In the weeks following the Beslan school tragedy, official statements coming out of Russia have raised serious concerns over the new direction in Moscow’s defence policy. The events in Beslan served as a catalyst for changes in Russia’s domestic security and political arrangements. The government has reiterated Russia’s right to carry out preventive strikes with conventional weaponry on terror bases anywhere in the world. It was argued that the hostage takers were part of a larger trans-national terrorist network and that it underscored the need for a new role for Russia in the global campaign against terrorism.
This paper traces the evolution of Russia’s security policy since 1992, and the factors which determine it. While discussing the structure of Russia’s security policy, the paper analyses how the Russian security outlook has changed since 9/11. The paper takes into account both domestic and external security concerns of the Russian Federation including the Chechen Conflict and the related non-traditional security threats. Russia’s approach towards the doctrine of pre-emption and the targets and vulnerabilities as identified by Moscow are also discussed.
The paper considers the internationalisation of the Chechen conflict, and examines the impacts that this has had in the region. In particular, the national security doctrines have reflected this change in Moscow’s mindset, with the elucidation of the Ivanov Doctrine. By updating several aspects of previous military doctrines, this latest document reiterates Moscow’s commitment to dominate political areas that once constituted the Soviet Union. The paper also focuses attention on the re-evaluation of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, and reflects the new thinking on the tactical advantage of such capability.
The paper concludes that:
after Beslan, Russian policy has become completely intolerant of any criticism of its antiterrorist efforts and of the way it conducts its internal affairs
Russian police is seeking closer and genuine cooperation with any country or coalition willing to combat the international terrorism worrying Moscow
future trends seem to indicate that Russia will invest more money, effort and manpower in cooperation against terrorism with its CIS partners