Although one would never notice by watching the controlled news media here in the West, "Cold War II" has heated up significantly as of late. Putting aside the serious crisis in the Caucasus, below is a sampling of various other activities registered with the Russian Federation just during the past couple of days.
Nine ICBMs to Be Launched over Half-Year
Nine test launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles will be made in time of summer training that begins June 1 and ends November 30, Strategic Rocket Forces Commander Colonel-General Nikolay Solovtsov told Interfax. In 2008, they will proceed with rearming Strategic Rocket Forces with Topol-M missile complex, Solovtsov said. The first mobile missile complex, RS-12M2 Topol-M has been on combat duty since 2006, and the plans are to equip the second regiment of Strategic Rocket Forces with these missiles this year. The tests of intercontinental RS-24 began past year. This missile will be the foundation of Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces. It has six multiple warheads and was created by using technology developed in time of Topol-M and Bulava design.
Russia to adjust military plans to secure interests in Arctic - DM
Russia’s military leadership will react to the US large-scale exercise in the northern latitudes by the adjustment of the plans of combat training of its army for the reliable protection of the country’s national interests in the Arctic, head of the main combat training and service department of Russian troops, Lieutenant-General Vladimir Shamanov told Itar-Tass on Monday. “As for our reaction to the Northern Edge 2008 (NE08) American troops’ exercise in Alaska, it first of all will includes a detailed analysis, studying these manoeuvres and unquestionably making proposals for the adjustment of combat training of forces and units of the Northern, Pacific Fleets, the Siberian and Far Eastern military districts so that they be prepared to reliably defend the country’s national interests in the Arctic region from any encroachments,” Shamanov specified.
Russian law to limit investment
Russia will start restricting foreign investment in key sectors of the economy such as energy and aviation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law just days before his successor, President-elect Dmitry Medvedev, is set to be sworn in. Investors have complained that the law limits access to more than half of Russia's economy. However analysts have said the law should make the situation clearer for companies wanting to invest in Russia. State-run firms, such as energy firm Gazprom, have at times taken control of assets at the expense of foreign investors. The law lists 42 sectors where foreign investment will be limited including nuclear energy, natural monopolies, exploration of strategic mineral deposits, aviation, space and other sensitive industries. Any private-sector foreign company wanting to buy more than 50% of a firm in a sector deemed strategic will need authorisation from a commission made up of economic and security officials. Companies controlled by foreign governments will have to go through the same procedure if they plan to acquire more than 25% of a Russian company on the list.
Russia to Flex Its Muscle Amid Liberal Hopes
Military to Return To Red Square In Ritual Parade
Russia on Friday will stage its first full-scale military parade on Red Square since the Soviet era in a display of its growing international confidence and influence. Departing President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the parade isn't irresponsible saber-rattling but proof of the country's military resurgence. "We are not threatening anyone and don't plan to," he told a farewell cabinet meeting. "This is a demonstration of our growing defense capability." The parade will be the first time the successor to the Red Army has showed off its armor and missiles on the storied square since 1990, when the faltering Soviet Communist party celebrated the Russian revolution for the last time. Friday's parade will mark the anniversary of the allied defeat of Nazi Germany. The display will be watched by Russia's new president, Dmitry Medvedev, who is expected to speak at the event, which takes place two days after his inauguration. City officials said aircraft would seed the clouds to ensure clear skies as more than 110 tanks, missiles and artillery pieces trundle across Red Square, many for the first time. Analysts say the event fits in with Kremlin propaganda that portrays Russia as a country on the rise, having rediscovered national pride and unity after the chaotic 1990s. "It's political and psychological," said Ivan Safranchuk, an analyst at the Moscow-based Center for Defense Information. "It's a demonstration of the general good mood." Mr. Putin has accused the West of stoking an arms race and has used oil revenue to intensify defense spending. The Defense Ministry said earlier this year it planned to spend about one trillion rubles, or about $42 billion this year, compared with $5 billion in 2002. Russia still spends far less on weapons than the U.S. The biggest orders for some of the latest Russian-made weapons come from overseas clients, not the Russian military, analysts said. Russian state television said the parade would interest foreign intelligence agencies in the same way Soviet displays did in the Cold War when Western experts strained to identify new hardware. Organizers say more than 30 strategic bombers and fighters will screech overhead as 6,000 troops in new uniforms conceived by a top Russian designer march past.
Belarusian KGB Details American Spying
The Belarusian state television station Channel One ran more programming on Sunday about the activities of the network of American spies uncovered in March by the Belarusian KGB. The head of that agency's Center for Public Relations and Information Valery Nadtochaev told viewers of the program Panorama that Belarusian citizens working for the U.S. embassy security service in an “observation and detection group” were managed by the embassy security attachй Curt Finley. Finley, Nadtochaev told Belarusian viewers in a scandalized tone, was an FBI agent. He did not mention that all security attaches at all U.S. embassies are openly affiliated with the FBI. According to Nadtochaev, the members of the observation and detection group took 5000 illegal photographs of other Belarusian citizens. The photographs were taken in the center of Minsk, at the Minsk airport and in towns near Minsk, even photographing police at opposition meetings. Nadtochaev said that the members of the group could have been charged under article 365 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (Treason), but instead “the KGB restricted itself to measures of a warning character and has warned all citizens of Belarus who belonged to the group of the impermissibility of carrying out illegal activities.” Nadtochaev said that the Belarusian group members have all resigned from their employment at the U.S. embassy and Finley left Belarus at the end of March. On May 3, Belarusian authorities demanded that 11 more U.S. embassy employees leave the country. There are now four employees left at the embassy, including Temporary Charge d'Affaires Jonathan Moore.
War games in Chechnya
War games in Chechnya: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of1GqbfX_dU
The largest and only Russian army unit to be permanently located in the Chechen Republic has held large-scale training involving heavy artillery. Situated in the city of Khankala, 10 km from the capital Grozny, the 42nd division is made up of more than 15,000 professional servicemen. Those already drafted can sign a contract for at least three years to stay in the army. But it needs to become their profession if they are to operate in such a dangerous area. Regiments are located in areas where there is still the threat of possible attack, such as Bashen-Kale near the Russian-Georgian border. During the wars of the 1990s clashes were common there, but over the last five years things have changed dramatically. The city of Khankala was among the places which saw the worst fighting in the 1990s. Some five years ago there was debris all around in Khankala, the city was severely damaged. Today there's a division which looks more like a small city where thousands of professional soldiers do their jobs. Some even bring their families with them. There is infrastructure available for them, including a kindergarten, schools and a hospital, which people say is the best in the area. The division even has its own bread-baking plant which provides soldiers and their relatives with fresh buns and rolls. Just a few days ago Tomas Hammarberg, the European commissioner for human rights, visited Chechnya. He said the republic is far from being a top holiday destination and living here could still be dangerous but it's improving.