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memri
January 7, 2018 No.
7268

Putin At The Expanded Meeting Of The Defense Ministry Board: The United States' Defense Strategy Is An Aggressive Strategy

On December 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the Russian Ministry of Defense's extended board session that convened took place in the new building of the "Peter The Great" Military Academy of the Strategic Missile Forces. During the session, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu summed up the results of 2017 and outlined Russia's military threats.

Putin stressed that the U.S. and NATO's defense strategy is an offensive one, to put it in diplomatic language, and in military language it would be called aggressive.[1] He then assured his audience that Russia's nuclear forces reliably ensure strategic deterrence. "But we must develop them further," Putin specified.

Putin concluded by stressing that Russia will not rely on "military muscle" alone and will not rush into "a senseless arms race" that would cripple Russia's economy. Some Russian analysts ascribe the Soviet Union's collapse to its involvement in such arms races during the Reagan era.

In Russian Defense Minister Shoigu's assessment, the numerical buildup of NATO military contingents deployed on Russia's western borders represented the major growing threat to Russia. He added that to counter the new threats and maintain strategic balance, Russia had expanded the area for its long-range air and marine patrols.

Shoigu also offered lengthy praise for the Russian military operation in Syria. "We tested most of our military equipment during the Syrian operation, that is, 215 types of weapons," Shoigu emphasized. It should be noted that on December 31, two Russian military personnel died in a mortar attack on Russia’s Khmeimim airbase in Syria. International and Russian media also reported that seven Russian military aircraft were destroyed. However, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the report claiming that seven jets were destroyed fell into the category of "fake news."[2]

Below are excerpts from the addresses by Putin and Shoigu at the expanded meeting of the Defense Ministry Board:[3]


Expanded meeting of the Defense Ministry Board (Source: Kremlin.ru)

Putin: Russia Must Become An Absolute Leader In The Creation Of A New-Generation Army


Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks (Source: Kremlin.ru)

The President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

"The situation in Syria… and the military political situation as a whole, confirm the correctness and timeliness of our decisions to consolidate the army and navy and channel the required resources into active military development.

"We have worked hard in the past few years – we have completed deep structural reforms of the Armed Forces and enhanced the efficiency of the entire system of military administration.

"We are steadily re-equipping all branches and arms of our Armed Forces. I will cite only a few figures that demonstrate the dynamics of this process. In 2012 modern weapons and hardware accounted for 16 percent in our troops, whereas now, at the end of 2017 it increased to about 60 percent and should reach 70 percent by 2021.

"Six large-scale inspections conducted this year have confirmed the high readiness of our forces, their ability to quickly strengthen their units in the Arctic and to create self-sufficient and effective groups in other key areas of national defense.

"The Zapad-2017 joint Russian-Belarusian strategic military exercises aiming to maintain the Union State's security became an important stage of combat training programs.

"In the upcoming years, we must continue working consistently and to ensure the Armed Forces' qualitative development. Here, I would like to underscore the following: we can see that the world is experiencing a real economic, technological and educational revolution. Obviously, these profound transformations will also inevitably influence the military sphere and the state of leading countries' armies. Apart from merely heeding these trends, we must make them the foundation of our military planning and development.

"Russia should remain among the leading states, and in some areas, it must become an absolute leader in the creation of a new-generation army that would fit into a new technological era. This is of paramount importance for our sovereignty, peaceful life and security of Russian citizens, ensuring the country's confident development and implementing an open and independent foreign policy line in the interests of our country.

"We must focus on the following high-priority aspects of our current and future work. First, we must closely monitor changes in the global balance of power and the military-political situation, primarily near Russia's borders, as well as in strategically important regions that have key significance for our security. This also concerns the Middle East, the Korean Peninsula, where a high potential for conflicts persists, as well as Europe, where NATO and the United States continue to rapidly build up their infrastructure. As you know, NATO and the United States have recently outlined their defense strategy. It is an offensive strategy, to put it in diplomatic language, and in military language it would be called aggressive. We need to take this into account during our practical work.

