Russia’s Putin tells army to shape up for foreign threat
By ALEXEI ANISHCHUK
February 28, 2013
MOSCOW – Vladimir Putin ordered military leaders on Wednesday to make urgent improvements to the armed forces during his new presidential term, saying Russia must thwart attempts by the West to tip the strategic balance of power.
Putin’s remarks, to rows of uniformed officers and defense officials, reflected increasing hawkishness since he returned to the Kremlin for a six-year term last May, and a growing readiness to cite foreign threats and use anti-Western rhetoric to rally support.
“Attempts are being made to tip the strategic balance,” said Putin, who as president is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, told his audience at the General Staff academy on Moscow’s outskirts. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, sat in the front row.
“Geopolitical dynamics call for a quick and considered response … Russia’s armed forces must move on to a new level of capabilities in the next three to five years,” said Putin, who has not ruled out seeking another term in 2018.