax collection; high turnover of prime ministers, cabinet members, and presidential advisors; and continuing competition between the military and non-Ministry of Defense (MOD) security forces for scarce resources and power.

This article seeks to shed light on the crisis facing Russia's armed forces and the country's evolving military reform strategy. It examines Russia's key military problems and discusses Defense Minister Sergeyev's current military reform course, highlighting recent accomplishments and key deficiencies of his reforms. Finally, it discusses prospects for fundamental military reform in Russia and offers US policymakers some modest recommendations.

Key Military Problems

In pursuing fundamental military reform, Russia faces a number of pressing problems: declining living standards and social security in the armed forces, a grossly inadequate military budget, deteriorating military capabilities and readiness, a collapsing military-industrial complex, widespread military corruption and crime, declining military prestige and morale, and brutal "hazing" of junior conscripts by seniors, all driven increasingly by economics. To a casual observer, the socioeconomic crisis plaguing the military mirrors the daily hardships facing average Russians. However, closer inspection reveals that servicemen have far fewer opportunities to supplement their meager wages, and many new conscripts are brutalized on a daily basis by more senior servicemen.

Declining Living Standards

The most urgent problem facing the Russian armed forces today is socioeconomic--namely, individual survival. The country's continued economic crisis has meant very low living standards, persistent shortages of housing, inferior living conditions, low wages that go unpaid for months, and poor social security provisions.

During 1998 more than 70 percent of Russia's officers received their wages (about $100 per month) irregularly, with nearly 60 percent experiencing delays averaging two to four months, according to Dr. Sergey Rogov, director of Moscow's US-Canada Institute and a consultant to the State Duma and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[1] The Russian financial collapse in August 1998 has further aggravated this situation. Today's greatly devalued ruble means that servicemen's poor wages, when they are paid, purchase dramatically less. Meanwhile prices rise sharply, exacerbating the problem.

Another growing social problem for the military, which greatly undermines morale, is inadequate housing. In February 1999 Roman Popkovich, head of the Duma's Defense Committee, reported that more than 100,000 recently discharged servicemen, who are legally guaranteed housing, have no housing whatsoever, and that the state's 1997 program to provide housing certificates to the military in lieu of housing has been a total failure.[2]

Declining stocks of food, medicines, and fuel have further eroded military morale, according to Colonel General Aleksandr Kosovan, Deputy Defense Minister and chief of the Construction and Billeting of Troops Directorate.[3] In testimony to the Duma Defense Committee in October 1998, he stated that chronic nonpayment of debts by the military had interrupted deliveries of bread and vegetables to garrisons in many regions of Russia; that only two million of 600 million rubles (0.3 percent) allocated for military medicine in the 1998 defense budget had been received; and that only 17 percent of the required stocks of fuel had been delivered, thus restricting pilot flying time to only 8-10 percent of the required norm, and permitting virtually no navy combat training.[4]

Discipline and Crime

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a steady increase in military crime and corruption in Russia, and a deterioration in discipline. In January 1999, Russia's Chief Military Prosecutor reported a sharp increase in economic crimes, notably burglaries and thefts in the army and navy, which he described as a result of the "disastrous situation" facing many Russian officers, warrant officers, and their families.[5]

The current conscription system is another important factor contributing to the decline in military discipline. It is a disaster, yet Yeltsin's 1996 plan to move to an entirely professional army by the year 2000 has long since been abandoned. Testifying before the Duma in November 1998, Russian military experts noted that in recent years less than 20 percent of those drafted have entered the military; 40 percent of new recruits cannot perform the minimum requirements of physical training; and 25 percent require medical supervision because of chronic illness.[6] This situation, to a great extent, reflects the deteriorating health of Russia's exhausted population.

A major reason for the conscription mess is that military service increasingly is viewed by young Russians as abusive, humiliating, and even life-threatening because of the widespread brutal hazing of junior conscripts by seniors. In a detailed 1997 report, Nikita Cheldymov, a member of Yeltsin's human rights commission, described conditions in the Russian military as "inhuman."[7] According to Cheldymov, during the first nine months of 1997, more than 1,400 service personnel were victims of brutal hazing, while 314 officers and enlisted personnel committed suicide. In the Dzerzhinsky Division, which was active in the Chechen war, Cheldymov documented over 100 cases of soldiers who were severely beaten during hazing, only 37 of which were reported to the prosecutor's office.[8] Many young conscripts are permanently disabled or even die as a result of these beatings by seniors.

