From Western news reports about Russian government statements, Russia seems concerned that NATO forces in the ex-Communist states would endanger the Russian strategic deterrence (which include a second strike capability to retaliate after a first strike). I would have thought that the Russian second strike capability (nuclear forces that would survive an enemy first strike and inflict unacceptable damage on the attacker) remains unaffected by a small number of interceptors e.g. in Romania or Poland. Four questions, which are really one:
What is the Russian view on the state of the Russian nuclear forces?
- How operational is the early warning and command and control systems?
- How operational are the Russian ballistic missile submarines? How many of them are on patrol in an average month?
- Are the road-mobile ICBM concentrated in easy-to-hit locations?
- Or are they afraid of precedents, not of any current degradation of MAD?
Note that I'm not asking about actual readiness, which would surely be classified information. I'm asking what non-government researchers in Russia (not in the West) think about it, especially researchers who influence public opinion. Are there any English-language sources on this?
Follow-up: I found this RAND study which acknowledges Russian concerns. Still not a Russian source, but quoting many.