Security Index Authors
Shakirov Oleg I. image
Shakirov Oleg I.
  • Position : Consultant, "Global & Regional Security: New ideas for Russia" Program
  • Affiliation : PIR Center
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2019, №5, "Security Index" Series

"Security Index" Series image
Issue: №5

The relations between Russia and the West are steadily deteriorating. The Vienna Document adopted in 2011 within the framework of the OSCE still remains a signifi cant link between the parties. It contains specific procedures for interaction between the military of the participating States, which allow an acceptable level of mutual trust and control to be maintained. The author of the report, Oleg Shakirov, not only analyses the discussions surrounding the updating of the Vienna Document, describing the fundamental difference in the approaches of Russia and Western countries, but also proposes practical steps aimed at creating conditions for its modernization. Specifi c recommendations on strengthening confi dence-building measures, which are outlined in the document, take into account Russia’s national interests and the commitment of all interested OSCE participants to regional security, and can be used in the negotiations on updating the Vienna Document.



  • The Vienna Document 2011 (VD 2011) is one of the few existing mechanisms of co-operation in the politico-military sphere in Europe. The confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs) agreed in the document facilitate the dialogue among the participating States and represent a genuinely operational format for professional interaction between the military.
  • Russia and Western countries have different views on VD 2011 modernization. Russia proceeds from the need for a comprehensive solution to security problems in Europe, which should include the normalization of relations with NATO in the politico-military sphere and the launch of negotiations on conventional arms control. In this context, separate modernization of VD 2011 is inappropriate. According to NATO’s position, VD modernization is possible without linking it to pan-European security issues. NATO needs modernization to make more transparent the military activity of Russia, whose actions “represent a fundamental challenge to the Alliance.”
  • The political environment is not conducive to the modernization of the document. Future normalization of the situation in Europe is likely to include another update of the list of confidence- and security-building measures. This requires elaboration of approaches to their development based on the tasks of ensuring Russia’s national security and understanding the opportunities and limitations of the negotiation process.
  • Further development of the Vienna Document should take into account Russia’s security interests. Russia is able to make specific proposals to this end. (a) To ensure the provision of information on rotational forces in the territory of participating States. (b) To propose the inclusion in the list of CSBMs of measures relating to naval forces, including provisions on information exchange and visits to naval bases. (c) To agree on the format of inspections of the U.S. missile defence bases in Europe as a basic transparency mechanism.
  • Russia can address some of the Western concerns about its military activities without modernizing the Vienna Document. To this end, it can increase the transparency of the conduct of unannounced combat readiness checks and perform major exercises with full observation in accordance with the Vienna Document 2011.
  • Russia may initiate a discussion on the possible adaptation of the Vienna Document to technology challenges. (a) Invite participating States to establish a new format for discussion — a workshop on military technologies and technology-related aspects of CSBMs. (b) Regulate the use of additional mobile and GPS equipment during inspections and evaluation visits. (c) Initiate discussion on the possibility of using UAVs as an alternative to manned aerial surveys when observing exercises.


Data citation: Shakirov, Oleg. “The Future of the Vienna Document: Prospects for the Further Development of Confidence- and Security-Building Measures in Europe.” SECURITY INDEX (Occasional Paper Series), no. 5 (2019): 1–27.  


Read the report (pdf)