Policy Memos

Russian Naval Deployments: A Return to Global Power Projection or a Temporary Blip?

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In the last six months, the Russian Navy has undertaken several high profile deployments. The number and geographic scope of these deployments is unprecedented in the history of the Russian Navy after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In late January 2009 ships from all four Russian fleets were engaged in long distance deployments, and the Russian media reported that the number of Russian ships simultaneously at sea was greater than at any time since 1991. Is this the first step in a return to global power projection by the Russian military? Or is it a one-time event spurred by the financial windfall generated by the unprecedented rise in oil prices in 2007 and the first half of 2008? This memo assesses the significance of Russia’s recent naval deployments. Despite some increase in Russian naval capabilities in the last few years, the Russian Navy has a long way to go before it can compete with other regional navies, much less that of the United States. [...]

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Senior Analyst
CNA; Harvard University