Present and Future Prospects

  • Bryan Ranft
  • Geoffrey Till


It is difficult to produce simple conclusions about the rise of the modern Soviet Navy. On the one hand monolithic or monocausal explanations do not do justice to the complexities both of the Soviet Union and of her maritime aspirations. On the other, the Soviet Navy has absorbed far too high a proportion of the country’s resources simply to be dismissed as the product of an absence of policy. The Soviet Union has not acquired a blue-water navy in a fit of absence of mind, or simply through a process of institutional drift. Nor can the rise of the Soviet Navy be put down merely to a mindless compulsion to match the West at every point on the spectrum of force. It is therefore unwise to conclude either that Soviet leaders have a satisfactorily clear and simple set of maritime objectives, or that they have no objectives at all. In truth, it is possible to see two different kinds of motivation in their policy of maritime expansion, both of which need to be given their due prominence.


Future Prospect Average Tonnage Naval Force Reason Sceptic Maritime Interest 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    This is an extrapolation from the figures presented in Abellera and Clark (1981).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid., pp. 36ff.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Colton (1986) discusses the range of possible reforms and the obstacles to them.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Leading article, The Times, 11 May 1982.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    G. Kostev, ‘Cooperation of the Army and Navy’, Krasnaya Zvezda, 17 March 1984.Google Scholar
  6. 5a.
    Gorbachev, Speech to 27th Congress of the CPSU, February 1986.Google Scholar
  7. 5b.
    For example see Suggs (1983), Deane (1984) and Paparella (1984).Google Scholar
  8. 5c.
    Chernarvin, ‘On Naval Theory’, Morskoi Sbornik No 1, January 1982.Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    L. Martin, ‘Future Wartime Missions’ in Veldman and Olivier (1980) p. 58.Google Scholar
  10. 7.
    This argument has been advanced by J. M. McConnell. We are grateful to the author for his help in explaining these points to us in various discussions at Kings College London and the CNA. For Ogarkov’s views see Kommunist, July 1981.Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    See ‘Nordic Shivers at Soviet Threat’, Weekly Guardian, 14 November 1981 and ‘The Fears that Whiskey Brought to the Surface’, The Guardian, 7 November 1981.Google Scholar
  12. 9.
    Quoted in ‘Speed Group Fights to Reverse Cuts’, The Guardian, 22 May 1982.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bryan Ranft and Geoffrey Till 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryan Ranft
  • Geoffrey Till

There are no affiliations available

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