Summary

Russia has undertaken an ambitious military modernization effort that entails deploying new systems on land, sea, and air. The upgrades are still ongoing, and several programs have experienced delays and failures (and the COVID-19 pandemic will surely affect their progress). Though the real effectiveness of these platforms is often uncertain, it would seem as though Moscow has successfully improved the combat effectiveness of its military and substantially filled the gap with Western armed forces thanks to the introduction of new platforms and the recent combat experience gained in Ukraine and Syria. The Russian forces can now rely on an elite core of rapid-deployment troops, long-range precision strike capabilities, and more efficient command & control (C&C) mechanisms. Even though this does not put Russia on an equal level to the US and its NATO allies in conventional terms, it is still enough to make it a powerful adversary in the scenario that war erupts, though preferably in a conflict that is both short in duration and geographically constrained.