Why Rogozin Should Be Granted His Wish
Published: May 22, 2014 (Issue # 1811)
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin posted a message on Twitter not long ago in which he said he would trade his high-ranking post for a chance to serve in the trenches near Slovyansk. If I were President Vladimir Putin, I would grant his wish in a heartbeat.
Putin was compelled to hold three closed-door meetings on the subject in the past week alone. The extent to which Putin has become involved and the lack of any real achievements in Rogozin’s areas of responsibility — the defense and space sectors — indicate that Rogozin is performing far below par. But Putin should fire Rogozin not because he is unfit for the job, but because he has jinxed Russia’s military-industrial complex.
Rogozin, who is on the European Union’s list of sanctioned individuals, has repeatedly threatened neighboring states with Russia’s nuclear arsenal in recent weeks. When Ukraine and Romania had denied his airplane the right to fly over their territories earlier this month, Rogozin threatened that next time he would visit the region in a Tu-160 strategic bomber, which carries nuclear weapons, essentially threatening a nuclear attack. He next warned that he would refuse U.S. astronauts access to the International Space Station, suggesting they try using a giant trampoline instead.
But amid all of these jabs, he received a sharp jab of his own: A Proton rocket crashed on May 16 — the second time that has happened on his watch. The Proton was created in the early 1960s and flew successfully hundreds of times — that is, until Rogozin took charge of Russia’s defense and space sectors.
As a result of Rogozin’s serious problems, his seemingly bold threats look absurd. At the same time, however, it has been common over the past few years for officials and opinion-makers close to the Kremlin to try to frighten the world with threats of starting a nuclear war. For example, a correspondent for state-controlled television reporting from a rehearsal of the Victory Day military parade in Moscow pointed out that the Topol-M missile launched from Russia could easily reach Washington.
In addition, pro-Kremlin television anchor Dmitry Kiselyov said last month on his weekly television show that the Perimeter system, which was created during the Soviet era to automatically launch a nuclear counter-attack after a U.S. first strike, could turn the U.S. into radioactive dust. Even during the Soviet era, this kind of flippancy regarding such a serious subject as nuclear war was prohibited. That is why they were deeply shocked, for example, when former U.S. President Ronald Reagan joked during a microphone check that “we begin bombing [Russia] in five minutes.”
Pages: