There are themes running throughout the military history of Russia and the Soviet Union that go back to the days when Mongols in the thirteenth century threatened Mother Russia. The first of these has been geography. From the late nineteenth century to the advent of the Commonwealth of Independent States (the CIS), Russia has stretched from Europe and the Baltic Sea in the west to the Bering Strait in the east. From north to south it extends from the Arctic tundra and forests to the Muslim mountain barrier all along the borderlands from the Black Sea to China. The country has also suffered from multiple coastlines on various seas that permanently divided naval forces and never let them become paramount in Russian policymaking. The vast country even under the Soviets contained a daunting mixture of nationalities, languages, and cultures. Conquest and control were made easier by the development of communications in the twentieth century, though even these were handicapped by vast distances, climatic changes, thin population and tiny markets, limited industrialization, and lack of capital before 1921.
KeywordsArmed Force Arctic Tundra North Atlantic Treaty Organization Ballistic Missile Armed Service
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