A series of diplomatic moves among the three members of the BRICS group has thrown into relief Beijing’s latest strategy to counter what it perceives as an anti-China containment policy spearheaded by Washington.
Earlier this week, the Indian and Russian prime ministers, respectively Manmohan Singh and Dmitry Medvedev made separate trips to Beijing at the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang. Last week, the Indian leader was in Moscow where he concluded energy and arms-procurement deals in meetings with President Vladimir Putin and Medvedev. Continue reading
MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is to increase annual spending on nuclear weapons by more than 50 percent in the next three years, a parliamentary defense committee said Tuesday.
The draft federal budget provides for a 60 percent increase in overall national defense spending by 2016, according to the report, rising from 2.1 trillion rubles this year to 3.38 trillion rubles in 2016. Continue reading
The reset between the Kremlin and the White House is dead.
Now, the question in Moscow is: what will replace it? Continue reading
The Russian military recently dispatched a guided-missile warship to Cuba as part of what U.S. officials say are growing military, intelligence and economic ties between Moscow and Havana.
The missile cruiser is the Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet, according to state-run Russian news reports. Continue reading
Russia has overtaken Germany as the fifth largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity, according to the latest World Bank ranking that measures 214 economies based on their 2012 GDP performance.
Russia’s oil and export driven economy is ranked fifth amongst the top ten economies in the world with $3.4 trillion in GDP. In 2011, Germany surpassed Russia in GDP with $3.227 trillion compared to Russia’s $3.203 trillion. In 2005, Russia was in eighth place.
Rank Country Purchasing Power Parity 1 United States $15.6 trillion 2 China $12.4 trillion 3 India $4.8 trillion 4 Japan $4.5 trillion 5 Russia $3.4 trillion 6 Germany $3.3 trillion 7 Brazil $2.4 trillion 8 France $2.4 trillion 9 United Kingdom $2.3 trillion 10 Mexico $2.0 trillion
The report was published last week in an annual ranking of GDP. The World Bank also updated their ranking of countries in terms of gross national product (GNP) per capita, grouping Russia in the ‘high income’ nation block, with individual yearly income of $12,616 or more. Continue reading
The Group of Eight (G8) summits have traditionally been seen more for their vanity than substance, and the one that opens today (June 17) in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, will not be an exception. The members of this privileged club—the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy and Russia—see no particular need to overcome their differences in managing the world’s slow-burning crises, from the economic slowdown to Syria. Besides the photo-ops, the main content of these tightly scripted get-togethers is supposed to be generated in the back rooms, and the most private of those is this time reserved for the meeting between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which should have happened a year ago, had Putin not opted to skip the May 2012 G8 summit in Camp David. The key figures in the Obama administration have far outdone their Russian counterparts in preparing an agenda for this tete-a-tete but succeeded only in downplaying the criticism of Putin’s persecution of political dissent, while no breakthrough in arms control is in the making (Kommersant-FM, June 14). Expectations that Russia could show some flexibility on Syria are arrested by the long-postponed announcement in Washington on providing military aid to the rebels. And what little understanding there was on issues looming over the wider Middle East is shattered by Putin’s statement that he has “no doubt that Iran is compliant with the rules” in executing its nuclear program (Gazeta.ru, Moscow echo, June 14; Forbes.ru, June 12). Continue reading
Answer: Nuclear saber-rattling
Russian nuclear-capable Bear bombers flew inside America’s defense zone near northern Alaska on April 28 and 29, marking the fifth incident of Russian bombers flying against the United States in less than a year.
In June, two Bears were intercepted near Alaska during a Russian military drill involving practice strikes against U.S. missile defense facilities. On the significant date of July 4, two more Bears flew closer to the California coast than any Russian aircraft have since the era of the Soviet Union. Then in February, two Bears circled Guam, a U.S. military hub, and in April Russia flew simulated strikes against U.S. missile forces in Japan.
