Most of the media coverage of the tests remained limited to brief, straightforward reporting that emphasized their “unprecedented” nature, rarely going into a deeper analysis of their domestic and/or international significance. However, media outlets highlighted the success of the exercises, which “accomplished all their tasks” and “confirmed the reliability and effectiveness of Russia’s nuclear triad.” One author noted that one of the missiles fired in Kamchatka was 24 years old, just like hundreds of others: “The lack of problems with its preparation, launch, and hitting the target confirmed the high combat quality of the missiles and the possibility of extending” their period of safe use by several years.
Some outlets stressed the connection between the tests and US plans to locate BMD installations “in close proximity” to Russia, something that has long worried the country’s political and military leadership. Moskovskii Komsomolets (MK) author Ignat Kalinin said “everything was done so that ... there will remain no doubt that Russia will respond with actions, and not words, if the US global system of anti-missile defense continues to develop.” Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie (NVO) wrote that, along with the strategic missile launches, Russia’s decision to revive a Soviet-era railway-missile complex and develop a new heavy liquid fuel missile comes as a response and a warning “to our friends from overseas.”
Despite the achievements in military development, which were highly praised in the pro-state media, the tests came at a time when the poor condition of the Russian military and its technical potential are widely criticized. General Gleb Tsherbatov told the Agency of Russian Information that Russian authorities “learned from the masters of Hollywood propaganda” to show “old rusty junk,” while calling it a “nuclear triad” and “throw dust in the eyes of stupid Russian housewives.” The article also explored in detail the moribund state of the Russian military arsenal. On the website for the Russian Communist Party, Duma Defense Committee President Vladimir Komoedov stressed the need to modernize the country’s strategic arsenal, emphasizing its weaknesses compared to that of the U.S.
Public opinion revealed some skepticism about the “large-scale” tests. Reader Solomon commented on the news, emphasizing that President Vladimir Putin’s personal involvement in the exercises could have been an attempt to “boost” fallen ratings. He further warned that Putin should be “careful” with the red “button,” suggesting that the leader’s recent PR-moves have backfired. MK reader Ross saw another arms race coming at the expense of social programs: “We’ve already done all of that, have you forgotten? Guns instead of butter. ... Again they want to ransack the budget, while they raise the retirement age. Degenerates.” Another opinion on social media forum LiveJournal looked at the tests in the context of ongoing events in the Middle East, possibly suggesting that they were intended to scare off Turkey’s supporters (i.e., the U.S., since Russia and the U.S. are the only countries possessing strategic nuclear forces), in order to leave Ankara to face Iran, Iraq, and Syria alone for the “neighbor talks.”