Russian military expert Col. (ret.) Mikhail Khodarenok, a former officer in the Chief-of-Staff headquarters, made a rare statement against the general perception among Russian media and experts of the Russian-NATO confrontation. Speaking on the governmental Russia 1 TV channel on February 14, he said that Russia should stop its "saber-rattling" and develop a well-thought-out foreign affairs doctrine, which would allow Russia to emerge from the "state of strategic isolation" in which it finds itself today. Following this statement, Khodarenok was not given a further opportunity to participate in the course of the entire one-hour program.
Mikhail Khodarenok: "The most important thing for us is to adhere to military-political realism. If we analyze the balance of forces on our western frontier, and compare our forces to those of NATO, I will provide some figures — without overwhelming you with details. We have 200 warplanes, while NATO has 3,800. We have 1,600 armored vehicles and APCs, while NATO has more than 20,000. The situation is the same with regard to all other aspects. Thus, anyone who talks about our capability to wage a conventional war against NATO is clearly too hotheaded. We should definitely have a healthy degree of militarism, but let's not get carried away with it. As far as I see, at the moment there are no geopolitical or geostrategic contradictions that might lead to large-scale war in Europe. So raising this question is premature. Saber-rattling is good, but it is far more important to have a well-thought-out foreign affairs doctrine.
"The most important issue is that we should not plan ourselves in opposition to the rest of the world. So the most important military and political goal of our civilian and military leadership is to emerge from the state of strategic isolation in which we are trapped today."
Host: "Whom should we approach [in order to do so]?"
Khodarenok: "It is quite hard to say, at the moment, who our allies are, since those thought to be our closest allies are hiding knives behind their backs, and are ready to stab us at any given moment.
"This proves that NATO is a remnant of the Cold War.
"But saying that Russia is NATO's enemy is inconsistent with the truth. It has been said on multiple occasions that any military confrontation between Russia and NATO, which begins with shots being fired at one another, will inevitably lead to a nuclear war. This is recognized by Brussels and Washington, as well as by us."