Realistic appraisal of Soviet defence efforts is crucial to strategic planning and foreign policy analysis. Since Soviet defence expenditure figures are incomplete, however, our knowledge in this area is extremely limited. This study reviews the state of current knowledge in this field, andpresents a critical review of the nature and limitation of traditional approaches. The contributors analyse newly available sources of economic, scientific, and technical military information, and conclude with an in-depth consideration of the relevance and impact of historical and cultural influences on current Russian-Soviet military strategy. There emerges a fascinatingaccount, which both extends our knowledge and understanding, and sheds light on what is perhaps the single most important 'unknown' in the study of international affairs and defence needs.