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Russia’s Military Modernizes, But Still Not Ready For Prime Time

Russian President Vladimir Putin is a firm believer in the saying "might makes right", and he has proven on several occasions he is willing to use military force to make his point with his neighbors. Despite a hobbled economy due to drastically lower oil prices and crippling Western sanctions, Putin continues to call for a "strong Russia" and has continued to press ahead with his expensive plans to modernize the Russian military.

Russia puts on a "show of force"

Like China did with its big end of WW II military parade last week, Russia undertook a large public relations campaign to highlight some of its military strengths at a major expo earlier this summer. The four-day event in June featured Russia's most powerful military equipment, including the latest tanks, APCs, cannons and missile systems. During the expo, highly trained Russian military crews demoed the speed and firepower of the equipment in a series of live-fire exercises.

Analysts note that while the military expo was really designed to impress potential buyers from other countries, it also served Putin's purposes in reassuring the Russian public that the nation's military is ready to take on any threat from the West.

Military experts also point out that while Russia has come a long way in professionalizing its military, it is still well behind NATO in terms of numbers of...