Staunton, November 29 – Aleksey Chichkin, an economist who specializes on military production issues, says that Moscow should revive the kind of cooperation among the military-industrial complexes that existed among the members of the Warsaw Pact for the countries that are members of the post-Soviet Organization for the Collective Security Treaty.
Such a proposal, made in the current issue of the influential “Voenno-Promyshlenny kuryer,” suggests some within the Moscow defense bureaucracy now expect current East-West tensions to remain high for an extended period of time and are thinking about how to organize production under those conditions (vpk-news.ru/articles/28165).
Sixty years ago this year, immediately after the creation of the Warsaw Pact, Chichkin writes, the member states agreed with Moscow on dividing up defense industrial production both to achieve new efficiencies and to save money on moving raw materials and semi-finished production around. “This experience can be used today,” he writes.
By 1958, the plans for this were fully developed, something that meant that Warsaw Pact members other than Russia were able to boost their contribution to the common defense of that alliance from 25 percent in 1961 to more than 40 percent at the end of the 1970s, something that removed some of the burden on the Soviet economy.
The importance of this cooperation, Chichkin says, is underscored by NATO efforts to disrupt it not only by pushing Albania to break away from the pact and thus close a Soviet base there but also by its promotion of popular risings in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland which, among other things, disrupted this shared defense production.
Chichkin describes the evolution of the planning process among defense producers in Warsaw Pact countries and argues that “such a unique experience can be completely used for the development of military-industrial cooperation in the Organization for the Collective Security Treaty countries.”
Any signs that Moscow may be pushing for this idea with these countries or even more than they may be agreeing to it will not only highlight Russia’s current economic difficulties but also show that in this area as well, Vladimir Putin is taking another page from the Soviet past in order to strengthen Moscow’s position and his own.