Speech of Russian leader Vladimir Putin at the 43rd conference dedicated to problems of international security in Munich has demonstrated that Moscow is not going to tolerate anymore double standards that European countries and the US are trying to implement. First of all, Moscow is discontent with the attitude of the West to ratification of adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. A significant part of the speech of the Russian President was dedicated to this problem.
As is known, Russia has ratified the adapted CFE Treaty. Meanwhile, according to the Russian President, NATO countries did not do this still connecting ratification with withdrawal of troops and military property by Russia from Georgia and Moldova. Along with this, NATO member states refer to a kind of obligations allegedly undertaken by Russia in Istanbul. Meanwhile, Russia does not have such obligations.
Putin is concerned about arrangement of military bases in East European countries and further eastward expansion of NATO. However, his, let us put this straight, harsh speech did not contain ultimatums. Thus Moscow hinted to the West that relations could really fall back to the times of the “cold war?” In what can this be manifested?
Earlier, Russian politicians said in their statements that Moscow might withdraw from the CFE Treaty. Speaking in Munich, Putin was evidently right saying that in case of further growth of military threats Moscow would seek for asymmetric methods of their parrying. Alexei Arbatov, director of the international security center of the institute of international economy and international relations of the Russian Academy of Science, announced recently that in Russia there was “a very strong and growing pressure on the part of a certain part of the political elite for Russia to denounce the CFE Treaty and to withdraw from it as a sign of protest against the non-constructive line of the West.” On the eve of the elections this will be a good move for many political parties.
Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, participant of signing of the adapted CFE Treaty in Istanbul, incumbent vice president of the academy of geopolitical problems who has been director of the main department of international military cooperation in the Defense Ministry for a long time, draws similar conclusions.
Ivashov states, “Observing the undertaken obligations under the CFE Treaty unilaterally, Russia undermines its security seriously. We need something like a political demarche: either NATO revises its stance or we give up the obligations under the CFE Treaty.”
So far, the adapted CFE Treaty was ratified only by Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. All of them build their relations on the basis of allied contacts. Thus Russia gets engaged into an open confrontation with NATO countries and the US in the field of control and deployment of conventional armed forces in Europe. This circumstance definitely has negative impact on security on the continent and may provoke armament race. Of course, this will be not Russia who initiates this race.