Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov gave an interview to Der Spiegel

Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov gave an interview to Der SpiegelRussian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov talks about his own relationship with NATO, the abilities of cooperation in the deployment of a missile defense system in Europe and the resistance that Russian officers have the Kremlin's military reforms.

— It took 20 years after the end of the "cold war", but left unresolved the question of relations between Russia and NATO. At the moment, there is hope the newcomer, as your president is going to visit the NATO summit in Lisbon. Can we call it a breakthrough?
— Yes, we pin our hopes that this meeting will give the relations between Russia and NATO a new impetus.

— How will things look now?
— It was perceptible deterioration after the August events …

— … You mean the Russian-Georgian conflict in August 2008 …
— But now we have started to talk again: at the level of military headquarters, at the level of defense ministers, ministers of foreign affairs. And we started to work again: in the fight against maritime piracy in the preparation of professionals in military maneuvers.

— Is it right that our homeland is no longer considers NATO your opponent?
— I think in the near future, we will consider them as our partners.

— Our homeland but not so long ago, greatly increased defense spending and intends to almost double the cost increment for the purchase of new weapons. You have requested 20 trillion rubles, or 476 billion euros (662 billion. Dollars) to fund this initiative. Where is our homeland sees danger now?
— The main danger — it is terrorism. We are also concerned about the transfer of production technology of atomic, biological and chemical weapons. And, of course, is that NATO pushes closer to our borders with its expansion to the east, was a military threat to our country. As for the guns, in recent years the Russian army did not procure any modern tools. Our weapons are mostly outdated.

— U.S. President Barack Obama has abandoned plans to deploy along with Poland and the Czech Republic missile defense systems in Europe, created to reflect Iran's medium-range missiles. Now a new NATO missile shield will be built together with the involvement of the lower-range missiles. Related radar systems will be able to cover only the area of the Russian Federation to the Ural Mountains. It instills confidence in you?
— Of course, we are pleased with the decision of the president. We have already made a number of own own proposals. But the main thing for us — is to find which threats actually threaten Europe. Also, we want to have a role in the Russian Federation as an equal partner. The only way to make such a missile defense system that will suit everyone. This, too, will open a discussion in Lisbon.

— How exactly do you see a device of this system?
— Again, we have to find what exactly the danger before the technical aspects of how to argue direction. Just at the moment the parties are very different things to behold the threats and dangers.

— You are the voice of about Iran and its medium-range missiles?
— Our political assessment almost entirely the same. But we're talking about technical ability. We absolutely do not share the eyes of the West to the ability of the nuclear project of Iran.

— You equality means also that the Russian officer and employee of NATO in the event of approaching missiles would be to press the button together?
— We should share all relevant information with a view to ascertaining whether the same situation with real data acquired by our radars and observation stations in Europe and other parts of the world.

— Americans in their own plans in fact gone far enough. They mentioned four steps to install anti-ballistic missiles SM-3. They know about where they will install them, also plan to deploy a radar in Turkey. It is unlikely that they will wait until they catch up with our homeland.
— If our fear is not taken into account, we have to treat it as an aggressive act against the Russian Federation and react accordingly.

— In other words, does this mean that you will return to the previous version with the placement of advanced missiles, "Iskander" in Kaliningrad?
— This was read President [Dmitry] Medvedev two years back, when the Americans wanted to build a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Thank God that has not previously reached. Now we have to find a version of the missile defense system that will satisfy everyone.

— In Russia, many skeptics, including those in the military who reject rapprochement with NATO. Can you overcome their resistance?
— I'm optimistic because there is a political will. Many did not believe in the new contract on the reduction of strategic weapons, but this year we were able to sign it.

— The last German Defense Minister Volker Ruhe (Volker Rühe) not so long ago on the pages SPIEGEL spoke in favor of the Russian Federation to NATO. Can you imagine what your country join the ranks of the organization formed specifically to protect against attacks in Moscow?
— This is an early idea, and I do not see any need, at least in the not to distant future. We need to expand cooperation. While this is enough. As we have done with the transit of military and civilian NATO cargo through our area in Afghanistan.

— As for Afghanistan, it becomes clear that the West also failed to bring peace to the country and that he would have to leave, did not know anything, as happened with the Russian Union. But it will put under threat the stability of the situation in Central Asia, in other words in a particular closeness to the Russian Federation?
— I'm hoping that the peacekeeping forces of the West will not leave without completing his mission. We look closely at what is happening in Afghanistan, and share their experiences with the Yankees. Naturally, the withdrawal affects the situation in Central Asia, but now we can not say exactly how. That's why we want to assist the West, namely, the supply of helicopters, which is currently being negotiated. NATO wants to get at us a few 10-s "Mi-17".

