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Posted: 8/14/2007 3:26:25 PM EDT
Some good news and some not so good news

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Walker's World: The Russian bear is back


Washington (UPI) Aug 13, 2007
The announcement Saturday by President Vladimir Putin that Russia has launched a vast program to improve the country's missile defense system is being presented as a response to American plans to deploy a similar new U.S. anti-missile system in Eastern Europe.

But it comes in the context of other recent Russian steps that suggest a determined and coordinated effort by the Kremlin to assert a return to great-power status by restoring much of the military power of the old Soviet Union. To suspicious observers in the West and to U.S. military commanders who must make their own strategic assessments based on the capabilities of potential rivals, it must look as if the Russian bear is back.

In one crucial sense, the bear never went away. Although Russia's navy has been rusting in dock for more than a decade, and though its army has shrunk in size and very nearly collapsed in morale after its setbacks in the Chechen wars, the nuclear-armed strategic rocket forces have retained much of their traditional power to awe and to deter. Russia remains the only country that could, in theory, destroy organized life in the United States.

But something new is happening. Russia is rattling its sabers again. Last week's planting of a titanium flag on the seabed below the North Pole was one sign. Another was the resumption of long-haul missions into U.S. and NATO-controlled airspace by Russia's strategic bombers. Two T-95MS 'Bear' turboprop bombers last week flew over the Pacific island of Guam, where the United States is upgrading its air and naval bases.

"It has always been the tradition of our long-range aviation to fly far into the ocean, to meet (U.S.) aircraft carriers and greet American pilots visually," Maj. Gen. Pavel Androsov told a Moscow news conference. But that tradition was in abeyance in the 1990s, when the Russian military was short of aviation fuel and training flights were cut drastically. Under Putin, all that has changed.

Another bomber crew from Engels Air Base in southwest Russia flew to a test range in northern Siberia, hit the assigned targets with cruise missiles and then flew another 3,000 miles to land at a base near the Pacific coast, an air force spokesman said. Engels is one of the main bases for the most modern of Russian bombers, the supersonic Tu-160 Blackjack, known to Russians as the white swan, which holds a special place in Putin's affections since he took a five-hour flight with one of the Engels crews.

Yet a further signal of Russia's bold new strategic posture was the announcement by navy Commander Adm. Vladimir Masorin of a massive rebuilding of the Russian fleet. Masorin, who also promised the return of a "permanent naval presence" in the Mediterranean Sea, said last month Russia was rebuilding an industrial base to build six new aircraft carriers over the next 20 years.

Russia can certainly afford it, so long as energy prices remain close to their current high levels. Dmitri Medvedev, who combines the jobs of being chairman of the Gazprom energy giant and also first deputy prime minister, told Germany's Stern magazine last week that Gazprom "could become the world's most valuable company."

"Gazprom has the largest natural gas reserves in the world. When I joined the board of directors (in 2000), the concern was worth about $8 billion, but today it is more than $250 billion," Medvedev said.

At current U.S. prices, a fleet of six carriers, along with their aircraft and the training costs of pilots, would cost in the region of $150 billion, about the current level of Russia's national infrastructure fund. But Russia is spending a great deal more than that.

Putin's announcement of the new early warning and anti-missile facility that he opened at Lekhtusi, 30 miles north of St. Petersburg, was said to be "the first step in the implementation of a major early warning program up to the year 2015." And being based that far north it was not intended to stop missiles from Iran or China or the south, but to guard against missiles coming over the North Pole, which is to say against a potential threat from the United States. Not that Russia is leaving the south unguarded; a similar advanced radar installation is under construction at Armavir in southern Russia.

Then there was the announcement this month that the new S-400 Triomf missile defense system, designed to defeat Stealth bombers, has gone onto combat alert in the Moscow region. And in June the Kremlin announced the first successful undersea launch of the new Bulava missile, designed to defeat anti-missile defenses, and to equip the next-generation Borei 955 nuclear submarines.

It all sounds very expensive, and very formidable, the first ominous fruits of the $200 billion 10-year rearmament program Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov announced two years ago.

The reality is rather less impressive. Indeed, senior Russian defense officials are warning publicly that the rearmament program faces collapse, as wages and other costs soar. The cost of the new T-909 tanks has risen by 25 percent in just three months, and the Defense Ministry has stopped announcing the actual production of tanks, missiles and warplanes.

"The targets for increasing armaments have not been met, even when spending for the program consistently increases," Deputy Chairman Vladislav Putilin told the Military-Industrial Commission in April. And Lt. Gen. Vladimir Mikheyev, the Defense Ministry's deputy head of armaments, is on record saying: "Uncertainty regarding financing means that we will not receive the tanks from Nizhny Tagil-based manufacturer Uralvagonzavod, nor the Su-34 aircraft that the armaments program mandates."

The Sukhoi group itself has warned that mass production of the long-planned Su-34 is out of the question this or next year. And Ivanov himself told the last meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission: "There is a deficit of over 1,500 materials needed in defense. That constitutes a threat to the state's defense capability and economic security."

