General Staff prepares for war and acknowledges the military-industrial complex’s lack of preparedness for it

Text of report by the website of heavyweight liberal Russian newspaper Kommersant on 18 November

[Article by Ivan Safronov Jr: "General Staff prepares for war and acknowledges the military-industrial complex’s lack of preparedness for it"]

Speaking at a session of the Public Chamberyesterday, Chief of General Staff/First Deputy Defence Minister General of the Army Nikolay Makarov promised Russia a large-scale war and did not exclude the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons. Mr Makarov also criticized the T-90 tank and Smerch RS-30 multiple-launch system in the inventory and again acknowledged that a number of weapons still do not conform to Defence Ministry requirements.

Makarov noted in his report that the possibility of local armed conflicts around the perimeter of Russia’s borders had increased since the USSR’s disintegration: "Under certain conditions I do not exclude that local and regional armed conflicts may escalate into a large-scale war, including with use of nuclear weapons." Mr Makarov emphasized: "This is a special subject of discussion. We have written everything in the doctrine as to when we can employ nuclear weapons. We will adhere to this."

The General Staff, however, assumes that there still are reasons for such actions. The materials of the report (which Kommersant has at its disposal) name a large number of destabilizing factors capable of drawing Russia into military actions. One of the most probable reasons for armed confrontation in the West is the anti-Russian policy of the Baltic countries and Georgia, which can create a crisis in Russia-NATO relations. It is stated in the materials that military conflicts in the Central Asiatic Region are dictated by the unstable situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan – this can serve as a reason for involving Russian troops to fulfil ODKB [CSTO] commitments. The General Staff also does not exclude that a buildup of nuclear potential of Iran and North Korea will be resolved by the method of force with the help of the United States – Russia’s assistance in this matter will be examined if that develops. Contradictions in the Arctic can serve as yet another reason for conflict – they are capable of leading to an exacerbation of relations among non-Arctic countries over petroleum and natural gas reserves. The report also indicates that to achieve its strategic interests, the military-political leadership of a number of countries continues to take advantage of technologies of "colour revolutions," which allows it to forcibly depose unsuitable political regimes (Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen). The document emphasizes that these technologies can be projected to Russia and its allies. It follows from the text of the report that creation of PRO [missile defence] system elements also substantially disrupts the existing balance of forces and strategic stability as a whole.

We will recall that General Makarov declared in September that following the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya and unrest in a number of other countries of the region, "the Russian Armed Forces must be prepared for the very worst versions of development of the political situation in the country." Therefore, according to him, the General Staff already is deciding the question of increasing the number of snipers in Russian troops, inasmuch as such subunits are a high priority during clashes in the cities.

According to Mr Makarov, the military-industrial complex is not ready for a possible war: a number of models of Russian-made weapons are inferior in characteristics to foreign analogues, which places the Russian Armed Forces in a no-win situation beforehand. In particular, the head of General Staff criticized the T-90 tank and RS-30 (Smerch) multiple-launch system. "The range of fire of the Israeli Merkava tank is 6 km, while that of our T-90 is only 2.5 km. Compare i ts weapon system with that of our tank. I am holding my tongue about the T-72 tank and all the others. Our T-90 also does not provide mine protection," General Makarov acknowledged. "The American HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System – Kommersant) kills targets at a range of 150 km, but the Russian Smerch system does so at a range up to 70 km." The text of the report states that "for the most part, Russian industry is incapable of producing the arms and military equipment needed by the Defence Ministry," which is why the phased acquisition of advanced models was placed in the State Armaments Programme up to 2020. All arms conforming to military requirements will be procured now, and the rest after modernization of enterprises. The General Staff believes that there will be a total of around 30 per cent of modern arms by 2016 and already 70 per cent by 2020.

Source: Kommersant website, Moscow, in Russian 18 Nov 11

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