"Let's be clear: this is an offensive infrastructure that is being created in Europe. This is about violations of provisions of the 1987 INF Treaty by the United States, unfortunately. Many in this audience are well aware of what I am talking about.

"For example, multipurpose missile launchers have already been deployed in Romania, and are being deployed in Poland, as part of the missile defense system. Formally, they are deployed for interceptor missiles, but the point is, and experts are well aware of this, they are multipurpose units. They can be used to launch existing sea-based cruise missiles with a range of 2,500 kilometers and, in that case, they cease to be sea-based missiles, and can easily be moved to land. That is, anti-missile launchers can, at any time, become units for medium-range cruise missiles.

"Another example: target missiles used by the United State for testing anti-ballistic missile systems are identical to medium- and shorter-range ballistic missiles. They are already there and are operational. Their production in the United States may indicate the development of technologies outlawed by the INF Treaty.

"Also, the Pentagon received funds for creating a mobile ground-based missile system with a range of up to 5,500 kilometers in 2018. Thus, the United States is, in fact, working towards violating the INF Treaty. They never stop looking for some kind of violation on our part, while consistently engaging in violations themselves, just like they consistently and persistently sought to pull out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which, eventually, as we know, they did in a unilateral manner. Of course, this significantly reduces the level of security in Europe and the world in general.

"We have the sovereign right and every capability to respond adequately and rapidly to such potential threats. If necessary, please promptly prepare and submit substantiated proposals on adjusting military planning documents seeking to improve the level of our country's defense capabilities.

"Second, our new State Armament Program will get underway next year. We discussed its key features in May and November at our meetings in Sochi and numerous meetings in Moscow. A special emphasis must be made on equipping troops with high-precision air, land and sea weapons, unmanned airstrike complexes, and individual equipment for servicemen, as well as advanced reconnaissance, communication and electronic warfare systems.

"It is necessary to ensure efficient, smooth implementation of the plans from the very first months. Obviously, we will continuously monitor this process as we did with the previous armament program.

"Third, as I noted we are detecting further attempts to upset strategic parity by deploying the global missile defense system and conventional attack systems that are comparable to nuclear weapons. In terms of strike power and accuracy, they are hardly inferior to nuclear arms. What are they designed for? I believe they serve only one purpose, blackmail, because they create the illusion of a potential unpunished strike.

"Today our nuclear forces reliably ensure strategic deterrence but we must develop them further. By the end of 2017 the share of modern weapons in Russia's nuclear triad reached 79 percent and by 2021 they should be equipped with modern arms by up to 90 percent. I am referring to missile systems that are capable of confidently overcoming existing and even projected missile defense systems.

"Fourth, we must substantially enhance the mobility of our Armed Forces. This concerns organization of their logistics and supplies, and an ability to be promptly deployed and operate wherever national security demands.

"It is essential to consolidate the potential of our Special Operations Forces. I also request a review of the issue of equipping, the qualitative and quantitative strengthening of the Airborne Forces.

"During next year's Vostok 2018 military exercises, the Armed Forces should practice transferring a large group of personnel with ground equipment and aviation over several thousand kilometers and deploying it in new areas.

"Comrade officers,

"Bolstering social guarantees for servicemen and their families has been and remains one of the state's most important tasks. Now the economy is recovering. We have resumed annual adjustments of service pay and consider this a priority of our budget for the next three years. Over 82 billion rubles will be allocated to Defense Ministry servicemen alone for this purpose in the next three years. Simultaneously, military pensions will be increased from January 1.

"We will continue improving the system of medical support and health resort services for the service members and their families, and helping them resolve their housing issues. This year 9,000 of them received permanent housing and over 31,000 received service housing. In all, 457,000 of enlisted personnel have received housing in the last five years.