The fact is that the Russian military-industrial complex may have impressive technological skills, but it lacks the skilled manpower, the resource base, the cost control and management, and the advanced engineering capabilities that the rearmament program requires.

It cannot even meet its lucrative export contracts. The former Soviet aircraft carrier, the Admiral Gorshkov, is being modernized for India at the Sevmash shipbuilding yard under a $1.5 billion contract signed three years ago. It was supposed to be operational in the Indian Ocean next year, along with a wing of MiG-29K warplanes. Not a chance. Last month Sevmash admitted that the Gorshkov would not be ready until 2011 at the earliest, and Sevmash Director General Vladimir Pastukhov was fired.

The Russian bear may be coming out of hibernation, but he's a long, long way from being back -- even with all that oil and gas money at his disposal. And the more the big holes in the rearmament plan become apparent, the more questionable become Sergei Ivanov's hopes of succeeding Putin as Russian president next year.


Link Posted: 8/14/2007 3:41:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By armoredsaint:

Originally Posted By PAEBR332:

Originally Posted By armoredsaint:
russia is a corupt 3rd world shithole, how can they afford anything???


Russia sits on an ocean of oil and gas.


yeah, but they don't have the money to exploit it!


There is exactly one country in the entire world that currently pumps more oil a day than Russia. And Russia produces 90% of what Saudi does.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 3:51:48 PM EDT

The fact is that the Russian military-industrial complex may have impressive technological skills, but it lacks the skilled manpower, the resource base, the cost control and management, and the advanced engineering capabilities that the rearmament program requires.


Is there a lesson to be learned from this?
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 3:53:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By motown_steve:

The fact is that the Russian military-industrial complex may have impressive technological skills, but it lacks the skilled manpower, the resource base, the cost control and management, and the advanced engineering capabilities that the rearmament program requires.


Is there a lesson to be learned from this?


Yes. Centralized control of the economy is a VERY bad thing.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 3:54:35 PM EDT

The announcement Saturday by President Vladimir Putin that Russia has launched a vast program to improve the country's missile defense system is being presented as a response to American plans to deploy a similar new U.S. anti-missile system in Eastern Europe.


EXCELLENT! So they will have a missile defense system to counter attack our missile defense system!

Link Posted: 8/14/2007 3:54:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By bloodmoon:
Russia sucks, their equipment sucks, and their government sucks. My vote for suckiest nation of the sucks.

RUSSIA can suck American dick. We won you sucky fuckers.



That goes for the Middle East, and they are causing enough trouble for us, eh?


- BG
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 4:26:52 PM EDT
AK47. cheap. keeps firing. And dont forget thier commi friends. billions of them bastards.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 4:30:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BUCC_Guy:

Originally Posted By bloodmoon:
Russia sucks, their equipment sucks, and their government sucks. My vote for suckiest nation of the sucks.

RUSSIA can suck American dick. We won you sucky fuckers.



That goes for the Middle East, and they are causing enough trouble for us, eh?


- BG
Middle east fucks who are working against their own future are not sucks they are retards in the harshest sense of the word.

That region was at one time the seat of learning and science look how far they have come sad.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 4:32:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By motown_steve:

The fact is that the Russian military-industrial complex may have impressive technological skills, but it lacks the skilled manpower, the resource base, the cost control and management, and the advanced engineering capabilities that the rearmament program requires.


Is there a lesson to be learned from this?
Only one communism doesn't work and will set you back when you wise up and pick a better system.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 4:34:07 PM EDT
It never left.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 4:35:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ParatrooperJJ:
It never left.
seems that way we can only hope they go back to that system so they ruin their country even more.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 5:28:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By armoredsaint:

Originally Posted By PAEBR332:

Originally Posted By armoredsaint:
russia is a corupt 3rd world shithole, how can they afford anything???


Russia sits on an ocean of oil and gas.


yeah, but they don't have the money to exploit it!


I see you possess all the insight and depth of knowledge of the organization in your avatar?

Have you been paying any attention to the Russian economy these past few years?
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 5:29:30 PM EDT

America, nato, versus Soviet Union and Warsaw pack.
Change that to America versus Russia and China, which is worse?
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 7:41:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By iocane:
Change that to America versus Russia and China, which is worse?

Plenty of W88s to go around.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 7:49:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/14/2007 7:49:20 PM EDT by kill-9]
The Russian bear:

Link Posted: 8/14/2007 7:52:43 PM EDT
If it's so great, how come they don't have their own Mexicans?
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 7:55:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By kill-9:
The Russian bear:

vanfossen.org/bear_cav.jpg


More like this:

US and Russia
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 7:57:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Rocksarge:
If it's so great, how come they don't have their own Mexicans?


Illegal immigration is a HUGE problem in Russia. Heck, and they even HAVE a guest worker program designed to meet actual demand.

