There was more saber rattling from Moscow. The news coming out of Russia during the last several days has been astounding. In particular, the news about the Russian Navy wanting to establish a presence within the Mediterranean Sea will have some serious geopolitical consequences. Notice also that Moscow has decided to flex its military muscles over the Arctic region by conducting strategic bomber flights over the North Pole. Does anyone think they are not serious about "privatizing" the natural resources that are said to be located there? Nevertheless, all these new military exercises and deployments are an unmistakable message for the West to - stay away.



Russia's Strategic Aviation to Conduct 6 Exercises in August


The Russian strategic aviation will fly over the North Pole and conduct test launches of cruise missiles during a series of exercises in August, the Defense Ministry said on its website Tuesday. Units of the 37th Air Army of the Strategic Command will conduct a total of six tactical exercises in August as part of an annual training program, the ministry said in a statement. "During the exercises, strategic bombers will test launch cruise missiles, conduct simulated bombing raids, and fly over the North Pole, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans," the statement said. The exercises will involve Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95MS Bear-H strategic bombers, and Tu-22M3 Backfire-C theater bombers - the mainstay of the air component of Russia's strategic nuclear triad. According to various sources, the Russian Air Force currently deploys 141 Tu-22M3 bombers, 40 Tu-95MS bombers, and 14 Tu-160 planes. Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov, the newly appointed chief of the Air Force Main Staff, said in March that Russia's strategic aviation had sufficient potential to suppress elements of a U.S. missile defense shield should it be deployed in Central Europe.


Russia's Navy gets ambitious

The Russian Navy will become the world's second largest in 20 years' time, said its commander-in-chief, Admiral Vladimir Masorin, speaking ahead of Navy Day. He said the navy's core would consist of the newest strategic nuclear-powered submarines and six squadrons of aircraft carriers. For Russia's navy, this will be its third modernization program, said the admiral. The previous two, although giving it a boost, were never completed. Now, said the admiral, there is such a chance. Recently approved, a rearmament program until 2015 for the first time in Soviet and Russian history puts the development of the navy on an equal footing with strategic nuclear forces. Out of 4.9 trillion rubles ($192.16 billion) allocated for military rearmament, 25% will go into building new ships. "We are already building practically as many ships as we did in Soviet times," First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said during a visit to Severodvinsk. "The problem now is not lack of money, but how to optimize production so that the navy can get new ships three, not five, years after laying them down."


Of special note are plans to build six aircraft carriers, which would make the Russian Navy the world second in terms of combat capability. The government program, however, does not provide for their construction before 2015. Nor is there mention of them in plans for the period until 2030. But during his recent trip to Severodvinsk, Ivanov was shown plans for a new $500 million dock designed to build large-tonnage ships at the Zvyozdochka ship repair yard. Earlier such large ships could only be built in Nikolayev, Ukraine. The dock, the Russian shipbuilding agency said, is needed to build gas carriers - ships to transport Russian liquefied natural gas to Western partners. The same dock could also build aircraft carriers. At any rate, the project is already on the drawing board. Masorin said the craft would be a nuclear-powered ship not less than 100 meters long and would carry an air wing of 30 combat fighter jets and helicopters. But this is not going to be soon. The outlook is best for submarines. Recently two Project 667BDRM boats have been modernized, and two more submarines are being repaired and upgraded at Severodvinsk. A new sonar system is being installed to enable them to "see" and "hear" better. Other equipment includes new fire fighting systems, nuclear reactor protection devices, and the RSM-54 Sineva strategic missile system. Unlike its predecessor, the Skif, the Sineva carries 10 independently targetable re-entry vehicles instead of four. The new missile has a longer range and a modern control system.


But modernization of existing vessels is only part of the rebuilding program. The Sevmash engineering plant at Severodvinsk is currently building a series of new fourth-generation submarines. These are Project 955 Borei boats. It is for them that the new Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile is being developed. "Three nuclear submarines of the fourth generation are currently under construction," Masorin said. "They are the Yury Dolgoruky, Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh. In comparison with previous boats, they will have much better armaments and equipment." A Project 885 Yasen-class multi-purpose attack nuclear-powered submarine is preparing to hit the water at Severodvinsk. It is another new fourth-generation submarine able to replace several classes of submarines used in the Russian Navy. Professionals say this ship will cause a revolution in submarine building. Russia's third-generation Project 971 Akula submarines are already undetectable in ocean depths. The Yasen will outperform even the latest American Sea Wolf in the underwater noise level. In addition, it will be a multi-purpose boat. Thanks to its armaments (several types of cruise missiles and torpedoes), it will be able to carry out diverse missions. It will be able with equal ease to chase enemy aircraft carriers and deliver massive missile strikes on coastal targets. Experts believe the new nuclear submarines and "floating airfields" will mean a quantum leap for the Russian Navy and its combat capabilities.