The image of military towns is changing. The largest of them have sports and entertainment centres. Much has been done to improve the work of housing and utility services. Meanwhile, in some military towns it is still difficult to find places for children in kindergartens and schools. I know it because people write to me about these problems and the number of appeals is growing…

Russia's Defense Minister Shoigu: To Respond To New Threats And Maintain Strategic Balance, We Have Expanded The Area For Long-Range Aircraft And Marine Patrolling


Russia's Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu (Source: Kremlin.ru)

Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu:

"… More than 48,000 Russian service members, of whom over 14,000 were presented with state decorations, received invaluable combat experience in Syria with 80 percent of the operational-tactical crews and 90 percent of the army aviation crews having 100 to 120 sorties under their belts. The long-range aviation crews practiced striking at important militant targets. In total, the Aerospace Forces carried out 34,000 sorties over the course of two years.

"Pilots of sea-based aviation from the heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov participated in combat operations for the first time, with 420 sorties. High-precision long-range missiles, such as Kalibr, X-101, Iskander, Tochka-U, and X-55, to name a few, were used to hit the most important targets.

"Ships and submarines performed 100 strikes, and strategic aviation delivered 66 strikes at a range between 500 km and 1,500 km. Each missile hit the assigned target.

"The task of eliminating the leaders of illegal formations and terrorist facilities located deep behind the frontline was accomplished by the Special Operations Forces. They also coordinated air strikes and artillery fire using the latest guidance and targeting systems. The Special Operations Forces demonstrated high professionalism and readiness to perform the most complex tasks.

"The S-400, S-300V and Pantsir complexes, in conjunction with fighters, ensured the total dominance of our Aerospace Forces over Syrian airspace. There was not a single violation of the security areas of Russian bases in Tartus and Khmeimim. The capabilities of the Pantsir complex, which were expanded to include the ability to intercept rockets and other small targets, made it possible to destroy 16 unmanned aerial vehicles, and 53 multiple-launch rocket system missiles.

"We tested most of our military equipment during the Syrian operation, that is, 215 types of weapons. In combat, 702 defects and problems were identified, 99 percent of which were eliminated. We are grateful to our industry partners for their prompt actions.

"As a result of the operation, 8,000 units of armored vehicles and pick-up trucks outfitted with heavy machine guns were destroyed, plus 718 factories and workshops that made weapons and ammunition; 60,318 militants were taken out, including, 819 leaders of illegal formations and 2,840 nationals of the Russian Federation.

"Our aviation achieved the critical goal of depriving terrorist organizations of their sources of revenue from sales of petroleum products, which amounted to at least $3 million a day; 396 illegal oil wells and refineries, as well as 4,100 fuel tankers, were destroyed.

"Backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces, the Syrian government troops and militias liberated 1,024 populated areas from terrorists, including such major cities as Aleppo, Palmyra, Oqeirbat, Deir ez-Zor, al-Mayadeen and Abu Kamal. This enabled 1,300,000 refugees to return to their homes.

"In Aleppo, in order to avoid massive casualties, a humanitarian operation of unprecedented scale and complexity was carried out. As part of this operation, 28,752 persons were evacuated within four days. Humanitarian corridors for civilians were opened. Centers of temporary accommodation, food services and medical aid were deployed. There was no experience of conducting an operation like this during an armed conflict.

"For the first time, four de-escalation zones were established in order to end the civil war. They paved the way for a ceasefire between armed opposition formations and Syrian government troops with Russia, Iran and Turkey acting as the ceasefire's guarantors.

"Thanks to efforts by the Russian Centre for Reconciliation, as many as 2,301 populated areas with an overall population of 10,500,000 million joined the ceasefire.

"Humanitarian aid to the Syrian people is delivered regularly: 1,696 humanitarian deliveries were carried out, during which 700,000 civilians received food aid. The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross provide assistance in the delivery of humanitarian supplies.