Yes, people actually sneak IN. That's a pretty clear sign of a country's economy being a bit more than some of you make it out to be.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 8:05:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/14/2007 8:06:21 PM EDT by Bang-Flop]
They weren't a conventional warfare threat from the end of WWII until it all fell apart. Nuclear MAYBE!

It was all scare tactics by our own .gov to keep our military / industrial complex ramped up, and making money.

I toured a bunch of Eastern European countries immediately after it all fell apart. They couldn't have done "squat" against us. Their military / industrial complex, as well as their military was in bad shape.

If you don't believe me, ask any GI that was stationed in Western Europe from about 1950 till it fell apart!

Does the term "broke dick" make it easier to understand their capabilities?
Link Posted: 8/15/2007 7:52:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bohr_Adam:

Originally Posted By armoredsaint:

Originally Posted By PAEBR332:

Originally Posted By armoredsaint:
russia is a corupt 3rd world shithole, how can they afford anything???


Russia sits on an ocean of oil and gas.


yeah, but they don't have the money to exploit it!


I see you possess all the insight and depth of knowledge of the organization in your avatar?

Have you been paying any attention to the Russian economy these past few years?


The Russian economy has been doing quite well the last few years. It has averaged 6.7% annual GDP growth the last 8 years. Fixed capital investment is rising at a 10% a year pace for the past several years. They have a fairly large current accounts surplus (read: $315 billion pile of cash on hand), are the world's second largest exporter of oil and largest exporter of gas. State controlled Russian energy companies have been pushing out their "partners' in joint ventures (The Shtokman gas field, Sakhalin, etc.) over the past few years. Such facts are stubborn things.

So I guess a better question is have YOU been paying attention to what has been happening in Russia the past few years?
Link Posted: 8/15/2007 8:02:36 AM EDT
In the 70s, the USSR had the 2nd largest GDP in the world. Now Russia is number 11, below Brazil and Spain. Their economy is 8% of the size of ours. They just do not have the bucks to be a contender.
Link Posted: 8/15/2007 8:19:16 AM EDT



let putin bring back full-fledged communism with all its' splendid marching and parading.

the government will thrive again.

the people will starve again.

the country will go bankrupt again as completely unskilled and uneducated peoples try in vain (and literally under the gun) to carry out the insane desires of unhinged dictators.


Link Posted: 8/15/2007 9:08:31 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/15/2007 9:19:58 AM EDT by dablues]

Originally Posted By Rocksarge:
If it's so great, how come they don't have their own Mexicans?


They do...muslims, Ukrainians, Moldovans, Georgians and Uzbeks, Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants as laborers

www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=CDI+Russia+Profile+List&articleid=4258

Dang! You guys are fast!

Interesting article....sounds like the US

....In some estimates, there are 12-15 million immigrants in Russia, but fewer than half a million of them are legal. The Federal Migration Service (FMS) has recently amended the immigration legislation to simplify the procedure of obtaining a work permit. The amendments also stipulate that foreigners will not need a permit but will only have to register their stay in Russia, and there is a possibility of an "illegal immigration amnesty" in 2006. The amendments have been sent to the government, and the State Duma may adopt the new draft in early 2006.

Disregarding for the moment the strong emotions provoked by the issue, we will focus here on economic aspects of the planned innovations in the Russian immigration policy.

Opinion polls and television debates show that Russians are divided over the issue of labor migration, and the majority would like the authorities to limit immigration.

The Levada Center opinion research foundation reported that 59% of the respondents have called for this measure (54% in 2004 and 45% in 2002). Only 22% are against placing administrative obstacles to labor immigration. Russians have the lowest opinion of immigrants from the Caucasus (50% of the respondents), China (46%), Vietnam (42%) and Central Asia (31%).

Over $15 billion leave Russia annually as illegal immigrants send money home. In addition, they do not pay taxes, and the regional budgets "lost" $2 billion in 2003 as a result.

A new term, "ethnic economy," has been coined in Russia. It refers to the control of considerable sectors of the regional economy by ethnic diasporas. For example, Azeris control all wholesale vegetable warehouses in Moscow and several other cities of Russia. Farmers of the Moscow region have been forced out: they sell their output to resalers at ridiculous prices. Moscow is the only city in the world where vegetable prices at outdoor markets are as high as in expensive shops. Officially, there are 30,000 Azeris in Moscow but the police say the actual figure is closer to 1.5 million.

Russia's working age population is shrinking every year. According to the World Bank's Russian Economic Report #11, "the rate of natural increase in Russia is the world's second lowest: -0.6% after -0.8% in Ukraine." The World Population Data Sheet (WPDS) cited in the World Bank's report "projects population change in Russia in 2004-2050 to be -17% (declining from 144 to 119 million)." The Untied Nations "provides an even lower estimate for Russia's population in 2050: 112 million."

The World Bank concludes that sustainable economic growth is impossible in Russia without an influx of immigrant labor. The ageing population problem and its consequences also exists in Europe.
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