Seems like standard stuff but there might be something here. It could be the U.S.-Russian deadlock over missile defense. It might (somewhat ironically) be the increasing age of Russia’s mobile ICBMs. There are probably additional or alternative explanations.
Krasnaya zvezda and Mil.ru have dedicated print recently to Russian mobile ICBMs spending more time on their combat patrol routes.
On January 18, KZ wrote that Topol, Topol-M, and Yars units from central Russia and Siberia are in the midst of exercises to implement the highest states of combat readiness and to carry out combat duty on combat patrol routes (in field positions). Troops are conducting a number of training tasks — system calibration, engineering preparation of field positions, CCD (maskirovka), and combat security. They also have to react to training “injects” from higher commands.
The Defense Ministry’s daily said units would be deployed to field positions for a longer period, from January 16 to February 3. It indicated all divisions and units will also institute a new type of training this winter — a “complex practical exercise” in implementing combat readiness.
RIA Novosti’s account indicated this annual training is routine, just with more time spent in the field.
In a December 28 review of the year in RVSN, KZ reported turgidly:
“90 percent of field training measures were conducted with missile launcher regiments and battalions departing for combat patrol routes. In the summer training period, a test of the order of conducting combat duty in the highest combat readiness states with an increased duration of mobile ground missile regiments on combat patrol routes was conducted. This allowed for ensuring the readiness of missile launcher regiments for maneuvering actions. All missile regiments were evaluated positively in the results of the tactical exercises.”
In mid-November, Mil.ru summarized RVSN Commander General-Lieutenant Karakayev’s comments:
“Division, unit, and sub-unit combat training was maintained at a level ensuring their capability to conduct military actions under various conditions of the situation. A test of the order of conducting combat duty in the highest states of combat readiness with an increased duration of mobile missile regiments on combat patrol routes was conducted.”
“The training of multi-axle chassis mechanic-drivers ensured accident-free operation of nuclear weapons. Despite the fact that currently more than 70% of missile systems are beyond the limit of their warranty periods, the technical condition, the reliability characteristics of the armaments and military equipment guaranteed maintenance of the required level of combat readiness of missile systems.”
You can find additional relevant info on RVSN combat duty and patrols here.