Pavel Felgenhauer

Dr. Pavel E. Felgenhauer is an independent, Moscow-based defense analyst.

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Articles by Pavel Felgenhauer

Russia and the West Engage in Mutual Deterrence

After the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) summit in Warsaw last week (July 8–9), the NATO-Russian Council met in Brussels, on July 13, at the ambassadorial level. The meeting did

Russian Strategic Goals in Syria Contradict US Policies

Last week, Russia’s defense minister, Army-General Sergei Shoigu inspected Russian troops fighting in Syria "under orders of President Vladimir Putin." On June 18, Shoigu visited the Russian operational command center

Russia Hits Syria With More Long-Range Missiles

The Kremlin posted footage of a late-evening meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, on December 8. Shoigu was filmed producing a flight recorder, or so-called “black

Russia and Turkey on War Footing

The Russian state-run propaganda machine is currently fanning anti-Turkish vitriol full-time. Economic ties between Russia and Turkey are being effectively severed, while military forces have been put on high alert.

Russian Jets Bomb Syria

On September 30, the upper house of the Russia’s parliament—the Federation Council—unanimously rubberstamped a Kremlin request to use Russian troops abroad after a 15-minute closed session. President Vladimir Putin’s administration

Putin Strains Wobbly Western Unity on Syria

President Vladimir Putin is heading to New York to address the United Nations with a strong hand, while his United States counterpart, Barack Obama, seems weak and indecisive. According to

Putin Tests His Future New York Speech in Dushanbe

Speaking this week (September 15) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, at a summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)—the Russian-dominated regional defense alliance—President Vladimir Putin detailed his understanding of regional and

Moscow Ups the Stakes in the Syrian Conflict

Reports of the alleged troop buildup in Syria of a “Russian expeditionary force” to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, first appeared last month (August) in Israeli and Ukrainian online publications.

Autumn Pause Follows Donbas August Fighting

Fighting has dramatically subsided in eastern Ukraine by September 1. A couple of weeks ago, in mid-August, the situation was different and the guns were blazing. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei

August in Donbas: Will the War Spread?

The speaker of the Duma (Russian lower house of parliament), Sergei Naryshkin, published an article in the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta this week (August 9), making dark predictions about August

Russia Vetoes UN Draft Resolution on MH17 Tribunal

Moscow vetoed a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution that would have set up an international tribunal to investigate and prosecute those involved in the downing passenger airliner of

Putin’s Diplomatic Offensive Fails in Tokyo

As Russo-Western relations go from bad to worse, the Kremlin has been developing strategic ties with Asia. In a recent three-part policy manifesto, President Vladimir Putin’s adviser Sergei Glazyev declared

The Kremlin’s Game of Threats

Last week (March 19), speaking at an annual conference of the Union of Russian Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP)—Russia’s main business lobbying group—President Vladimir Putin promoted a previously announced financial amnesty.

The Debacle in Debaltseve

The ceasefire agreement signed in Minsk last week (February 12) did not stop the fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine (Donbas encompasses the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces). The

Another Ceasefire Agreement Signed in Minsk

A marathon summit in Minsk of the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France—which lasted for more than 15 hours nonstop, from the evening of February 11 to late morning

With Talks Fruitless, Fighting in Ukraine Intensifies

The falling ruble, two-digit inflation and obvious signs of a pending financial and economic meltdown apparently have not influenced Russia’s assertive foreign and defense policies. A proposed summit in Astana

Russia Preparing for Global Resource War

In an interview aired by state TV channel Rossiya last weekend, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu spelled out the three main military threats Russia is facing: international Islamist terrorism, the withdrawal

Shoigu Agrees to Maintain a Videolink to the Pentagon

This week, officials of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) were anticipating Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s first appearance at a NATO-Russia Council (NRC) defense ministerial. The NRC had not

Moscow Elated with a Diplomatic Scoop on Syria

Moscow was elated by the success of an unexpected diplomatic initiative this week on Syria that has postponed indefinitely a seemingly inevitable military assault by the United States. The strike

EDM analysts cited in Eurasia Review article

Jamestown analysts Roger McDermott, Vladimir Socor, Pavel Felgenhauer, Georgiy Voloshin, Richard Weitz, and Dumitru Minzarari were cited in an article by Ariel Cohen in Eurasia Review.

