The West-2013 military practice causes more and more Poland’s concerns.
A large-scale military practice of Russian army in the Far East has ended and cause big resonance in media. In the meanwhile, the tests of combat preparedness in all Russia’s military regions on the unprecedented from the Soviet times scale have been going for six months already. The military practice shows that Russia is prepared to throw aviation into the fray, airborne troops, fleet or strike with missiles without long preliminary preparation, which means practically insensibly for the enemy. This is more than unambiguous signal for Poland and its security policy, Rzeczpospolita reports.
Russian army held maneuvers on land and sea not far from the Chinese border and Japanese islands. 160 thousand troops took part in the military practice, which more than the whole Poland’s army together with the reserve. Moscow claimed absolute transparency and reassured that such a concentration of forces is not targeted against any country. However, armies do not prepare for military collisions with an absolutely abstract enemy, they always mean a specific enemy, although it is not named. Russian army practiced the scenario of a land war with China and an air-sea conflict with the USA and Japan. In the framework of the military exercise West-2013 Russia and Belarus will together stage a scenario of a war with Poland and NATO. In their turn Polish armed forces and the Alliance allies during the exercise Seadfast Jazz 2013 will test the defense capabilities of protecting Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in the case of an attack of a large non-NATO state to the East. Large scale practice is prepared for several months, and the information on them appears in advance, from the Polish point of view, though, it is much more important to pay attention to the maneuvers, that Moscow has been holding since the February of this year. They test the operative readiness of the armed forces for immediately entering an armed conflict. These tests have become so intensive that the vice-Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin reported on the necessity to allocate additional budget funds for arms supplies. According to ITAR-TASS news agency, around ten thousand military training events took place between February and June 2013 (this number does not include the scheduled maneuvers). The Center for Eastern studies says in its report that the results of the tests showed full operational preparedness of Russian army for carrying out a missile attack, defending from one, and for a short-term military invasion with the use of land, air and sea forces. This means that from 2008, when the attack on Georgia took place, the military forces of the Russian Federation managed to do a serious work. In spite of the victory, that campaign did not bring them glory: they easily won largely due to the weakness of the rival than their own efficiency. There were problems with command, communications, coordination or the actions of land forces and aviation. Apart from that Russian army’s inability to carry out landing operation became obvious.
Russia spends six times more on defense than Poland, and puts the program of the modernization and transformation of its army into life according to plan. Despite budget problems, it does not plan to decrease military spending, on the contrary – it will grow on the rate surpassing the GDP growth.
Do these data together with the unprecedented military practices mean, that Moscow is about to start a war? Not necessarily. However, it takes a possibility of a military conflict’s arising seriously, and wants to be prepared for in the in the ever more unstable multipolar world.
Warsaw should act the same. Out of the three basic attributes of a strong state – efficient economy, successful politics and a capable army – we have so far not succeeded with the first two, so we should at least preserve the third one. An army is not just the base for security, but also for an economic growth. One is linked to the other here. Moscow perfectly understands that and is not about to save on its armed forces. In such a situation Polish politicians must not even touch the military budget. We have brought the military investment indicator to 1.95% of the GDP, however with weak economic growth actual spending may stuck, and no one knows whether the temptation will arise to decrease military spending in the case the situation worsens. Particular concern arises over the rumors of the upcoming reduction of the Defense Ministry’s budget for 3.3 billion zlotys (around 1 billion dollars – transl.), whereas the military spending should on the contrary be increased. Although, such ideas would hardly find the support of the population. It is a shame.