Vladimir Putin: Dear comrades!
As we conclude this portion of our work I would like to draw your attention to what the Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister [Sergei Ivanov] said about the need to establish a unified system of defense orders.
I want to draw your attention to the fact that this is not a technical issue, and neither is it a financial issue or even an organisational issue. Without any undue exaggeration, this is a political issue. Why? Because together we certainly need to ensure the implementation of plans to establish fundamentally new strategic weapons systems, something which would undoubtedly ensure the balance of power in the world.
What does ensuring the balance of power in the world mean for us today? It means that we are not going to proceed as we did in previous years and decades and only engage in comparing the amounts of strategic forces that nuclear powers have. Even though this still retains a certain importance today. In today’s world something else is important: it is not the number of weapons and nuclear warheads that is important, it is the quality of weapons that is important.
For us, this idea of maintaining the strategic balance will mean that our strategic deterrence forces must be capable of destroying any potential aggressor, no matter what modern weapons system this aggressor possesses. Only the guaranteed possibility of destroying such an aggressor can ensure Russia’s strategic security in a long-term perspective. However, strategic deterrence forces are not enough for the country. Without effective general purpose forces we will not be able to prevent and effectively fight against local conflicts, in the event that we should need to do so. General purpose forces should be constructed, equipped and trained with a view to resolving today’s problems.
I am in constant communication with servicemen from various troops. I am perfectly aware of how our servicemen perform their duties in ‘hot spots’. And I well remember how our soldiers carried out their military tasks in the mountains in regular type of boots. And they keep doing it in the same kind of boots until today. And is this modern equipment adequate for resolving today’s tasks? Of course not. It was for this reason that I ordered the Defense Ministry and the General Staff to think about and to equip new divisions – mountain brigades – and to expose them in the region that is the most dangerous for us with respect to local conflicts.
But of all of this – both the nuclear deterrence forces and the general purpose forces as we understand them today – requires huge financial and material resources. Our country does not have endless such resources, but we do have some. And while we have a peaceful foreign policy – and we carry out such a policy and intend to continue doing so in the future – we also have enough means and resources available to resolve all of these problems.
We only need to work together to ensure that national money is spent judiciously. And we are in the position to do so. You are in the position to do so. I very much expect that this will take place and I wish you success.
Thank you very much.