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Russia has published an official executive order (ukaz) titled ‘Basic principles of state policy of the Russian Federation on nuclear deterrence’.
It entered into force on 2 June when it was signed by President Vladimir Putin. This is the first time in the almost 30-year history of the Russian Federation that an explanation of Russia’s nuclear warfighting policy has been made public.
The relatively short, six-page document sets out a series of blunt messages designed to impress on its potential enemies just where Russia stands. While it considers nuclear weapons ‘exclusively as a means of deterrence’ and characterises their use as ‘an extreme and compelled measure’, this official declaration sets out in some detail the conditions that could trigger nuclear conflict.
The clear messages are ‘the inevitability of retaliation’ in the event of nuclear attack on Russia and that Russia intends to maintain forces capable of inflicting ‘guaranteed unacceptable damage’ on a potential adversary. Precisely what such unacceptable damage might involve is not spelled out, but in the Cold War it implied that the enemy would cease to exist as a modern functioning society…..
Article written by Emeritus Professor Paul Dibb, Former Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.
Image sourced from kremlin.ru.