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Russian Reactions to Reagan's ‘Maritime Strategy'

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The US Navy's audacious Maritime Strategy of the 1980s is often credited with acting as a key catalyst to the demise of the USSR. In assessing the role of strategic missile submarine “bastions” in the country's overall military strategy, the authors are skeptical of the above thesis, explaining that Moscow actually viewed deployments of Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles on to US submarines (versus direct threats against the Soviet Navy itself) as the most alarming threat. The authors concede that the arms race played a role in the collapse of the USSR, but deny a direct connection with Soviet naval development citing the relatively minor naval proportion of overall defense spending. For the difficulties facing the fleet at the end of the Cold War, they instead blame deep systemic problems internal to the Soviet Navy.
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Keywords: Akula; Maritime strategy; SSBN; Tomahawk; Typhoon; limited war

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Central Naval Museum, St Petersburg

Publication date: 2005-04-01

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