I was back on the Blog Talk Radio show Midrats this week, talking about Russian foreign policy, the military, its relations with the United States and China, and the like. The recording is now available on the show’s website. The show description is as follows:
Episode 457:Russia’s Red Banner Year
From its largest exercise since the end of the Cold War, to Syria, to a revival of covert direct action and intermediate nuclear weapons as an issue – Russia continues to claw back her place on the international stage.
As we approach the last quarter of the 2018 calendar year, what message is Russia trying to give the rest of the world and what should we expect through the end of the decade?
I have an explainer article about the Vostok exercise on the Washington Post Monkey Cage blog today. Here’s a sampler…
Military analysts around the world are keeping a close eye on Russia’s annual fall military maneuvers, as this year may turn out to be the largest post-Cold War show of force. Vostok-2018 kicks off this week in Russia’s Far East and the Pacific Ocean, along with auxiliary exercises before and after the main event.
The big news this year is the addition of joint exercises with China. What do these military exercises entail, and what do you need to know?
1. What are these war games?
The Vostok exercise is part of an annual rotating series of large-scale exercises that serve as the capstone to the Russian military’s annual training cycle. The series rotates through the four main Russian operational strategic commands (Eastern, Caucasus, Central and Western) that give name to the exercises. “Vostok” means east; last fall’s Zapad-2017 took place along Russia’s western border.
Similar major strategic operational exercises took place each fall throughout the Soviet period as well. However, unlike past military readiness drills, the Defense Ministry has billed Vostok-2018 as a strategic maneuver exercise, in which the forces are divided into two groups that engage each other rather than fighting against an imaginary opponent, as was the case in all previous iterations.
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