From Reuters:

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.

Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Foreign Policy, Maritime Security

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  • The question is, intentions aside, *can* Russia rearm? That is, can they afford to rearm? Will Russia have the financial power to pay for all the stuff they’ll need to “rearm”, which includes not just the actual rearming, but also training and sustainment (maintenance, extra maintainers, etc, etc). In the short term, depending on how the whole global economic shitstorm sorts out, how long it lasts, etc., they may not be able to sustain it. And they may not be able to sustain it in the long, long term, either, if their oil dries up, or oil becomes less necessary to the global economy. In short, let’s not piss ourselves yet.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Well, being cognizant of Russian intentions hardly constitutes pissing ourselves.

    Also, in the early 1930s with post-war Germany in dire economic times, those very same questions were asked regarding the new Hitler government. Seems they exceeded expectations.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    From the Associated Press this morning:

    MOSCOW — Russian news agencies say a top defense official has confirmed that Russia has signed a contract to sell S-300 air-defense missiles to Iran but that none of the weapons have been delivered.

    Russian officials have consistently denied claims that it already has provided some of the powerful missiles to Iran and had not clarified whether a contract existed.

    The state-run ITAR-Tass and RIA-Novosti news agencies and the independent Interfax quoted an unnamed top official in the Federal Military-Technical Cooperation Service as saying Wednesday the contract had been signed two years ago.

    Service spokesman Andrei Tarabrin told The Associated Press he could not immediately comment. Supplying the S-300s to Iran would markedly change the military balance in the Middle East.

  • Patton asks a good question. As one who follows Russian military affairs, the answer is, yes, they can afford it. Their plan is quite smart, though it comes with some risk and makes a bet on the future I think many will see as a good bet. I’ll fill in the details in a future post.

  • Jay

    I also wonder the effect of the supposed “brain drain” from Russia over the past 15 years. Lots of smart scientists came over here.