Moscow, Feb. 8, 2008: Russian President Vladimir Putin argued before the State Council that Russia badly needed a new strategy for developing its armed forces (source: dpa)

New doctrine shows Russia willing and able to use force

On New Year’s Eve, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on an updated national security strategy. Its tone matches the deterioration in Russia’s relations with the West. Compared with the 2014 version, two features stand out. NATO is now presented as an adversary rather than a rival, and the instigation of so-called “color revolutions” has been elevated to the status of a national security threat.

The document’s clear thrust is to further align the concept of national security with that of regime security. Echoing the classic statement of France’s King Louis XIV, Mr. Putin has increasingly come to view himself as the embodiment of Russia, and his interests as identical with tho...

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Professor Stefan Hedlund
Looking forward, the baseline for any realistic scenario of military confrontation with Russia must be that Mr. Putin cannot afford to back down
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