– Communist China Rescues Cash-Strapped Dictator Lukashenko, Exports “Market Socialism” to Belarus by Extending US$1 Billion Loan, Buying State Enterprises
Although the Soviet Armed Forces were officially dissolved on Christmas Day 1991, when the Communist Party deceptively banned itself and dismantled the Soviet Union, this once-feared military has returned, in part, under the guise of the Union State of Russia and Belarus’ integrated air defense system and the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s Collective Rapid Reaction Force.
According to the Belarusian media, some 5,000 servicemen from that “former” Soviet republic are taking part with Russia in a joint military exercise, Union Shield 2011, which began on September 16 and will wrap up on September 22. The Belarusian army, which like Russia’s still fights under the banner of the Bolsheviks’ red star, shipped 35 tanks, 80 armored vehicles, and some 20 warplanes and helicopters to the Gorokhovetsky and Ashuluk training grounds in southern European Russia. The Russian Armed Forces will contribute 7,000 servicemen.
The Union Shield 2011 war game features different versions of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system and Smerch multiple rocket launch system. Belarus’ military training grounds are too small to accommodate air defense exercises. The maneuvers will involve cadets from the Belarusian Military Academy and the military faculty of Belarusian State University of Informatics and Electronic Engineering.
The scenario of the exercise was jointly designed by the General Staffs of the Russian and Belarusian Armed Forces and “developed with consideration for the experience of military conflicts in Afghanistan and Libya,” presumably referring to the ongoing NATO operations in those Muslim countries. Russian and Belarusian brass insist that Union Shield 2011, the most recent of several similarly named drills, is “exclusively defensive nature” and not directed against “any countries or military blocs.” Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod and Astrakhan regions, where the exercise is taking place, are far from the country’s front with NATO, which embraces several ex-Warsaw Pact states.
For the first time in the “post”-Soviet era, as previously blogged here, Ukraine is participating in a Union Shield exercise by sending an “airmobile unit,” presumably meaning paratroopers. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kiev transferred control of the strategic bombers and nuclear weapons on its territory to Moscow. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, like Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, is an “ex”-cadre of the CPSU and generally pro-Moscow in his political orientation, although Kiev feigns interest in joining NATO in order to provoke tiffs with the Kremlin.
At the same time, Russian and Belarusian troops are taking part in CSTO’s Center 2011 drill, which began at the Ashuluk training ground and will culminate in reconnaissance operations in the Caspian Sea region, for the purposing of preventing aircraft from transporting “terrorists” (NATO forces?) into the CSTO sphere. The exercise, which will test the operability of the new Collective Rapid Reaction Force (pictured above), consists of more than 12,000 troops in brigade-sized units, over 50 jet fighters and ground attack aircraft, and 25 air defense units from Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
“The scenario of one of the episodes of the active stage of the exercise provides for the joint application of air defense units of Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan in counterterrorism efforts in an armed conflict in a border area,” Kremlin-run Novosti quoted Vladimir Drik, spokesman for the Russian Air Force, as saying.
Center 2011 also involves more than 15 target simulators, as well as six different antiaircraft missile systems. CSTO troops will practice battlefield tasks, defensive and offensive operations, and bridging rivers during combat. More than 100 tanks will provide support to the war games, which includes the use of live ammunition. Belarusian warplanes are expected to participate in simulated aerial combat and practice hitting aerial and ground targets. All of these tactics, of course, could be well applied in an operation involving the re-invasion and re-occupation of territory now claimed by the European Union–Mikhail Gorbachev’s “new European Soviet”–but 20 years ago part of the East Bloc of socialist states.
Observing Center 2011 on the ground are representatives of Algeria, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Syria, countries which have been historically aligned with the Soviet Union and now Russia, as well as recipients of Soviet/Russian armament. In attendance are also the defense ministers of Armenia, Belarus, Russia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine.
The quote from Drik above shows that the Soviet strategists are concerned about an “armed conflict in a border area,” meaning the “post”-Soviet periphery. According to Interfax news agency, both Union Shield 2011 and Center 2011 are “aimed at making the Kremlin’s forces more agile and better capable of deploying to allied countries” and “better able to deploy abroad.”
A news report from the Azerbaijani media indicates Ukraine’s participation in both war games, although Kiev does not officially hold membership in CSTO: “The Union Shield and Center-2011 exercises have common topics and tasks. They involve all participants – Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine, stated a report from the Kazakh Ministry of Defense.”
In a related story, last December it was reported that some time this year Russia and Red China would hold their fifth “Peace Mission” war game, but this has yet to materialize. The end of the Sino-Soviet split, following a bogus collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, was predicted in KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn’s remarkable first book, New Lies for Old (1984), which details the Soviet strategic deception plan for global conquest. Golitsyn referred to this Moscow-Beijing, or Trans-Asian, Axis as the “one clenched fist” of world communism.
Incidentally, Communist China, which this past July sent a small contingent of People’s Liberation Army paratroopers to Belarus for joint “anti-terrorist” exercises, has extended a US$1 billion loan to cash-strapped international pariah Lukashenko. A pioneer of “market socialism,” the Communist Party of China is also offering to prop up Belarus’ Soviet-era command economy by buying a number of state enterprises like Belaruskali, which produces 15 percent of the world’s potash.