"Russian engineers cleared mines from 6,533 hectares of land, 1,410 km of motor roads, and found and destroyed 105,054 explosion hazards. Officers of the Russian International Mine Action Centre in Syria established a branch to train demining specialists. In all, 740 Syrian army servicemen have been trained and can now detect and destroy explosive objects on their own.

"Russian military medical workers provided assistance to 66,852 civilians, including 435 that were evacuated to hospitals on Russian territory in special medevac modules.

"Let me emphasize that the military operation in Syria was conducted within the limits of the allocations initially provided to the Defense Ministry by streamlining operational plans and combat training. Additional expenses related to increased use of ammunition and the need to repair hardware were earmarked by redistributing the funds of the state armament program without changing its major parameters.

"Speaking about the operation in Syria, it is necessary to recall the implementation of our President's initiative on the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons in 2013. It removed the threat of strikes by American cruise missiles on Syrian territory and the violent overthrow of the current government, as was the case in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya. In all, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, China and Finland jointly withdrew and destroyed 1,300 tons of chemical weapons.

"Today, Russia's air group of the Aerospace Forces at Khmeimim air base and the Russian naval support and maintenance facility in Tartus are fully operational on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic. Modern military and social infrastructure has been built there, which makes it possible to maintain strategic stability in the region and deter terrorist groups from getting into Syria.

"Preparations are being conducted for the Syrian National Dialogue Congress to create the conditions for a political settlement of the conflict. Representatives of all Syrian ethnic and religious communities, political parties and armed groups have been invited to attend it.

"Now I will speak about the main results of this year. In the Strategic Missile Forces, three regiments were equipped with Yars ground mobile missile systems. Strategic aviation nuclear forces received three modernized planes.

"Now on general purpose forces. The Land Force has new means of control as well as 18 new formations and military bases. It has also received 2,055 new and upgraded weapons, which equipped three formations and 11 military bases.

"We have established a logistics aviation division as well as a special aviation division in the Aerospace Forces, which received 191 modern aircraft and helicopters and 143 air defense units. Starting this December, we have a unified space system on trial airborne alert.

"The Navy has received 10 ships and combatant crafts, 13 logistics vessels and four Bal and Bastion coastal defense missile systems. Naval aviation has received 15 modern planes and helicopters. The command of the 14th army corps has been established in the Northern Fleet.

"Separate air assault and recovery battalions have been established in the Airborne Forces equipped with 184 new armored vehicles and self-propelled guns.

"The Armed Forces have gained 59 complexes representing 199 unmanned aerial vehicles.

"The capabilities of the unified tactical control system have met all the requirements set by the Defense Ministry. During military exercises, we have managed to reduce organization times by 20–30 percent, and by 1.5–3 times for combat control.

"In general, the measures envisaged in the 2017 state defense order have been fulfilled.

"The Armed Forces' real capacity to carry out missions has been confirmed by six snap inspections, which involved all military districts and military branches as well as federal and regional state agencies of the Russian Federation. Today, the snap inspections are the main way that the combat training of the Armed Forces is assessed.

"We have had about 15,000 different training exercises this year, which is 20 percent higher than last year. The intensity of joint training has also grown 16 percent, and the number of bilateral drills has doubled.

"The most significant event of operational training was the Zapad-2017 Russian-Belarusian military exercises. Our armies confirmed that they are ready to protect the Union State of Russia and Belarus by force of arms.

"This year, military cooperation activities included 90 countries. Thirty-five international exercises of various levels were conducted, the most ambitious of which were Combat Brotherhood, Naval Interaction and Indra.

"The annual Moscow Conference on International Security this year was attended by a record number of delegates – over 800 representatives from 86 countries and eight international organizations. In 2017, 44 conference and exhibition events were held in Patriot Park of the Ministry of Defense. The key event of the year in this sphere was the ARMY-2017 International Military-Technical Forum. In terms of organization and the number of participants, it equaled the world's leading arms exhibitions.

