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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.

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  • I've never read anything credible on the topic and not much at all. And I read quite a lot of stuff.
    – alamar
    Commented Feb 11, 2022 at 9:01
  • Why is having a NATO missile-defense launch system such a big deal for Russia? asks the same question. And my answer gives a link to a video of Putin's speech in which he states the answer directly. The voice-over translation to English does not interfere with the original (in Russian). So you can actually hear what he said on the topic.
    – grovkin
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 0:41
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    @grovkin, your answer is about fears of receiving a first strike, while I wondered about their ability to deliver a second strike. Related, but not quite the same.
    – o.m.
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 5:37
  • @o.m. it is related because the Russians don't buy the premise that the interceptors would remain interceptors. You are asking why would they fear X (since f(x) is not a threat to them). But they haven't said that they are afraid of f(x). They have expressed a firm believe that X would become Y. Answering "they don't" is an on-topic answer to the question "why do they?"
    – grovkin
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 15:23
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    @grovkin, my question was about what happens after a hypothetical first strike.
    – o.m.
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 15:27

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