Given this state of affairs, morale in the armed forces has plummeted in recent years and today is at an all-time low. The military is increasingly suicidal, with suicides highest among officers. Each year there are between 400 and 600 suicides; in 1997, for example, there were nearly 500.[9] The tragic irony is that the military, faced with dramatic downsizing and intolerable living conditions, is reducing itself.

The military's total lack of prestige today is reflected in a major survey of officers throughout the Russian armed forces conducted by military sociologists from 1995 to 1997. The principal findings are as follows:

Lowered Readiness and Combat Capability

In recent years, the combat readiness of the armed forces, with few exceptions, has continued to deteriorate. The war in Chechnya opened a window on Russian military capabilities and readiness, revealing an impoverished and antiquated force that was poorly manned, inadequately trained, ill-equipped, and badly led. Chechnya provided countless stories of young conscripts without proper training, intelligence, weaponry, or communications being dispatched to conduct urban warfare. Moreover, it exposed an escalating feud between Russia's Ministry of Defense and non-MOD security forces. Although non-MOD security forces are not immune from the radical downsizing facing MOD forces, their budget almost equals that of the military, and their numerical strength is greater, according to Dr. Rogov.[11] The non-MOD security forces, also referred to as Russia's "other troops," "paramilitary forces," and "shadow armies," are attached to 15 government agencies, including the Interior Ministry and the Federal Border Service.[12]

The low level of operational and combat readiness of Russian general purpose forces evident in Chechnya continues to drop primarily because of inadequate funding. This has resulted in a military "currently incapable of conducting strategic operations or speedily carrying out a major redeployment of troops," according to numerous experts testifying before the Duma in late 1998 on the state of Russia's armed forces.[13] They stressed the following facts:

It is true that the strategic nuclear forces still enjoy a relatively high level of combat readiness and are able to deter large-scale aggression against Russia. However, even their combat effectiveness has been falling steadily in recent years. Numerous Russian experts testifying before the Duma in November 1998 agreed that nearly two-thirds of the missiles in the Strategic Missile Troops have reached the end of their warranty period and will not last beyond the year 2010 under any circumstances. They also noted that "over 70 percent of command and operations facilities have exceeded their permitted service life," and that more than 70 percent of the navy's strategic missile submarines need repairs in order to maintain combat readiness.[15]

Moreover, independent Moscow defense experts agree that the strategic forces are not immune from the widespread demoralization of the military. They stress that the quality of strategic forces personnel is deteriorating due to low and irregular pay, conscription difficulties, critical housing and food shortages, and a drastic drop in the army's professional status.[16]

Sergeyev's Accomplishments

Since becoming Minister of Defense in May 1997, Marshal Sergeyev has managed to lay the foundation for fundamental military reform, despite grossly inadequate defense spending.[17] In the preceding five years, there was nothing but talk about military reform in Russia by the president and previous defense ministers. Sergeyev, however, undertook the painful, politically sensitive, but inevitable preliminary steps needed to make real military reform a possibility in the next century, including a professionalization of the army and major procurement of modern weapons and hardware. At the heart of his military reform plan is the concept of "optimization" under a nuclear shield. Optimization fundamentally is about efficiency, not simply downsizing, and about gradually releasing funds to support reforms.

Sergeyev's plan also embraces nuclear reform. He is acutely aware that there is little money to pursue key reform goals, notably a professional army and major procurement of modern weapons, for at least several years. Consequently, Sergeyev believes greater reliance on nuclear deterrence in military strategy is essential, and the highest priority should be given to programs aimed at developing Russia's strategic nuclear forces, which account for less than 20 percent of the defense budget. Given Russia's grossly inadequate defense budget, this means virtually no conventional defense procurement is possible for the next few years in order to make the nuclear shield more reliable.

In just two years, and in the face of tremendous financial and bureaucratic obstacles, Sergeyev has accomplished most of the tasks in the first stage of his military reform plan. Specifically, he:

By accomplishing these tasks, Sergeyev established the essential preconditions, including structural reconfigurations, for real military reform in Russia's not too distant future. Indeed, Sergeyev has achieved much more in his first two years than simply a mechanical reduction of the armed forces, as many critics have argued. By accomplishing the above stage-one military reform tasks, he has tried to optimize all of Russia's security forces, including non-MOD services, to achieve greater efficiency and a considerable reduction in expenses, given Russia's harsh economic realities.

