The Russian army is reborn («The National Interest», U.S.)

The Russian army is reborn (
One of the hallmarks of Putin’s presidency — is his zeal for the revival and strengthening of the Russian armed forces. Putin has not once mentioned, that the apparent weakness of the Russian Federation makes it vulnerable to outside pressure and internal split, pushing for more funding for the military, so it reincarnate of the exhausted remains of an old Russian military machine superpower smallest in size, but more modern, mobile, technologically advanced and efficient fighting force of the 21st century.


Speaking at this year’s speech a day defender of the Fatherland, the Russian president said: «Ensuring reliable defense capabilities of — the value of our public policy. The modern world is far, unfortunately, from a measured, benign development. To davneshnim, old conflicts are added new, more complex, grows in tremendous instability of regions of the world. «


These are not empty words. Such rhetoric is supported by appropriate currency assets. Our homeland is now conducting naikrupneyshim military buildup since the collapse of the Union of Russian, which came a little more than 20 years to reverse. Once a year, right up to 2020, it will significantly increase military appropriations. Putin pushed through this program from even over the objections of some of the Kremlin’s control, costs and volumes concerned their possible consequences for the Russian welfare. Opposition to increase military spending was one of the circumstances of the care Cabinet veteran Russian Government Minister of Finance Alexei Kudrin.


The world does not leave without attention these acts.


If he had previously in a couple of years looking at Russia as «Upper Volta with missiles», or as a country that owns a significant arsenal of nuclear weapons and ordinary forces, not crowned themselves special laurels of glory in the post-Soviet period, currently Russian military plans reform and re-cause him some concern. Particularly concerned about the South American state security agency, which had previously believed that Our homeland is not able to project power beyond the boundaries of their own borders. But she resumed flying bombers in the sky over the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean, began to send troops to battle warships (namely in the area of ​​the Caribbean), held in 2008, the military campaign against Georgia, also incremented scale and complexity of the debugging tasks yearly military exercises held together with the Chinese army and navy. All this leads to the fact that Russia again beginning to look like a military threat. Currently in U.S. military spending justifications that have been focused on increasing priemuschestvenno Chinese defense appropriations is taken into account and the fact that military buildup of.


If you look at reports on budgets and memos about the situation, the Russian plans, which are the pioneers of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and is responsible for the defense sector, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who seem very impressive — and naizloveschimi. If just two years back the provision for shipbuilding for the Russian Navy were least 10% of the performance of the U.S. Navy, now the Russian reduce the backlog. Regarding finansovlozheny of the budget, Our homeland now spends on the construction of new ships about half of what will be allocated for this purpose South American Navy. By 2020, the land forces of the Russian Federation will have the structure in the center of which will be combat-ready and ready for Hassle-free deployment of the brigade. The goal is, that the Army was at least 70% of the parts filled with combat equipment and weapons of the last generation. If all goes according to plan, the Russian armed forces in 2020 on a real military service will again be one million troops, 2,300 new tanks, about 1,200 new airplanes and helicopters, and the Navy will have its composition of 50 new surface ships and 28 submarines . And 100 new satellites will provide the Russian system of communications and command and control. To accomplish these tasks, Putin pledged in subsequent 10th anniversary of approximately 755 billion dollars.


In addition, the military buildup supports a growing number of Russians. According to a survey by the Levada Center, 46% of Russian people favor increasing military spending, even if it leads to a decrease in the rate of growth in the economy (as against 41%, if the growth of defense spending will cause economic hardship). Partly because of the horror of the fact that large supplies of minerals of, especially in the Arctic, will be in the threat, if a country does not have the means to protect them. Rogozin himself more than once warned that without modern armed forces the country in the future is bound to be «plundered.»


But often there is noticeable difference between the stated intentions of Russian and achievable fruits. How feasible these fundamental objectives of the Russian Federation?


Some commentators are ready to give up on these dismissive hand plans, calling them Potemkin villages. Or they refer to their new and very ingenious method of disposal of municipal funds in private hands through artful corruption schemes. Certainly, at least some increase in the military budget makes huge capacity for abuse. But it would be a mistake to ignore the clear evidence that such a military build-up leads to the restoration of the combat potential of the Russian armed forces, which was lost with the collapse of the Russian Union. Over the past 18 months Our homeland military exercises such proportions Which country has known since the days of cool war (for example, ended not so long ago in the Far East maneuvers). They are as before indicate the presence of problems in the system of command and control as a military technology, and yet, these exercises also show that reforms are beginning to have an impact, and that our motherland can get more mobile and effective armed forces.


And it is very very worried about NATO. Acts of NATO to conduct operations outside the zone of its own responsibility, the decisions of the majority of European countries about a meaningful reduction in defense spending were based on the assumption that our homeland is no longer a danger. Nobody, of course, does not think that Russian tanks were about to rush through the Fulda corridor. But at the moment America have to revise its calculations on the fact that Europe has become «an exporter of security» in other, less-dimension point on the map of the world, because our homeland is actually the case be removed from their own «disarmament» position at which these calculations were .