Analysts say the ramped-up belligerence is part of Moscow’s efforts to sway Washington’s missile defense plans. Continue reading
The Teykovskaya Division of Russia’s Strategic Missile Troops located in the Ivanovo region is the first division fully rearmed with the new Topol-M (SS-27) and RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile systems. Later, Yars is to be introduced in more Strategic Missile Troops units. Continue reading
Further sealing the deal that this war was a long time in the making before the decision to invade. Georgia was essentially going to be Europe’s energy cooridor, with help of building infrastructure from the United States, that would decrease dependence from Russia — and also relieve pressure from the Soviet Union’s dominate political leverage which has been displayed by shutting off the energy resource transit pipelines (at will) that run from Ukraine to Europe, thus leaving European nations cold during the winters in previous years. The Soviet-Georgian war was never about a hostile regime in Georgia, a pocket-sized country with a population of roughly only 4.7 million.
Putin’s press service immediately confirmed the “Lost Day” as a genuine documentary. After a meeting with his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sargsyan, in the Kremlin, Putin confirmed to journalists the accuracy of some of the “Lost Day” allegations. According to Putin, the plan to invade Georgia was prepared in advance and “the Russian side acted within the framework of that plan.” The General Staff of the Armed Forces prepared the plan of military action against Georgia “at the end of 2006, and I authorized it in 2007,” continued Putin. According to the plan, heavy weaponry and troops were prepared and mobilized for the coming invasion. As part of the Russian Defense Ministry plan, Ossetian separatist forces were trained and armed to act as auxiliary forces in the preplanned engagement with the Georgian military. According to Putin, “Our military specialists believed they [Ossetian separatist militias] could not provide assistance in a clash of regular armies, but they turned out to be much needed.” Putin confirmed he phoned from Beijing several times on August 7 and 8, 2008 to talk with Medvedev and Serdyukov (RIA Novosti, August 8).
This week, while commemorating the anniversary of the war in Tskhinvali, Medvedev rejected the narrative of the “Lost Day” film, announcing that the decision to use force against Georgia was taken “at the right time” and “the decision of a rocket attack was taken at 4 a.m., August 8 .” In the passage about an authorized rocket attack, Medvedev is apparently referring to the order to attack Georgian cities and military bases with ballistic Tochka-M and Iskander missiles. According to Medvedev, “Those who speak different, do not know, or are lying – such decisions are taken by only one man, the Commander-in-Chief, and that was me.” Medvedev insisted the decision was not easy “since we recognized until August 26  the foreign state of Georgia [with sovereignty over Abkhazia and South Ossetia].” Medvedev added, “We had special relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but also talked about the territorial integrity of Georgia, though we understood this was practically impossible” (Interfax, August 9).
The “Lost Day” film and the comments by Putin and Medvedev have revealed a great deal: that the invasion of Georgia in August 2008 was indeed a preplanned aggression and that so-called “Russian peacekeepers” in South Ossetia and Abkhazia were in fact the vanguard of the invading forces that were in blatant violation of Russia’s international obligations and were training and arming the separatist forces. The admission by Putin that Ossetian separatist militias acted as an integral part of the Russian military plan transfers legal responsibility for acts of ethnic cleansing of Georgian civilians and mass marauding inside and outside of South Ossetia to the Russian military and political leadership. Putin’s admission of the prewar integration of the Ossetian separatist militias into the Russian General Staff war plan puts into question the integrity of the independent European Union war report, written by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini that accused the Georgians of starting the war and attacking Russian “peacekeepers,” which, according to Tagliavini, warranted a Russian military response (www.ceiig.ch/pdf/IIFFMCG_Volume_I.pdf).
After agreeing not to seek reelection for a second term as President and becoming Prime Minister last May, Medvedev has been visibly sidelined on the Moscow political scene and has been struggling to assert himself. The “Lost Day,” which praises Putin as the great statesman and brands Medvedev a coward, has been interpreted as a move by Putin’s entourage in the Kremlin to undermine Medvedev and possibly initiate his ouster (Moskovsky Komsomolets, August 9).
In response to the “Lost Day” controversy, the Georgian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement calling the international community to “demand from Russia nonuse of force against Georgia” (www.newsgeorgia.ru, August 9). However, Putin does not seem to expect any censure from Brussels or Washington, where the Barack Obama administration is continuing to appease Moscow with its luckless “reset” policy. Most likely the Russian General Staff today has another “plan” of invading and occupying the rest of Georgia, while the decision to go and when, as last time, will be decided by the same one person – Putin.
