Johan Norberg, Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), February 4, 2019


„Before 2009, Russia handled armed conflicts and local wars. Military exercises
since 2009 display an ambition and capabilities increasingly pertaining to regional
wars. Russian strategic-level military exercises, comprehensive surprise combat-
readiness inspections (SCRI) at military district or service level, as well as annual
strategic-level exercises (STRATEX) 2009–2017, reflect a determined and
persistent political and military effort to improve the fighting power of Russia’s
Armed Forces. An analysis of such exercises, based on the ability to carry out
assigned missions, command and control complexity, the quantities of soldiers and
equipment involved, as well as combat readiness, shows that the fighting power of
Russia’s Armed Forces clearly increased during this period. Russia’s war against
Ukraine and its involvement in Syria demonstrate an increasing willingness to use
military power. Russia’s political leadership in 2018 has a more credible and able
military tool to influence other countries, either indirectly, by threatening or
compelling them, or directly, by attacking them, than it did a decade earlier.“

The complete document is available at the FOI website.