Missiles, Vessels and Active Defence What Potential Threat Do the Russian Armed Forces Represent?

Academic article
Defence  Security policy  NATO  Russia and Eurasia  The Arctic
Written by

Maren Garberg Bredesen

Former employee


In 2019, Russia’s Chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, presented a ‘strategy of active defence’, a possible prelude to the forthcoming Russian military doctrine. This article examines this strategy with particular emphasis on the role of precision-guided missiles, tactical nuclear weapons and the role of the navy. It provides insights on the shape of new Russian military doctrine and the military threat Russia might represent to the West. Maren Garberg Bredesen and Karsten Friis conclude that the active defence concept may imply a lowering of the use-of-force threshold. Russia’s continued build-up of tactical nuclear weapons integrated into the conventional forces reinforces this concern.