The highest priority of the Russian state policy in the field of national security is to ensure nuclear deterrence as the basis for strategic deterrence, reported Russian Ministry of Defense’s outlet Red Star on August 7th.

As such most notably, Russia would potentially respond to a ballistic missile launch with a nuclear missile launch.

“The first condition is related to the receipt of reliable information about the launch of ballistic missiles attacking the territory of Russia and (or) its allies. The very fact of a ballistic missile launch will be recorded by a missile attack warning system.

At the same time, it will not be possible to determine the type of its equipment (nuclear or non-nuclear). Therefore, any attacking missile will likely be deemed as a nuclear-armed missile.”

The growth of negative trends in the world accompanying the formation of a new system of global and regional security contributes to the creation of prerequisites for the intensification of current and emergence of new threats to the Russian security, which can develop into military conflicts of various scales and intensity.

Most significantly, the most important actions that Russia needs to undertake is to deter any potentially enemy from attacking it and/or its allies.

The official views of the Russian Federation on nuclear deterrence in modern conditions were publicly declared on June 2nd, 2020 in the “Fundamentals of the state policy of the Russian Federation in the field of nuclear deterrence.”

It should be emphasized that the appearance of a document of this level in public space occurred for the first time in the entire history of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation as its legal successor.

As a document of strategic planning in the field of military security, the Fundamentals define the dangers and threats that need to be neutralized, which nuclear deterrence is carried out, the main principles and subjects of deterrence and, most importantly, the conditions for a possible transition to the use of nuclear weapons.

There are various reports regarding the Fundamentals.

For example, the media of the United States and its NATO allies emphasize the “aggressiveness” of Russia’s policy, its desire to “justify the creation of its new strategic weapons,” “lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons,” and split the bloc’s ranks.

More balanced publications by “neutral” specialists speak of Russia’s desire to give international legitimacy to Russian initiatives in the field of nuclear deterrence in the face of aggressive American steps to build up strike arms and break the system of international arms control treaties.

At the same time, a number of Western experts and most domestic experts note the timeliness of the document’s appearance and Russia’s desire to curb the arms race unleashed by the United States, the militarization of space, the modernization of the American missile defense and the demolition of the international security system.

As such, declaring under what conditions Russia would use a nuclear weapon make any attempts to exert “force pressure” on Russia essentially useless.

In order to bring the Russian position on nuclear deterrence to the attention of the world community and the military-political leadership of the states – potential adversaries, a number of conceptual provisions set out in the Fundamentals were declared.

  1. Once again, it has been doctrinally confirmed that the “nuclear policy” of the Russian Federation is purely defensive in nature.

This is not a simple declaration, but the cornerstone of the general policy of the state, on which strategic deterrence has been and is being built. Russia is not going to attack anyone, but will take all steps to neutralize any aggression against the country. This approach reflects a strategy of active containment and can be characterized as “active defense”. At the same time, Russia is making and will make all the necessary efforts to reduce the nuclear threat.

  1. Nuclear deterrence is aimed at ensuring that the potential adversary, including the coalition composition, understands the inevitability of retaliation in the event of aggression against Russia and its allies — inflicting unacceptable damage on it in a retaliatory strike.

At its core, nuclear deterrence is a specific form of the reflexive policy of the state, carried out by influencing mainly the military-political leadership of a potential adversary through the conviction of the inevitability of negative consequences for him as a result of the guaranteed use by the Russian Federation of forces and means of nuclear deterrence.

  1. At the heart of nuclear deterrence lies the combat capabilities of nuclear forces of various bases, therefore, maintaining the nuclear potential at a level sufficient to ensure deterrence is one of the priority tasks of our state.

At the same time, the minimum sufficiency of combat-ready forces and means is stated, capable, due to the rationality of their structure and composition, methods of use, as well as high combat readiness, to ensure the infliction of unacceptable damage to any potential enemy in any development of the military-political and strategic situation.

This means that Russia will not get involved in an exhausting nuclear arms race, priority is given not to quantitative, but to their qualitative composition.

  1. It was emphasized that the main military threats, for the neutralization of which nuclear deterrence is being carried out, come from the collective West and are associated with the build-up of general-purpose groupings near the borders of the Russian Federation, which, among other things, are armed with means of delivering nuclear weapons, with the deployment of missile defense systems and means, strike weapons for various purposes and basing, including space.
  2. Two groups of states have been identified as subjects of nuclear deterrence:
  • individual states possessing nuclear and (or) other types of weapons of mass destruction or significant combat potential of general-purpose forces that consider the Russian Federation as a potential adversary, as well as military coalitions (blocs, alliances) with the participation of these states;
  • States that provide their national territory for the deployment of strategic offensive weapons (cruise and ballistic missiles, hypersonic aircraft, attack unmanned aerial vehicles), strategic anti-missile defense systems, radar stations for the warning system of nuclear missile strike, nuclear weapons and (or) others types of weapons of mass destruction of other states that can be used against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies.

This essentially makes potential hosts of, for example, US nuclear weapons – such as Germany to reconsider their position. As recent surveys even show that most Germans wish that the US nuclear would be removed the country, regardless of this.

  1. The above principles of nuclear deterrence are generally known and determine the main directions of Russia’s policy to ensure containment. This also applies to the centralization of control, and the constant readiness of forces and means, and the rationality of their structure and composition.

Furthermore, it emphasizes that compliance with international obligations in the field of arms control is a priority for Russia.

  1. For the first time in a public space, conditions have been declared that determine the possibility of Russia’s use of nuclear weapons.

The first condition is related to the receipt of reliable information about the launch of ballistic missiles attacking the territory of Russia and (or) its allies. The very fact of a ballistic missile launch will be recorded by a missile attack warning system.

At the same time, it will not be possible to determine the type of its equipment (nuclear or non-nuclear). Therefore, any attacking missile will be deemed as a nuclear-armed missile.

Information about the launch of the rocket will automatically be communicated to the military-political leadership of Russia, which, depending on the prevailing situation, will determine the scale of the response actions of the nuclear forces

In the Fundamentals, Russia has designated “red lines”, which it advises shouldn’t be crossed. If a potential adversary decides to do this, then the answer will no doubt be overwhelming.

At the same time, the specification of response actions (where, when, how much) will be determined by the military-political leadership of Russia, depending on the situation.