Russia » Politics
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Russian Arms Get Outdated, Nothing New Comes

The president decided to see, why the Russian army has outdated arms

The war in Iraq has proved it once again - the technological predominance of one of the belligerents is the guarantee of success in a war. There can be one conclusion made about it: the Russian defense technology is of little use for modern armed conflicts. Otherwise, Saddam would still remain the president of the country.

The Russian tank corps used to count 63 thousand machines. It kept Europe and Asia in awe. Russian Army Command used to say that Soviet tank troops could reach the English Channel or the Yellow Sea within just three days. Nowadays, this defensive shield has become outdated and smaller in its number - only 20 thousand tanks. The Russian Defense Ministry says that every fifth of those tanks can be considered as a modern machine. Furthermore, they are T-72 and T-80 tanks - developments of the 1970s and the 1980s. It is worth mentioning that Baghdad counted on those tanks too.

However, even a "modern Russian tank" is a machine that was produced ten years ago. The Russian Defense Ministry has not ordered any tanks for ten years at Russian defense enterprises, with the exception for several dozens of T-90 tanks. Yet, their meagre number does not change anything. The Defense Ministry is not going to purchase any tanks in coming years.

This depressive situation can be seen in the Russian aviation and navy as well. As it turns out, an enemy is strong and powerful, but we are poor and defenseless. There has been a lot of things said about the army reform, about the modernization of arms, taking into consideration the fact that the export defense enterprise RosOboronExport exhibits certain pieces of the Russian defense technology at various prestigious shows. Yet, things are right where they started. Moreover, Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin has recently stated that the defense spending would be cut during 2003-2005 (together with the spending on the social field and science).

However, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief (President Putin) decided to establish law and order in the system of the Russian defense industry. As it was announced on April 19th, Major-General Alexander Burutin was appointed for the position of the presidential advisor for issues of the defense industry and state defense order. Burutin can be categorized as a successful military official. He is a young person for an official (47 years old), already a major-general, he has been serving in the General Headquarters for long (eleven years), although he has not been noticed for having any links with the defense industry. The period of his services in the General Headquarters shows that Burutin is aware of the problems in the field of both the Russian defense industry and the army reform.

One may assume that the president expects his new advisor to prepare an analysis of the situation around the defense budget for the year 2003. The deficit of the defense budget has increased by billions of rubles according to the results of the first quarter. Generals say that the lack of money occurs on account of the price growth on food, military uniforms and medicines. The situation with fuel for the army is even worse: fuel rose 15 or 20 percent in price, although the federal budget does not stipulate any compensation about it. Let's see, if the new presidential advisor manages to cope with the situation.

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