The Bear Awakens: Russia's Military Is Back

A million men under arms. Thousands of new tanks and planes. A hundred new satellites. Next-generation weapons. Inside Vladimir Putin's massive plan to restore Russian might.

But even if the Defense Ministry’s ambitious targets for how many personnel it expects to have under arms and the quantity of advanced equipment it hopes to field are not met in full, the Russian military is growing stronger. Russia may not be in a position to directly challenge the United States—whose spending still far outstrips that of Moscow’s—but given other regional trends, especially in Europe, it is restoring its conventional capabilities to back up claims to great power status. Whether the newfound confidence that results will make Russia more cooperative or obstructionist in the international arena is an open question.

Nikolas K. Gvosdev, a senior editor at The National Interest, is a professor of national-security studies at the U.S. Naval War College. The views expressed are entirely his own.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Editor's Note: This piece first appeared in October of last year. It is being reposted due to ongoing events in Ukraine.