Russia Begins Large-Scale Military Exercises in North Caucasus

Russia begins large-scale military exercises in North Caucasus

Russia began Monday large-scale military exercises in five regions of the North Caucasus, involving at least 8,000 personnel, an aide to the commander of the North Caucasus military district said Tuesday. The exercise involves units of the North Caucasus Military District, the 4th Air Force Army, Interior Ministry troops, border guards, and the Caspian Flotilla. "The total number of personnel involved in the command-and-staff exercise is over 8,000," Andrei Bobrun said. The main goal of the exercise is to practice interoperability between federal troops, interior ministry's troops, border guards, the Air Force and the Navy in special operations against militants and the defense of Russia's state borders. The exercise, which involves at least 350 combat vehicles and aircraft, will be conducted until August 9 on the territory of North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Daghestan, the Chechen Republic, and the Stavropol Territory. Air Force spokesman Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky earlier said aircraft and helicopters would practice reconnaissance, lock-on and destruction of air and ground targets. Although the active phase of the antiterrorism campaign in Russia's troubled North Caucasus region officially ended in 2001, periodic bombings and clashes between militants and federal troops still disrupt Chechnya and nearby regions, including Daghestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, and Karachayevo-Circassia.


Strategic Missile Forces to Conduct Over 100 Exercises in Fall

The Strategic Missile Forces will conduct more than 100 exercises this summer and fall, the SMF press service said Friday. Part of the exercises will include rehearsing command and control operations involving the mobile Topol-M ICBM complex. The SMF commander said last month Russia will commission three Topol-M ICBMs this year. "By the end of the year we will arm another missile battalion with advanced Topol-M ICBMs at the Teikovo missile base, Ivanovo Region," Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said. Gen. Solovtsov said earlier the deployment of silo-based Topol-M systems in the Saratov Region and road-mobile systems in the Ivanovo Region (central Russia) would be completed in 2010. As of December 2006, the Strategic Missile Forces operated 44 silo-based and three mobile missiles. The SMF press service said that, while 48 silo-based systems would be on duty by late 2007, the Teikovo base is shifting to cutting-edge road-mobile missiles.


Russia to Equip Two Air Regiments With Su-34 Strike Planes Soon

Two regiments of the 16th Air Army will be equipped with new Su-34 Fullback fighter-bombers in the near future, the army commander said Thursday. Designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau, the Su-34s will replace the Su-24 Fencer frontline bombers. Experts said the new bomber has the potential to become the best plane in its class for years to come. "The schedule for re-equipment of air regiments [in the Russian Air Force] with new and modernized aircraft has been determined," Major General Alexander Belevitch said. "Two of our air regiments will be re-armed soon." The $36 million Su-34 fighter-bomber is a two-seat strike aircraft equipped with twin AL-31MF afterburning turbojet engines. It is designed to deliver high-precision strikes on heavily-defended targets under any weather conditions, day or night, and fields weaponry that includes a 30mm GSh-301 cannon, up to 12 Alamo or Archer AAMs, ASMs, and bombs. The first serial-production Su-34 has been procured by the Defense Ministry and will soon be deployed at the Lipetsk pilot training center for practical training of military pilots. General Belevitch said the 16th Air Army would also receive MiG-29SM Fulcrum fighters to replace outdated MiG-29s and modernized Su-25 Frogfoot close support aircraft, which showed outstanding performance during operations in Afghanistan, Chechnya and other "hot spots." The 16th Air Army, headquartered at Kubinka, is essentially a tactical air force component of the Moscow Military District, with zone of responsibility of up to 1.3 million square kilometers, including the country's capital, Moscow.


Russia Strategic Aviation Holds Exercise Over Pacific, Atlantic

Units of the 37th Air Army of the Strategic Command have begun tactical exercises with test launches of cruise missiles over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, an Air Force spokesman said Tuesday. "In all, over 30 Tu-95 Bear-H strategic bombers, Tu-22 Backfire-C theater bombers and Il-78 Midas will be conducting flights August 14," Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky said. "During the exercises, the crews will test launch cruise missiles over the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and fly to the North Pole." The exercises, which will run through August 18, are held under the command of Major-General Pavel Androsov, the commander of the Russian Air Force's long-range aviation. According to various sources, the Russian Air Force currently deploys 141 Tu-22 Backfire-C theater bombers, 40 Tu-95 Bear-H strategic bombers, and 14 Tu-160 Blackjack.


Russia's Navy Must Restore Presence in Mediterranean - Commander

Russia must restore its permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean to ensure the protection of its strategic interests in the region, the Navy commander said Friday. "The Mediterranean is an important theater of operations for the Russian Black Sea Fleet," Admiral Vladimir Masorin said, adding that the fleet's zone of control extended through the Black and Mediterranean seas toward the Atlantic Ocean. "We must restore a permanent presence of the Russian Navy in this region," the Navy commander said.