In addition, Sergeyev has actively supported efforts by Duma Defense Committee members to move toward greater civilian control of the military and increased transparency in the defense budget process. Here it is important to note several significant changes in the Duma Defense Committee since the untimely death of its leader, Lev Rokhlin, in 1998. Under the current leadership of Roman Popkovich, and with the participation of retired General Eduard Vorobyev, Aleksey Arbatov, and others, a number of positive trends are emerging. They include efforts to achieve greater transparency of the defense budget, a good working relationship with the defense minister and the MOD in general, and important legislation on military reform. Several laws have been passed recently. One on budget specification requires the government to present a very detailed budget for approval by the Duma. Consequently, the Duma now has quite a strong voice, even in shaping certain military programs; previously, that opportunity was denied.[19]

Moreover, today the notion of civilian control of the military is not disputed by anyone in the Russian political elite. According to Dr. Dmitriy Trenin, deputy director of the Carnegie Moscow Center and an expert on Russian military issues, the legislation that the Duma is producing on civilian control is virtually nonpartisan.[20] Thus it is now possible to have fairly sophisticated legislation approved by a pro-communist parliament. This, then, is the incremental way civilian control is likely to proceed.[21]

However, Sergeyev has had little success in his first two years in boosting combat readiness, an important stage-one military reform task, despite his statements to the contrary. For example, in reviewing the 1998 military reform record, he asserted that despite "limited, chaotic, and incomplete financing . . . the armed forces tackled the tasks facing them and maintained combat readiness, did combat duty, held operational and combat training, and created permanent readiness formations."[22] Such official statements abound and are quite misleading.

Dr. Dmitriy Trenin believes that Sergeyev's talk about enhanced combat readiness (two or three permanent ready divisions) is essentially for public relations, but is necessary, given all the "doom and gloom and spectacularly negative events" in the military picture, especially widely publicized stories of servicemen killing comrades. Apparently everyone in the military realizes Sergeyev's statements are greatly exaggerated, but such rhetoric is accepted as a traditionally upbeat Soviet year-end review of the military.[23]

Alexandr Golts, the senior military affairs correspondent for Itogi magazine in Moscow, supports Trenin's view. During 1998 the commander of the Moscow Military District allowed Golts to observe the 3d Division conducting a "model" training exercise in Nizhny. According to Golts, the commander had to gather vehicle fuel for months from various units; the result was battalion-level training only and not division-level. The battalion-level training was "like a holiday," with many servicemen coming from different parts of the Moscow Military District; many majors, and even colonels, who had never organized battalion-level training, participated in the exercise.[24]

Pavel Felgengauer, security affairs editor and senior defense correspondent for Segodnya newspaper in Moscow, similarly argues that although Russia is increasing training and improving manning somewhat, it is not significantly increasing combat readiness.[25] Shortage of funds is a key reason. However, Russia's weak officer corps and nonexistent professional NCO corps are also important contributing factors. Consequently, according to Felgengauer, Russia's armed forces are today, at best, a militia.[26]

Reform Tasks for 2000 and Beyond

The main military reform tasks for 1999 identified by Sergeyev have been largely "practical measures"--i.e., requiring essentially no money. They have included efforts to cut the number of two-year conscripts and fully staff newly created "permanent-combat-ready" units; to reduce crime, corruption, and theft in the military; to eliminate the inefficient and illegal waste of defense budget and extra-budgetary funds by unit commanders and others; to continue downsizing and reform of the "extremely inefficient system of military education"; and, in general, to search for additional, non-budgeted sources of funding for the impoverished military, all while building up the country's arsenal of modernized Topol-M strategic missiles.[27]

Stage two of Sergeyev's military reform plan, although officially covering the years 2001-2005, is already partly under way. It includes efforts to enhance the military's command and control system, and to improve the level of operational and combat training. It also focuses on the critical but seemingly unattainable goals of strengthening military discipline, enforcing law and order, raising servicemen's pay and clearing up wage and benefits arrears, and providing promised housing. In addition, the armed forces will move to a three-branch structure (land, air and space, sea) under stage two of the reform plan, and, beginning in 2005, "preparations will be made for the systematic improvement of the forces' quality through the regular delivery of the latest models of arms and military hardware."[28]

