The Impact of Russian Military Threat to the Baltic States: Deterrence and Defence

Course date: July 2018

The annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Eastern Ukraine, along with the ongoing military conflicts in the Middle East, have confirmed that hard power is still on political security agenda and Russia is generating a deep-rooted, long-term challenge to the West. Indeed, The Ukraine crisis rendered the Baltic region the focal point of tension between NATO and Russia. The NATO assurance measures adopted in the spring of 2014 were primarily directed towards the Baltic States and Poland.

As a result of military reform and heavy investment in rearmament and modernization, training and personnel, Russia has developed effective military capabilities, spread in the entire country but with higher concentration in the Western part.  This allows Russia to create a substantial offensive potential in the Baltics at any given time. Conventional superiority in the Baltic region is not in NATO’s favour.

From a Baltic perspective, [defense] planning has everything to do with Russia. This notion has been met with [skepticism] by some other NATO countries. German [defense] planners, for instance, pride themselves in not knowing where the next war will start, in stark contrast to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

–Swedish Defense Research Agency

Course content

The course of Vilnius Summer School 2017 on military security aims to discuss the Russian foreign, security and defence policy and to analyze the capabilities of Russian military. The course will focus on the security situation in the Baltic region, giving a particular attention to the transformation of Russian military and its impact on the security and defence policy of the Baltic States. Moreover, in this course participants will be able to get understanding on the challenges NATO faces today and what NATO must do to counter them, what NATO and national strategies and capabilities must be in place to increase deterrence and defence in the Baltic region.