Security systems in transition: Soviet and Russian attempts to disarm and convert the military industrial complex

Cleary, Laura Richards (1995) Security systems in transition: Soviet and Russian attempts to disarm and convert the military industrial complex. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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For over 40 years Europe and the rest of the world were divided into spheres of influence by two military superpowers. Bi-polarity and nuclear deterrence formed the basis of the international security system. They also gave rise to an arms race which resulted in the destabilization of the economies of both the Soviet Union and the United States. It gradually became apparent that 'war' was no longer a cost effective tool of policy, that international relations had to be conducted in a different manner. As part of this latter process Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991, proposed an alternative system, one which would be based on a reduction of military strength, the abandonment of ideological confrontation and an increase in the level of cooperation between states. This thesis examines the steps taken by the Soviet Union and its successor, Russia, to implement this alternative regime. Of particular interest to this study are their consequential attempts to reduce their armed forces and convert defence production. The groundwork is laid for this examination with a discussion in Chapter One on the nature of security. It is generally acknowledged that a state's security is defined in terms of political and economic stability as well as by the ability to physically defend itself. During the Cold War, however, excessive emphasis was placed upon physical security through military rather than economic means. The writings on security of Carl von Clausewitz and Niccolo Machiavelli are examined for their relevance to the security policies formulated during the governments of Vladimir Lenin and Mikhail Gorbachev. Lenin and his successors were influenced by Clausewitz, viewing war as an important instrument of state policy. Gorbachev rejected this approach on the basis that it had become too costly, in human and economic terms, to be used in the modern day. He strongly urged that peace be used in its place. The central argument is that war and peace are more than just tools of policy, they also have the power to form the foundation of the state. The way in which a state perceives the purpose of war will in turn affect the way in which it pursues peace and disarmament. Although Gorbachev recognized the cost of the war system and supported the transition to peaceful means of cooperation, he failed to understand the depth to which society was affected by the preparation for war. In Chapter Two, the literature on the role of military-industrial complexes in society is reviewed as is that literature which analyses the best possible way to transform or convert the defence sector. As a result of this survey an ideal conversion programme is proposed. Chapter Three details the rapid pace of disarmament by reviewing the INF, CFE, START I & II Treaties and unilateral actions. This is not meant to be a detailed account of the disarmament process but an outline of the resulting changes inflicted upon the Soviet armed forces, i.e. unemployment and pension payments and the costs of destroying weapons and restructuring the armed forces. This examination continues in Chapters 5 and 6 with a discussion of the theoretical and practical aspects of the Soviet and Russian conversion programmes. Based on these studies the conclusion is reached that the expected peace dividend need not be illusory and that peace can be used as both a tool of policy and the foundation of the state. However, it can only happen if, among other things, disarmament and conversion are properly prepared and managed. Returning troops can be absorbed into the employment and housing markets and defence manufacturing can be transformed to meet civilian needs. But when these plans are not made and executed, a society becomes disillusioned with the peace dividend.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Professor Stephen White
Keywords: Russian history, Military history.
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Supervisor, not known
Date of Award: 1995
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1995-70950
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 May 2019 09:21
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2021 15:59
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.70950

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