Harsh Realities

. Real defense spending is falling, and poverty among troops is increasing. Although military reform is finally off the ground in Russia, there is no money to carry out far-reaching reforms. The defense budget remains wholly inadequate given the army's size and needs. The total 1999 defense budget is only about $4 billion and, notably, provides six times less than the minimally needed funding for adequate combat training.[29] The current defense budget also does not tackle the military's outstanding debt problem, which is massive (close to the total defense budget) and growing. Such debt significantly undermines the general health of the country's economy and further undermines the military's prestige, earning them the title of "chronic defaulters in uniform."[30] Such meager defense funding will underwrite an army of only 500,000, not 1.2 million, according to Aleksey Arbatov, deputy chairman of the Duma Defense Committee.[31]

. Tax collection remains grossly inadequate and held hostage to tax reform. Given Russia's growing pyramid of foreign and domestic debt, there is no sustainable economic recovery in sight. In fact, respected Russian economists such as former Minister of Economics Yevgeniy Yasin believe the economic crisis "may drag on for 10-15 years."[32] Thus, current trends are likely to persist: poor tax collection; continuing wage and benefits arrears not only to the military but especially to defense civilian personnel (and, of course, to state workers in general); and the continuing negative effects of Russia's August 1998 financial collapse on economic recovery and foreign investment.

. Russia's commitment to minimal nuclear deterrence is overshadowed by a nuclear parity mentality which pervades the Defense Ministry and the Duma. Marshal Sergeyev and the like-minded generals around him at the Defense Ministry agree, in principle, that nuclear parity with the United States is unaffordable and unattainable for Russia. In practice, however, they still place a high priority on nuclear parity and are pursuing it. Some of Sergeyev's critics charge that Russia cannot and should not compete on this front, given the harsh economic realities and more urgent needs. For example, Pavel Felgengauer argues that instead of spending scarce rubles on more new ICBMs (the modernized Topol-M), Russia should spend more on modern conventional weapons--for example, on night ground-attack aircraft and helicopters with thermal imaging equipment--to deal with regional threats in the Caucasus and elsewhere, and more on the social safety net for downsized and active military personnel.[33]

. Civilian control of the military is a very low but increasing priority in Russia. Russia today has presidential, not civilian, control of the military. President Yeltsin seems to prefer having no open dissent among his defense advisors and having loyal generals in the Defense Ministry pursuing "military reform under a nuclear umbrella," with little parliamentary oversight or genuine public discussion. Civilian control of the military in Russia is still taking its first steps, and civilian control legislation remains "very raw," according to retired General Eduard Vorobyev, a Duma Defense Committee member and principal drafter of civilian control legislation.[34] However, as we noted earlier, the notion of civilian control of the military today is widely accepted in the communist-dominated Duma and among political leaders in general. It is no longer just an idea supported strictly by "democrats" in the Duma.[35]

. The importance of a new military doctrine for the future of Russian military reform is greatly exaggerated in the West and in Russia. A new military doctrine is long overdue and can provide a more sober assessment of domestic and external threats to Russia. It also can underscore a determination to better match the military with socioeconomic constraints so that maintaining the military is not a great burden for the Russian economy. However, a new military doctrine can be no panacea. It will provide only more declaratory statements and more military guidelines. Moreover, any new military doctrine that emerges cannot be fully implemented financially, given current defense spending.

. The poor state of Russia's conventional forces necessarily means a greater reliance on strategic nuclear forces and, consequently, a much lower nuclear threshold for Russia. Defense Minister Sergeyev outlined the new reality in late October 1998 while speaking at the National Defense Academy in Beijing, stressing that the role of nuclear deterrence has grown, given the virtual collapse of Russia's conventional forces. The declaratory policy enunciated explicitly: "In case of direct threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state owing to an external aggression against Russia, [it would be] possible and legitimate to use all available means, up to and including nuclear weapons, to counter this threat."[36] Put simply, this means that nuclear deterrence has now become the backbone of Russia's defenses and that nuclear weapons might be used to counter any threat to Russia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is a very serious development. According to Pavel Felgengauer, for Russia this means that "the threshold for future nuclear hostilities has now necessarily dropped to the lowest possible level."[37]

