Changing the Russian Armed Forces for the 21st Century

A talk by Keir Giles

Language: In English

The Russian Armed Forces have been in the grip of a deep and drastic programme of change and modernization for the last four years. The Russian Army in particular is now unrecognizable from the force which we knew for most of the post-Soviet period. The overall direction of change, and what Russia wants its Armed Forces eventually to look like, are now fairly clear despite setbacks and changes of course along the way. But it is still not certain whether some Russian aims are achievable, particularly in the field of re-equipment with new arms and materiel, and the recent appointment of Sergey Shoygu as the new Defence Minister has led to renewed speculation over whether some key aspects of the transformation process will be reversed.

Keir Giles will briefly recap the course of the transformation process and what has been achieved to date in terms of changing the Russian Armed Forces into a force for 21st-century warfare as Russia understands it, before looking at the most recent trends and changes for the Russian military and what the implications may be for Russia’s partners and neighbours.

Keir Giles is a director of Conflict Studies Research Centre (CSRC), a group of specialists providing expertise on Eurasian security issues. CSRC formed part of the UK Defence Academy before becoming independent from the MoD in 2010, and now publishes and advises in the private sector.

Keir’s first profession was in aviation, including co-founding the first company providing Western pilots with the opportunity to fly Soviet military aircraft in the USSR. He later specialized in Russian military, defence and security issues, with a particular focus on Russia’s relations with NATO and with its neighbours in Northern Europe, and human factors affecting decision-making in Russia. With CSRC, he now writes and briefs for a wide range of governments and defence organisations on Russian military and cyber affairs.

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