From the Document: "The Russian military has routinely conducted two types of military exercises: annual strategic command staff exercises and combat readiness inspections. Many of these exercises are what most analysts consider part of a military's normal training routine. Russia uses these exercises to test military readiness, refine operational concepts, assess new equipment and technologies, and improve command and control. Russia also may use some of these exercises as a form of coercive signaling toward neighboring states and foreign audiences. Some observers are also concerned about Russian use of military exercises as a pretext to mask preparations for potential and actual invasions[.] In particular, the size and nature of the exercises, including the recently concluded Zapad 2021 joint Russian-Belarusian strategic exercise, have caused concern among U.S. and European observers, including some Members of Congress. Some Members expressed concern about the exercise reflecting Russian aggression toward allies in the region."
CRS In Focus, IF11938
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/