. There is still no coherent and integrated military reform strategy in sight, no balancing of stated commitments and available resources. President Yeltsin continues to show sustained interest in military reform primarily because he realizes it cannot be postponed indefinitely: the military crisis can potentially spill over into politics and threaten his power. A Sergeyev-Yeltsin military reform concept exists, but it is a faulty one. It does not balance commitments and resources in any meaningful way, nor does it yet effectively integrate Russia's MOD and non-MOD security forces. Dr. Rogov stresses that "military reform must put an end to the process of building parallel, non-MOD armies; it must affect the non-MOD security forces to an even greater extent than the Ministry of Defense."[38]


Several trends now seem clear. Yeltsin's promised military reform can be only a protracted crisis management effort to help the military survive until the increasingly elusive economic recovery arrives in Russia: a policy of trying hard to show some progress (e.g. partial clearing of wage arrears), buying time, and when all else fails blaming others (prime ministers, cabinet members, defense ministers, regional governors). This is Yeltsin's political style. We can expect the military budget for some time to be a social welfare and not a defense budget, with very little, indeed, for procurement and research.

Significantly, today there is no disagreement among Russia's military experts that the Ministry of Defense and non-MOD security forces will be absolutely neutral in any political conflict; even six months of unpaid wages did not move the military to mass protests.[39] The increasing politicization of the military so apparent under former Defense Minister Rodionov and now deceased former Duma Defense Committee Chairman Rokhlin has fizzled. Rokhlin's "Movement to Save the Army" has taken a more communist and nationalistic orientation, and less of a military one. Primakov's appointment as Prime Minister in September 1998, although short-lived, also tempered the military's profound dissatisfaction because of his conspicuous efforts to tackle wage arrears and his attempts to raise military salaries.

The situation is grim but not hopeless. The foundation for real military reform in Russia has been laid by Defense Minister Sergeyev's radical downsizing and restructuring of the armed forces during the past two years. "Muddling through" remains the name of the game, given the nation's economic realities. We can expect as least several more years of "military reform without money" in Russia. During the year 2000 no major military reform tasks are likely to be accomplished. Instead, we are likely to see concerted efforts to repair and modernize old equipment, and to showcase any training activity that does occur.

America's Stance

The United States has a vital interest in seeing a stable, rule-of-law state emerge in Russia. We need to better understand the desperate state of its armed forces: at present the military is a very weak pillar of regime stability and democratic consolidation. Many serious problems evident seven years ago in Russia now seem aggravated to the limit and are acquiring an almost irreversible character. Viewed in this context, the push for NATO enlargement and NATO's recent operations in the Balkans come at a time when Russia is vulnerable internally and likely to be so for some time. Moreover, the virtual collapse of Russia's conventional forces necessarily means a greater reliance on strategic nuclear forces in their military calculations. We need a greater understanding of the long-term implications of recent NATO actions on Russia's nuclear strategy, in particular, and on the attitudes of average Russians toward the West.

We also need realistic expectations about civilian control of the military in Russia. Although the concept is widely accepted among the country's political elite, Russia today has presidential, not civilian, control of the military. As Russians often say, the country never faces one crisis but always two or three simultaneously. Today it faces daunting long-term economic challenges and much bureaucratic infighting. Civilian control of the military will take time, and it will not be a carbon copy of that found in the United States. The good news is that the groundwork for civilian control has been established, but we need to be more realistic about the extent to which genuine civilian control prevails in Russia today.

Finally, we should note that engaging US and NATO personnel with their Russian counterparts in military-to-military and military-to-civilian contacts, training, and related programs (such as our Cooperative Threat Reduction Program) is very important; such contacts and programs should be expanded whenever possible. They are a cost-effective means for promoting continued dialogue and transferring invaluable Western experience in civilian control of the military and other areas. Here we should focus on middle-level Russian officers--majors and lieutenant colonels. As Dmitriy Trenin, a former Russian officer, indicated in September 1997, tapping the energies and talents of officers at this level, not just generals, is critical for the success of long-term military reform in Russia.[40]


1. Interview with Dr. Sergey Rogov, Director of the US-Canada Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a consultant to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Duma, Moscow, 17 September 1998.

2. Moscow Radio Rossii Network, 0910 GMT, 19 February 1999, Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Daily Report--Central Asia, Document ID: FTS19990219001567 (hereinafter, FBIS and Document ID number).

