Insecurity in the Baltic: the Russian perspective

Armored column of Russian Interior Ministry troops on exercises in 2015
Russia’s leadership is mainly focused on keeping its grip at home, as shown by the massive ‘Barrier’ exercises of Interior Ministry troops in 2015 (source: dpa)
  • Russia’s military is reverting to mass mobilization model of Soviet era
  • Neither NATO or Moscow appear to have a coherent strategy to manage confrontation
  • Vladimir Putin’s penchant for snap decisions increase escalation risks

The Baltic Sea region is well on its way to replacing Ukraine as the main flashpoint in the standoff between Russia and the West. It is a deeply troublesome escalation that risks provoking nuclear escalation.

Given the extremely high stakes, the question becomes whether the Kremlin is indeed ready to move down this path – perhaps in the conviction that it would only be calling NATO’s bluff? The comforting answer is no, but it comes with crucial caveats.

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