"Following the Supreme Commander-in-Chief's instruction, the Main Naval Parade was held in St Petersburg for the first time in recent Russian history. It confirmed the status of Russia as a strong naval power. In accordance with your decision, this parade is now annual and next year will be combined with the Naval Salon…

"With the 2018 elections so close, we certainly need to sum up the development of the Armed Forces for the past five and a half years under the leadership of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief.

"I will begin with assessing the growing threats. Since 2012, the numbers of NATO military contingents deployed on Russia's western borders have increased three-fold. Four battalion task forces and a U.S. Army armored brigade are stationed in the Baltics and Poland; the multinational NATO divisions are headquartered in Poland and Romania. NATO priority forces have increased from 10,000 to 40,000, and their notice period has been reduced from 45 to 30 days.

"The U.S. missile defense system in Europe has been brought to the level of initial operational readiness. Its components are also deployed in Japan and South Korea. The intensity of NATO aerial reconnaissance actions at our borders has increased 250 percent, and marine reconnaissance, 50 percent. But we resolutely shut down any attempts to violate Russia's air and sea borders.

"NATO has doubled the frequency of military exercises near our borders. In 2014, the Alliance conducted only 282 exercises; in 2017, as many as 548. Annually, more than 30 exercises are conducted on Russia's western borders, their scenarios based on armed confrontation with our country. We carefully monitor every NATO doctrine and take appropriate measures.

"To respond to new threats and maintain strategic balance, we have expanded the area for long-range aircraft and marine patrolling. Over the past five years, 178 strategic air patrolling flights have been carried out by strategic missile carriers, and the Russian Navy ships have made 672 trips to all strategically important areas of the World Ocean.

"Efforts have been made to improve the quality of the Russian Armed Forces. Over the period of five years the Armed Forces have acquired 80 intercontinental ballistic missiles, 102 ballistic missiles for submarines, three Borei-class strategic missile submarines, 55 spacecraft, 3,237 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, more than 1,000 aircraft and helicopters, 150 ships, six submarines, and 13 Bal and Bastion coastal defence missile systems.

"This made it possible to arm 12 missile regiments with the new Yars systems; 10 missile brigades with Iskander systems; 12 aviation regiments with MiG-31BM, Su-35S, Su-30SM, and Su-34 aircraft; three army aviation brigades and six helicopter regiments with Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopters; 16 anti-aircraft missile regiments with S-400 air defence missile systems, 19 divisions with Pantsir-S systems, and 13 divisions with Bal and Bastion missile systems. Thirty-five combined-arms groups have been provided with Ratnik-2 modern combat gear. The new equipment the army units received is deployed on a modern infrastructure base.

"For the first time in modern Russian history a continuous radar field of a missile attack warning system has been created along the perimeter of our borders. This was achieved through the deployment of six new high-operational compatibility Voronezh radar stations, and the finalization of three active radar stations, Daryal, Dnepr and Volga.

"As a result of the State Armament Program's implementation, the army and navy are 59.5 percent equipped with modern weapons. In the Strategic Nuclear Forces, the share of modern equipment is 79 percent, in the Land Forces, 45 percent, in the Aerospace Forces, 73 percent, and in the Navy, 53 percent…

"Starting in 2000, we managed to increase the combat potential of the army and the navy. Since 2012, the share of advanced military equipment has grown almost four-fold, military construction – 15 times, the number of military personnel – 2.4 times and the intensity of military training – by 30 percent. At the same time, the military budget is balanced, meets all the demands of the Armed Forces and will account for 2.8 percent of the GDP, or $46 billion, next year, when it will be over $700 billion in the US, about $60 billion in the United Kingdom and $40 billion in France and Germany. Enough said.

"Today, the Russian Army is upgraded, mobile, compact and efficient. We do not engage in sabre-rattling and have no intention of fighting anyone. At the same time, we do not advise anyone to test our defense potential.

"The newly established National Defense Control Centre of the Russian Federation has radically changed approaches to building a management system for the military organization of the state. As we established it, we advanced to the fifth-generation control system. The data platform of the National Centre allowed for uniting 158 federal and regional bodies of power, 1,320 state corporations and enterprises of the military industrial complex in a single system.

"One of the Centre's peculiarities is the round-the-clock monitoring and control over the execution of the state defense order. As a result, the implementation of the state defense order increased to 97 percent. Nothing like it has ever been created in the world.

"The composition of professional military personnel has undergone significant changes in the past five years. The number of conscripts has fallen by 50,000 from 290 to 240 thousand, whereas the number of contract soldiers increased from 162,000 in 2012 to the current 384,000. The selection quality has improved: 70 percent of enlisted contract soldiers have a university degree or secondary professional education. Today, military formations and units have 95 to 100 percent of professional military personnel, making it possible to keep the Russian Army in the state of high combat readiness. The Russian Defense Ministry's higher education network comprises 36 institutions and fully provides the Armed Forces with qualified specialists…


Yunarmiya youth (Source: Mil.ru)

"On the Defense Ministry's initiative and with support from the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, the Yunarmiya youth movement has been created, which now brings together 188,000 youth. Within a short space of time, it has become one of the most popular youth organisations in the country. About 16,000 youth attended Yunarmiya athletic and patriotic camps. This work will spread to other regions in Russia.

"Sociological data shows what has been achieved over a five-year period. Since 2012, the proportion of Russian society that approves of the Armed Forces' activities has been steadily going up. Negative marks have declined by 77.8 percent, from 31 percent to 7 percent. Today, 64 percent of Russian nationals believe that serving in the Army is a good experience for youth. Currently, 93 percent of the population in the country, an all-time high over the entire period of sociological research, have confidence in the Russian military. Such a strong vote of confidence requires that we live up to people's expectations.

"In 2018, the Defense Ministry will have to address the following key tasks: bring the proportion of modern weapons and equipment in the Armed Forces to 61 percent of the total, specifically to 82 percent in the Strategic Nuclear Forces, 46 percent in the Land Forces, 74 percent in the Aerospace Forces and 55 percent in the Navy.

"The task for Strategic Missile Forces is to put 11 launchers carrying Yars ballistic missiles on full combat alert; commission six modernized strategic missile carriers; and introduce the lead nuclear underwater Project 955A cruiser Knyaz Vladimir carrying Bulava ballistic missiles into the Navy.

"The task for the Land Forces is to create seven military formations and units and supply over 3,500 items of new weapons to them.

"The task for the Aerospace Forces and Navy aviation is to supply 203 new and updated aircraft and helicopters, four divisional sets of the Pantsir anti-aircraft artillery weapon systems and 10 divisional sets of the S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft weapon systems and ensure the fulfillment of the pilot combat duty tasks assigned to the single space system.

"The Navy is to accept 35 ships and supply vessels into service; we are to prepare and conduct the Vostok strategic command exercise; support the development of the financial monitoring system for the state defence order with respect to oversight and estimating the optimum cost level for manufacturing arms and military equipment; finish overhauling and building 11 air fields, including Severomorsk-1, Mozdok, Baltimor, Belbek, Alykel, Chkalovsky in Kaliningrad Region; open 3,000 buildings and facilities; set up the Era innovative military science park.

"Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief, the momentum that the Armed Forces have gained will continue into next year. Solutions were found in the course of addressing problem areas and they will be taken into account in the Defence Ministry plans for 2018.

Putin: 'We Will Not Rely Only On The Military Muscle And We Will Not Rush Into A Senseless Arms Race That Is Crippling For Our Economy'

Vladimir Putin: "Colleagues and friends,

"In his report, the Minister covered practically everything. I will add a few words to what has been said by us both. We know very well that the number of challenges in today's world is growing rather than going down. We mentioned the fact that NATO infrastructure is getting closer to our borders.

