"We must not militarize the country endlessly"

Sergey Shoigu told State Duma deputies about the successes of the armed forces.
Today, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, addressed the deputies of the State Duma, reporting on the work of his department. According to the Minister, the Ministry of Defense is going to place a division in the Kuril Islands in 2017. Mr. Shoigu also said that in Russia "the information operations forces were created four years ago." According to the minister, they are "much more efficient and stronger than anything else related to counter-propaganda". At the same time, Sergey Shoigu opposed the "basic military training" in schools, since it is impossible "to militarize the country endlessly." The minister nevertheless supported the patriotic education, saying that one of its members considers the park "Patriot", where a copy of the Reichstag is being built now, "so that the cadets could storm it." Deputies unanimously approved the work of the ministry.

Russia's armed forces it terms of modern weapons and equipment will reach 62% this year, said today the Minister of Defence Sergey Shoigu, speaking to the State Duma deputies. Such rates, he said, require "strict execution of the defense order in 2017". In the Army the share of modern weapons has reached 42% in airborne troops - 47%, in the Navy - 74%.

Strategic nuclear forces of Russia, according to Mr. Shoigu, "maintained at a level that guarantees to solve the problem of nuclear deterrence." The Strategic Missile Forces have 99% of launchers combat ready, including 96% in constant readiness for immediate launch. "

Aviation strategic nuclear forces in the past year, received four modernized strategic long-range aviation aircrafts Tu-160 and Tu-95MS, the Minister of Defense informed. "The group of naval strategic nuclear forces of the Pacific Fleet was reinforced by a ballistic missile submarine Vladimir Monomakh. 41 new ballistic missiles were delivered to the armed forces. It is possible to achieve the 60 per cent level of modern equipment for the nuclear triad, and in the Strategic Missile Forces the value is 62%," he said.

"I will probably tell you a little secret: in the Patriot Park, we're building the Reichstag, not an exact copy, but our young Army men will get a chance to storm not just some object, but that building."

At the same time the creation of new radar stations "for the first time allowed to establish the perimeter of our country's continuous radar field warning system missile attack on all strategic aerospace areas and all types of flight trajectories of ballistic missiles in the history of the new Russia," said Sergey Shoigu. In the past year we have successfully tested three new Voronezh radar stations in Omsk, Barnaul and Yeniseisk. Three operating station in Baranovichi, Murmansk and Pechora were also completed.

Against this background, by the end of the year "there will be a full transition to using  Iskander missile complexes across the country", said the head of the defense department. The operational and tactical missile systems Iskander-M are supplied to missile brigades of ground troops, which were previously equipped with operational complexes Tochka-U. "As for our coasts, this year we shall accept Bastion shore complexes into combatduty. These are coast-guarding compexes. They work at fairly long distances. We thoroughly protect the approaches to the sea. In the Black Sea, we have completed the work," he said.

Sergey Shoigu especially pointed out the achievements in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles. In 2011, the Russian army had 180 outdated drones. Since then, their number has increased more than tenfold. "The armed forces formed 38 military units of unmanned aircrafts. There are more than 600 complexes with 2 thousand drones in total," he informed the deputies.

In the Russian Aerospace Forces, the share of modern weapons has reached 66%. The RAF was mentioned by the defense minister in connection with military operations in Syria. During the campaign, the Russian aircraft flew 1760 sorties, made 5682 attack on the infrastructure of terrorism." They "liquidated 40 training camps, 475 control centers, 45 factories and workshops for the production of ammunition."

Also they "killed 3119 militants, including 26 warlords," added Mr. Shoigu, who said that thanks to Russian participation "prevented the collapse of the Syrian state, virtually stopped civil war and attempts to change the legal authorities, controlled from abroad." He also noted the effectiveness of the "special forces." The Russian special forces, he said, "played a key role in the elimination of terrorists and destroying critical enemy targets and adjusting the strikes of our aircraft."

"The created Information Operations Forces are much more efficient and stronger than everything called the counter-propaganda."

At the same time, the Syrian operation revealed a deficit of military pilots. In 2016 the RAF needed 1.3 thousand pilots, said today the Minister of Defence Sergey Shoigu during his speech in the State Duma. "We were forced to extend, especially for the aircraft lifting personnel, the service perriod among particularly difficult specialties for five years. In 2018 we will close the deficit of flight crews," the minister promised.

Speaking about the prospects of development of the Armed Forces, Sergey Shoigu also touched the issue of creating new divisions, the task of which is to protect the country's borders in the west, south-west and in the Arctic. "We hope this year to complete the placement of three divisions on the western border and south-west. We are actively working to protect the Kurils. There we should place a division, we also need this year to complete its placement," he assured the deputies.

However, the directions chosen by the military experts didn't satisfy the LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky. "Our main direction is south, and we go to the West," he expressed his indignancy. "Stop the westward movement; both the army and the economy shall be redirected to the South, then we will win."

In addition, the Russian army soldiers, according to Mr. Zhirinovsky, "not only knew the army of the enemy, but they were prepared to work with the population." In this sense, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party called the operation in Syria "brilliant". And in order to make it a tradition of the armed forces, he proposed "to restore the 7th Department of the General Staff, as now the special propaganda is needed". "It has been four years since we created that department, though the name is different," replied Sergey Shoigu. "In addition, during this time the information operations forces have been created, which are much more efficient and stronger than everything called counter-propaganda".  The Defence Minister did not discuss the choise of the directions to place new divisions. 

"We must not militarize the country indefinitely. We must engage in patriotic education. "

However, critical observations today were made only by Vladimir Zhirinovsky. The representatives of other factions on the eve of Defender of the Fatherland Day, only expressed their wishes and congratulations. In particular, the reference to "Yunarmia" (All-Russian military-patriotic social movement, created in October 2015) caused the deputies to question whether to revive the basic military training at schools, as it was in Soviet times. Sergey Shoigu said that every soldier from the "leadership of the armed forces" have created cadet squads "in schools they graduated from". "All commanders conduct supervision over there squads," the Minister explained. "Imagine 450 squads (the number of State Duma deputies), and each deputy will need to supervise them. I urge you to do so and would like to see you do this, and we are ready to help."

As for the basic military training, the defense minister urged MPs to show restraint. "It should be optional," he believes. "We must not militarize the country indefinitely. We must engage in patriotic education." One of the elements of such education, according to Mr. Shoigu, is the Patriot Park in Moscow's Kubinka. "I will probably tell you a little secret: in the Patriot Park, we're building the Reichstag, not an exact copy, but our young Army men will get a chance to storm not just some object, but that building," he said, causing the applause of the deputies. (Reichstag is a historic building in Berlin, where the red flag was raised on May 1, 1945, which symbolized the victory over the Nazi Germany.)

As a result of the talk with Sergey Shoigu, the deputies unanimously adopted a resolution, fully approving the work of the Ministry of Defence.