Current tensions along the Russia-Ukraine border, the economic sanctions being imposed upon the continent-spanning country, and the fall in value of the Russian ruble seem to be destabilizing Moscow rule, because why else boast about strategic nuclear warheads and a train system that transports nuclear weapons? Posturing and presenting a facade of strength are common tactics to mask weaknesses. But is that the case with Russia? Or are they simply attempting to maintain a certain aggressive stance in answer to an invasion paranoia and the possibility of World War 3, the former an unfortunate mindset produced by a history of the nation being invaded, the latter a maddening potentiality brought closer by pointless saber-rattling of nuclear superpowers and the disintegration of an economic base that will of necessity have to be strong to support any sort of war effort?
That would include the invasion of Ukraine, something the world is currently working to avoid. The International Business Times reported on Dec. 17 that Russian President Vladimir Putin is currently in talks with the leaders of Germany, France, and Ukraine trying to defuse a pending confrontation between Ukraine and Russia that has been brewing since Russia forcefully annexed Crimea in March. At the same time, the Russian people are feeling the pinch on their bank accounts as the ruble deflates, according to the Associated Press.
So how to answer what appears to be a socio-political destabilization in Russia and show the world that the world’s largest nation isn’t as weak as it might seem? Assure the world that Russia is still a major nuclear power, apparently.
Commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force Colonel-General Sergey Karakayev announced Wednesday, “Creation of the newest railway-based missile is underway in accordance with the presidential instructions. It is being developed exclusively at enterprises of the national defence-industrial complex. It will embody the latest achievements in combat missile building.”
Karakayev said that Russia also had 400 strategic warhead missiles in place. He noted that six thousand of the Strategic Missile Force personnel and about 95 percent of the 400 strategic missiles were on constant standby, just in case an immediate launch of missiles became necessary.
The announcement comes after several months of tough rhetoric and warnings from foreign policy experts that Putin was inching toward an attack on Ukraine, a development that could very well plunge the entire world into war. An increase in military encounters between Russian and European aircraft over the past year have also raised tensions. And then Congress decided to vote to increase economic sanctions against Russia, an act Russia stated it would have to retaliate against.
Still, an economically weak Russia could very well be the answer to the West’s problems with the country, pushing the large nation to look inwards while maintaining a posture of strength to the outside world. Of course, the opposite could be true as well. A war with Ukraine (or a conflict with any of the eastern European nations that fear an imminent invasion) could distract a population suffering recession and financial woes. Unfortunately, should such a distraction become an actuality, it could produce results that lead directly to World War 3 and the possible use of those nuclear trains and warheads.