"Actually, when we move our forces on our territory, it is perceived and portrayed as a threat to somebody, but when foreign military bases and infrastructure approach our borders and new complexes are deployed, that is perfectly fine. At least that is what those who do it think, but not us.

"We understand that the number of threats is growing. Take the U.S. military defense doctrine that I have mentioned already. It was recently presented to the world and the U.S. people and it is definitely marked by an offensive-minded if not to say aggressive posture. This doctrine is not just words or a piece of paper, it is underpinned by concrete actions and funding: the U.S. spends over $700 billion on defense, or, to be more exact, military purposes.

"It is true that we sometimes hear that our defense budget is very large. As the minister just mentioned, it is $46.6 billion that is all. Last year it was 4.1 per cent of the GDP, which is a lot for the Russian economy. Still, it was not linked to exceeding our operating expenses last year or the year before.

"Last year, this increase in the share of GDP was caused by the decision to repay the loans, which the Defense Ministry had to take in order to implement the armament program. It is not that the ministry had to borrow – it coordinated the move with the Government and, naturally, with the Finance Ministry. That is, every year over the recent period the funding was regular and met the target figures but part of it was borrowed money. When the loan amount had accumulated, the Government decided to allocate additional funds to repay the loans. The Defense Ministry did not spent more than it had previously announced, however, formally, the share of GDP increased.

"Next year, the share in the GDP will be a bit more than 2.8 percent – 2.85 percent or 2.86 percent – and later it will even start to edge down. This begs the question: can we be self-reliant in these circumstances, given the potential we have, and can we reliably and unconditionally ensure that our country's defense capability is maintained. We can, we must and we will do it.

"One may ask, how will we do it? [Russian military leader] Alexander Suvorov taught us that the thing that matters at war is skill rather than numbers. We have plenty of good proverbs, for example, this one: You do not need wits if you have strength. However, we need to have our wits about us. We will not rely only on the military muscle and we will not rush into a senseless arms race that is crippling for our economy –we will certainly not do that.

"What shall we then rely on in addressing the matters of defense capability and security? The answer is very simple: on brains, intellect, discipline and organization when handling relevant tasks. We have a remarkable foundation that we have inherited from the past decades but we also have new, absolutely cutting edge projects developed by our young researchers, designers and engineers.

"What are the component parts of the funding allocated by the government to the Defense Ministry and other security services? They are maintenance and equipment, and both components have the potential for what we call development, while development is important for both of them. Why is it important for maintenance? Because it can save money, in any case, it can help us avoid squandering money, scattering it like a farmer sowing seeds – rather we can update the maintenance system, making it worthy of our Armed Forces and our military but economical at the same time.

"As for the development itself, it is primarily, of course, about modern Armed Forces in the direct sense of the word – modern equipment. It is the development of new, promising, high precision and high technology types of weapons that are unique in terms of their effectiveness. To achieve these goals we need, as I already said, to demonstrate creative approaches, discipline and responsibility. I have no doubt – my confidence is based on the estimates and on our joint work – that we will reliably and unconditionally ensure that our country's defense capability is maintained.

"There is something else that we rely on in our estimates. There is no irony in my words: we rely on our peaceful foreign policy. It is important because we do not need an endless number of military bases around the globe and we do not plan to take on the role of a global policeman. We do not need this by definition simply because this costs a lot of money and is not in our plans altogether. If we all keep this in mind and fulfill all this in a disciplined, creative and responsible manner, we will deliver on the task as the Russian people expect us to do: we will reliably and unconditionally ensure that our defense capability is maintained, create conditions conducive to peaceful life and development in all areas, including the economy and social sphere…"

 


[1] See also MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7263, Russia Reacts To The New U.S. National Security Strategy, January 4, 2017.

[2] Rt.com, January 3, 2017.

[3] Kremlin.ru, December 22, 2017.