Full article: Putin Confirms the Invasion of Georgia Was Preplanned (Jamestown Foundation)
The House approved language on Thursday that would prevent the Obama administration from sharing classified information about U.S. missile defense technology with Russia.
The language was proposed by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) as an amendment to the 2013 Department of Defense spending bill and quickly approved by voice vote. Brooks said he proposed it as a reaction to the hot-mic conversation between President Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in which he said he would have more flexibility on the issue of U.S. involvement in European missile defense after the November election.
“In light of recent statements by President Obama that he wanted ‘more space’ from the Russians in regards to missile defense, and his statement that he would ‘have more flexibility’ on this issue after the elections, I am concerned… that the United States’s critical hit-to-kill and other valuable missile defense technology may become pawns in a political chess game of appeasement with the Russians,” Brooks said.
“If Russia’s defense staff is wiling to blatantly threaten the United States, why should the United States hand them the keys to technology that gives America’s war fighter a decided advantage?” he asked.
Full article: House votes to prevent Obama sharing defense data with Russia (The Hill)
For those who enquire about what possible oucomes would stem from a war with Iran, war with Russia is a real possibility. Although this is not new news, it also gives insight into why (among many other reasons) Russia had manufactured justification and invaded Georgia in 2006: It provides strategic military access. As pointed out by the article, Georgia will likely have to be invaded again should war break out.
The Russian military anticipates that an attack will occur on Iran by the summer and has developed an action plan to move Russian troops through neighboring Georgia to stage in Armenia, which borders on the Islamic republic, according to informed Russian sources.
Dmitry Rogozin, who recently was the Russian ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, warned against an attack on Iran.
“Iran is our neighbor,” Rogozin said. “If Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security.” Rogozin now is the deputy Russian prime minister and is regarded as anti-Western. He oversees Russia’s defense sector.
The implication of preparing to move Russian troops not only is to protect its own vital regional interests but possibly to assist Iran in the event of such an attack. Sources add that a Russian military buildup in the region could result in the Russian military potentially engaging Israeli forces, U.S. forces, or both.
Informed sources say that the Russians have warned of “unpredictable consequences” in the event Iran is attacked, with some Russians saying that the Russian military will take part in the possible war because it would threaten its vital interests in the region.
The influential Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper has quoted a Russian military source as saying that the situation forming around Syria and Iran “causes Russia to expedite the course of improvement of its military groups in the South Caucasus, the Caspian, Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.”
This latest information comes from a series of reports and leaks from official Russian spokesmen and government news agencies who say that an Israeli attack is all but certain by the summer.
Because of the impact on Russian vital interests in the region, sources say that Russian preparations for such an attack began two years ago when Russian Military Base 102 in Gyumri, Armenia, was modernized. It is said to occupy a major geopolitical position in the region.
The Russians believe that Georgia would cooperate with the United States in blocking any supplies from reaching Military Base 102, which now is supplied primarily by air. Right now, Georgia blocks the only land transportation route through which Russian military supplies could travel.
Fuel for the Russian base in Armenia comes from Iran. Russian officials believe this border crossing may be closed in the event of a war.
“Possibly, it will be necessary to use military means to breach the Georgian transport blockade and establish transport corridors leading into Armenia,” according to Yury Netkachev, former deputy commander of Russian forces in Transcaucasia. Geography of the region suggests that any such supply corridor would have to go through the middle of Georgia approaching Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi given the roads and topography of the country.
Full article: Russia Is Massing Troops On Iran’s Northern Border And Waiting For A Western Attack (Business Insider)
Russia should have “coordinated with the Arabs… before using the veto” to block a resolution on Syria in the UN Security Council, King Abdullah was quoted as saying.
“But now, dialogue about what is happening [in Syria] is futile,” the Saudi monarch told Medvedev in a telephone conversation on the escalating violence that has killed dozens of civilians in recent days.
According to the report, the king told Medvedev that Saudi Arabia “will never abandon its religious and moral obligations towards what’s happening.”
Full article: Saudi king tells Russian president Syria dialogue futile (NOW Lebanon)