Is Russia really preparing for War?

The US and Russia have never forgotten their wasteful errors on the Cold War but if any of the parties should accept defeat, the Kremlin doesn’t look like the one.

Rumors are rife that Vladimir Putin’s country is set for yet another war, this time a nuclear one, and would gladly welcome any threat from the West any moment from now.

PHOTO: Novosibirsk Region Governor Vladimir Gorodetsky ,center, attends shooting exercises at Shilovsky range, Oct. 14, 2016.

Though analysts think Russia is far from being ready for a nuclear war scenario, a recent report from CBS News outlined seven ways which shows Putin’s government is planning ahead for World War III.

According to the report, it’s impossible for anyone to think that Russia is planning war with the US.

However, it adds that most analysts believe there are facts which show the Kremlin intends to assert itself as one of the superpowers at the moment.

This month Russia held a large-scale civil defense drill across the country, meant to prepare people for disasters, among them nuclear catastrophe. The drill, which Russian authorities claimed affected 40 million people, and particularly the way it was presented on state television, resembled Soviet-era exercises, with scenes of schoolchildren flooding out in evacuations and being taught to hurriedly pull on gas masks – CBS.

Russia’s defense ministry has announced how the country would function in time of war, clarifying which government bodies would take command. The answer was largely it would, taking control of governor’s offices, local administrations and the police. The military simulated that scenario during a huge exercise in southern Russia – CBS.

PHOTO: A man looks at a Russian Topol intercontinental ballistic missile launcher at the permanent exhibition of military equipment and vehicles at Patriot Park in Kubinka, outside Moscow, Sept. 8, 2016.

The report also noted that Russia carried out a series of intercontinental ballistic missile tests within the week. A total of three missiles were launched in a single day as a test of might.

Putin’s military successfully launched two of the nuclear-capable missiles from submarines off Russia’s Pacific coast. The last of the three, was fired from an inland launch pad, RIA Novosti reported.

The Kremlin may or may not be asking for a nuclear war but it is believed to be making efforts to forcefully take its “rightful” place in world affairs.

Reports argue that Putin’s government is taken steps to boost local support and complete dependence from its citizens as well as curb unsolicited interference from Western countries who have hidden “interests” in the Syrian war.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post wrote to prove against all listed seven facts on Russia’s readiness for a nuclear war as highlighted by the CBS News.

An assessment from The Washington Post’s Moscow bureau argues as follows:

1. New bomb shelters

A poster appeared in a Moscow neighborhood asking residents to pony up 500 rubles (about $8) for  the construction of a new bomb shelter because of “the expected nuclear attack on [Russia] from unfriendly countries (the USA and its satellites.)”

Does this mean war? Most definitely not. It turned out to be a hoax, probably aimed at bilking pensioners.

2. Emergency bread rations

The governor of St. Petersburg, Russia, has approved a plan to ensure emergency rations of 300 grams of bread for 20 days for each of the city’s 5 million residents.

Does this mean war? No. It’s more of a publicity stunt. Russian commentators quickly seized on the echo from World War II, when a German army held the city — then called Leningrad — in a stranglehold for 900 days. “That is more than twice as much as the ration during the Siege [of Leningrad],” wrote military analyst Alexander Golts in Yezhednevny Zhurnal. “It is also clear why they are reckoning just on 20 days: Given modern weapons, no one will need more.”

3. Warmongering politicians 

Ultranationalist lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky warned that if America elects Hillary Clinton president, “it’s war.”

Does this mean war? No. Zhirinovksy, who has vowed to annex Alaska, flatten Poland and the Baltics, and enslave Georgia, made headlines. But his ridiculously misnamed Liberal Democratic Party of Russia controls 39 of the 450 seats in the Russian parliament, and he always votes with the Kremlin. He is a fan of Donald Trump but he’s very far from the nuclear button.

4. Hiring a new army

The Russian government approved amendments to a law that allows it to augment its draft army by signing reservists and veterans to six-month paid contracts.

Does this mean war? Most likely not. Golts said that the provision only kicks in “in a period of extraordinary circumstances,” such as responding to natural disasters or domestic disturbances. But one circumstance — “to maintain or restore peace and security” — could be interpreted to mean doing it somewhere outside of Russia.

Image: Vladimir Putin

“The possibility cannot be ruled out that Moscow is contemplating a major ground operation in Syria,” Golts concluded.

His logic: The Kremlin has repeatedly promised not to send draftees to fight wars in other countries. That promise wouldn’t apply to professional soldiers. For sure, sending troops to Syria, where Russia has already threatened to shoot down U.S. aircraft, could lead to a shooting war. But amending that law is a long way from signing up the soldiers.

5. Missile movements 

Russia has moved nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad, a region that borders the Baltic states.

Does this mean war? Not really. The news has stirred fears among some commentators that we are on the brink of nuclear war, and definitely caused concern in the Baltics and Poland, which would be within range of the Iskander missile.

Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, said that one of the missiles was deliberately exposed to a U.S. spy satellite and that the deployment was part of regular training.

The foreign minister of Lithuania, which borders Kaliningrad, described the move as a negotiating tactic, albeit an unpleasant one.

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