The Russian government will invest 189 billion dollars in eight years to build
a new generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines and
aircraft carriers. The news was revealed by the Secretary of State for Defence,
Sergei Ivanov, few days after Washington announced decision to place part of its
new antimissile system in Eastern Europe.
. The recent, appreciable increase in Russian military expense matches with a
cooling down of relationships with United States. Bush administration reassurances
that the new radar station in Czech Republic and the missile interception system
in Poland will be built to cross possible threats coming from Iran and North Korea
have been useless. Putin defined laughable the US attempt to dismiss Russian worries
defining them groundless. During a meeting in Munich among government leaders
and foreign ministers from all over the world, where issues concerning Kosovo,
Afghanistan and Iran were discussed, it was expected that Putin and Ivanov would
give voice to their anxiety about a possible US threat against their country.
According to Yevgeny Miasnikov, researcher at the Moscow Armament Control Centre,
the US goal is apparent: “Since United States started to weave their way into
the void created by the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe satellite states
– he explained – a threat began growing: the US antimissile system is unjustified,
because Iran does not have the ballistic abilities to strike the United States.
Therefore these facilities represent a menace for Russia”.
Thence the 'answer' to the America shield materializes in the 'falcon-style'
announcement made by the Foreign Minister Ivanov at the Duma, during which the
Muscovite war pride has been given a decisive push: during this year Russia will
build 17 ballistic missiles (against the 4 built in the past years), together
with 34 Topol-M with corresponding launch pads, to end, within 2015, with other
50 rockets mounted on as many moving platforms. Despite the non-proliferation
treaty signed by Putin and Bush in 2002, the run towards rearmament is a matter
of fact for both countries, which are showing progressively cooling down relationships
not only in light of the recent strategical-military options in Europe, but also
regarding their position concerning Iraq and, above all, Iran. Russian interests
in the Caspian region are too important for Moscow not to be cooperative instead
of competitive with Teheran.
A new cold war?
Bush tough positions concerning nuclear matters and the sanctions against the
ayatollah country, risk to further damage the Russian-Western relationships.
Although Russian military expenses amount to one twentieth compared to US, the
Army modernization after Soviet Union collapse has been possible thanks to the
spectacular economic growth powered by oil and natural gas profits, up to the
extent of increasing fourfold since 2001. Analysts are talking about a new Cold
War, but while countries from the former Warsaw Pact are turning to the new US
ally and give ever more generously their territory to build military bases, Russia
is withdrawing more and more especially from Europe. In a survey conducted by
the Eu-Russia centre, an independent research institution, the 71 percent of Russian
people does not consider themselves as European, and more than one half regards
Europe as a potential threat to their industrial and financial independence.