Russian Security and Nuclear Policies: Successor to the Superpower Arsenal?
Mariya Y. Omelicheva
At the height of the Cold War, the competitive assessment of the Soviet threat and geopolitical strategies aimed at reducing the US–Soviet tensions, especially around their nuclear arsenals, were bitterly disputed questions. A popular narrative of the Soviet nuclear power preparing for a decisive first strike on the United States required a massive military build-up and reinforcement of the American nuclear posture. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Soviet juggernaut was gone. The prevailing attitude characterizing the security situation in international relations was that the Cold War was over and the West had won. The Soviet military machine was fractured into pieces, and the new Russian army inherited only the debris of a once powerful military arsenal. Notwithstanding the doomsday of its superpower status, the new Russia has never surrendered its great-power claims. On the contrary, over time its pretentions to global role and great-power standing have only strengthened. The accession of Russia to the lion's share of the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons has become Russia's impetus for reclaiming its global stature. There is, however, an ongoing debate as to whether the Russian ability to produce, deploy, and modernize a sizable nuclear arsenal is a sufficient basis for Russia's great-power standing. For some, the contemporary security posture of the Russian Federation ... log in or subscribe to read full text
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