— The Ministers of Defense, disaster victims in Afghanistan, used to sit in the same office. Why the West fails to achieve of success in this country?
— At some point, we have recognized that we can not fulfill their tasks, and therefore withdrew its army from Afghanistan in 1989. When the NATO operation was just beginning, we warned that it will be very difficult and that the amount of troops that were sent there first, will not be enough. Russian Alliance held in the country of more than 100 thousand people, quite prepared and ready to fight, but still suffered a disaster. The West also has to realize that Afghanistan — this is not a purely military operation, and taking into account our experience.

— The coalition agreement between the ruling parties of Germany provides for expulsion of the last remaining U.S. nuclear warheads from the German countryside. NATO and Washington, shall be removed to do so, citing the fact that our homeland is holding a lot of tactical nuclear weapons in the European part of its territory. How do you see the possibility of liberation of Europe from nuclear weapons?
— At the moment, to think about this question would be in advance.

— You say to us, how much RF tactical nuclear warheads? According to estimates of the West, and their two thousand.
— They say a lot.

— T
wo years back one of your former deputies complained that the Russian army is on the level of the 1960s or 1970s. From the time you moved in the modernization of the army. What are the base of your reforms?

— No matter what the army must always adapt to the actual situation and the emergence of new threats. We believe that at the moment the danger for Russia is low. Because President Medvedev decided in 2016 to reduce the size of the armed forces of up to a million people.

— And once you've had 5,000,000.
— The most important thing — that we have a serious imbalance, a lot of officers and warrant officers, too little and ordinary fighter. On each soldier had on the officer. In European countries, on the officer corps have 9 to sixteen percent of the entire army. Besides some units do not combat-ready, and if a conflict must first be amplified. Now we have changed it. Second task — rearmament. On this and we need 20 billion rubles.

— When we talk about such large sums — how are you going to cope with corruption in the army?
— I always read about it with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. No matter what army, anyway — South American and Russian, suffer from the 2-flaws. Price arms is constantly growing, and the terms on contracts are broken forever. Because we made the internal controls. And next year will start operating a new agency to supply an instrument. It will include experts whose job is to go to ensure transparency of procurement tools. There are no officers, no representatives of the arms industry.

— Russian army for many years considered corrupt. Funds allocated for the construction of the home, went to the abuse, and during the war in Chechnya gun sold guerrillas. Maybe a general reform of such an army?
— Corruption — is the problem at all levels of society. The armed forces — is no exception. But we have to a large extent changed the situation. We are trying to curb corruption in the army, as it can be.

— What do you have gained directly?
— Army — a closed organization. As a result, some of the military feel very confident in myself. Vpribavok to this central administration exaggerated in the extreme, so we reduced it five times. There were so many levels at which decisions are made, more than 10. Now there are only three.

— This is rooted resistance to military reform?
— Obviously. Who would want to lose his job? Over the coming three years, we will reduce the size of the officer corps of 100 50 thousand people. At the same time, we will create a service in the army prettier, namely, increasing the salary. At the moment, the attractiveness of serving in the army headed for the very small level.

— In other countries in similar situations, the military often arrange the coup.
— It does not bother me. We make no imprudent steps.

— You reduced the term of mandatory service with four 20 to 12 months. Moving to our home in the direction of transfer to a professional army base?
— It is our goal, but we can not allow this to yourself.

— German Defense Minister wishes to cancel of mandatory service in the army, because he believes that it is very cheap. And you want to keep it, because, according to you, Professor army — it's very expensive. How it fit together?
— Naturally, the Army, based on of mandatory service is cheaper than Prof. army, especially when you consider lodging and salary for professional fighter. But more important than that of mandatory military service allows us to prepare people for emergencies.

— You're breaking the Soviet tradition of using only Russian weapons and intend to buy helicopter carriers in France. You have already purchased drones from Israel. That after all, our home is unable to produce modern weapons?
— Our home can create even the most complex weapons systems. But some things are easier, cheaper and faster to buy on the world market. Over the past 20 years, our industry has lagged behind the leading countries in certain areas. We buy a helicopter, along with full documentation that will allow us to further build the same on Russian soil.

— Can you imagine what will take the weapon in Germany? For example, submarines?
— We are working with the Ministry of Defence and the German industrialists. We are negotiating.

— To what types of weapons you eyeing yet?
— All I can say is — we have difficulties with armored vehicles.

— In that case, maybe you can tell us where are planning to use unmanned aircraft?
— In its own armed forces.

— Could you elaborate?
— We bought only a small amount — for training centers. We wish to test to understand how to use them. To a greater extent in the army and the intelligence service.

— Could it be that only civilian person will be able to bring structural changes in the Russian army, who are currently taking place there?
— I can not do everything himself. We work as a team — Chief of the General Staff, and my deputies. Maybe it is easier to do something to me, because I'm not bound by certain traditions and arrangements in force in the army. I see the problem from the outside, and this I find it easier to ask questions as to why you can not do otherwise.

— But the general would not accept a civilian seriously.
— I can assure you that none of my generals are not looking down on me.

— Thank you for your time, sir Serdyukov.

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