The military sector reform is a top priority for Vladimir Putin, who believes that these reforms will go a long way in achieving Russia’s military and comprehensive national power objectives. The on-going military reforms have come a long way since they were first introduced in 2008. Most of the structural reforms have already been implemented. The material reforms, which are necessary to ensure that the structural reforms deliver, are progressing well, notwithstanding difficulties such as corruption, availability of limited resources, and recession.
BRICS is not challenging the existing world order. It is seeking a place in the sun for developing countries. It is looking at alternative approaches but there is no desire to seek confrontation with the West.
Military capabilities matter. Countries and regions where wars have taken place have one important attribute- battle and operational experience. The monograph examines 21st century wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Georgia and Libya. New trend of cyber war is also included. Key highlights have been extracted and distilled into lessons to be learnt.
Although Russia plays a weak hand due to structural problems in the economy and several deficiencies in the political and social order, Putin will try and leverage Russia’ substantial advantages—energy being one of them—to Russia’s advantage.
While their growing economic clout has brought Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa together, translating the hand holding gestures at the end of each summit into real unity is likely to remain a daunting task.
Although Putin's return to the presidency will probably ensure an element of continuity in the system when looked through the prism of managed democracy, bureaucratic capitalism, and widespread corruption, political and economic reforms are the need of the hour in Russia.
Putin is likely to overcome ongoing protests and return as President in the March elections, although his popularity could fall further if he fails to respond to the growing signs of discontent on significant issues relating to transparency and accountability.
With Putin expected to assume the Presidency in March 2012, one can expect a more assertive Russia in its dealings with the West though there may not be any major changes in current policies.
Ukraine has resisted Russian attempts to draw it into a closer political and economic embrace and has instead explored a closer association with the EU, NATO and even China. Recent developments indicate a turnaround in the Ukrainian attitude and may portend a closer relationship with Russia and the CIS states.
Russia has signed a landmark weapons deal with France for the purchase of two Mistral class amphibious assault ships, which will strengthen the Russian Navy’s capabilities for power projection.