Bryan Ranft, Geoffrey Till's The Sea in Soviet Strategy PDF

By Bryan Ranft, Geoffrey Till

A evaluate of the Soviet army via maritime experts putting it in its household and overseas context assessing its current and destiny roles by way of taking a look at its ships, submarines, airplane, its routines and styles of deployment and through reading the Soviet Navy's personal writings.

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The future course to be followed is full of uncertainties. Even the most conservative government's external policies are liable to be more fluid than its internal ones. The most powerful state must react to the behaviour and aspirations of other nations, especially in today's interdependent international system. But the Soviet Union, with its great resources, population and military power, need not just react: it can take initiatives. And when such a state feels that it does not enjoy the world influence which its strength and capabilities 16 The Sea in Soviet Strategy deserve, and when its leadership is ideologically conditioned to see the status quo as being both morally unacceptable and doomed by the inexorable laws of historical development, it is inevitable that it will have active external policies.

The constantly changing and diverging Western estimates of Soviet defence expenditure arise from the absence of any published statistics 'on anything remotely connected with defence' in the industrial and technological fields. 8 per cent of GNP, but this covers only the equipment and operating costs of the armed services and excludes research and development and other major elements. In addition there are great difficulties in translating rouble costs into US dollars. All that can be confidently said is that United Kingdom and American estimates indicate an annual growth of defence expenditure of some 4-5 per cent of GNP, decreasing to 2 per cent between 1976-1982 and rising by 3-5 per cent since then.

On occasions of divisions within the leadership, such as those which followed the death of Stalin in 1953, or those which led to Khrushchev's fall in 1964, the larger Central Committee, with a membership approximating 300, has played some part in bringing about change, but once the new leadership had been installed, the 14/15 man Politbureau reasserted its total control. However, at Brezhnev's death in November 1982, although the succession of Andropov was secretly and quickly contrived within the Politbureau, it can now be seen that force of circumstance was working for change, not in the system itself but in how it operated.

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