The Guardian November 28, 2001


Communists oppose Putin's disarmament plans

The following is is a statement made by Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of 
the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) and Chairman of the 
National Patriotic Union of Russia. The statement was made on November 16 
on the recent visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the USA.

During his US visit Mr Putin declared an intention to drastically cut 
Russia's Strategic Nuclear Force.

It is a striking statement. Two generations of Soviet people made heavy 
sacrifices to create a nuclear defence. One third of the USSR national 
income was invested in it. And now Mr. Putin, with an easiness bordering on 
irresponsibility, is going to eliminate this defence that ensured Russia's 
security, even after 10 years of destruction of the economy and of the 
Army.

The Presidential team keeps destroying and not creating. For the last 
several years not a single major factory or research complex has been 
constructed. The Russian Army did not gain a single combat aircraft or big 
naval ship.

The program of "Topol-M" ballistic missile construction has failed, the 
"Mir" space station has been destroyed, military bases were closed and a 
new radical reduction of the Army is planned.

Now there are plans to destroy heavy missiles  the backbone of our 
national security  thus rendering the country virtually indefensible in 
the face of possible military blackmail.

This decision, that affects the vital long-range interests of Russia, was 
adopted in the most undemocratic way  without consulting parliament or 
major political forces, without broad public discussion. Nobody has the 
right to adopt such decisions single-handedly.

Mr Bush's verbal statement on the US's alleged readiness to make equal cuts 
couldn't be the pretext for one-sided disarmament of Russia.

The US maintains a huge superiority in conventional weapons. America 
maintains a powerful military/industrial complex and is able to quickly 
build up its nuclear forces. Mr Putin's "disarmament plans" directly 
encourage the USA to create the Anti-Ballistic Missile system that will 
ultimately destabilise the balance of forces in the world.

The fact that these cuts have been announced in Washington and not in 
Moscow confirms that this decision was adopted in the interests of the 
comprador capital. But one-sided orientation to the USA is shortsighted. 
Russia cannot risk its relations with the billion-strong peoples of China, 
India and of the Muslim countries.

In fact we are facing a strategic capitulation of the Russian ruling group 
before the West. The foreign policy defeats are closely connected with the 
shameful Land Law and equally shameful laws that open the way for 
exploitation of Russia's unique natural and human resources by the Western, 
predominantly American capital.

The General Staff is expressing deep concern over the state of defence.

But its views are ignored. There is a total plunder of national wealth.

But Mr Putin is simply avoiding making decisions on the vital issues.

The CPRF and National Patriotic Union of Russia firmly condemn Mr Putin's 
decision to cut Strategic Nuclear Forces of Russia because it gravely 
contradicts our national interests and leads to unilateral disarmament. We 
declare our intention to struggle against this highly irresponsible 
approach to Russia's vital interests.

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