Is North Korea Stronger Than Russia


North Korea and Russia have both been significant players in the global political arena for decades. Since the Cold War, both countries have become more militarized and politically powerful in the world. Their respective militaries have grown in size and capability, and both countries have taken steps to strengthen their international relationships. North Korea has established itself as an independent nuclear power that is willing to use its weapons of mass destruction on its enemies. Russia, on the other hand, has a long history of military and political influence, and has utilized its vast resources to further its strategic goals. So, the question remains: Is North Korea stronger than Russia?

Data Analysis

To answer this question, it is necessary to look at the data available. When it comes to military spending, it is clear that Russia has the upper hand. In 2018, Russia’s military budget was close to $62 billion, with the bulk of those funds going toward new weapons and technology. In contrast, North Korea only had a military budget of around $5 billion. This shows that Russia is willing to invest significant resources into its military, while North Korea is far more frugal.
In terms of military personnel, Russia has a larger standing army of around 397,000 personnel, while North Korea only has an estimated 200,000 active personnel. North Korea also has a larger reserve force than Russia, but its total number of military personnel is still dwarfed by Russia’s standing army.
When it comes to weapons, Russia has shown its commitment to expanding its arsenal. It has modernized its military and is believed to possess a vast arsenal of nuclear weapons and other dangerous weapons of mass destruction. North Korea, on the other hand, is believed to have only between 25-60 nuclear weapons, and it is not believed to have the capability to deliver its weapons to the targeted regions.

Expert Insight

Experts believe that Russia has the upper hand when it comes to military strength. Vladimir Dvorkin, a professor of international relations at Moscow State University, believes that Russia has greater capabilities and resources to back up its military strength. “Russia has better weapons, better technology, and more money to invest in its military. North Korea may have a larger number of personnel, but they cannot compete with the quality of Russia’s military forces.”
Russian military analyst Andrey Kortunov also believes that Russia holds a distinct advantage over North Korea. According to Kortunov, North Korea is limited by its lack of resources and its internal political instability. He notes that North Korea is a “pariah state” and its actions are unpredictable.

My Analysis

Based on the data and expert insight, it is clear that Russia is the more militarily powerful of the two countries. Russia has the resources and technology to outmatch North Korea in terms of military strength. North Korea, however, does have a few advantages. Its nuclear weapons, although in limited supply, still pose a significant threat to its enemies. Additionally, its reserve forces are significantly larger than Russia’s, which could give North Korea an advantage in a prolonged conflict.
Overall, Russia is currently more militarily powerful than North Korea and is the better-equipped country to engage in a conflict. However, North Korea cannot be underestimated, as its weapons are still capable of causing immense destruction.

Capabilities Beyond Military Power

When it comes to a comparison between North Korea and Russia, it is important to consider non-military capabilities. In terms of natural resources, Russia holds an advantage. The nation has an abundance of oil, gas and timber, while North Korea is largely resource-poor. Additionally, Russia is the world’s largest exporter of oil and gas, while North Korea has been largely dependent on foreign aid.
Russia also holds an advantage in terms of international trade. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and has ties to countries throughout the world. In contrast, North Korea is largely isolated from the international community and does not conduct much in terms of international trade.

Economic Power and Wealth

When it comes to economic power and wealth, Russia holds the upper hand. According to the World Bank, Russia’s GDP was nearly $1.6 trillion in 2018, while North Korea’s was only around $40 billion. Additionally, Russia holds the third-largest foreign exchange reserves in the world, while North Korea’s foreign exchange reserves sit at a paltry $7.6 billion.
In terms of lifestyle, it is clear that Russia offers citizens significantly more freedom than North Korea. Citizens in Russia enjoy access to a wide range of goods and services, while those in North Korea live in poverty and lack access to necessary resources. Additionally, North Korean citizens are subjected to a strict authoritarian regime, while those in Russia are allowed to express themselves freely.

Political Influence

In terms of political influence, Russia holds a strong advantage. It has a major presence in the global political arena, having strong relationships with multiple regional and international powers. In contrast, North Korea is largely an international pariah and is not considered a significant player in the global arena.
Russia also has a strong relationship with the United States, and it is an influential global actor in areas such as economics and energy. In contrast, North Korea is largely isolated from the international community, and its relationship with the United States is strained.

Cultural Influence

In terms of cultural influence, Russia is far more powerful than North Korea. Russia is one of the most influential countries in terms of music, literature, art, and architecture. Its cultural exports have had a major influence on the world, and it is known for its rich cultural heritage. North Korea, on the other hand, is largely isolated from the global cultural scene and has little influence on the international community.
Russia is also a major player in the film industry, and its filmmakers have had a major influence on the global movie industry. In contrast, North Korea does not have a significant presence in global cinema and has limited availability for its films.


When comparing the two countries, it is clear that Russia is far more powerful than North Korea in multiple areas. Russia is more militarily powerful, has greater resources, and has higher levels of international influence. North Korea still has its advantages, such as its nuclear arsenal, but overall it cannot compete with Russia in terms of international influence and power.

Cassie Grissom is an American journalist and author living in Seoul, South Korea. She has been studying the Korean peninsula since 2011, and her work focuses on understanding human rights issues in North Korea. In addition to her work as an author, Cassie is an active advocate for human rights in North Korea. She regularly shares stories about life in North Korea with international audiences to raise awareness of the plight of its citizens.

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