Russian National Security: Summing Up 2019

It is time to analyse the big results to understand what is expected of us next year. And it can be boldly said that the national security of the country is firmly cemented.

These are the most topical – they were voiced by the President at the meeting of the board of the Ministry of Defense. For example, he stated that the proportion of modern weapons in the “nuclear triad” had reached 82%. And the Nuclear Forces convincingly showed increased capabilities at the “Thunder 2019” exercise. The fleet and long-range aviation depicted a “Kuzma’s mother” to any opponent within the framework of the exercises “Operation Ocean Shield”, and the manoeuvres of the “Center2019” joint actions of national military formations of eight BRICS member states were for the first time coordinated. And this year, for the first time, our Tu-160 strategic bombers flew to South Africa and then returned. In addition, it was stated that 359 modern weapons had been tested by the Russian armed forces in Syria. And a huge number of officers passed through the combat experience of the Syrian campaign.

But the most important thing – the Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu reported to the President: the first strategic missile complex “Avangard” was put on combat duty. Yes, this is the same intercontinental ballistic missile with a gliding winged combat unit that is capable of flying in dense layers of the atmosphere at a speed of more than mach 20, manoeuvring along its course and altitude and overcoming any missile defence. Why is this so important? We already have a lot of missiles that can steal any Christmas along with the people of a big country. It’s not about the threat. It’s about creating a new reality, which Putin said right during the Defence Ministry’s panel:

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“Note: neither the Soviet Union nor Russia have never sought to pose threats to other countries. And we’ve always caught up. The atomic bomb was created by the United States, and the Soviet Union was only catching up. We had no means of delivery, no nuclear weapons carriers either. There was no strategic aviation. The Soviet Union caught up. The first intercontinental range missiles actually didn’t appear with us either, the Soviet Union caught up. Today we have a unique situation in our new and modern history. It is they who are catching up with us. No country has hypersonic weapons at all, and hypersonic continental range all the more so. “

By the way, you have noticed – the president has recently very often compared modern Russia to the Soviet Union. I think that in the mentality of any resident of Russia and the post-Soviet republics, the Soviet Union, with any attitude towards it, remained as an image of a very large and strong country capable of great achievements: from space flight to the construction of the Baikal–Amur Mainline or Dnieper Hydroelectric Station. Perhaps in Putin’s mind, too. In the 90’s Russia was the heir of the USSR mainly on the topic of debts to the Paris Club. Debts were paid in 2006. The phrase “Paris Club” disappeared from the language of our media. And now Putin is beginning to compare Russia and the USSR in a completely different way.

Remember, Putin was asked at a big press conference: is it true that we still live off the inheritance of the USSR? He then said, No, “and cited the numbers. Strictly speaking, they are not the outcome of this year – the process took almost two decades, but they were voiced for the first time right now. So, according to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, only 25% of fixed assets in industry remained from the USSR. 75% were created in the last 20 years. From these, the proportion of Russian and not Soviet enterprises in woodworking is 97%. Food and textiles – 95%. Medical equipment – 92%. The auto industry – 72%. Chemical production – 63%. The average age of machine tools and manufacturing equipment is about 12 years. The most visible results of this year, of course, are large construction sites – the opening of the bridge across the Kerch Strait – both the automobile and railway parts. Plus high-speed М-11 – Moscow – St. Petersburg. And, of course, the bridge to Russky island. But it’s not just roads and bridges. The pipeline “Power of Siberia” was launched, and “Turkish Stream” has been completed. Nord Stream 2 fell a bit short because of American sanctions, but it will also be built. So, in a year alone, several of the largest world-class projects have been launched at the same time.

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Andrey Dobrov

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