Tag Archives: alexander golts

In honor of “Victory” Day, Russia Keeps on Losing

Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:

Russians know that Victory Day is approaching not only because commemorative St. George ribbons are being handed out on sidewalks or because of the abundance of patriotic programs on television about legendary Soviet spy Max Otto von Stirlitz. Muscovites, in particular, know the holiday is coming since they endure horrendous traffic jams — worse than usual — during the rehearsals of the military parade that will be the top public event on May 9.

But few Russians will take pride in viewing the military weapons that will be paraded across Red Square. These systems were developed 20 years ago, and they are produced in miniscule quantities today.

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The Collapse of the Russian Army from Within

Defense expert Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:

General Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff, caused a stir last week after he said to journalists: “We aim to create a professional army. We can’t make it happen in a short time period, but year by year there will be an increase in the number of contract military personnel.”

Interestingly enough, only one month ago Makarov said the exact opposite. “We will not switch to a contract-based army. Instead, we will be drafting more soldiers …” to fill the gap.

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Putin and Medvedev, Muttering Pathetic Neo-Soviet Lies

Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:

A distinctive feature of the Russian power vertical is that leaders do not bother determining what government officials have already said on a particular subject before preparing their own remarks. At a meeting on security agency budgets on May 24, President Dmitry Medvedev set the goal of modernizing at least 30 percent of Russia’s weaponry by 2015. The president was apparently unaware of the previous arms program, announced by then-Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov three years ago. In 2007, Ivanov told State Duma deputies that the program would rearm 45 percent of the military by 2015. It failed miserably.

In addition, officials often do not feel obliged to fulfill the orders of their bosses — even those issued by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. In a February meeting on the new armament program, Putin ordered that 70 percent of the country’s armed forces be modernized by 2020. But at a recent Duma hearing, acting army chief Lieutenant General Oleg Frolov contradicted Putin. Frolov said the 13 trillion rubles ($418.4 billion) for rearmament to be allocated over the next 10 years was only sufficient for modernizing Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, air defense forces and aviation. He said 36 trillion rubles ($1.2 trillion) would be needed to carry out all of the tasks put before the armed forces.

Thus, the new armaments program is doomed to fail, just like the four previous plans. All of these programs go through the same life cycle:

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Rancid Russia, Alone in Post-Soviet Space

Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:

Imagine a crank who tries to pass himself off as a 19th-century Russian baron. He grows sideburns, wears a long frock coat and carries a walking stick. Anyone who would run into such a character would surely sneer and mock him. Now, suppose that same crank attempted to treat passers-by as if they were his serfs. In that case, he would risk getting a beating, though perhaps a few beggars would indulge his fantasies in the hope of duping him out of his money.

Something of this sort now characterizes relations between Russia and several former Soviet republics. The foreign policy doctrine that guides the Kremlin is a preposterous mix of 19th-century Realpolitik and early 20th-century geopolitics. According to this view, every great power should have a collection of satellite countries in its portfolio. Under such an approach, NATO’s expansion is represented as an extension of the U.S. sphere of influence — to the detriment of Russia, of course.

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Medvedev’s “Ludicrous” Nuclear Deal with Obama

Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:

Wishing to indulge its tough negotiating partner, Washington picked a heavily militarized agenda for the Moscow summit — nuclear arms reduction, missile defense and control over nuclear materials. These are areas in which Russia believes it can negotiate with the United States on equal grounds — that is, as equal superpowers.

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Medvedev vs. Common Sense

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Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times, discusses the latest “strategy” document created by Dima Medvedev. This is followed by a bit of analysis from the Russian press of the same item:

During the course of my career, I have read countless military doctrines, strategies and concepts of every conceivable type, yet the national security strategy to 2020 that President Dmitry Medvedev approved last week stands out for its sheer senselessness. It is impossible to find a single concrete measure in this document. Ninety percent of the “strategy” consists of vague definitions of every possible threat — starting with the imminent shortage of fresh water supplies and ending with an attack by a foreign country.

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