Medvedev announces plan to rearm Russia
MOSCOW: President Dmitri A. Medvedev said Tuesday that Russia would begin a “large-scale rearming” in 2011 in response to what he described as threats to the country’s security.
In a speech before generals in Moscow, Mr. Medvedev cited encroachment by NATO as a primary reason for bolstering the military, including nuclear forces.
Mr. Medvedev did not offer specifics on how much the budget would grow for the military, whose capabilities deteriorated significantly after the fall of Soviet Union.
Russia has increased military spending sharply in recent years, but with the financial crisis and the drop in the price of oil, the country’s finances are under pressure, suggesting that it would be hard to lift these expenditures further.
Even so, Mr. Medvedev’s timing was notable. He is expected to hold his first meeting with President Barack Obama in early April in London on the sidelines of the summit meeting of the Group of 20 industrialized and developing countries.
Russia’s naval buildup should be viewed in the context of her stated intentions. The US Navy would do well to understand what those intentions mean to our allies in Europe and to ourselves in the Western Hemisphere. Russian bombers flying from airfields in Venezuela and/or Cuba make US strategic deployment a much less certain prospect than we have been used to for some decades, but a sizable and capable Russian fleet plying the world’s oceans may be even more of a challenge.