On February 20, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the Federation Council. During his speech, Putin commented on the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, and warned Washington against deploying medium and short range missiles in Europe. "I am saying this directly and openly now, so that no one can blame us later, so that it will be clear to everyone in advance what is being said here. Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapons that can be used not only in the areas we are directly threatened from, but also in areas that contain decision-making centers for the missile systems threatening us," Putin menaced.
Putin also said: "So let them [i.e. the Americans] calculate the range and speed of our future arms systems. This is all we are asking: just do the maths first and take decisions that create additional serious threats to our country afterwards. It goes without saying that these decisions will prompt Russia to respond in order to ensure its security in a reliable and unconditional manner."
After Putin's address, the Russian media picked up the cue and started commenting on Russia's theoretical retaliatory strikes against the US. Russian TV anchor Dmitry Kiselev, in a segment titled "Target Selected" on the show "Vesti Nedeli," said that American medium-range missiles deployed in Europe could reach Russia in 10-12 minutes and that in the event of an attack, instead of attacking the country in which the missiles are deployed, Russia will attack the decision-making centers on American soil directly. Kiselev showed the Pentagon, Camp David, Fort Ritchie, McClellan AFB, and the Jim Creek Navy installation on a map of the United States and explained that Russia could strike these locations in 4 minutes and 36 seconds via Russian submarines carrying Russia's hypersonic Zircon missiles. The missiles, which can fly at Mach 9 (over 7,000 miles per hour) and have a range of 600 miles, are deployed 250 miles from the American coasts, outside of the 200-mile-wide U.S. exclusive economic zone. Kiselev remonstrated with the Americans: "Do you really need to deploy missiles in Europe, aimed at us?"
The influential Russian blogger El-Murid criticized Putin's address, accusing the Russian President of unleashing a "wave of military psychosis". According to El-Murid, this psychosis is being exploited internally by the Kremlin to drown out any uncomfortable questions on misgovernment, and maladministration, by sounding the alarm that the "enemy is at the gates!"
El-Murid concluded stating that if a war really breaks out with the US, not much can be done, because Russia cannot destroy America by a couple of Zircon missiles. "As far as external use is concerned, threats are less effective, since they are nothing but plain blackmail," El-Murid wrote.
Below is El-Murid's article:
Putin Unleashed A Wave Of Military Psychosis
"In his last message, Putin again unleashed a wave (however tepid) of military psychosis, having introduced the latest miracle weapon - a naval hypersonic missile Zircon with a speed of Mach 8-9. It's laudable that this time Putin consulted with people who had mastered the sixth-grade physics textbook, so the speed of Mach 28 in the dense layers of the atmosphere was not mentioned this time due to its complete incompatibility with the laws of physics in our universe.
"The psychosis has already been taken up by the federal media which has been spelling out with deep pleasure the targets in the U.S. that should be struck by these new toys of the president. A number of questions, though, are somehow overlooked in this frenzy.
"First, it is just not clear how many of these new-fangled rockets we have, how many are already deployed and how many the industry is able to produce in a certain period of time. The story with the [T-14] Armata [tanks], which have never made it to the troops, compels us to raise this question. Second, the sea-based missiles with the declared range of 1000 km imply that Russia intends to enter into competition with the U.S. in the area where the latter is manifestly stronger - at sea. It is preposterous to expect that should tensions rise, the U.S. Navy would be indifferently watching the maneuvers of Russian ships and submarines in the immediate vicinity of the American coast, especially given the balance of power.
"The Soviet Union, an infinitely more powerful industrial state, was quite right in thinking that an oceanic [arms] race would impoverish it without closing the gap at sea, and therefore decided to even the odds by starting (and accelerating) the space race and seizing the lead in it. Putin's Russia has lost the space race as well as its industrial potential and the human resources. The only things left are the tough-guy posture, dirty jokes and the standard situation when a disgraced and bankrupt dictator is no longer able to deceive [people] with tales of a happy future and adopts a different concept: our life will be rotten, but short.
"However, the outcome of this strategy is well-known as well - a dictator who has ruined his own country is incapable, even in the short term, to cause fatal damage to someone less weak. But since deceit has become a style and a way of life, Putin's clique itself believes its lies and hopes for another mega weapon, similar to another figure [Hitler] who was hoping that the Wenck army was on the verge of breaking through to Berlin and working a miracle. A miracle, however, does not occur. And this is also the way of life.
"It is well-known for what psychosis, and especially mass psychosis is needed. It is meant to for internal use - any uncomfortable questions regarding friends and their thorough plundering of the country, are immediately drowned out by the well-fed propagandists howling in unison: 'Now is not the time, the enemy is at the gates!'. And indeed, what if a war suddenly breaks out, and we are exhausted by useless questions? And as far as external use is concerned, threats are less effective, since they are nothing but plain blackmail, and, as is well known, there are no negotiations with blackmailers and terrorists. But we still have nothing to our name - neither accomplishments, nor achievements, nor results (besides a ruined country). And so we don't have much choice - just threats. The threats that are not too precise and certainly not effective: we definitely won't destroy America by a couple of these 'Zircons', but we will no doubt make it angry. And even so, only in case someone manages to sail within shooting distance."
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7908, Putin's Address To Russia's Federation Council: Russia Will Target The US, If The Americans Deploy Medium And Short Range Missiles In Europe, February 24, 2019;
MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7910, Reactions To Putin's Address To The National Assembly: The Old Tune About The Good Tsar And The Bad Boyars Has Been Dinned Into Our Heads, February 25, 2019;
MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7883, An Overview Of The INF Treaty And Its Suspension, February 8, 2019;
MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7887, Russia This Week – Focus On The INF Suspension – February 12, 2019.
 See MEMRITV clip No. 7057, Russian TV Anchor Dmitry Kiselev Explains How Hypersonic Zircon Missile Could Strike U.S. Command Centers in Less than Five Minutes, February 25, 2019.
MEMRITV clip No. 7055, Russian Military Expert Alexey Leonkov Describes How Russia Would Cripple U.S. In Event of "Aggression"; Plan Involves Use of Zircon, Sarmat, Avangard Missiles, Unmanned Crafts, Noiseless Submarines, February 27, 2019.
 Zen.yandex.ru/media/el_murid, February 24, 2019.
 Walther Wenck was a General in the German Army during World War II. In 1945, he commanded the German 12th Army that took part in the Battle of Berlin by launching an attack at the Soviet forces encircling the city, with the goal of breaking the encirclement. The 12th Army though was stopped by the Soviet Red Army forces near Potsdam.