“Russia will return to the oceans”
The Day of the Russian Navy this year was held in a businesslike atmosphere. Apparently, it had an effect that it had to be celebrated in the conditions of a special military operation. Before accepting the Main Naval Parade in St. Petersburg, President Putin signed two important decrees, including the approval of the country's new Naval Doctrine. The old doctrine lasted seven years and is now abolished. The essence of the new one boils down to a rather ambitious task: Russia must do everything to retain the status of a great maritime power.
Solving this problem will not be easy, given the many maritime problems of Russia, which are reflected in the fifty-page document. This is the meager share of Russian merchant ships involved in global international transportation, and the terrible situation with the research fleet, and international sanctions against the Russian shipbuilding industry, and the claims of foreign states to our island territories and shelf, and much more negative.
The military-political threats and risks that will have to be fended off by our naval activities have not gone away either. One of the main threats is the US desire for complete dominance in the oceans. Previously, by the way, this threat was not so clearly formulated in our main documents.
The main challenges and threats include, for example, “the US desire to achieve overwhelming superiority of its naval forces, as well as increasing combat capabilities naval forces of other states.
It is what it is. Suffice it to recall that the US Navy has 11 aircraft carriers with the corresponding escort ships, and Russia has one aircraft-carrying cruiser of venerable age, the Admiral Kuznetsov, which is now under repair. China has two full-fledged aircraft carriers and several more on the stocks. So far, Russia has not even planned to build ships of this class.
Another challenge for our maritime security is the advancement of NATO's military infrastructure close to our borders and the growth of the Alliance's military activity along our coasts. This is confirmed by the sharp change in the course of Sweden and Finland from neutrality to full membership in NATO. For our Navy, this is additional trouble.
What else can not strain Russia in the field of maritime security? For example, attempts by a number of countries to weaken Russia's control over the Northern Sea Route, as well as ongoing efforts on their part to change the existing rules for the passage of ships in a number of straits in their favor.
This is how military expert Vladimir Gundarov, captain 1st rank in the reserve, assessed the new Russian Naval Doctrine:
– The new doctrine makes a broad swing to preserve the status of a great maritime power. This is necessary in order to enjoy all the rights of the free sea in international waters – to lay pipes and cables, to study the bottom, to ensure the safety of navigation of civilian ships of the merchant and fishing fleet.
More specifically, we are talking about the Arctic. The new document confirms the firm intention of the country's leadership not to share with anyone the sector that historically belongs to us, as it was defined back in the 20s of the last century, as well as the Northern Sea Route. The incomplete delimitation of maritime spaces in the Arctic poses a military threat and may cause a regional war in the Arctic.
Another hot region, according to the expert, is the Baltic Sea.
– Our “partners » want to turn it into a NATO inland sea.
In this regard, the new division of maritime spaces into areas (zones) is interesting: vital, simply important, and “other” – these are open parts of the World Ocean. Of course, such a division is in conflict with the interests of the United States and Great Britain, which will increase the confrontation of the fleets in the ocean. But this aggravation is not yet critical, since Russia, in fact, does not have that competitive component of the civilian fleet that needs to be protected. And this is also indicated in the document.
We have few merchant fleets and ships sailing under the Russian flag. Since the 90s of the last century, shipowners have been registering ships anywhere, but not in Russia. Mongolia, which, let me remind you, has no access to the sea, now has a larger merchant fleet than ours, if we count by the number of registered ships in our country and in Mongolia.
A new doctrinal word is the mention of the Indian Ocean region. The fact is that at the beginning of the century, Russia, unfortunately, left this region. Returning to it is a serious challenge for the US and NATO, which want to buckle up the Indian Navy. Preservation and maintenance of Russia's naval presence in this region on the basis of material and technical bases is a serious bid.
Preparatory work is currently underway in the Red Sea to create a support point on the African continent, but in the Indian Ocean – This is probably a matter for the near future. At least this was officially stated in the document for the first time.
The main conclusion from the acquaintance with the new doctrine is that Russia will return to the World Ocean, and it will have an ocean fleet that corresponds to geopolitical tasks, prospects for economic development and logistical opportunities based on domestic materials and technologies.
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