But at the same time, the process of military build-up to the Russian government does not promise to be smooth and measured.


First question is whether the Russian defense industry to make those tools, which requests from her brand new military strategy. Dmitry Gorenburg of the Center for Naval Analysis notes that the Ministry of Defense plans are based on an extremely life-affirming predictions about the pace of transition Russian factories and shipyards in the release of the latest technology. Their developers have come from the fact that there will be no delays, technical and design problems, and narrow places. But design problems have become a prerequisite for a two-year delay in the execution of municipal contracts for the purchase of July 30 Su-35, which will be made no earlier than 2016. Gorenburg and others experts say that the military buildup plans are unlikely to be fully implemented in accordance with the stated objectives.


Moreover, the Russian military-industrial complex is far from standard services «zero marriage» in the production of military equipment and weapons. A series of setbacks for launch (namely missiles «Bulava» submarine-launched), failure to schedule the construction of new ships (or, say, the conversion of an aircraft carrier «Admiral Nakhimov» / «Vikramaditya» to transfer to the Indian Navy), the difficulties property mc — all this raises questions about the reliability of Russian production of military products.


In addition, there is a severe concern about the state of research and development activities and opportunities of the Russian Federation to create at home the other techniques and technologies that are needed for the production of weapons systems fifth generation. Previous Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov steadfastly resisted pressure for it to order just a little refurbishing an old version of Russian art, although Russian industry lobbied specifically increase such government orders. He tried to buy some defense products abroad destinations, including unmanned aerial vehicles in Israel, light multipurpose machines in Italy and Iveco amphibious ships class «Mistral» in France to equip the Russian armed forces more advanced technology, which is unable to create the Russian industry . But dissatisfaction with zeal and willingness Serdyukov to contact foreign suppliers was one of the reasons for his resignation from the post of Minister of Defence in the past year.


At the same time, Serdyukov tried to reform the organizational structure of the Russian army (also causing resistance) in an effort to reduce the number of officers (in particular the number of generals and admirals) and transfer forces from picking on an appeal to the professional base. But the announced plans of growth of the standing army contradict Russian demographic realities. In Russia, there is a lack of manpower. The revival in the economy reduced its surplus labor, which until then sucked conscription. Due to delays and rising health problems among the Russian population about 60% of young people to be drafted into the army do not go. Attempts to create a prettier service contract (for example, reforms in the U.S. in the 1970s with the purpose of moving to the voluntary principle of acquisition) provided some successes. But although the Russian military government announced that by 2020 will create 40 new teams (in addition to the 70 already available), it will have to face the sad reality, consisting in the fact that many parts now have a shortage of personnel is about 25%. Shoigu must continue reforms in areas such as recruitment and appeal to them for forced recruitment and nasty conditions of service, made of so-called hazing (izymatelstva sergeants and other older members of the brand new) do not contribute to the creation of more prof army able to attract and retain in their own ranks volunteers. Currency amounts that need to verbovanie Russians had spent a service contract (exchange-allowances, benefits and means of promoting) may exceed that amount that is ready to allocate military establishment.


Almost all will depend on the subsequent reasons. 1st — Will Russian treasury that the expected volume of money from oil and gas exports, which is able to ensure the transformation of the armed forces. Though any severe drop in energy prices will certainly put these plans under threat. Second — whether the Russian defense industry to improve their agility, flexibility and adaptability. Will she use a boost municipal spending in order to make new standards of weapons and equipment? This principle not only to comply with Putin, and is usually best to save the Russian export trade instrument. Our homeland relinquish their competitive advantage not only South American and European competitors, and Chinese companies, if fails to keep pace with new developments of military equipment. 3rd same factor is whether the Russian army to get the number of personnel that it needs — whether it’s by improving criterion contract service or through the recruitment of contract servicemen in Russian former Russian republics.


But even basic plans of the Ministry of Defence to recruit personnel and adoption of modern military equipment will not be fully implemented, Russian armed forces are now still grow stronger and stronger. Moscow hardly able to throw a direct challenge to the United States in military spending are far superior to Russian. But if we take into account the regional trends, particularly in Europe, it must be said that our own homeland revives the non-nuclear military capability, reinforced by its claim to the status of majestic power. Will this newfound confidence of in their own abilities to improve its readiness to cooperate in the international arena, or, conversely, Moscow takes more obstructionist position — remains an open question.



Gvozdeff Nicholas (Nikolas K. Gvosdev) — Senior editor of National Interest, Dr. Naval Institute United States (US Naval War College), specializing in issues of national security. Thoughts and eyes outlined in the article are those of the creator and may not reflect the official view.

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