The West Attempts to Shift Russia on Syria

During weekend talks in Geneva about Syria, Western diplomats made an effort once again to enlist Moscow’s help in removing President Bashar al-Assad. Western attempts to shift Russia on Syria

Moscow Sees Military Threats from All Directions

The outgoing president, Dmitry Medvedev, chaired this week a session of the “expanded Collegium of the Defense Ministry” – a gathering of the nation’s entire top brass. Medvedev and Anatoly

Russia Rejects WTO-Iran Linkage

Last week, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, in charge of relations with the US, arms control, ballistic missile defense (BMD) and proliferation, told Jamestown that US-Russian relations are not

Russia Tires of the Kalashnikov Rifle

The Russian defense ministry and defense industry have continued to trade insults as they quarrel over how to spend increased budget allocations earmarked to rearm the military with modern weapons.

Putin Prioritizes Rebuilding the Lost Empire

This week, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin – the ruling United Russia party’s official candidate for reelection as president for a third six-year term next March – published a major policy

Russia Begins Tsentr 2011 Military Exercises

This week Army-General Nikolai Makarov, the Chief of the Russian General Staff told journalists in Moscow that the beginning of the Tsentr 2011 military exercises with Russian and Central Asian

Russian Arms: Bad Quality and Overpriced

The Russian defense industry is in crisis; its officials blame the defense ministry for withholding funds, while Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov in turn accuses arms producers of making weapons of

SCO Fails to Turn Into an “Eastern NATO”

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) comprising China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan was officially created on June 15, 2001. At the time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, while the secular

Moscow’s BMD Cooperation Demands Do Not Seem Serious

This week in Brussels, during a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), Russian Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov discussed with his Western counterparts the seemingly intractable problem of Moscow’s opposition to

Russians Oppose Any Ban on Arms Exports to Syria

On May 12, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) detained the Israeli military attaché in Moscow, Col. Vadim Leiderman, accused him of spying and expelled him within 48 hours. Leiderman, a

Biden’s Horse-Trading Mission in Moscow

US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Moscow has been planned primarily as a promotion of business ties and Western support for President Dmitry Medvedev’s announced modernization efforts. “We see

Russia Faces Multiple Terrorist Threats

The Domodedovo airport bombing on January 24, that left 35 dead, including the alleged suicide bomber and more than 100 injured – Russians and foreigners – has overshadowed other important

Medvedev Confirms Conscript Shortages

Russia’s attempts to build a modern military have run into a roadblock: there are not enough conscripts to fill the ranks. In the fall of 2008, the Russian military was

Russia Will Spend 20 Trillion Rubles on New Weapons

The new First Deputy Defense Minister, Colonel-General Vladimir Popovkin (retired), who is in charge of rearming the Russian military, told journalists at the Farnborough international air show, in the UK,

Igor Sutyagin’s Imminent Release

The ten alleged Russian spies arrested in the US by the FBI that had used falsified identities to infiltrate the country embarrassed Moscow and became an irritant in the process

Russia Struggles to Modernize its Military

Russia’s attempts to rearm and modernize its military have run out of money as its defense industry is ailing. Last month President, Dmitry Medvedev, announced plans to spend 13 trillion

Moscow Objects to Patriots in Poland

Last week US-Russian relations were dominated by the arrival and deployment of US soldiers with Patriot missiles in Poland near the Russian border. The Patriot deployment was agreed between Warsaw

Sergei Ivanov Seeks Deals in Washington

The Russian authorities are seeking a major détente with the West. A draft of a revised foreign policy doctrine was leaked and extracts published by Russky Newsweek in Moscow this

Personnel Problems Impact on Russian Military Reform

Last week, during a meeting with human rights activists from the committee of soldier’s mothers as well as members of the Kremlin-approved public chamber, Defense Minister, Anatoliy Serdyukov, announced plans

Moscow Exploits TV Invasion Hoax to Isolate Georgia

On March 13, the pro-government, Imedi TV broadcasted what appeared to be a documentary report about a new Russian invasion that led to President Mikheil Saakashvili’s assassination. The program caused

France Fears the Loss of Mistral Sale

President Dmitry Medvedev’s state visit to Paris was dominated by talks on Iran and Russian aspirations to purchase up to four French Mistral-class advanced amphibious helicopter-carrier warships. French President, Nicolas

The Bulava SLBM and the US-Russian Arms Talks

US-Russian nuclear arms reduction negotiators seem close to concluding a follow up strategic arms reduction treaty (START). The Russian press reports that Washington has agreed to serious concessions and that

Time Running Out to Achieve New Arms Control Treaty

The Barack Obama administration began nuclear arms control negotiations with Moscow this year, eager for swift progress to help “reset” bilateral relations and achieve progress on more sensitive issues such

