From a 2008 press conference:

We have eliminated bases in Cam Ranh (Vietnam) and in Cuba. We have withdrawn our troops deployed in eastern Europe, and withdrawn almost all large and heavy weapons from the European part of Russia. And what happened? A base in Romania, where we are now, one in Bulgaria, an American missile defence area in Poland and the Czech Republic. That all means moving military infrastructure to our borders.

I'm venturing a guess that's not quite true if talking about tanks, artillery etc., since he said "almost all". (But I could well be wrong.) So what did he mean by "We have [...] withdrawn almost all large and heavy weapons from the European part of Russia"?

In case he was talking about the CFE, I managed to find these numbers

enter image description here

From 1992 to 1995 Russia eliminated somewhat under half of its weapon types covered by that treaty (in the European part of Russia) from 42K to 25K (of all kinds). So unless the reductions were much more significant outside this period (or referring to something else), I'm not how that's "almost all".

  • 5
    It beats me what Putin is thinking. Moscow is the in the European part of Russia, and I doubt that he wants to intimate that he left the capital undefended.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented May 8, 2023 at 17:45
  • Geographically Europe is usually defined as up to the Ural mountains. If that's what he means by European part of Russia then that contains not only Moscow but essentially all of the population centers of Russia or Russia minus the empty Siberian parts.
    – quarague
    Commented May 9, 2023 at 11:04
  • 1
    For context, this speech was exactly 4 months before Russia invaded Georgia : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Georgian_War . And Putin has a long record of baseless military announcements: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/26186/…
    – Evargalo
    Commented May 9, 2023 at 12:57
  • Looks like a slip of the tongue to me, since it doesn't make sense per Obie 2.0. Could be 1) he was improvising or otherwise not reading from a prepared speech, and just used the wrong words; or 2) an error in translation. I would look at the original speech, if it's recorded somewhere, and verify.
    – Allure
    Commented May 10, 2023 at 0:58
  • @Allure: well, it's the official Kremlin translation. They probably have the original on the site too. Commented May 10, 2023 at 1:28

1 Answer 1


He was just making propaganda statements. These do not look like some very light weapons:

enter image description here

The SS-21 units are deployed mainly in western Russia and the Far East. In Kaliningrad, the 152 nd Missile Brigade is deployed in Chernyakhovsk and occasionally conducts test launches at the Pavenkovo range approximately 50 km to the west. One such test launch occurred in October 2009. Overall, more than a dozen SS-21 test launches are conducted each year (source).

Also, from Wikipedia about Kaliningrad Special Region: tanks, destroyers, tactical bombers, as backed up by ng.ru source:

By 2008, region had 30 ships (two destroyers, four landing craft, and a missile boat brigade), three diesel submarines, a brigade of marine, tank, artillery and motorized infantry units, and formations of up to two divisions of the assault (SU-24) and fighter (SU-27) aircraft, S-300 (missile) air defense systems, and OTR-21 Tochka tactical missile systems.

In other words, the claim does not look correct. Kaliningrad is the most European part of Russia it could possibly be.

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