Negotiated Price

Agency WPS
What the Papers Say. Part B (Russia)
June 28, 2004, Monday


SOURCE: Vremya Novostei, June 28, 2004, p. 2

by Nikolai Poroskov

The Duma has voted to ratify the adapted Conventional Forces in
Europe (CFE) Treaty by 355 votes in favor, 28 against, and two
abstentions. The CFE treaty is called the “cornerstone of European
security.” At present, this is the only legally functioning mechanism
of interstate arms control. The treaty was signed as far back as
November 1990 by NATO member states and Warsaw Pact states, aiming to
improve the security balance in Europe by means of reducing five
kinds of armaments: battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery,
combat aircraft and attack helicopters. The Agreement on Adaptation
of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was drawn up in
Istanbul in November 2003. Russia insisted then that the Baltic
states and Slovenia must sign the treaty before they join NATO. NATO
ignored Russia’s position at the time, although new NATO Secretary
General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer promised that the Baltic states would
certainly join the treaty.

At the moment, some 30 European states and the US and Canada have
signed the treaty. However, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan have been
the only nations to ratify it so far. NATO member states say they are
prepared to ratify the adapted CFE treaty after Russia, but only
after Russian bases are withdrawn from Georgia and the Trans-Dniester
region. Russia sees no legal link here, and regards withdrawal of its
bases to be a subject for bilateral interstate talks. In the opinion
of Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, Russia has already fulfilled the
demand on flank restrictions by removing two of four bases from

The main distinction of the adapted CFE treaty is that the levels of
arms permitted are determined individually for each state, rather
than according to a state’s affiliation with a military-political
bloc. This considerably reduces the ability of NATO member states to
deploy troops in other countries. Ratification of the CFE treaty will
yield many advantages to Russia. Firstly, according to Sergei Ivanov,
the treaty contributes to strengthening Russia by no-military methods
and is in line with our national interests. Secondly, the Russian
military will have to receive information about the location of NATO
aircraft across the entire treaty area. Besides, the Alliance will
have to inform Russia whenever over 18 aircraft are brought into the
application areas, and submit quarterly figures about the strength of
aviation in the area of NATO member states. Overall, the 19 “old”
NATO members will discard around 4,800 battle tanks, 4,000 armored
vehicles, and almost as many artillery systems. This is equivalent to
10 full NATO divisions. Russia won’t have to make any cuts, since we
are already within the parameters of the treaty (6,350 tanks, 11,280
armored combat vehicles, 6,315 artillery systems, 3,416 battle planes
and 855 attack helicopters). Besides, the increased quota for arms
for regular troops will enable Russia to preserve its military
presence in Armenia and Ukraine.

The Duma is urging states which have signed the CFE treaty to ratify
the adapted treaty, if only because the former version of the treaty
is out of step with the current situation. Formally, NATO has the
ability to deploy its arms and military facilities on the territory
of new member states, but doing so would raise doubts about arms
control and Russia-NATO relations on the whole. In case of an
emergency which could endanger Russia’s overriding interests, Russia
will take measures, “including measures which infringe the CFE treaty

Translated by Andrei Ryabochkin