Medvedev Chastises the Russian Defense Industry

Last month, the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited the large-scale military exercises Zapad 2009 held in Russia’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad and in Belarus. In Kaliningrad, Medvedev observed a landing

Tehran on the Brink of Procuring S-300 Missiles

The Russian-Iranian deal on advanced S-300 long-range anti-aircraft missiles may go ahead despite U.S. and Israeli objections. This week the Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed government source confirming that

Military Reform Raises the Specter of a Coup

This week Novaya Gazeta published transcripts of telephone conversations between the commander of the airborne troops (Vozdushno Desantnye Voyska or VDV) two star General Vladimir Shamanov, his son Yuri, VDV

The Arctic Sea Saga Continues

The Arctic Sea, a Malta registered ship with a Russian crew, carrying a cargo of timber worth 2 million Euros from Finland to Algeria, was apparently hijacked on July 24

Obama Praised in Moscow for Moderation

President Barack Obama's administration wanted to make the Moscow summit a success, and their Russian counterparts, though more skeptical, decided to follow this approach. Positive speeches were made and a

Risk Increasing of Russian Intervention in Georgia

The situation in Georgia appears to be deteriorating rapidly. Last month the Georgian opposition parties began street protests in an effort to force President Mikhail Saakashvili to resign. Since April

Military Reform in Russia Plows Ahead

It was announced only last week that President Dmitry Medvedev signed an order dismissing four star General Valentin Korabelnikov -the all-powerful chief of military intelligence, the Main Intelligence Directorate or

Medvedev Tells the West to Keep Out of Georgia

Russia has reacted angrily to the forthcoming NATO-led Partnership for Peace (PfP) exercises in Georgia. President Dmitry Medvedev called the decision to hold the exercises "shortsighted and not worthy of

Russia’s Defense Modernization Without a Doctrine

President Dmitry Medvedev chaired a Security Council meeting this week in the Kremlin, with Russia's de facto ruler, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, present, to consider a specific publicly stated agenda:

Medvedev Publicly Supports Serdyukov

Since 2000 the Russian defense budget has grown manifold, as did the country's oil wealth. Last fall a three-year (2009-2011) budget was approved that envisaged hikes in defense spending (see

Wartime Approaching in the Caucasus

It is early springtime and in the mountain passes separating Georgia from Russia, there is snowfall one day and wet snow or rain the next. Avalanches and mudslides caused by

Washington’s Overtures Fail to Impress Moscow

President Barak Obama's administration has been preparing a set of wide-ranging initiatives to "reset" U.S.-Russian relations. Nuclear arms control talks are planned to resume; NATO officials have told reporters that

Russia’s Coming War with Georgia

Six months after the French-brokered agreement ended the Russo-Georgia war on August 12, 2008 the ceasefire continues to be fragile with constant incidents that both sides describe as "provocations." Last

A Restart of U.S.-Russian Relations

During a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, President-elect Barack Obama's choice for secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, criticized the outgoing Bush administration for having downgraded the

Little Room for Compromise over Missile Defense

Last minute attempts by the outgoing U.S. administration to reach some understanding with Moscow on outstanding arms-control issues have failed. This week RIA-Novosti quoted “a high-ranking source” in the Defense

Russia’s Radical Military Reform in Progress

Russia's Radical Military Reform in Progress Russia's top military commander, First Deputy Defense Minister and Chief of General Staff General Nikolai Makarov told journalists that the Russian army structure was

A RADICAL MILITARY REFORM PLAN

After a meeting of Russia's top brass this week, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov disclosed drastic plans to reform and cut the Russian military. The executive decision to begin the reform

MEDVEDEV’S PLANS FOR MILITARY REARMAMENT

At the end of August President Dmitry Medvedev announced five foreign policy priorities. The first and third points are benign: Russia will "recognize the fundamental principles of international law" and

RUSSIA’S GLOBAL WAR GAMES

This week the Russian armed forces began month-long strategic military exercises called Stability 2008. According to the Defense Ministry, the scenario suggests "a worsening of the situation and an escalation

WILL MORE MONEY HELP BUY MORE MODERN WEAPONS?

