Radio Liberty reports that Russian "President" Vladimir Putin went into a rabid, mouth-frothing frenzy of cold war provocation during during a visit to the new Moscow headquarters of Russian Military Intelligence (GRU). It states that "he told military intelligence chiefs that the practice by some states of taking 'one-sided illegitimate action' and their attempts to 'unceremoniously push their positions' undermines stability." By "some states" it was clearly understood that he was referring to the United States. A reader provides further translation of some of Putin's remarks:
The international community finds itself in a situation in which factors of force are dominating in international relations, a situation where relations are being undermined by unilateral action action that is not legitimate in international law undertaken by a number of countries, and by attempts by some countries to unceremoniously impose their positions without taking into account at all the legitimate interests of other partners. And you know what means states make use of when carrying out such action: the economy, political and diplomatic means, and a monopoly on the world media.Meanwhile, Russia continued testing ICBMS that can be fired at the United States, and while it maintains a standard of living between Libya and Macedonia, with average monthly salaries of $300, it increased the military budget by 22% last year to $24 billion and announced it will spend $30 billion this year, a 25% increase. This sum amounts to 11.5% of Russia's anticipated budget revenue of $260 billion for 2007. And it's only the declared portion of Russia's military expenditures. The amount that is concealed is universally acknowledged to be gigantic.
In my Address [to the Federal Assembly], I spoke of the stagnation in disarmament, a stagnation that has not come about through any fault of ours. Furthermore, the threat of the emergence of destabilising weapons such as low-charge nuclear weapons and strategic missiles equipped with non-nuclear warheads is on the rise. A number of countries seek to have their hands free in order to place weapons, including nuclear weapons, in space.
The threat of a global conflict has been reduced to a minimum today, and this is indeed the case. The system of international relations ensures an unprecedented level of mutual controls and confidence in the military sphere. At the same time, however, we see that not only are the leading countries not giving up arsenals that are well above what is needed for their actual defence, but, on the contrary, are constantly modernising them, including offensive weapons. These processes all call for the GRU’s close attention.
Going further, wide-scale activity by international terrorist groups remains a serious threat today. We have received repeated information from the intelligence services, including military intelligence, on support for underground terrorist groups in Russia from abroad.
I stress that these channels of support must be identified and decisive action must be taken to cut them off and liquidate them.
The problem of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction also remains very serious. The blows dealt to the non-proliferation control regime are a real threat for the entire world, and for Russia, of course, for our people, all the more so as the problem regions are in direct proximity to our borders.
I note that the GRU has begun paying close attention to non-proliferation issues, and rightly so. I ask you to continue to keep a close eye on the whole range of issues concerning nuclear, chemical, biological weapons and missile technology. And, of course, we must also ensure that components of weapons of mass destruction do not fall into the hands of terrorist organisations.
Russia is spending at least 3% of GDP on its military, probably much more, despite the total absence of direct military threats other than Chechnya, which the Kremlin claims has been resolved. Russia is matching the percent GDP that the U.S. devotes to military spending even though the Russian economy is five times smaller per capita, which means that this level of spending is five times more difficult for Russians to bear than Americans. What's more, if Russia's rate of military spending increase continues, it will soon rocket past the U.S. in share of GDP devoted to military spending (what brought the USSR to its knees was trying to match the US dollar-for-dollar). And having imposed this burden on its impoverished society and decimated population, Russia is still left spending ten times less on the military than the U.S., it's so-called enemy, leaving it relatively defenseless in the event of a confrontation.