Speaking of Russia’s military transformation Kristin ven Bruusgaard has a terrific article in War on the Rocks called The Myth of Russia’s Lowered Nuclear Threshold:
Non-nuclear deterrence involves both military and non-military assets that can convince an adversary that the costs of aggression against Russia would outweigh any benefit. These include precision strike capabilities, effective command, control, intelligence, and reconnaissance capabilities, effective strategic assets such as aerospace defense forces and special operations forces, information warfare capabilities, and non-military tools such as diplomatic, economic, and political instruments of influence. These non-nuclear tools would add to the combined credibility of Russian deterrence, particularly in deterring regional conflicts and emerging threats, such as color revolutions. Nuclear weapons were still central under the strategic deterrence concept, but rather than taking on an elevated role to compensate for a lack of conventional options, they shifted toward a more normalized role in deterring large-scale aggression.
It’s going to take me like a week to get through all the great links in this article.