Russia in Review
July 9, 2010
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: The US-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism
A digest of useful news from the U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism for the week of July 2-9, 2010.
I. U.S. and Russia priorities for the bilateral agenda
Nuclear security agenda:
- President Medvedev decreed to subordinate Federal Service on Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Oversight directly to Premier Putin. Previously this watchdog has beensubordinated to the Ministry of Natural Resources. (Interfax, 07/05/10).
Iran nuclear issues:
- Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov: launch date of Bushehr is linked to purely technical issues; will take place sometime between August 23 and September 23, 2010. (Itar-Tass, 06/08/10).
NATO-Russia cooperation, including transit to Afghanistan.
- U.S. has spent more than $800 million to buy Russian Mi-17 helicopters: DOD has bought 31 Mi-17s for Afghanistan and wants to procure 10 additional Mi-17s; Pakistan has received 10; Iraq operates 18 with another 22 on order. (WSJ, 07/08/10).
- Burutin, deputy chief of General Staff, said on Thursday Russia is drafting a new U.S.-Russian missile defense treaty, but backtracked hours later. (Interfax, Itar-Tass, 07/08/10).
- Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov: Russia has "never set a goal of constraining U.S. MD, including global missile defense, through this treaty." (Kommersant, 06/08/10).
- U.S. and Poland amended their missile-defense agreement to conform to the Obama administration's new plan. (WSJ, 07/03/10).
- Polish MFA:Poland will enable Russia to inspect missile defense sites on its territory. (Interfax, 07/05/10).
- Foreign Ministry spokesman Nesterenko: "It is already clear" that the new U.S. blueprint "in essence posits the deployment in Europe of a missile defense architecture without taking into account Russia's justified interests and concerns." (Source?)
Ratification of the New START treaty:
- State Duma's international affairs and defense committees recommend that the lower chamber ratify the treaty. Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Kosachev: the treaty might be ratified in the beginning of the autumn session, but if U.S. delays the ratification, "we'll do the same." (Itar-Tass, 07/08/10)
- Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov told State Duma hearings on ratification of the treaty: "It is a complicated subject and there is no point in rushing. There is no point in dragging it out either."Asked about whether it would be in September or December, Ryabkov said that "it is better in September than in December" (Interfax, Itar-Tass, 07/08/10).
- Sen. Lugar fired back at Romney over his opposition to the new treaty, accusing former Massachusetts governor and presidential contender of "hyperbolic" rhetoric that is divorced from the reality of arms control. (NYT, 07/08/10).
- Orlov, deputy head of the Main Operative Department of the General Staff: "The new START does not impose any restrictions on the development" of Russian nuclear forces. (Interfax, 07/06/10).
- Belyayev, an expert of the State Duma's Defense Committee: "The devil is behind two stumbling blocks - missile defense and telemetry. This would unmistakably undermine Russia's national security. They will wipe their feet on us after 2015." (Interfax, 07/06/10).
- Rogov, director of the Institute of the U.S. and Canada: "this treaty will make it possible to maintain strategic stability over the next decade." (Interfax, 07/06/10).
Energy exports from CIS:
- Russian oil has taken an unexpected turn to the U.S., where it is making inroads on the West Coast. Imports have gone from zero to an estimated 100,000 barrels a day in a matter of months since a pipeline bringing crude from deep inside Eastern Siberia came online. (WSJ, 07/06/10).
- Russia is sending record amounts of oil to Asia. South Korean imports of Russian crude climbed to an all-time high of 179,000 barrels a day. Japan took an unprecedented 241,000 barrels a day. (Bloomberg, 06/08/10).
- Bulgaria will pull out of a partnership with Russia and Greece to build Burgas-Alexandroupolispipeline over BP's oil spill. (FT, 06/07/10).
Other bilateral issues:
- U.S. and Russia exchanged 10 spies arrested in the U.S. for four convicted in Russia at Vienna's airport on Friday.Russian MFA said Moscow had agreed to a swap "for reasons of a humanitarian nature and based on the principles of constructive partnership." White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said the arrests send a signal to not only Russia but to other countries that will attempt to spy in the U.S. that "we're on to them." (AP, WP, 07/09/10).
- Tretyakov, former top Russian spy, who defected to the U.S. in 2000, died at his home in Florida.(AP, 07/09/10).
II. Russia news
Politics, Economy, and Energy:
- Russia's budget deficit narrowed to $14 billion in June. (Bloomberg, 07/09/10).
- Russia's total public and private foreign debt decreased 1.2 % in the second quarter to $464.4 billion. (Bloomberg, 07/09/10).
- A proposal to let the Russian security service summon people it believes are about to commit a crime and punish those who disobey was dropped from a controversial bill on Tuesday after protests by rights groups. (Reuters, 07/06/10).
