Russian army chief General Colonel Aleksander Postnikov said it has plans to establish a "special" 'Polar Brigade' (1-3,000 troops) along the Finnish and Norwegian border based in Pechenga (near Murmansk). The number of brigades will be steadily increased, he added at a meeting in the Federation Council's Committee for Defense and Security.
The new brigade will be specially equipped for military warfare in Arctic conditions with DT-30P Vityaz tracked vehicles (a wide, 30 ton vehicle with a carrier, towing a large trailer), multiservice army vehicles and tanks. "We are actively working on a program aimed at modernizing our defence industry. We will adopt this program in the near future," said Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
This re-armament is probably aided by the German company, Rheinmetall, which is training Russian troops, in Russia, a brigade at a time. Rheinmetall is also helping the Russians with their equipment. "This is because Russian Army's most advanced weaponry is below NATO and Chinese standards and are overpriced," Postnikov said. Russia's most advanced tank, the T-90, a modification of the Soviet era T-72 tank costs over $4 million per unit, according to RIA Novosti. Postnikov added,"It would be easier for us to buy three Leopards (Germany's main battle tank) with this money."
This brings back memories of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact when Nazi Germany assisted the USSR militarily and then both proceeded to carve up Europe)
The comprehensive rearmament of Russia's Armed Forces is expected to begin in 2011, and aims to reach a 30% share of modern weaponry by 2015 and 70% by 2020.
Pechenga hosts units from the 200 motorized infantry brigade, according to the "Barentz Observer" (local news service for the Barentz penninsula where Pechenga is).
Russia to establish a polar brigade on the Finland (and Norwegian) border