Alexander Khrolenko, a columnist at the MIA "Russia Today"
The board of the Russian Ministry of Defense is being held on Friday in Moscow . Members of the board under the leadership of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu are considering the issues of the State Arms Program for 2018-2025 and the development of ground-based space infrastructure in the interests of the Armed Forces. Discussion can affect many spheres of life of the state and society.
Weekly German magazine Focus reported yesterday that Russia was among the world's three most powerful armies, has the strongest army on the planet with the largest number of tanks.
According to the Global Military Strength Index, Russia ranked second in the ranking, behind only the United States (with a military budget of 581 billion dollars). The third place belongs to China.
The first three are followed by: India, France, Great Britain, Japan, Turkey, Germany, Italy. A total of 126 countries are included in the rating. The weakest in the world were the armies of Madagascar, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
When calculating the military power index, more than 40 different factors (except nuclear weapons) are taken into account, including: human resources, defense spending, the power of the Air Force and the Navy, the volume of natural resources extraction and logistical characteristics of countries (the number of seaports operating Airports, the length of the road).
Until 2025, the Russian state armament program is not considered in the rating, but it is a dual-use tool that contributes to the country's defense capability (development of defense industry and arms exports) and has a beneficial effect on Russia's economic performance.
According to experts, one of the main conditions for the growth of the Russian economy is the development of non-primary exports, which must be doubled by 2024-2025. Modern types of weapons adequately represent the non-primary export of Russia on the world market.
Earlier, Bloomberg analyzed the efficiency of 93 economies of the world and took the Russian fourth place from the end - before Greece, Brazil and Venezuela. Here a question arises that Bloomberg does not answer: how can Russia sustainably maintain its impressive defense potential with a seemingly modest economy?
For example, in the Chinese army more than two million troops, 9,150 tanks, 700 ships, but China is only third in the ranking. Russia has half the military, but 15,398 tanks provide unconditional land leadership.
Only the USA with 8,848 tanks, 13,444 aircraft and helicopters managed to overtake Russia by military potential (in the field of combat aviation the Americans are ahead of everyone by a wide margin). However, Americans - the world's largest military budget, exceeding Russia's 12 times. Obviously, it's not just about the number of soldiers and money. A significant role is played by the system of state priorities and the effectiveness of public administration.
A year earlier, Russia was also included in the top three of the Global Ranking of Military Power . At the same time, Global Firepower experts noted that the Russian army was strengthened by a large-scale modernization, growth in production and procurement of military equipment in the defense industry. After the United States, Russia and China, the fourth place in the ranking was retained by India. The highest place in Europe was taken by the United Kingdom. In the first ten were also France, Germany and Turkey. That is, from year to year the armies of states with more developed economies are inferior to the Armed Forces of Russia. Probably, much remains behind the scenes.
The ratings do not take into account the nature of military and political leadership. I believe, completely in vain. For example, the Russian president and the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin was again included in the list of the 100 most influential people of the world according to Time magazine. Obviously, the qualities of a state leader significantly affect the defense capability of Russia, as well as the nuclear potential unaccounted for by the Global Military Strength Index.
Nuclear strike and emptiness: why does the US assess the survival of Russia and China
At a large press conference following the results of 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin said : "We have done a very great job of modernizing the nuclear missile potential of the Russian Federation, our Armed Forces." Let's note, Russia updates the nuclear triad in strict accordance with all international agreements, including START-3. And this is the most expensive update.
In the West, there are periodic reports of think tanks, including Stratfor , which explain how bad Russia's affairs are in the world arms market. However, 27% of the global arms market, which belong to Russia (only slightly less than the US share of 31%) - look quite convincing. The goal of many Western analysts is misinformation and understatement of Russia's role and influence. And yet, whatever one may say, Russian weapons are a geopolitical phenomenon.
Syrian turn of Russian arms exports
The export portfolio of the Russian defense industry in the past year reached 56 billion dollars . And only in the sector of military-technical cooperation with India until 2020, the portfolio of orders of Russian gunsmiths is 35 billion dollars . While Russian products in the Indian arms import account for more than 70%. Such a successfully sold only modern high-tech weapons, proven in combat conditions. But in fact, not everything that Russia has at the "global marketplace" is "shined".
The "defense" ratings of the West do not take into account the whole complex of factors and cause-effect relations, simplify the analysis, reduce the objectivity of assessments. Meanwhile , military operations in Syria are being tempered by Russian military security services and the Navy, strengthening state mechanisms and the international authority of the country, developing the defense industry and raising the Russian economy , and making it possible to flexibly change the military strategy .