- Sova human rights center: number of hate crimes committed by ultra-right skinhead groups in Moscow and St. Petersburg continues declining, but the situation in other Russian regions remains the same. Since the start of the year, 19 people have been killed and nearly 167 more have been injured as a result of hate crimes in Russia. (Interfax, 06/07/10).
- Pugachev, an oligarch seen as close to Premier Putin, saw his bank default on €200 billion in Eurobonds, triggering losses for foreign investors even as the state stepped in to buoy his strategic shipbuilding empire. (WSJ, 07/07/10).
- Burutin, deputy chief of General Staff: Russia will continue to launch 10-12 ICBM's per year in the next decade. (Interfax, Itar-Tass, 07/08/10).
- The Vostok (East) 2010 strategic exercises: Ground Forces Commander Postnikov: the war-game, which was designed to try to strengthen the grouping of troops in the Far East strategic sector using troops deployed in other regions, is a success. Defense Minister Serdyukov: Vostok-2010 involves 20,000 servicemen, 5,000 weapons and pieces of military equipment, over 40 ships and about 75 airplanes and helicopters, the final stage will be held in 2011. (Interfax, 07/07/10).
- Popov, commander of the Air Force's Missile Anti-Aircraft Forces: "The S-500, a new (air defense) system being developed now, makes another step that is ahead of our potential enemy's by at least 15-20 years." (Interfax, 07/05/10).
- Prominent Russian arms control expert Arbatov: Russian nuclear arsenal contains some 10,000 weapons. (Interfax, 07/06/10).
- Russia is buying the Mistral helicopter carrier with the French technical stuffing, including the combat navigation system, but the weaponry and helicopters will be Russian. (Interfax, 07/05/10).
- United Aircraft Corporation: MoD plans to buy 50 military-transport, air-tanker planes over 10 years. (Interfax, 07/07/10).
- Russian Armed Force's Main Armaments Directorate: Russia to scrap up to 60% of obsolete military hardware within 10 years. (Interfax via BBC, 07/01/10).
- Chemical weapons scrapping facility to open in central Russia in late 2010. (Interfax via BBC, 07/071/10).
- President Medvedev decreed Grigory Naginsky to the post of Deputy Defense Minister, Sergei Zhirov to the post of Head of the Planning and Logistics Operations Coordination of MoD, Vladimir Korolev to the post of the Commander of the Black Sea Fleet. (States News Service, 07/08/10).
- Premier Putin set out Russia's latest attempt to foil a growing Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, calling on local leaders to reduce grinding poverty. (Reuters, 07/06/10).
- Two police troopers have been killed in an ambush in Ingushetia. (AP, 07/05/10).
- Secretary of State Clinton assured Georgia that it remains a key U.S. partner, using tough language to call for Russia to end its "occupation" of separatist territories. (WSJ, 07/06/10).
- Verkhovna Rada has adopted a resolution on the Ukrainian parliament`s declaration, entitled "Real guarantees to Ukraine`s nuclear-free status," which calls on the international community to strengthen security assurances to Ukraine. (Kyiv Post, 07/07/10).
- IMF offered Ukraine $15bn to fix economy. (FT, 07/05/10).
- Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan took their longest stride to date in linking their economies, forming a customs union that they say will soon evolve into a more ambitious common market . (NYT, 07/05/10).
- Otunbayeva was sworn in as interim president of Kyrgyzstan at the weekend, pledging to bring democratic rule of law. (FT, 07/05/10).
- Romney says that New START impedes our ability to build missile defenses against attack from rogue countries - the treaty will have no impact on our ability to build ballistic missile defenses.
- Romney warns that Russia could use language in the treaty's preamble as a pretext for withdrawal if the United States builds up its missile defense. In a word, baloney. The preamble is not legally binding.
- Romney is flat wrong in claiming that the Bilateral Consultative Commission is broadly empowered to amend the treaty with regard to missile defense - any amendment proposed by the commission would have to be ratified just like a new treaty.
- Another red herring is the notion that the treaty allows Russia to escape limits on the number of strategic nuclear warheads - the same limits apply to the United States and Russia.
- Romney's claim that Russia can mount an unlimited number of ICBMs on bombers is a strategic concept that was rejected in the 1960s. If Russia were foolish enough to pursue this path, we could either get the new weapons incorporated in the treaty or withdraw.
- Romney's argument that the treaty abandons limits on MIRVs, is equally flawed - the Bush administration decided it did not care what missiles Russia retained when it negotiated the 2002 Moscow Treaty.
- Concerns about restrictions on converting launchers for ICBMs and those launched from submarines for missile defense purposes are misplaced because those conversions would be more expensive and less effective than alternatives and thus unnecessary.
- Whenit comes to nuclear danger, the nation's security is more important than scoring cheap political points.
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