Russia must develop the capacity to respond not only to present threats but to look into the future, estimating possible dangers thirty or fifty years down the road, writes Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in his latest article.
The premier and presidential hopeful has outlined his ideas on developing Russia's defenses in an article published Monday in Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
Putin stated that recent global transformations have brought about new, different and sometimes unpredictable risks.
“Amid the world’s economic and other types of strokes, some will always be tempted to solve their problems at someone else’s cost by means of force. It is not by chance that already today there are voices heard saying that soon there will arise 'objectively' a question that national sovereignty should not be applied to globally meaningful resources,” the Russian premier writes.
“Regarding Russia, there must be no such even hypothetic possibilities. That means we must not tempt anyone by our weakness.”
That is the reason, Putin writes, that under no circumstances will Russia allow its strategic deterrence potential to fall behind. It was that very potential, he writes, that helped the country secure its sovereignty in the turbulent 1990s – when, “frankly speaking, we had no other weighty arguments.”
Putin says that Russia will be unable to strengthen its international stance and develop its economy and democratic institutions if it is unable to protect itself; it must be able to calculate the risks of possible conflicts and prepare an adequate military response as a last resort to react to such challenges.
“We have accepted and are implementing unprecedented programs of the armed forces' development, and modernizing the defense sector. All in all, in the upcoming ten years around 23 trillion rubles (over $US 766 billion) have been allocated for these goals.”
The presidential candidate expressed confidence that despite disputes over the costs and time-frame of such large-scale provisions, they fully fall within with the country’s abilities and resources.
Outlining global prospects
Looking down the road to the potential threats, the Prime Minister noted that the possibility of nuclear powers going to war with each other is extremely low, as it would mean the end of civilization.
“As long as the ‘gunpowder’ of the strategic nuclear forces, built by the titanic work of our fathers and grandfathers, remains ‘dry’, no one will dare launch a large-scale aggression against us,” Putin assures his readers.
However, he continues, one should take into account that scientific and technical progress in various fields – from new weapons standards to information and communication technologies – has significantly changed the nature of armed confrontation. For instance, he writes, as high-accuracy non-nuclear weapons become more common, the tendency of them becoming "the means of achieving a decisive victory" over a rival will increase.
Putin also reminded readers that new regional and local wars remain a threat.
“Zones of instability and artificially fueled, but manageable chaos are appearing. Notably, targeted attempts to provoke such conflicts in the vicinity of Russian and its allies’ borders are being tracked. We have witnessed the basic principles of international law devaluated and destroyed, especially in the field of international security.”
In such conditions, Putin states, Russia cannot rely only on diplomatic and economic methods of resolving contradictions and conflicts. He stressed that it is Russia's task to enhance its deterrent military potential and strengthen its capacity to defend itself.
“And the military, special services and other power structures should be prepared to quickly and effectively react to new challenges. This is a necessary condition for your country to be secure and for our arguments to be taken into account in the international format.”
Putin also stressed that Russia, together with its allies, "should strengthen the capabilities of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, including the Collective Rapid Response Forces. The CSTO is ready to fulfill its mission of the guarantor of stability in Eurasia."
Putin wrote that the military has begun a large-scale rearmament of the army, navy and other defense structures.
“The priorities are nuclear forces, air-space defense, systems of communication, surveillance and management, radio-electronic means, unmanned aircraft and robotized strike systems, modern transport aviation, soldiers’ personal protection systems, precision weapons and the means of combating them.”
Speaking on the "growing role of the Navy, Air Force and Aerospace Missile Defense" in the coming decade, Putin left no room for doubt as to the primary reason for fortifying Russia's air defenses.
"We are forced to take decisive steps to bolster our national aerospace defense system to counter the U.S. and NATO efforts in the deployment of missile defense," he explained.
In response to the US-NATO missile defense shield being built in Eastern Europe without Russia's participation, Russia must respond with either a "domestic missile defense system" that will prove "costly" and "ineffective," or a "retaliatory potential" that is capable of overwhelming "any missile defense."
Putin says the task for ensuring Russia's territorial integrity will fall to "the Strategic Nuclear Forces and aerospace defense units."
Saying one cannot be ‘too patriotic’ about this issue, the Prime Minister vowed that "Russia’s military response to the global US missile shield, including its European part, will be effective and asymmetrical, a match for US missile defense policy.
Putin then went into the nuts and bolts of his defense plan, providing readers with the particulars of his plan over the course of the next decade.
"In the upcoming decade, Russia will deploy more than 400 advanced ground and sea-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, eight nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, some 20 multi-purpose submarines, more than 50 combat ships, some 100 military spacecraft, more than 600 advanced aircraft including fifth-generation fighters, more than a thousand helicopters, 28 regimental kits of the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, 38 battalion kits of the Vityaz air defense system, 10 brigade kits of the Iskander-M ballistic missile system, more than 2,300 modern tanks, some 2,000 self-propelled artillery vehicles and guns, and more than 17,000 military motor vehicles."
To summarize his ambitious plans, Putin says "the goal for the decade is to equip our Armed Forces with next-generation armaments, which boast better visibility, higher precision, and faster response than the similar systems of any potential adversary."