The 27,000-strong Georgian military is a 40th the size of the Russian military of over one million. Only several thousand solders from each side were directly involved in the war

FURTHER RUSSIAN MILITARY ACTION IS POSSIBLE

After the EU summit on September 1 in Brussels, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told a press conference, "All of Europe is united" against Moscow's behavior in Georgia. "We can't go

THE RUSSIAN-GEORGIAN WAR WAS PREPLANNED IN MOSCOW

Last week military tension in Georgia's separatist region of South Ossetia escalated into all-out war. The Ossetian separatists were provoking a conflict to give the Russian military a pretext for

RUSSIA IS STRONGER AND MORE AGGRESSIVE

This week President Dmitry Medvedev addressed a meeting of senior Foreign Ministry officials and ambassadors summoned worldwide to unveil a revised foreign policy concept. President Vladimir Putin signed the previous

THE WEST IS CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT TO DO IN ABKHAZIA

Two explosions were reported on the railroad near Sokhumi, the capital of Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia. The explosions happened near the positions of Russian Railroad Troops who are now

MEDVEDEV’S SOFT-SPOKEN HARD-LINE STATEMENTS

Before taking office Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was presumed to be a "liberal," who would somehow modify Vladimir Putin's anti-Western rhetoric and authoritarian ways. Medvedev's statements are indeed somewhat more

MEDVEDEV CONTINUES HARD LINE ON MISSILE DEFENSE

The main theme of President Dmitry Medvedev’s election campaign was a pledge of “continuity” of the politics of his predecessor Vladimir Putin, who is now the prime minister. The promise

A GEORGIAN CHARM OFFENSIVE IN MOSCOW

In an apparent attempt to defuse a tense diplomatic and military conflict with Russia over the breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Georgian government is starting a major

OLD WEAPONS ON RED SQUARE

On May 5 a dress rehearsal for the military parade to be held on Red Square on May 9 paralyzed traffic for many hours in central Moscow, as tanks and

RUSSIA OFFERS GEORGIA A STICK AND A CARROT

On Sunday, April 20, an unarmed Georgian reconnaissance drone was shot down over the territory Abkhazia. The Georgian authorities alleged that a Russian Air Force MiG-29 fighter had downed the

POLAND IS CAUGHT BETWEEN MOSCOW AND WASHINGTON

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk won the parliamentary elections last November, promising to improve radically relations with Russia, which went sour under the previous administration of the Kacziynski brothers. Lech

A DECISIVE WEEK IN EAST-WEST RELATIONS

This week’s NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, which might invite Ukraine and Georgia to join the alliance, is seen in Moscow as a moment of truth that could decide the

KREMLIN MOUTHPIECE TO LEAVE GENERAL STAFF

When Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov met their U.S. counterparts, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in Moscow March 17-18, one

KREMLIN CONTINUES TO BLAST THE WEST OVER KOSOVA

Mobs, angry over Kosovar independence, burned the U.S. Embassy in the Serbian capital Belgrade last week, promoting a new outburst of anti-Western, anti-U.S. rhetoric in Moscow. The pace was set

ROGOZIN TAKES UP NEW PORTFOLIO IN BRUSSELS

This week the outspoken anti-Western nationalist politician Dmitry Rogozin, 44, arrived in Brussels as Russia’s permanent representative to NATO. Rogozin replaces former Border Guard chief General Konstantin Totsky (see EDM,

PUTIN PRAISES SUCCESSFUL ICBM LAUNCHES

On December 25, Christmas Day, the Russian military test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles – one from land and the other from the sea. The Tula, a Delta-4 nuclear submarine, launched

MEDVEDEV – A FACELESS FUTURE RUSSIAN PRESIDENT

Russian President Vladimir Putin has finally designated First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as his preferred successor. Almost immediately, Medvedev announced that he will ask Putin to be his prime

KREMLIN LANDSLIDE WILL PROMOTE CONFRONTATION

The December 2 elections to the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, predictably ended in a landslide victory for the ruling United Russia party, headed by President Vladimir Putin.

CHEMIZOV TO HEAD NEW RUSSIAN ARMS CONGLOMERATE

This week Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill passed by parliament to create a new state corporation, Rostekhnologii. The corporation will take over the state arms trade

SAAKASHVILI: DEFIANT AND READY FOR ACTION

Last Saturday evening, November 3, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili granted me a two-hour interview in his office, which is a few minutes’ walk from parliament. Demonstrators have been protesting in

MOSCOW MAY DISPATCH FIREBRAND NATIONALIST TO NATO

The Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the outspoken, anti-Western Dmitry Rogozin is about to be appointed to an important diplomatic position, and “This may be the post of permanent

TWO-PLUS-TWO TALKS IN MOSCOW LEAVE A BIG MINUS

Last week U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates came to Moscow to discuss Pentagon plans to install ten missile interceptors in Poland, linked to a

