Today's Washington Times features a story on Russia's successful test of a maneuverable re-entry warhead. While this may bolster the national pride of Russian scientists and provide opponents of U.S. missile defenses with another talking point, the billions of rubles spent do nothing to address the real threats to Russia's territorial integrity and security (and besides that, missile defense opponents never admit that more nimble warheads make little difference if the anti-ballistic missile is also tipped with a large nuclear warhead and only needs to achieve a near-miss, as with the old Soviet ABM system around Moscow).
We have long maintained here at Russia Blog that the greatest threats to Russia's national security come from within, from corruption and despair. The Rodina is too big to be conquered with brute force, as Napoleon and Hitler found out to their doom, but today Russia is well along the road to national suicide. Militant Islam and Chinese migration into Siberia would merely finish the job started by Russians, the long-term consequence of a loss of Russian national unity and hope. Of course, a Chinese Siberia would be far less threatening to the world than ceding southern Russia and Central Asia to lawlessness and militant Islamist fanatics, a mess that China and possibly India and the U.S. would have to try to contain.
By all means Russia should maintain a viable nuclear deterrent in an uncertain world. And the United States has spent ten billion dollars in the last decade through the Lugar-Nunn program to secure Russia's nuclear arsenal from being sold to terrorists, with some evidence of Russia diverting this money for corrupt schemes and building a new generation of nuclear technology. Nonetheless, thousands of nuclear warheads on the most advanced ICBMs won't matter at all thirty or forty years from now, if Russia begins to lose control over both its southern regions and Far East.