The Vladivostok News, in an article written before the recent Russian missile test fiasco, reports that Russia is to abandon much of its large navy over the next 30-40 years, in favour of a smaller, more defensively oriented navy. Its interview with Navy Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov, revealed that…
By switching to the production of smaller vessels Russia will also relinquish protecting its interests in the world’s oceans, Kuroyedov said. According to him Russia will have unique frigates and corvettes of its own but navigating within a 500-meter limit of territorial waters.
(Not sure about the 500-meter limit part of the quote. Outside of my bathtub, I can’t think of many frigates or corvettes that have a turning circle that tight. Perhaps they meant kilometers).
He goes on to hint that Russia is unlikely to build a replacement for the Admiral Kuznetsov, currently Russia’s only aircaft carrier.
This is actually one of the smartest quotes I have heard coming out of the Russian military for a while. Russia is now, lets face it, a mid-sized power at best. Its main interests lie in nearby regions (primarily Central Asia and Eastern Europe) that are easy to reach overland and almost impossible to influence by sea. A massive navy would be almost worthless to Russia, with the possible exception of spending to maintain its fleet of nuclear submarines. It would be far better off allocating its military budget to more urgent priorities, like redeveloping its rapidly ageing air-force or to facilitating the Russian army’s eventual transition from a conscript to a professional volunteer force.