Staunton, March 23 – Many in Russia and the West have been impressed even overawed by Vladimir Putin’s promises to transform his country into a great military power by a massive program of rearmament, but commentator Pavel Pryanikov argues that there isn’t any militarization going on now and there won’t be because “THERE IS NO MONEY.”
In a note for Rosbalt, he points to official acknowledgements that one prominent rocket program isn’t in the cards despite the Kremlin build up. The project, officials say, simply doesn’t work “from the point of view of economics,” a euphemistic phrase suggesting it costs more than they have to spend on it (rosbalt.ru/posts/2018/03/22/1690788.html).
Similar arguments are appearing in other military sectors as well – see, for example, vz.ru/society/2018/3/23/913289.html regarding the lack of funds for an aircraft carrier – but Pryanikov is more blunt that most others: “There is no militarization,” he says. “Because THERE IS NO MONEY.” The Kremlin has money for videos; it doesn’t for real arms programs.
Unlike the more powerful USSR whose elite “was not sitting in London using stolen money,” Moscow simply can’t quickly raise the funds it needs to launch a genuine program of rearmament without going after those near the Kremlin that are the basis of its power. That isn’t likely to happen.
Consequently, the commentator says, “there is no militarization and there won’t be any. If by chance it should occur, you’ll know immediately: one part of the patriots and the democrats will be dispatched to sharashkas,” the facilities within the GULAG that Stalin used for his build up. “The other part will be sent out of Moscow to places they’ll be assigned to work in factories.
This is not to say, of course, that there won’t be a sense of re-militarization. Many Russians noticed that new apartment blocks in the capital now again have bomb shelters in their basements (kp.ru/daily/26809/3845456/), and eight million Russians competed to name the new super weapons Putin talks about but may never have (gordonua.com/blogs/sotnik/8-mln-rossiyan-vybrali-nazvaniya-dlya-smertonosnogo-oruzhiya-oni-v-pervyh-ryadah-poydut-navstrechu-yadernomu-gribochku-238040.html).