By Zoltan Barany

Why have Russian generals got a major political place because the Soviet Union's cave in whereas whilst the effectiveness in their forces has deteriorated? Why have there been no radical safety reforms in Russia because the finish of the chilly struggle, even supposing they have been excessive at the time table of the country's new president in 2000? Democratic Breakdown and the Decline of the Russian army explains those puzzles because it paints a entire portrait of Russian army politics. Zoltan Barany identifies 3 formative moments that gave upward thrust to the Russian quandary. the 1st used to be Gorbachev's determination to ask army participation in Soviet politics. the second one used to be whilst Yeltsin acquiesced to a brand new political method that gave generals a valid political presence. The 3rd was once whilst Putin not just didn't press for wanted army reforms yet increased a variety of high-ranking officials to fashionable positions within the federal management. incorporated listed below are Barany's insightful research of challenge administration following the sinking of the Kursk submarine, a scientific comparability of the Soviet/Russian military in 1985 and the current, and compelling bills of the army's political position, the elusive safeguard reform, and the connection among politicians and generals. Barany bargains an extraordinary examine the area of latest army politics in an more and more authoritarian kingdom. Destined to develop into a vintage in post-Soviet stories, this booklet reminds us of the significance of the separation of powers as a way to protect democracy.

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The submarine’s entire crew of 118 perished. The first explosion killed the personnel in the torpedo bay; the second, which ripped through the front of the ship, ended the life of most of the crew. There were 23 survivors who were either on duty in the ninth compartment (at the rear) or managed to make their way there during the little over two minutes between the explosions. How long they stayed alive before they succumbed to carbon-monoxide poisoning has been the source of a major controversy—like much else surrounding the accident—in which opinions ranged from a few minutes to many hours.

84 Paradoxically, the military scored an important victory: its budgets have substantially increased since 2000, in part because the accident focused attention on its privations. The tragedy also highlighted how far out of synch Moscow’s international ambitions, its military expenditure, and the state of its armed forces were with reality. Since August 2000—indeed, since 1991—the president and other high-ranking politicians have made many official declarations regarding the critical need to drastically reform the THE TRAGEDY AND SYMBOLISM OF THE KURSK 39 military establishment; as of the summer of 2006, the objective has not been accomplished.

Furthermore, this book does not deal with Russia’s defense industries and their conversion, and it does not offer technical analyses of the country’s new or existing weapons systems. I do not offer an exhaustive survey of Russia’s nuclear arsenal or analyze Moscow’s policies regarding nuclear proliferation. I do, nonetheless, engage the issue of nuclear weapons in connection with Moscow’s military doctrine and insofar as the safety of those arms concerns the world beyond Russia and, especially, the United States.

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