Russia’s Zapad 2013 Military Exercise: Lessons for Baltic Regional Security

Zapad 2013 was a wide-scale military exercise carried out by the Russian and Belarusian military forces in September 2013. The joint maneuvers, which were held in Belarus and western Russia, simulated an incursion by foreign-backed “terrorist” groups originating from the Baltic States. This exercise—involving tens of thousands of personnel and hundreds of vehicles and pieces of military equipment—received a great deal of attention in the Baltic States, Poland and Finland, but passed almost unnoticed in the West.

Russia’s Zapad 2013 Exercise: Lessons for Baltic Regional Security analyzes in deep and well-researched detail different aspects of Zapad 2013 and how this exercise relates to Russia’s military posture and the security environment in Europe’s East. The included authors represent a broad range of viewpoints, spanning the United States, the Nordic countries and the Baltic States, as well as government, military and academia. This assembled cross-section of analytical defense and security expertise thus provides an unmatched and comprehensive review of a Russian military exercise with direct implications for NATO defense planning, but which nonetheless passed by with limited commentary in the United States and many of the Alliance’s Western European members.

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