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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

New arms race between Russia and USA may trigger star wars

“The arms race has already started, but Russia would like it to have a restricted character not to be spread in space,” Vice President of the Center for Political Technologies, Aleksei Makarkin said in an interview with Strana.ru website, commenting on Russia’s intention to bring draft resolution “Measures of Transparency and Strengthening Confidence in Space Activities” on the agenda of the UN General Assembly, which started working on Monday.

The expert reminded that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin informed September 16 of Russia’s intention to increase the military budget by 27 percent in 2009.

“Reagan once managed to get Russia involved in the arms race with the help of the “star wars program.” The race aggravated the crisis inside the USSR against the background of the unfavorable global situation with fuel and the USSR’s war in Afghanistan, which eventually made the country collapse,” the expert continued.

“Moscow’s goal today is to avoid the repetition of such scenario. Medvedev and Putin speak about modernization today, but they stand against militarization. The experience of Western countries shows that it is possible to promote serious military and technical programs and develop the market economy at that. However, if a country, whose military potential does not withstand competition with the US defense budget, becomes involved in an uncontrollable arms race, the country will then resort to mobilization and cut economic and social spending. This is a highly undesirable variant,” the expert said.

In February of 2008, Russia and China presented a joint project of a new international treaty to prevent arms race in space. The draft document touched upon the deployment of not only conventional, but nuclear weapons in space. In May of 2008, Moscow and Beijing made a joint statement for the peaceful use of space and set out their stance against the deployment of weapons in space and against an arms space in space in general.

“Two other constant members of the UN Security Council – Britain and France – are not likely to do anything against the USA as far as issues of space militarization are concerned,” Aleskei Makarkin believes.

“I do not think that this resolution will be put up for voting at the UN Security Council. That is why Russia will most likely pin its hopes on the UN General Assembly. They make nonbinding decisions, but they can attract the attention of the international community to the problem,” the expert said.

Andrei Nesterenko, an official spokesman for Russia ’s Foreign Ministry, said Monday that Russia would submit two other draft resolutions at the UN General Assembly. The first one of them is about telecommunications and the international security, whereas the second one touches upon issues of racial discrimination, xenophobia and ethnic hostilities.

Issues of racial and national hostilities still remain actual on the post-Soviet state. Russia ’s Foreign Ministry has recently criticized the administrations of Estonia and Latvia for their efforts to glorify Nazism and justify its ideology. Russia is deeply concerned with EU’s unwillingness to condemn manifestations of Nazism in the Baltic states .