It seems that Russia's Defense Ministry is trying too hard to reduce Russia's strategic forces within the scope of the START-3 treaty. The statement from Yuri Solomonov, the chief designer of the Moscow Thermotechnics Institute, came as a bombshell. According to him, the state defense order for strategic forces in 2011 has been disrupted.
In accordance with the state defense program for 2007-2015, Solomonov said, the troops were supposed to receive 100 Topol-M missile systems. These plans were not executed properly during the previous years. There are fears that the state defense program for 2020 can be disrupted as well.
The USA modernizes its strategic forces, China increases its nuclear potential, France doubles its nuclear fleet with Barracuda submarines. However, Russia is going to weaken its defense power considerably against such a background.
According to Solomonov, the defense ministry delays the funding of the order despite Putin's instructions.
Yuri Solomonov chairs the institute which developed four missile complexes for strategic missile troops. They include silo-deployed and mobile-based Topol-M systems, as well as state-of-the-art Yars complexes. The institute also designed Russia's renowned sea-based Bulava rocket, the production of which has finally been approved after a series of tests.
President Medvedev acknowledged in May of this year that the state defense order for the year 2010 had been disrupted. Many experts, including Solomonov himself, said that many of those who were punished in this connection, were either "scapegoats" or "dead souls."
Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said during a news conference on July 1 that he had listened to President Medvedev's criticism very attentively and took all his remarks into consideration. "The placement of the state defense order has been going on very actively now, and we believe that we will implement the order fully," the minister said.
"It can often be difficult for the Defense Ministry to negotiate the price issue with defense enterprises," Serdyukov added.
It seems that Russia has a new trend in the national defense industry. We don't have our own drones - we buy them from Israel. We also replace our "bad" and "expensive" tanks with German Leopards. Instead of our "outdated" Kalashnikovs and SVD assault rifles, we also look for something foreign-made. What about the ballistic missiles? Will Russia eventually be buying them from the USA or Israel, for example?
Anatoly Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis:
"Solomonov's statement seems to be more credible, although he didn't say anything new, except for the possible failure of the state defense order for this year. This practice, when defense enterprises do not get paid for their work, became a tradition in the country a long time ago. If you wonder where all the money goes, I can only say that this question has no answer. Only those people who control the financial flows know what happens to the money.
"There is a saying that corruption has become the stronghold of Russia. It is impossible to improve the situation. It appears that no one is going to change anything because the Russian political establishment is certain that no one is going to attack us.
"It will be impossible to replace Russian ballistic missiles with anything else. Other countries will not sell them in the first place."
Vladislav Shurygin, a military expert:
"Solomonov is definitely right. He knows what he is talking about because he is directly related to the field of rocket production. As for the defense ministry, there is some information saying that the ministry has not paid over 50 percent of the order. Other directors of defense enterprises also say that the state defense order for this year has been disrupted.
"It seems that the ministry does not care how many missiles Russia is going to have and whether the country is going to have any missiles at all."