Russia to Add Its 203rd Air Force Base — Its First Outside Russia

Eric Zuesse

According to, Russia has 202 Air Force Bases, all in Russia’s various “Military Districts”; but now there is to be a 203rd one, and it will be in Belarus. If this actually happens, it will be a historic expansion of Russia’s armed forces abroad — something that for the U.S. to do would be inconsequential since the U.S. already has 41 Air Force Bases in foreign countries, surrounding Russia, East West and South. (Belarus isn’t even anywhere near the U.S.; it’s instead bordering Russia itself.)

On September 19th at (and then on 20 September at the subscription-only Financial Times), was reported (as headlined at 112), “Russia to Establish Air Base in Belarus.” Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Friday the 18th had signed a document, “To intrust the Ministry of Defense with the participation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to carry out the negotiations with the Belarusian side and upon coming to an accommodation, to sign the agreement on behalf of Russian Federation.”

The anti-Russian Financial Times  pretends that this is part of Russia’s aggression encircling NATO, instead of a response to NATO’s aggression encircling Russia, by the FT’s  saying: “Belarus, which borders Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia [they don’t even mention that it borders Russia], would give Russia a new asset right on Nato’s borders. The Russian military already has a radar station and some fighter aircraft stationed in Belarus, but the new base would be the first to be built there since the end of the Soviet Union.”

The FT  then says: “News that the air base would be built comes after the US and its allies were struggling to respond to what Washington says is a Russian military build-up in Syria. Russian involvement in Syria complicates existing international operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the jihadi group known as Isis.” This statement pretends that Russia is pro-ISIS and anti-Assad, while the U.S. is anti-ISIS and pro-Assad, but the FT  thinks they’ve got lots of suckers (subscribers) and will exploit that asset for their aristocratic masters, who as advertisers are buying those suckers’ minds. The reality is that — as the people of Syria are well-aware — Assad and Russia are anti-ISIS, and the U.S. is the one that’s bombing the anti-ISIS forces (while the U.S. pretends to be focusing on bombing the pro-ISIS forces).

UPDATE: The FT’s online readership evidently isn’t as gullible as the FT’s editors expect. Though there was a bit of reader-comment in the nature of “They are building military bases around NATO, while Russia’s revenues are going down the tubes. Another stupid strategy from the Kremlin,” far more was in the nature of the following:

“How can more forces fighting ISIS be a negative?”

“Kathrin [addressing the newspaper’s Moscow correspondent, Kathrin Hille], please spare us this US propaganda drivel. We’ve really had enough. Start complaining again when Russia builds an air force base in Mexico. Until then………shhhhh.”

“The extraordinary thing of all is that NATO, the biggest and most powerful military alliance in history with bases essential surrounding Russia, is never reported to be ‘flying close’ to Russia’s borders. They are undoubtedly the most scrupulous pilots on earth.”

“1. This is terrible news; how dare Mr Putin do this! Mr GWB must be recalled from his retirement to bomb Belarus back into the Stone Age. These Belarus guys learnt nothing from all that ‘Shock and Awe’.

2. Thank you FT/Nikkei, and the ever vigilant Ms Hille, for this timely warning.”

“The growing military and and economic relationship between Russia and China and the expansion of Russian presence, and presumably bases, in Syria is also a result of western policy, specifically American policy, that includes economic sanctions. In Ukraine and in the Middle East, neocon-Washington-driven policy has been a catastrophe.”

But, if the FT’s  readers are really so smart, why do they then subscribe? Why do they subsidize propaganda, when there are a few authentic  news sites (you’re reading one of them now) that are free? Readers can get the facts, and the honest and relevant context, without needing to subscribe to anything.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • tom
  • tom

    “But, if the FT’s readers are really so smart, why do they then subscribe?”

    It’s a membership badge. Having “The Pink ‘Un” under your arm or on your desk proves that you are a serious capitalist, who cares about money, all money, and nothing but money. Like The Wall Street Journal.

    Why they READ it is the real mystery.