Medvedev Confirms Revamped Military Doctrine

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. Source: ITAR-TASSRussian President Dmitri Medvedev officially confirmed the country’s new military doctrine on Friday, which will now allow Russia to conduct a pre-emptive nuclear strike, reports RIA Novosti.

Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev previously stated that while the new doctrine was based on the previous one from 2000, it included changes to properly reflect a change in global circumstances.

Patrushev insisted that the document was defensive, but that NATO expansion, international terrorism, and conflict in the North Caucasus were examples of changes in circumstances that require a change in military doctrine.

With Friday’s presidential confirmation, Russia now reserves the right to deliver a nuclear strike not only in response to direct aggression, but also “in response to a threat, against it or its allies, of the use of nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction, and also in response to aggression with the use of conventional weapons in situations critical for the Russian Federation.”

The document, entitled “Fundamentals of State Politics Regarding Nuclear Deterrence Through 2020,” is the third version of Russia’s military doctrine since 1993.

The version confirmed in 2000 only gave Russia the right to use nuclear force in response to the actual use of aggression, reading “the Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use, against its or its allies, of nuclear or other types of weapons of mass destruction, and also in response to large-scale aggression with the use of conventional weapons.”

The new military doctrine, which will be the third version introduced since 1993, comes at a time of heightened military hostility from the Kremlin. A recent bill passed by the State Duma expands the potential role of troops deployed abroad, and NATO has expressed concern that war games in September between Russia and Belarus were “the largest since the end of the Cold War.”