Media Review

21 february, 2012 12:44

Komsomolskaya Pravda: "Vladimir Putin: Our only option is to build a new army"

Vladimir Putin has published a new article, "Being Strong Will Guarantee National Security for Russia," on his website putin2012.ru and in Rossiiskaya Gazeta. As the title suggests, it is about the country's Armed Forces.

"Do not tempt others through our own weakness"

"... in times of global economic and other turmoil there is always the temptation to solve one's own problems at the expense of others, through forceful means. It is no accident that today there are voices saying that national sovereignty should not expand based on resources of global significance, and that this issue will soon become an objective matter. Even such hypothetical possibilities with regard to Russia should not be allowed. This means we should not tempt others through our own weakness...

"...We have undertaken and are implementing unprecedented development programmes for our Armed Forces. All together, we will be spending some 23 trillion roubles in this area in the coming decade. I admit there was much debate about the size and timeliness of such a large-scale allocation of funding. I am convinced that the allocations perfectly equate to the needs and resources of the country. And most importantly, they cannot be put off. This is not a question of militarising the federal budget. In essence this is simply the price we have to pay for years of chronic underfunding of our army and navy..."

"Keeping the gunpowder dry"

"...There is no great likelihood of a global nuclear confrontation, this would signal the end of civilisation. Up to now, while the gunpowder of our strategic nuclear forces, put together by the concerted efforts of our fathers and grandfathers, has remained dry, no one has dared to mount a large-scale attack against us. Nevertheless... new regional and local conflicts are constantly being played out in front of our eyes. Areas of instability and artificially stoked and managed chaos are springing up. Moreover there have been deliberate attempts to provoke such conflicts in the immediate proximity of Russia's borders..."

"The devastating blow..."

"...the break-up of a united country, the economic and social upheavals of the 1990s affected all the state institutions. Our army went through trying times. Military training was almost completely wound down. Units of the "first strategic echelon" were hastily withdrawn from Eastern Europe into the "open field." It was precisely these units, the most capable and best equipped of our forces that were victims of the cuts. Officers went for months without getting paid. And we cannot hide the fact that often we had problems even providing troops with food. Servicemen left the military in their tens of thousands...An information war was launched against the Armed Forces. Some people could not let a day go by without sticking the boot in to the army a little further...I believed and still believe that this is a moral crime and a betrayal.

"...A very heavy price has been paid for the mistakes that were committed as a result of the numerous and inconsistent reforms. When in 1999 terrorist gangs launched direct attacks against Russia we were confronted with a tragedy. A grouping of 66,000 had to be assembled literally within a matter of hours, from separate units. The number of military personnel was just over 1, 360,000. And there were virtually no fully-staffed units ready to carry out their duties without additional preparations..."

"Errors and issues"

"...The experience of past years showed that the development potential of the military structure which we inherited from the Soviet Union has been completely exhausted... We were left with only one option – to build a new army. A modern army that is mobile and in a permanent state of combat readiness. This is a very difficult process involving tens of thousands of people. There are unavoidable mistakes, grievances and issues associated with it..."

Response to the ballistic missile defence programme

"...there can be no excess of patriotism on this matter. Russia's military technical response to the U.S. global missile defence system and its deployment in Europe will be effective and proportionate. And it will fully correspond to the measures taken by the U.S. in ballistic missile defence..."

On new weapons

"...In the coming decade, the Russian Armed Forces will be equipped with over 400 modern land and sea-based inter-continental ballistic missiles, 8 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, about 20 attack submarines, over 50 surface warships, around 100 military spacecraft, over 600 modern aircraft including fifth generation fighter jets, more than 1,000 attack helicopters, 28 regimental-level S-400 air defence systems, 38 battalion-level Vityaz missile systems, 10 brigade-level Iskander-M missile systems, over 2,300 modern tanks, about 2,000 self-propelled artillery systems and vehicles, and more than 17,000 military vehicles.

"...By 2020, at least 70% of our armaments should consist of new modern equipment. The remaining weapons systems will also be significantly upgraded..."

Three-fold rise in pay

"...From January 1, 2012 the pay for military service personnel was increased practically three-fold. The Armed Forces are now very competitive as employers... I would like to add that from January 1, 2012 the pay also went up for staff in the Ministry of the Interior. And from January 1, 2013 salaries will be increased significantly for all remaining law enforcement agencies and special forces. The pensions of all retired military servicemen, regardless of which sector of the forces they serve in, went up by 60% from January 1, 2012. In the future, military pensions will go up every year by at least 2% above the rate of inflation..."

The number of conscripts to be reduced

"...The army currently has 220,000 serving contract officers and 186,000 soldiers and sergeants. We plan to add an additional 50,000 contract service personnel each year for the next five years...

"It is planned that by 2017 the total number of servicemen in the Armed Forces will be 1 million, 700,000 of whom will be professionals: officers, graduates of military academies, sergeants and contract soldiers. And by 2020 the number of conscripts will be down to 145,000...

"Military police will be created in military units to maintain discipline...In the coming years every military contingent should have its own chaplain...

"...The current conscription system contains a large element of social inequality. Conscription mostly takes in young men from poor families, rural families or working class families. They are mainly those who failed to get into university and could not get a deferment. We have to take measures to raise the prestige of military conscription. We need to find a way of turning this 'duty' into a 'privilege'.

"The army must regain its traditional role as the chief social stepping stone..."

Contracts for the Russian defence industry

"...Russia's defence enterprises have skipped several modernisation cycles over the past 30 years. We have to regain the technological lead. I stress again – rearmament contracts for the army will be carried out by the Russian defence industry and Russia's scientific base...

"...We need the world's best state-of-the-art military equipment, not spending billions and trillions of roubles. It is unacceptable for the army to become a market for morale-sapping obsolescent weapons...

"We must consider establishing a single body responsible for the placement and oversight of defence contracts...

"...It is sometimes argued that the revival of the defence industry is a drain on the economy, and an excessive burden which bankrupted the Soviet Union. I am convinced this is deeply misleading. The Soviet Union fell apart as a result of suppressing market forces in the economy and neglecting the interests of the people...

"...We will root out corruption in the defence industry and in the Armed Forces. Corruption in matters of national security in effect amounts to treason..."

On private business in the defence industry

"...We cannot grow our defence industry using only the resources of the state – even now it is ineffective, and looking ahead it will be economically impossible. Private companies are willing to invest their resources, experience and available technology in the defence sector. And we believe that the Demidovs and Pulitovs of this world will once again make an appearance...

"...We should never allow a repeat of the tragic events of 1941, when the lack of combat readiness of the state and the army was paid for by massive bloodshed and loss of life. Our task is to create an army and defence industry capable of defending Russia's sovereignty, providing respect from its partners and ensuring a lasting peace, by increasing, and not exhausting, the economic resources of the country."

Photo Press Service of the Ministry of Defence

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What equipment will the troops obtain:

400 modern land and sea-based inter-continental ballistic missiles

100 military spacecraft

10 brigade-level Iskander-M missile systems

2,300 modern tanks

600 modern jets (including fifth generation fighter jets)

8 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines

20 attack submarines

28 regimental-level S-400 air defence systems

2,000 self-propelled artillery systems and vehicles

50 surface warships

38 battalion-level Vityaz missile systems

17,000 military vehicles

1,000 attack helicopters

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