IISS defence and security analyst Roger McDermott has recently published two versions (here and here) of an article on Russia’s new draft security strategy through 2020, in which one thing becomes patently clear: Russia envisages possible military conflict over energy resources. However, the global economic crisis has overtaken the strategy document, rendering part but not all of its contents currently obsolete. The military aspects, in particular, remain topical:
Strident in its tone, once again portraying an “image” of a resurgent Russia, the new security strategy was conceived and written during a period when the Russian political elites were in denial about the economic downturn that the country is currently experiencing. The devaluation of the ruble four times within one month and the lower price of oil on the world market give reason to doubt whether the tone will be matched in practical terms. Much of that depends on how successfully the Russian government handles its economic challenges. The Kremlin, however, is sending out a powerful signal that it will, if necessary, protect its energy interests with the use of military force; a contentious issue as Russia “pushes” its energy interests in the Arctic Circle.