Russia’s Kremlin put forward new plans for a war time regime that would allow President Vladimir Putin to consolidate power should the country go to war in the near future.
Russian local governments, the interior ministry, the Federal Security Service (FSB, Russian intelligence) and its national guard will report to the military directly if the country goes to war, Russia’s Izvestia newspaper reported Tuesday. The war time game plan involves a centralization of power not seen since the height of the Soviet Union.
The announcement of the plan follows the completion of a massive four-day civil defense exercise, which involved around 40 million Russians. While Russia has engaged in similar exercises since 2012, its timing comes as U.S.-Russian relations continue to deteriorate to their worst since the Cold War.
U.S. and Russian quarrels over Syria have acted as a catalyst for increased provocations from Russia; which include veiled threats to shoot down U.S. aircraft, the stationing of deadly Iskandar nuclear missiles near the borders of NATO members and the bombing of a United Nations aid convoy. Relations took a drastic fall after a failed Syrian ceasefire between Russia and the U.S. in September forced Secretary of State John Kerry to cut off Syria talks.
Russia has made several military advances in preparation for war, in addition to its government plans. Russian forces in Syria were bolstered with several new S-300 surface-to-air missile batteries shortly after the ceasefire collapsed. Additionally, Russia’s defense ministry announced Monday that it will build two new bases in the Middle East — one in Syria will upgrade a current naval facility and another former Soviet air base in Egypt.
U.S. Navy Adm. (ret.) James Stavridis, the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, warned that war with Russia is inevitable if Putin remains unchecked, according to the forward of a book published by his former deputy Sir Alexander Shirreff in May.
“Under President Putin, Russia has charted a dangerous course that, if it is allowed to continue, may lead inexorably to a clash with NATO,” wrote Stavridis. “And that will mean a war that could so easily go nuclear.”
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