Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 102

Ivanov, for his part, said yesterday that NATO-Russian relations are currently in a deep freeze–warning that ties between the two sides will never return to what they were before the launching of NATO’s air campaign. Ivanov tied that observation to recent moves by the Russian government aimed at reformulating the country’s national security doctrines. “We have drawn serious long-term conclusions from the Balkan conflict, which will influence the concept of Russia’s national security and its military doctrine,” Ivanov said. He suggested that NATO’s actions in the Balkans had undermined hopes that Russia and the Western Alliance might see each as something other than potential threats in the post-Cold War world. “We are now on the threshold of turning another chapter of history,” he said (Itar-Tass, May 25).

As if to punctuate that statement, Ivanov also announced yesterday that the Russian Defense and Foreign Ministries will soon hold a joint meeting at which key national security questions will be examined. He provided no details. But Sergei Prikhodko, a foreign policy aide to President Boris Yeltsin, did say yesterday that Russia’s national defense doctrine will be amended to take into account the situation that has developed since NATO began its military campaign in the Balkans.

Prikhodko also observed that changes to Russia’s military doctrine have twice been debated in recent weeks during meetings of the country’s Security Council. Sergeev last week said that he had received orders from President Boris Yeltsin to look into precisely those issues (Itar-Tass, May 25). Russian officials have been vague about what sorts of changes they are thinking of making in the country’s defense policies (which had not–even prior to the recent Balkans events–been carefully defined in any event). They have suggested, however, that an increase in defense spending may be forthcoming, and that the Defense Ministry might also move to increase the number of high-readiness units under its command. More ominously, perhaps, there has also been talk not only of raising the role of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, but of reinvigorating the military’s nonstrategic–or battlefield–nuclear arsenal (see the Monitor, May 3).