Media Review

27 february, 2012 13:38

Izvestia: "U.S. threat to be substantiated conceptually"

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has received proposals for establishing two new government agencies: one to study foreign and domestic threats, and second – to monitor the execution of Armed Forces Procurement.

Putin has spent this week focusing on the future of the army and the defense complex, as well as meeting with leading military experts and political analysts in the federal nuclear centre in Sarov. They proposed that the development of military strategy should be centralised and a special agency set up to identify external threats to national security. To prevent the army from being destroyed by the major internal enemy – corruption – an integrated service should be established to control the signing and implementation of state defence orders.

The meeting with the prime minister was attended by President of the Kurchatov Institute Yevgeny Velikhov, Director of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems Leonid Ivashov, Director of World Arms Trade Analysis Centre Igor Korotchenko and other prominent military experts, representatives of the defence industry and political scientists.

Judging by the dominance of this issue at the meeting, the main threat to Russia are the U.S. missile defence plans in Europe. Putin gave reassurance that Moscow still has some leverage that should encourage Washington to be more constructive in the missile defence talks. He added that Moscow will not disarm unilaterally. The prime minister was then asked to draft a conceptual report at national level that will determine Russia's position on all global threats.

"They (the United States - Izvestia) don't want to talk to us seriously..., but I can tell you straight out– they are shirking the issue. Basically, their only aim in the discussion is to be able to say the following to the international community: yes, our relations are developing, yes, technology is progressing, yes, there are still threats and no one can stop us from curbing them in the future for the sake of national security," Putin explained.

He added that Russia cannot disarm while other nuclear powers are increasing their weapons and promised to prevent the expansion of the nuclear club. Putin said that until quite recently, the Western leaders would say amongst themselves that there was nothing to fear from Russia: 'Russia can mess around as much as it likes, we're not interested – all they have is a rusty heap of junk anyway.' The prime minister said that this is definitely not the case today and stressed that Russia plans to invest 23 trillion roubles in its defence industry.

Putin admitted for the first time that Russia has strained itself to the limit to come up with these funds, and therefore they must be used to maximum effect. Now the structure of the state defence order is fragmented. Each department is independently ordering the same weapons. Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for the Strategy and Technology Analysis, explained that sometimes the Defence Ministry and the Ministry of Interior pay different prices for the same cartridges.

"We need to understand clearly how specific contracts are carried out, including their deadlines, costs, and contractors. Anytime we see even the slightest change, say, in a deadline, alarm bells should start ringing" Putin said.

Pukhov said that the idea of this structure had been suggested on a previous occasion but had not been implemented. He stressed that the proposed organization will be removed from defence and law enforcement agencies and will prevent any discrepancies in prices for the same military product.

Putin's Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told Izvestia that the organisation to control compliance with the state defence order will be established shortly. However, it would be premature to predict the potential changes in the government resulting from this.

"It's too early to talk about this – the setting up of this new agency has only just been announced," Peskov told Izvestia. "But seeing that the state defence order is being closely seen to and rather large resources allocated to it, this issue will promptly be resolved."

Anastasia Novikova