Voices from Russia

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Peace Through Strength: How Russian Weapons Help Shift the Global Balance of Power

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Aleksandr III Aleksandrovich is “The Peacemaker”… as he kept the peace during his reign, by keeping the Russian Army and Navy strong.  V V Putin is doing the same thing… to deter the toddler Anglo aggressors and their peevish and arrogant “power projection”.

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In 2012, before the Ukraine crisis and before Russia began its counterterrorism mission in Syria, French-language news website AgoraVox lamented:

After the collapse of the USSR, the world could’ve entered into an era of peace and cooperation.  However, one country felt that victory belongs only to it and that it wasn’t necessary to listen to the others.

This was a very accurate diagnosis.  The USA’s “endless operations in the Middle East, the cowboy dismantlement of Yugoslavia, the expansion of NATO, the global offensive by international terrorism, all this dispelled any illusions about a coming “world without wars”.  Therefore, under pressure from abroad, Russia had to begin restoring its defence capabilities.  It began with a few rearmament programs, but it only made notable progress after the operation to force Georgia to make peace [with South Ossetia and Abkhazia] in 2008.  In South Ossetia, Russian troops first encountered NATO weapons, equipment, and communications equipment in battle.  Our technological weakness became apparent.  Procrastination was leading to gradual loss of state sovereignty.

In 2010, the government launched a 20 trillion Rouble (2.38 trillion Renminbi.  22.16 trillion INR.  344.48 billion USD.  470.29 billion CAD.  464.44 billion AUD. 313.23 billion Euros.  265.32 billion UK Pounds) rearmament programme envisioning a comprehensive modernisation to update 70 percent of Russia’s total military assets by 2020.  Russia is now successfully carrying out this programme.  Earlier this year, in a very detailed ‘primer’ on Russian military power for the new Trump administration, National Interest contributor Michael Kofman wrote:

Following reforms launched in October 2008, and a modernisation programme in 2011 valued at 670 billion USD (38.9 trillion Roubles.  4.63 trillion Renminbi.  43.1 trillion INR.  914.72 billion CAD.  903.33 billion AUD.  609.23 billion Euros.  516.06 billion UK Pounds), the armed forces have become one of Russia’s most reliable instruments of national power.

Indeed, the figures speak for themselves.  For example, in 2016 the army received over 5,500 pieces of military equipment and weapons systems, including scores of aircraft (such as Su-35 4++ generation fighters, Tu-160 and Tu-95 bombers, Mi-28, Ka-52, Mi-35, and Mi-26 helicopters), hundreds of new and modernised tanks, new anti-aircraft missile systems, and nearly two dozen RS-24 Yars ICBM systems.  The latter’s missiles are capable of penetrating any existing or future enemy missile defences.  So far, in 2017, the Aerospace Defence Forces received over a dozen Su-34 fighter-bombers and are set to receive over two-dozen more Su-30 multirole fighters.  In 2016, for the first time in nearly a quarter-century, Russia created a new tank army, and today two fully equipped combined arms armies defend the country’s western flank.  The Navy also saw significant upgrades.  Following its return to Russia in 2014, the Crimea soon turned into an impregnable fortress.  The Black Sea Fleet alone received several new surface ships [including two Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates] as well as Project 636 attack subs, armed with long-range Kalibr missiles.  Furthermore, Russia’s Navy returned to the world’s oceans, with its mere passage through international waters near the US or European coasts causing hysteria among Western officials and media.  Russian strategic aviation’s return to the skies is causing a similar stir.

Russia is developing its army and naval infrastructure in the Arctic and the Far East too, with the military recently deploying S-400s, and Bal and Bastion coastal defence systems in Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands, as the Navy builds up its fleet of icebreakers.  Working to modernise its nuclear forces, Russia continues development of its RS-28 Sarmat super-heavy thermonuclear-armed ICBM… expected to come online as soon as next year, along with the 3M22 Zircon hypersonic missile (mass production expected to start later this year).  Since 2015, the armed forces have demonstrated the effectiveness of modernisation efforts in combat, with the Russian operation in Syria striking a blow to global terrorism and helping to defend Syrian sovereignty against a number of very powerful regional and global actors who sought to dismantle the Syrian state.  Meanwhile, the combat experience Russian forces received is allowing the military to improve its force structure, weapons, and the tactics of their use.  The USA is indignant.  Look at a recent article in the Russian-language service of Voice of America with the headline “Why Does Russia Need a Million-Strong Army?”  Pointing to what it calls a growing “Russian threat”, the Pentagon rewrote its own strategies.  Last month, in commenting on the images of US cruise missiles launched by from ships in the Mediterranean to strike a Syrian airbase, MSNBC anchor Brian Williams excitedly recalled the words of singer Leonard Cohen and his line:

I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons.

