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#13 - JRL 7032
Nezavisimoye Voennoye Obozreniye
No. 2
January 2003
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
The Russian military still spotlight preparations for a third world war

Barely a month ago the Russian Defence Ministry held a
seminar on combating terrorism. It was attended by a large NATO
delegation led by Secretary General George Robertson. The NATO
delegates called for pooling forces in the fight against
international terrorism and for reforming the armed forces to
suit this purpose.
In mid-January the Russian Academy of Military Sciences
held an annual session chaired by Academy president General of
the Army Makhmut Gareyev. Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, Chief
of the General Staff General of the Army Anatoly Kvashnin and
other military leaders attended the session. They said that the
fulfilment of tasks facing the army and the navy "will be
impossible without reliance on the military research
capabilities of the Defence Ministry," where "the Military
Academy is playing a considerable role."
However, it proceeded from their reports that the Russian
military school rejects the NATO ideas concerning the reform of
the armed forces for purposes of fighting terrorism. Moreover,
some speakers hinted that the Russian military leaders regard
this suggestion of Brussels as a trick. The West failed to
disarm Russia, they inferred, and so it is trying to reduce its
military might to a special anti-terrorist force.
Sergei Ivanov proclaimed the priority task of "maintaining
nuclear forces at a level requisite for guaranteed deterrence
of aggression against Russia and its allies." He said the task
of reforms was to "retain the possibility of fulfilling tasks
of nuclear deterrence to prevent a large-scale war and
aggression in a potential military conflict." The minister
stressed the importance of "maintaining requisite standards of
combat and mobilisation readiness and raising the ability of
the troops to provide an adequate reply to arising military
threats." He mentioned in passing that the September 11, 2001
tragedy in the USA and the October 2002 hostage standoff in
Moscow clearly showed that the Cold War had been replaced with
a completely different kind of war, a war on international
terrorism. The use of military force is one of the methods of
combating this evil. At the same time, Sergei Ivanov reminded
the audience that in 1999 combat-ready units were accumulated
from all parts of Russia for dispatch to the North Caucasus.
"Today troops of the North Caucasian Military District are
deployed in Chechnya," said the minister. "But we still have to
do much to ensure that Russia has well trained and armed
permanent-readiness forces."
Chief of the General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin echoed the
minister. "The sources of internal and foreign threats to
Russia have become much more serious," he said and the world
news agencies immediately reported his words. Commentators
pondered the idea of growing foreign threats to Russia but
failed to come to a common conclusion. They also noted a phrase
to the effect that in certain conditions such threats can
provoke a large-scale conflict.
In accordance with the geopolitical concept of the General
Staff, there are five global centres of power (in addition to
Russia). They are the USA, the united Europe, China, India, and
a group of the Middle East and African countries. Anatoly
Kvashnin believes that Russia, which stands "in the centre of
the world community, should pursue a special inter-regional,
independent policy that would take into account relations in
Europe, Asia and other regions." The general said that "to
develop deeper partner relations with such global centres as
the USA, Europe and China, we [Russia] should have sufficient
defensive and strategic offensive forces in view of the
development forecasts, including in the military-political
In short, the generals were speaking on the old tune: If
you want peace, prepare for war. The Chief of the General Staff
"Nobody likes the weak, including in the world power centres;
power alone is what causes respect."
And what about terrorism, a war on which is advocated not
only in Brussels and Washington? President Vladimir Putin has
recently issued instructions on re-targeting the national armed
forces to combating terrorism. These instructions were not
elaborated upon at the session of the Academy of Military
Sciences. Reports took a whole day but only General of the Army
Anatoly Kulikov, State Duma deputy, devoted his report to the
fight against terrorism.
The strategic credo of the General Staff is clear: as long
as the USA and NATO keep enough forces for a major nuclear
missile war, Russia will work to maintain parity in this area.
The military must work night and day to put the idea across to
the Kremlin and those who "do not even distinguish arms from
services" (as General Kvashnin said) and know nothing about
other operational strategic niceties.

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