On 21 May 2023, the Red Banner Russian Pacific Fleet (RUSPAC) marked its 292nd anniversary. Russia's naval presence in the Pacific maritime theatre dates to 1731, when the country formally established its first naval footprint on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
RUSPAC remains the least analysed and assessed Russian naval fleet. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was a continuous decline of interest in developments in the Russian navy, and many observers concluded that Russia had lost its power projection capability in the Indo-Pacific.
Over the past two decades however, there has been a gradual reanimation of Russian naval power in the Pacific. This development has occurred alongside intensifying RUSPAC operational activity, including out-of-area deployments. Russian naval force modernisation has happened against the backdrop of an escalating strategic rivalry between Russia, China, and the United States, which increasingly involves Washington's European and Indo-Pacific allies, including Australia.
In a major new research paper Dr Alexey Muraviev critically reviews major trends in RUSPAC force modernisation, its qualitative transformation, operational activities and engagement with foreign navies, with a particular focus on China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
What are the potential implications for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and allied navies in the Indo-Pacific?
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