06MOSCOW12942, RUSSIAN DUMA DEFENSE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN TOUR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW12942 2006-12-15 13:28 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6357
OO RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #2942/01 3491328
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151328Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5868
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 012942 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: MARR MCAP PREL SOCI PGOV RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN DUMA DEFENSE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN TOUR 
D'HORIZON 
 
 
1.  (SBU) SUMMARY:  Viktor Zavarzin, Chairman of the State 
Duma Defense Committee, gave his annual briefing to Moscow's 
military attache corps December 12.  During the 90-minute 
presentation, Zavarzin summarized his committee's legislative 
activities -- weapons modernization and improvements in 
servicemen's salaries and working conditions -- and future 
priorities -- more weapons modernization and transformation 
to a professional, volunteer military.  He touched upon 
several international hotspots, hewing to the GOR's line on 
Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea, and Kosovo.  The Duma 
had not yet received the NATO Status of Forces Agreement 
(SOFA) for consideration, but Zavarzin, without mentioning 
any specific timeframe, indicated it would "likely" be 
ratified.  END SUMMARY. 
. 
--------------------------------- 
MORE MONEY FOR WEAPONS AND TROOPS 
--------------------------------- 
 
2.  (SBU) Duma Defense Committee Chairman Zavarzin (a retired 
Colonel-General) relied mainly on prepared remarks during his 
annual summary of legislative activities for Moscow's 
military attache corps.  He emphasized at the outset that the 
Duma had responded positively to President Vladimir Putin's 
address to the Federal Assembly in May, which had focused on 
the need to modernize weapons systems and improve living and 
working conditions for military servicemen.  However, he 
declined to get into the details of individual weapons 
programs, noting that General Yuriy Baluyevskiy, Chief of the 
General Staff, would brief on these subjects the following 
day.  For the first time in recent memory, the Defense 
Committee invited embassy political officers to the briefing. 
 
3.  (SBU) Among the issues that Zavarzin highlighted: 
 
-- While individual political parties might disagree on the 
tactics used to achieve national security goals, all agreed 
that the defense establishment was an important component of 
the nation's strength. 
 
-- The defense component of the 2007 national budget would 
see an increase of more than 20% (in nominal terms) over the 
current budget. 
 
-- Legislative priorities over the past year included 
harmonization of disparate laws, especially those focused on 
countering terrorism, and allocation of significant funds to 
procure weapons. 
 
-- Servicemen and retirees will see real increases in 
salaries and pensions over the next several years, with 
future raises indexed to the inflation rate; salaries for 
instructors at military schools and some select categories of 
research scientists would also increase. 
 
-- Housing conditions for the military will improve through a 
coordinated program of enhanced mortgage availability, an 
increase in housing allowances, government purchase of 
additional apartments and houses, and an allocation of three 
billion rubles for housing construction.  Five regions, 
including Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kaliningrad, will 
receive extra money for housing construction in light of 
higher costs in these areas. 
 
-- The use of modern weapons demands a higher calibre of 
soldier.  In spite of continuing downward demographic trends, 
the military will steadily move toward a higher mix of 
volunteer contract soldiers versus conscripts, though the 
number of the former will never reach 100 percent.  Contract 
soldiers are generally older than conscripts and have more 
material needs, which in turn will require greater resources 
to improve recruitment and retention of such personnel. 
 
-- Future personnel-related plans call for greater attention 
to pension security, including survivor benefits for families 
and educational opportunities for children of deceased 
servicemen. 
 
-- The nation's continually improving financial health should 
allow for increased allocation of resources for personnel and 
weapons modernization, maintenance of adequate readiness 
forces, recruitment and development of a professional 
non-commissioned officer corps, and consideration of 
multi-year procurement plans in sufficient quantities to 
re-equip 200 military units by 2016. 
. 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
MOSCOW 00012942  002 OF 002 
 
 
IRAQ, IRAN, AFGHANISTAN, NORTH KOREA, AND KOSOVO 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
4.  (SBU) Zavarzin also reviewed GOR policies regarding 
several international hotspots: 
 
-- An adequate resolution of the situation in Iraq can be 
achieved only by working through the UN, including compliance 
with UNSCR resolutions.  All nations should promote dialogue 
among Iraqis to prevent civil war.  Consultations with Iran 
will also be necessary. 
 
-- Russia is encouraging Iran to take a constructive approach 
to resolve its dispute over the use of nuclear power and is 
urging Tehran to comply with IAEA safeguards.  In the 
mean
time, Russia will continue to assist in the construction 
of the Bushehr power plant. 
 
-- The complicated situation in Afghanistan requires 
continued Russian support for the international mission in 
that country.  However, NATO should do more to decrease 
narcotics trafficking and terrorism.  In this respect, 
establishing a cordon sanitaire might be necessary. 
Counter-narcotics training will continue in Moscow. 
 
-- Russia condemns North Korean nuclear testing and will work 
with the international community to find a solution. 
 
-- An independent Kosovo could set a precedent with universal 
applicability.  Russia does not understand the West's general 
insistence on respect for territorial integrity, while it 
ignores the concept in the case of Kosovo.  The current 
timetable to determine Kosovo's final status is moving too 
quickly and does not take into consideration the interests of 
Serbia or ethnic Serbs in Kosovo. 
. 
----------------------------- 
COOPERATION WITH SCO AND NATO 
----------------------------- 
 
5.  (SBU) According to Zavarzin, Russia appreciates the 
global role that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) 
could eventually play and welcomes deepening integration 
among its members.  The SCO is not an offensive organization 
and should not be perceived as a threat.  Its priorities are 
preservation of regional security, counter-terrorism, and 
counter-narcotics. 
 
6.  (SBU) Moscow is generally satisfied with its relationship 
with NATO, but Zavarzin noted that disagreements continued on 
such issues as missile defense, in which Russia would prefer 
to share a "common umbrella" with the Alliance to protect 
against missile threats.  Russia welcomes further cooperation 
with both NATO and the EU but only when such cooperation 
advances Russia's security in concrete terms. 
 
7.  (SBU) On NATO SOFA ratification, Zavarzin explained that 
the agreement was still with the government, which continued 
to sort out various legal issues that did not conform with 
Russian law.  He anticipated that the Duma would receive the 
SOFA next year, where it would "likely" be ratified; however, 
he did not specify a more precise timeframe. 
. 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
8.  (SBU) While Zavarzin did not break new ground in his 
briefing, his relatively positive outlook regarding the NATO 
SOFA's ultimate ratification was noteworthy even in the 
absence of a specific timeframe. 
RUSSELL

Wikileaks

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