DUSHANBE SUMMITS FOLLOW RUSSIAN AGENDA

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is pleased with the success of the “triple summit” of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and Eurasian

RUSSIA AND GEORGIA STILL TEETERING ON BRINK OF WAR

Last week Georgia’s former defense minister, Irakli Okruashvili, accused the country’s pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili of large-scale corruption and conspiring to kill Badri Patarkatsishvili, a prominent businessman. Okruashvili claimed that

SERDYUKOV’S FAKE RESIGNATION

Russia’s new prime minister, Viktor Zubkov, announced in Sochi last week that Acting Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov had submitted a letter of resignation to President Vladimir Putin. Zubkov said he

GENERAL DECLARES RUSSIAN NUKES SECURE

This month the secretive, nuclear 12th Main Directorate of the Defense Ministry celebrated its 60th birthday. Soviet dictator Josef Stalin created the directorate on September 6, 1947, to supervise nuclear

MOSCOW BLAMES TERRORISTS FOR TRAIN DERAILMENT

On Monday, August 13, a high-speed express passenger train traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg derailed in Novgorod region after a remote-controlled landmine exploded under the tracks. Thirteen train cars

KREMLIN SABER RATTLING INCREASES AHEAD OF SCO SUMMIT

Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin, while meeting activists and leaders of pro-Kremlin youth movements, used rather bizarre language to describe Russia's standoff with Great Britain over the murder of

DISTINCT CHILL SETTLES OVER U.S.-RUSSIAN RELATIONS

At first, it seemed that the "lobster summit" in Maine between U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month had reversed the ever-widening Russo-Western fray.

MOSCOW RECONSIDERS ABANDONING CFE

In his annual address to the Russian Federal Assembly on April 26 President Vladimir Putin announced “a moratorium on Russia’s implementation of the CFE treaty until all NATO countries ratify

THE STRANGE STORY OF MIG-31 JETS FOR SYRIA

Yesterday, June 19, Moscow's respected business daily Kommersant reported that Russia's arms trading monopoly Rosoboronexport has begun to fulfill an arms deal it secretly signed with Syria earlier this year

RUSSIA STILL SEES WEST AS PRIMARY ENEMY

During an extended interview with Western and Russian journalists before this week’s G-8 summit in Germany, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that if U.S. missile defense elements are deployed in

RECRUITING PROFESSIONAL SERGEANTS RUSSIAN-STYLE

This week the Russian Ministry of Defense held a conference of sergeants and other serving non-commissioned officers at the base of the elite 27th army brigade, just outside Moscow. Some

DIPLOMATIC FRENZY AS NEW COLD WAR LOOMS

This week U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, en route to Moscow, told journalists that Russo-American relations are "not easy," but that the tensions do not amount to a new

RUSSIA LAUNCHES NEW STRATEGIC SUBMARINE

The Russian nuclear shipbuilding industry celebrated two successes on Sunday, April 15. At Sevmash -- Russia's largest nuclear submarine-building shipyard -- in Severodvinsk, located north of Moscow on the White

OPERATION BITE CAPTURES RUSSIAN ATTENTION

The tentative alliance between Russia and the West on the Iranian nuclear issue that seemed to emerge last month may be fizzling out and replaced by a renewed controversy over

RUSSIAN MILITARY PREPARE TO COUNTER U.S. THREAT

Russian leaders have expressed concern over planned U.S. missile defense deployments in Europe. Russian generals have gone further, threatening to abrogate the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and to

RUSSIA SERIOUS ABOUT INF TREATY ABROGATION

The Russian military always disliked the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed in 1987 by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. The INF eliminated all U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles

IRAN TAKES DELIVERY OF RUSSIAN TOR-M1 MISSILES

Yesterday, January 16, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov announced that Russia had completed the delivery of modern Tor-M1 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran. Ivanov insisted that the missiles were "100% defensive

THE RUSSIAN LOVE AFFAIR WITH PINOCHET

In Soviet times Chile’s General Augusto Pinochet, who died December 10 at the age of 91, was denounced as a ruthless dictator and a henchman of U.S. imperialists. On September

THE POLONIUM TRAIL LEADS TO MOSCOW

Officials investigating the lethal poisoning of former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Alexander Litvinenko in London have widened their inquiry to Moscow. U.K. Home Secretary John Reid told reporters,

PUTIN’S MILITARY NUMBERS JUST DON’T ADD UP

Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin held a well-staged national televised phone-in to answer rehearsed questions from selected citizens. Such phone-ins are performed in Russia once a year and provide