The Corner

Russia Flexes Its Muscles — That Didn’t Take Long


MOSCOW — In a wide-ranging attack on the United States as it elected a new president, the Russian leader Dmitri A. Medvedev warned on Wednesday that Moscow might deploy short-range missiles in the Baltic region to counter a perceived threat from a proposed American missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.

Mr. Medvedev also proposed to extend the constitutional term of the presidency from four years to six — a move that could enable future Russian presidents to serve 12 years in two consecutive terms. His remarks, in his first state of the nation address since assuming the presidency in May, were delivered within hours of the election of Barack Obama and offered a chilling glimpse into the potential issues and tensions confronting the new American leader when he takes office in January. His comments also seemed at odds with the broader groundswell of support for the American president-elect from many governments across the globe.

In his speech, Mr. Medvedev did not congratulate Mr. Obama on his victory, saying only that he hoped that “our partners — the new U.S. administration — will make a choice in favor of a full-fledged relationship with Russia.”

But he sent a telegram later saying that “Russian-American relations have historically been an important factor for stability in the world and have great importance and sometimes key significance for resolving many of today’s international and regional problems.”

‘“I hope for a constructive dialogue with you based on trust and consideration of each other’s interests,” Mr. Medvedev’s telegram said, according to the Kremlin Web site.

In his speech a few hours earlier, Mr. Medvedev spoke of a “new configuration for the military forces of our country” that would include abandoning plans to dismantle some missile regiments and the stationing of missiles in Russia’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad.

“We earlier planned to take three missile regiments within the missile division stationed in Kozelsk off combat duty and discontinue the division itself by 2010. I have decided to refrain from these plans,” Mr. Medvedev said.

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