Geographical Constraints to Soviet Maritime Power

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Needham, Brian
Soviet Navy; sea-power; UNCLOS III; EEZ; Baltic Fleet; Black Sea Fleet; Pacific Fleet; Northern Fleet; Natural Resources Management and Policy; Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology
paper description
The aim of this paper is to identify the geographical constraints to Soviet marine power, assess their impact and explore alternatives that may be considered to reduce their detrimental effects. The paper will provide a background by addressing the recent history, status and current missions of the Soviet Navy, which is the vehicle for maritime power. The nature of the geographical constraints will then be discussed before assessing individually the impacts on the four Soviet Fleets: Northern, Baltic, Black Sea, and Pacific. Finally, some alternatives will be explored to counter the vulnerability of maritime power to those geographic constraints. It will become evident that the major constraints relate to military operations and thus it is assumed that the reader has some knowledge of such operations. In the exploration of future alternatives, speculation is inevitable, as the implementation of the Gorbachev initiatives is itself full of uncertainty.