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Russia's Medvedev inspects nuclear missiles

Officers of Teikovo Strategic Missile Division report to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) as he visits their unit, based in the Ivanovo Region, about 240 km northeast of Moscow on May 15, 2008. Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia must continue to develop its Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) to meet global threats. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) May 15, 2008
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev inspected a nuclear missile site outside Moscow on Thursday as his powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin moved to streamline his administrative base.

Medvedev promised to ensure adequate financing of Russia's missile forces as he made the visit to the nuclear base at Ivanovo, east of Moscow, and inspected a column of Topol-M rockets.

The intercontinental ballistic weapons starred in a Red Square victory parade last week for the first time since the Soviet Union collapsed.

"Clearly our task in the coming years is to do everything to ensure that the strategic rocket forces receive all the necessary funding to accord with the current threat level, with the situation on today's planet," RIA Novosti and Interfax news agencies quoted Medvedev as saying.

"In recent times there has been notable progress and our task is not to skimp on defence, to find the funding and carry out exercises," he said.

Medvedev was also to visit a military academy in his first domestic trip since taking office last week. He is to make his first foreign trip next week, to Kazakhstan and China.

In Moscow his predecessor Vladimir Putin, newly appointed as premier, announced a streamlining of his office, saying the cabinet would meet less often and that key decisions would be taken by a smaller "presidium" of top ministers.

Analysts predict the current dual leadership arrangement is bound to lead to tensions, as the Kremlin has long been considered the sole centre of power.

The previous weekly cabinet meetings, which were often attended by the president, had become "a rather clumsy mechanism and highly bureaucratic," Putin said.

"All current questions will be discussed at the weekly presidium meeting with invited relevant ministers," while the cabinet will meet no less than once a month, Putin said.

Analysts said Putin's move was aimed at strengthening his base as previous prime ministers have fulfilled a largely technocratic role.

"Putin is reproducing the state of things when he was president. He wants the whole world to come running to him for protection," said analyst Yury Kurgunyuk of the Indem Foundation, a Moscow-based research centre.

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Lockheed Martin Receives Contract For Continued Production Of ICBM Reentry System Upgrade
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