Author`s name Michael Simpson

Russia and Wars of Tomorrow - 26 March, 2003

Don’t trouble until trouble troubles you. The US’s invasion in Iraq gave up for lost the previously established regulations of the world community, the national sovereignty is no longer a holy cow. The whole of the world understood in an instant that any country can be devoured in a jiffy, even if the country makes up one sixth of land, or used to be of this size some day. The Russian bear has understood its vulnerability, it’s scared.

This is a characteristic, probably an approximate one, of the attitudes in the Russian society, of the highest ranks to be more exact. Mass media reporting about the attitudes in the highest ranks of the Russian society sound alarming.

Vladimir Averchenko, Duma vice-speaker, the first deputy chairman of the People’s Party thinks that after the war in Iraq the US armed forces may come to Russia. He declared it at a meeting against the Iraqi war the party organized on Tuesday. He said: “America plans to seize 15% of the world oil reserve located in Iraq. To achieve the goal, Americans kill Iraqi children and old people. Russia holds 37% of the world oil reserve, and there is no guarantee that Americans don’t have an intention to attack Russia next.”

The deputy emphasized that “the war and subsequent redistribution of the world make Russia solve new problems.” In particular, this is the necessity to strengthen Russia’s defensive capacity, to upgrade the armed forces; the deputy thinks that Russia “must give up implementation of arrangements that can negatively affect condition of the defense potential of the country; it is necessary to initiate creation of an international coalition for the sake of defending peace and the international law.”

For the purpose of saving the might of the green currency, Americans will go further than Iraq. Yankees would be happy to devour Russia as well, but their ambition is brought to reason by the heavy ballistic missiles Satan that Moscow placed into the silos ready for action already in the Soviet era. This is an opinion voiced by General Valentin Varennikov, the chairman of the Russian Association of Soviet Heroes.

Now we have the strongest nuclear weapon. Americans are mostly scared not with Russia’s new mobile strategic missile complexes Topol-M, but with the old SS intercontinental ballistic missiles created in the Soviet era. These are the silo-based missiles that Americans call Satan. Russia also holds wonderful developments of new plasma, laser and molecular weapons; it will take American scientists up to 50 years to develop such kind of weapons. But realization of the new developments requires much money.

If we put aside the emotional background of the problem, the situation looks like this: there are Americans who have much money (the Pentagon is going to spend 80-100 billion dollars on modernization of the armed forces in the nearest five years) and much ambition. Russians also have ambition, but unfortunately have no money. A rhetoric question arises in this connection: what is to be done?

Army General Andrey Nikolayev, the chairman of the Duma committee for defense says: “When the RF State Duma passed a resolution in connection with beginning of the US/UK war in Iraq, the parliament stated that actions of the USA and the allies had created a political situation that posed a potential danger to the Russian Federation’s national security. Russian deputies think that this fact requires that leadership of the country must take immediate efforts to strengthen Russia’s defensive potential.

This certainly must be a military reform, as a result of which a new army will be created in Russia. This must be a mobile, professional army equipped with modern weapons, an army that would be able to guarantee Russia’s security. Now it’s very important to define what army the country needs.

<b>What army does Russia need?</b>

Russia’s army reform in its present-day condition looks like a road to nowhere. It is not clear to which doctrine it is being adapted (offensive or defensive) and what it will look like.

It is often said that the armed forces have reached a deadlock in the process of so-called reforms; in any case, it makes an impression that measures are still taken for army reforming. But in fact the process is making no headway and reforms are just being imitated. And this is against the background of still increasing gap between the organizational and technical level of armed forces in developed countries. This is the first real threat to the country. The second threat is the increasing degradation of defensive capacity of the army and of the navy; soldiers and officers degrade because of their sad living conditions (and this is at the time when we often hear the living standard of the military is improving more and more).

America knows an answer to this question. In May 2001, when George W. Bush delivered his first speech on the presidential post to students of the US Navy Academy in Annapolis, he spoke about the necessity to immediately start preparations of the US armed forces for waging wars of tomorrow. He emphasized,  these must be high-tech armed forces capable of waging no-contact wars all over the world (the Iraqi war is an exception from the rule, which in its turn proves stability of the rule itself).

Russia can only dream about such things. Russian generals are getting ready for waging wars of yesterday, they are convulsively trying to drag yesterday in tomorrow. This is how they understand the military doctrine and such are the rules according to which they carry out army reforms.

Dmitry Chirkin

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