> – Russian Defense Ministry Denies Mass Media Reports that Ground Forces Seeking to Purchase 1,000 Italian-Built APCs
– Former Soviet Cosmonaut, Communist Duma Deputy Urges Kremlin to Steal Western Military Secrets
– EU Foreign Minister Drops Opposition to Euro-Army HQ in Brussels, Baroness Ashton Activist in Campaign for Nuclear Disarmanent (CND) in 1980s
– CND Founder, Former Labour Party Leader Michael Foot on KGB Payroll, Exposed as Agent “Boot” by KGB Defector Oleg Gordievsky; Foot Died March 3
The French Ministry of Surrender is busy these days waving the white flag. On March 3 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev wrapped up a two-day official visit to France with a state dinner in the Elysee Palace hosted by President Nicolas Sarkozy. One of the main events on the “menu” was the opening of a “Holy Russia” exhibition in the Louvre Museum, an event that officially inaugurated the Russia-France Cross Cultural Year.
Together Medvedev and Sarkozy praised the burgeoning Moscow-Paris Axis, which includes France’s participation in the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline project under the Baltic Sea, and bilateral cooperation in space, energy, high technology, and medicine. Next month the Russian Federal Space Agency is scheduled to launch its first rockets from French Guiana. We have already speculated that the Soviets could theoretically lob ICBMs at the Continental USA from this platform in South America.
Meanwhile, Medvedev continued to push his concept of “European security,” a Soviet plot to completely undermine the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by combining its mandate and forces with those of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which embraces a number of Not-So-Former Soviet republics. Medvedev also held talks with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and the heads of the two houses of the French parliament.
Since NATO’s inception after the Second World War, France has asserted an independent role in that organization. Nothing has substantially changed in the 21st century. Even as Sarkozy cautiously brings his country back under NATO’s military command, he concurrently supports the creation of an integrated European army devoid of any US influence. The Soviet strategists have taken advantage of France’s prideful streak to drive a deep wedge into the North Atlantic Alliance. Following the Russian invasion of Georgia in August 2008 Sarkozy placed his imprimatur on the deeply flawed truce that led to Russia’s occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, even as Moscow and Belgrade growled over Kosovo’s NATO-backed secession from Serbia. In truth, French pride has become treasonous, endangering the rest of NATO.
Central to bilateral relations between Moscow and Paris is the French government’s formal consent
to sell a Mistral amphibious assault ship to Russia, as well as coordinate the production of three more such vessels under license in Russian shipyards. Negotiations began last summer and if the deal is clinched this month then the contract may exceed 1.2 billion euros. The 200-meter-long Mistral can transport 900 naval infantry troops, or 40 tanks, 15 heavy or 35 light helicopters, landing barges, and speed boats. The ship can not only support amphibious operations, but also independently engage in warfare. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have articulated their fears that Russia will use the French-built helicopter carriers to re-invade their countries.
Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy director of the Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, admits that Russia’s looming acquisition and construction of four Mistrals will greatly enhance the Russian Navy’s war-fighting capacity: “Perhaps, it’s really worth beginning by purchasing large aircraft carriers such as Mistral and then pump out funds for escort ships our Navy badly needs today.”
Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council and former chief of the Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB), acknowledged that the Kremlin is looking into both options: build at home or buy abroad. This week he told reporters: “We can really build a similar ship in our country but this will take time, and we can really buy it abroad, but this requires money. It is too premature to say which view will prevail.”
In a recent meeting with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Sarkozy, a putative rightist, dismissed White House concerns about the danger of selling the Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia. “We can’t expect Russia to behave as a partner if we don’t treat it as a partner,” protested Sarkozy lamely.
For his part, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is nonchalant toward NATO member France’s cozy alliance with “former” enemy Russia and, indeed, chastises Russia’s immediate neighbours, all of which are “former” Soviet republics, for looking askance at the Mistral deal.
Although the patriotism of many Russians is wounded by the acquisition of foreign military equipment in the face of a flagging defense industry, the Soviet strategists clearly view Russian military strength in an opportunistic light. In an interview published by Paris Match, ahead of his visit to the French capital, Medvedev stated: “Even though Russia is one of the world’s major suppliers of all kinds of military hardware, from the Kalashnikov assault rifle to the S-300 missile defense batteries, it wants to learn from other countries’ experience to keep its defense industry in a competitive environment.” Paris Match quoted Russia’s top general Nikolai Makarov as affirming that his country will move ahead with the Mistral purchase.
In response to angry queries from State Duma deputies affiliated with the open communist party, Sergei Ivanov, one of several deputy prime ministers, recently acknowledged that Russia is seeking to purchase military hardware abroad. State-run Voice of Russia admitted that “The purchases are needed to upgrade Russia’s defense industry, which is lagging behind the West, particularly in ship-building. In crisis-hit 2009 the government channelled more than 100 billion rubles to defense enterprises. Communists fear that purchasing military hardware abroad may produce a negative impact on the country’s defense capacity.” An official spokesentity for the Defense Ministry Alexei Kuznetsov, however, has denied mass media reports that the Russian Ground Forces intend to buy 1,000 Italian-built Iveco armored personnel carriers.
As noted above, representatives of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) are feigning disapproval
of the Kremlin’s intent to purchase the French helicopter carriers. On March 10 former Soviet cosmonaut and CPRF deputy Svetlana Savitskaya complained:
A few days ago Russia almost signed an agreement with France to purchase the Mistral. Following the conflict in South Ossetia in August 2008, Russia bought reconnaissance drones from Israel, and today it is ready to purchase the Mistral from France. It looks like that some members of the [Russian] government are lobbying for this deal. A slow process of purchases of military hardware abroad has started, which will negatively impact Russia’s defense potential.
Her patriotism and “internationalism” offended, Savitskaya ironically urged Russia’s putative rulers to utilize the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces (GRU) to pinch Western military secrets: “Have we forgotten how to make military hardware? And if we do not know certain secrets that other countries know, what is our military-technological intelligence service for? Cabinet Ministers! Give it this task!”
The demise of NATO following a feigned implosion of the Soviet Bloc was clearly predicted in KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn’s first book New Lies for Old (1984). Truly, it can be concluded that the North Atlantic Alliance does not perceive the neo-Soviet threat and cannot be trusted to adequately defend Europe and North America from future Russian aggression.