He called for closer cooperation with Ukraine, where the bulk of the Black Sea Fleet is currently based, and Turkey, which is an important regional leader. Russia is part of the Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group (Blackseafor), which also includes Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania and Georgia. Formally established on Turkey's initiative in 2001, Blackseafor conducts search and rescue operations, and environmental monitoring, and organizes goodwill visits among Black Sea countries. In addition, Russia actively participates in the NATO-led antiterrorism operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean. The country will send a frigate in September 2007 to join the NATO naval task force in the Eastern Mediterranean, the admiral said. Igor Dygalo, aide to the Navy commander, said commenting on Masorin's words, that Russia has no future plans to create groups or units of combat ships in the Mediterranean Sea like during the Cold War.

He added that the regular presence of Russian ships and submarines from the North, Baltic, and Black Sea Fleets in the Mediterranean Sea is "intended to outline Russia's foreign policy interests." Masorin said the presence of the Russian Navy in the region is crucial for the protection of energy supply routes via the Blue Stream gas pipeline and the proposed Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline. Addressing the controversial issue of the Black Sea Fleet's base in Sevastopol in Ukraine, the Navy commander said Moscow and Kiev must respect the fundamental agreements on the base lease without any revisions. Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement in 1997 stipulating that the Black Sea Fleet's main base in Sevastopol, on the Crimean Peninsula, be leased to Russia for 20 years, with the possibility of extending the term.

The annual rent of about $100 million is deducted from Ukraine's debt for Russian energy supplies. In addition to the main base, the Black Sea Fleet maintains two airfields and a ship re-supply facility on the Crimean Peninsula. He also said Ukraine should not worry about Russia's plans to reinforce its Black Sea Fleet, but should rather look for ways to expand naval cooperation with Moscow. "The Russian and Ukrainian Navies could successfully cooperate in combat training, naval exercises and international operations," Masorin said. As an alternative to the Sevastopol base, which the Black Sea Fleet has to abandon by 2017, Russia has started construction of a naval base in the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk. "Over 40 billion rubles [over $1.5 billion] have been allocated to the construction of a Black Sea Fleet base in Novorossiisk before 2020 under a federal target program," Admiral Vladimir Masorin said.


Russia Deployed Over 30 New Types of Weaponry in Jan.-June 2007

The Russian Armed Forces commissioned more than 30 new types of advanced weapon systems in the first half of 2007, the defense minister said Friday. "Thirty-six types of modern weaponry were deployed with the Armed Forces in the first half of 2007," Anatoly Serdyukov said. The minister said these weapon systems included the submarine-launched R-29RM Sineva ballistic missiles, the S-400 Triumf air defense complex, and the 120-mm Nona SM-1 towed mortar for Ground Forces. The R-29RM Sineva (NATO codename SS-N-23) was designed for use by the Russian Delta IV class submarines, each of which is capable of carrying 16 missiles. It carries four nuclear warheads and has a range of about 8,500 kilometers. Serdyukov also said Russia has successfully conducted test launches of the Yarts land-based ballistic missile, the Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile and the X-102 airborne missile. "We have entered the final testing stage for the entire missile triad," he said. In addition, Russia successfully tested a new version of the Iskander-M ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads and launched two military reconnaissance and communication satellites, the defense minister said.


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Dear reader,

Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years or so has also helped me see Russia as the last front against scourges of Westernization, Globalism, American expansionism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. This realization compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and the only voice preaching the strategic importance of Armenia remaining within Russia's orbit. From about 2010 to 2015 I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult as I had no assistance in this endeavor. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling inside me urged me to keep going; and I did.

When Armenia finally joined the EEU and integrated its armed forces into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago, I finally felt a deep sense of satisfaction and relaxation, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back, as I really needed the rest. Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that Armenians are collectively recognizing the strategic importance of Armenia's ties with Russia. Moreover, I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I therefore no longer have the urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal. Going forward, I do not want to write merely for the sake of writing. Also, I do not want to say something if I have nothing important to say. I feel like I have said everything I needed to say. Henceforth, I will post seasonal commentaries about topics I find important. I will however continue moderating the blog's comments section on a regular basis; ultimately because I'm interested in what my readers have to say and also because it's through readers here that I am at times made aware of interesting developments.

To limit clutter in the comments section, I kindly ask all participants of this blog to please keep comments coherent and strictly relevant to the featured topic of discussion. Moreover, please realize that when there are several anonymous visitors posting comments simultaneously, it becomes very confusing (not to mention extremely annoying) trying to figure out who is who and who said what.Therefore, if you are here to engage in conversation, make an observation, express an idea or simply attack me, I ask you to at least use a moniker to identify yourself. Moreover, please appreciate the fact that I have put an enormous amount of information into this blog. In my opinion, most of my blog commentaries and articles, some going back ten-plus years, are in varying degrees relevant to this day and will remain so for a long time to come. Articles in this blog can therefore be revisited by longtime readers and new comers alike. I therefore ask the reader to treat this blog as a depository of important information relating to Eurasian geopolitics, Russian-Armenian relations and humanity's historic fight against the evils of Globalism and Westernization.

Thank you as always for reading.