3. Izvestiya, 9 October 1998.

4. Ibid.

5. Moscow Radio Rossii Network, 1400 GMT, 8 January 1999, FBIS, ID: FTS19990108001349.

6. Sovetskaya Rossiya, 5 November 1998.

7. Moscow Russian Television Network, 0630 GMT, 23 November 1997, FBIS, ID: FTS19971124000503.

8. Ibid.

9. Russia Today, 2 November 1998.

10. Sergey Burda, "In the Mirror of Human Souls," Armeyskiy Sbornik, June 1998, pp. 15-17. FBIS, ID: FTS19980820001462.

11. Krasnaya zvezda, 1 October 1998.

12. Interview with Dr. Sergey Kortunov, former Deputy Head of Staff of Russia's Defense Council, Washington, D.C., 14 April 1997.

13. Sovetskaya Rossiya, 5 November 1998.

14. Ibid.

15. Ibid.

16. See, for example, the writings in recent years of Moscow military journalists Alexandr Zhilin of Moscow News, Alexandr Golts of Itogi, and Pavel Felgengauer of Segodnya.

17. This section offers insights into Defense Minister Sergeyev's impossible and thankless job gathered from lengthy conversations with Colonel Oleg Falichev, deputy director and chief military correspondent at Krasnaya zvezda, in Moscow on 18 and 21 February and 6 March 1999. Colonel Falichev has interviewed Marshal Sergeyev on numerous occasions.

18. Moscow Interfax, 0829 GMT, 28 December 1998, FBIS, ID: FTS19981228000123.

19. Moscow RIA Military News Bulletin, November 1998, pp. 1-30, FBIS, ID: FTS19990128000061. Much of this issue of the Bulletin is devoted to a detailed review of military reform accomplishments and shortcomings in Russia during 1998.

20. Interview with Dr. Dmitriy Trenin, deputy director of the Carnegie Moscow Center and expert on Russian military issues, Moscow, 9 March 1999.

21. Ibid.

22. Moscow RIA Military News Bulletin, November 1998, p. 10, FBIS, ID: FTS19990128000061.

23. Trenin interview, 9 March 1999.

24. Interview with Alexandr Golts, senior military affairs correspondent for Itogi magazine, Moscow, 25 February 1999.

25. Interview with Dr. Pavel Felgengauer, security affairs editor and senior defense correspondent for Segodnya newspaper, Moscow, 6 March 1999.

26. Ibid.

27. Krasnaya zvezda, 28 April 1999.

28. Krasnaya zvezda, 7 May 1998.

29. Izvestiya, 9 February 1999.

30. Ibid.

31. Moscow News, 19-26 October 1997.

32. Kommersant-Vlast, 2 February 1999, FBIS, ID: FTS19990203000057.

33. Felgengauer interview.

34. Interview with Eduard Vorobyev, Duma Defense Committee member, expert on civilian control of the military, and retired Colonel-General, Moscow, 2 March 1999.

35. Ibid.

36. Moscow RIA Military News Bulletin, November 1998, p. 5, FBIS, ID: FTS19990128000061.

37. Felgengauer interview.

38. Interview with Dr. Sergey Rogov, Moscow, 25 August 1998.

39. This point has been stressed repeatedly during the past year by leading Moscow defense journalists--for example, in my interviews with Alexandr Golts and Dr. Pavel Felgengauer.

40. Interview with Dr. Dmitriy Trenin, Moscow, 15 September 1997.

Dr. Walter Parchomenko is Director and Professor of International Security Studies at the Joint Military Intelligence College in Washington, D.C., and a member of the Atlantic Council of the United States' Standing Policy Group on the Future of US-Russia Relations. During February and March 1999, he was a visiting research professor with the Institute of US-Canada Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. He is a graduate of St. John Fisher College, holds an M.A. in comparative politics from SUNY at Brockport, and earned a Ph.D. from Georgetown University in international relations and Russian area politics. From 1979 to 1989, he was a Soviet affairs analyst and chief of the Soviet Military-Political Affairs Branch of the Soviet Strategic Studies Division of the Air Staff at the Pentagon. Dr. Parchomenko's articles on international affairs have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and numerous other publications. As with all Parameters articles, the views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the US Army, the Department of Defense, or any agency of the US government.

Reviewed 18 November 1999. Please send comments or corrections to