Russia also has the right to see their weapons as “beautiful”, not due to their sleekness or destructive power, but because at the moment, they’re the main force in the world stopping the imposition of a unipolar world order based on financial manipulations and the threat of US carrier strike groups and Tomahawk cruise missiles.  Twenty-five years after the collapse of the USSR, our country is stronger than any potential aggressor is.  The “iron stream” of Russian weapons serves to strengthen peace in the world.

6 May 2017

Aleksandr Khrolenko

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/military/201705061053341800-russian-armed-forces-25th-anniversary/

Monday, 21 January 2013

21 January 2013. Sergei Yolkin’s World. The Old is the New… Or, Is the New the Old?

00 Sergei Yolkin. The Old is the New... Or, Is the New the Old. 2013

The Old is the New… Or, Is the New the Old?

Sergei Yolkin

2013

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Shoigu is in uniform, indicating that political dalliance with “civilian” control of Minoborony is over, there’s a pair of old-style boots with footcloths in the corner, and there’s a Soviet banner behind the map. All of this points up that Yolkin doesn’t believe that the Serdyukov “reforms” have any oomph or staying power. It was much the same after 1918… the Red Army became an organic continuation of the old tsarist forces in the end, just as the current forces are, essentially, an organic continuation of the Red Army. The generals LIKE the “old army”… it DID win the Great Victory, didn’t it?

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The Russian armed forces may see some of the major reforms launched by former Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov scrapped, as his recently appointed successor, Sergei Shoigu, continues to give in to generals on lesser issues that still have an impact on the big picture. Serdyukov’s reforms came under heavy criticism within the military, resulting as they did in the dismissal of tens of thousands of officers, disbanding hundreds of army units, and the closure of dozens of military training centres. To abolish the mass-mobilisation concept, which was at the base of all these painful decisions, marked a break with 300 years of Russian military culture. The counter-reform now underway is an inevitable result of the decision that President Putin made when he appointed Shoigu… the decision to make the Minister of Defence an Army General once again. When commenting on this decision, analysts close to the Kremlin insisted that the president was trying to help the newly-appointed Shoigu build up his authority… something that the fiercely-denounced civilian Serdyukov lacked. However, Russian generals are skilful manipulators. They can easily make any new commander believe that he’s part of the army machine, and each new head of the Minoborony inevitably feels like part of the military corporation.

17 January 2013

Aleksandr Golts

Russia Beyond the Headlines

http://rbth.ru/opinion/2013/01/17/new_defense_minister_at_the_mercy_of_conservative_generals_21963.html

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

25 December 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. Be Ready to Have a Festive New Year’s Mood!

00 Sergei Yolkin. Be Ready to Have a Festive New Year’s Mood! 2012

Be Ready to Have a Festive New Year’s Mood!

Sergei Yolkin

2012

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Firstly, that the Defence Minister is again using military rank, as in the Soviet days, means that the so-called “Serdyukov reform” is a dead duck. It means that Russia’s no longer following Western style in having a “civilian” Defence Minister… it’s gone back to the practise of tsarist and Soviet days of having a general at the head of the Minoborony. It also hints at trouble within the siloviki. On another level, Yolkin’s poking fun at “enforced gaiety”. You can’t order folks to be happy, and that’s that…

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Army General Sergei Shoigu, the Defence Minister, gave instructions to the Voronezh Military Air Force Engineering University to foster a holiday spirit in the student dormitories, and, once again, drew attention to his conviction that cadets and soldiers should be able to take a shower when they want to, rather than once a week on a so-called “bath day”.

25 December 2012

Sergei Yolkin

RIA-Novosti

http://ria.ru/caricature/20121225/916195571.html

Friday, 23 November 2012

23 November 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. Stretching the Limit

Stretching the Limit

Sergei Yolkin

2012

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The RIA-Novosti translator deserves a Big Green Weenie Award for their botched translation (“Military Service Extension”) of the title. “Растяжимаяmeans “elastic, stretchable”, and that’s precisely what the protagonists are doing to the poor sod in the middle of the cartoon. On the other hand, “срочность” implies a definite term, a set period. There’s a waggish play on words here by Yolkin impossible to reproduce entirely in English (especially the juxtaposition of contradictory indefinite and definite tenses), but you can come close to its spirit… the RIA translator didn’t even try. Fie on them! Are they somebody’s relative? One wonders…

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Human rights activists oppose extending the length of time for compulsory military service by conscripts from one year to eighteen months, noting that the proposal could put an end to military reform.

22 November 2012

Sergei Yolkin

RIA-Novosti

http://ria.ru/caricature/20121122/911800191.html

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