What’s actually new in Russia’s new Maritime Doctrine?

The new documents contains strongest language yet on further expansion of NATO as Russia’s red line, contains multiple references to the need to develop Crimea, calls for permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean, asserts Russia’s interests in Arctic, lists Antarctic as a priority, mentions need to develop relations with China. See comparison with 2001 doctrine below.

2015 Maritime Doctrine 2001 Maritime Doctrine
Identifies Russian National Interests in the World Ocean as follows:

  • Inviolability of sovereignty of RF applies to internal sea waters, territorial sea and airspace above it.
  • Sovereign rights and jurisdiction of RF in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
  • Freedom of movement on high seas.
  • Preservation of human lives on seas.
  • Functioning of vital sea communications.
  • Prevention of pollution.
  • Comprehensive utilization of resources and spaces of the World Ocean for the economic and social development of the country.
Essentially the same.
Lists presence of Russian Fleet in Arctic, Antarctic and far-flung areas of World Ocean among the principles of RF maritime policy Arctic not mentioned among principles, but is mentioned among areas where RF maritime policy is being pursued
Identifies following areas, which represent regional priorities for RF maritime activities:
Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific, Caspian, Indian Ocean and Antarctic
Areas, which represent regional priorities for RF maritime activities, same as in 2015 doctrine, but do not include Antarctic.
Unacceptability of the plans for advancing military infrastructure of NATO to Russia’s borders for the Russian Federation and attempts to assign global functions to this alliance remain the defining factor in (Russia’s) relations with NATO.” So strongest language yet on expansion of NATO being a red line in a Russian strategic document. Even the 2014 doctrine didn’t refer to unacceptability. Rather it said “The following shall be the main external military dangers: buildup of force potential of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and its endowment with global functions being realized in violation of rules of international law; an approach of the military infrastructure of NATO member countries to borders of the Russian Federation, including by further bloc expansion.” “National maritime policy in the Atlantic region is determined by the growing economic, political and military pressure from NATO countries, its eastward advancement, and a sharp reduction in the capacity of the Russian Federation to implement its maritime activities.”
Contains multiple reference to the need to develop Crimea’s military and economic potential:

  • “Perfection of the structure of the forces of the Black See Fleet, development of its infrastructure in the Crimea.”
  • “Formation of large business and economic centers in… Crimea.”
    “Increase in energy supplies that would take into account the development of port and coastal infrastructure of Crimea.”
  • “Ensuring transport accessibility of Crimea.”
  • “Development of ship-building and ship-repairing complex of the region that would take into account the potential of ship-building and ship-repairing enterprises of Crimea.”
No references to Crimea.
“Ensure sufficient naval presence in the (Mediterranean) region on the permanent basis.” No references to military presence in the Mediterranean.
“The national maritime policy in the Arctic… is defined by the special importance of ensuring of free gateway for Russian fleet into the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, riches of the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, growing importance of the Northern sea route for sustainable development and security of RF, decisive role of the Northern Fleet in defense of the country from the sea and ocean directions.”
Refers to the need to ensure that Russia’s rights to extended shelf in the Artic are legitimized in international agreements.
Essentially the same as in 2015 document.
“Development of friendly ties with China represents an important component of the maritime policy in the Pacific” China not mentioned at all.
Refers to the need to create indigenous high-tech sea platforms that would not only extract, but also refine shale oil and gas. Clear attempt to cut dependence on Western technologies that have been affected by sanctions. No such references.

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