Unpredictable Russia - October, 2008

Unpredictable Russia

October, 2008

Relations between Russia and the European Union have been going up and down for nearly three years. At first sight, they look fine, yet no progress has been made in drafting and signing practical agreements. Both parties live according to temporary rules, although we realize that such a state of affairs is detrimental. Is there a chance to alter improve the relations? It is a tricky question. The Caucasus war has stalled Russia-EU dialogue revived during a summit held in Khanty-Mansiisk, West Siberia, last June. The Baltic countries and Poland have serious doubts that dialogue can be resumed before the end of this year, especially since the EU has approved a coordinated stance on Abkhazia and South Ossetia and is insisting that Russia officially recognize Georgia’s territorial integrity. The EU cannot understand Russia’s current or future policy. This is why it is not keen to accept President Dmitry Medvedev’s proposal to start discussing a new European security system. Many in Europe fear that Russia’s goal is to destroy existing security institutes, notably the OSCE. Brussels does not need an open conflict with Russia, especially in conditions of a global economic crisis, which has upped energy security stakes. However, it may change its stance if a new gas war breaks out between Russia and Ukraine.

Until recently, dialogue with France, Germany and Italy has been more important to Russia than its relations with the whole of the EU, for understandable reasons. But in future this scheme will not be as effective as it is now, given the continued consolidation and upcoming change in the EU power system. Russia is not ready for this change. A new partnership and cooperation agreement between Russia and the EU, which should provide the basis for their relations in the coming decade, should settle disputes and create a stable mechanism of political and economic cooperation, possibly including the creation of a free trade zone. The longer they delay drafting of the agreement, the less chance of the EU working normally. So, the only thing Russia and the EU can do now is to start working openly and informally on key aspects of the future agreement, so as to create at least the foundation for their future cooperation. It is essential; it is in line with the two parties’ interests. The outcome of the U.S. presidential election is bound to have effect on the European policy. Presumably, it is going to be a negative impact. At the end of the day, it is Trans-Atlantic solidarity, not relations with Russia that has always been the EU’s priority.

Source: http://www.kommersant.com/p1040386/E...rstand_Russia/

Ex-Soviet States to Hold Joint Air Defense Drills in 2009

Members of the Commonwealth of Independent States have agreed to conduct joint air defense exercises in the summer of 2009, the Russian defense minister said on Wednesday. "The joint exercises with live firing, dubbed Combat Commonwealth-2009, will be held in June-September 2009," Anatoly Serdyukov told a news conference after a meeting of CIS defense ministers. The Council of CIS defense ministers held its 55th meeting in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, focusing on the role and activities of the collective CIS peacekeeping force in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone, and improving the integrated air defense system of CIS countries. The CIS, a loose alliance of former Soviet states, comprises Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Ukraine is a founding and participating country but technically not a member state. Turkmenistan holds associate status. An integrated air defense network was set up by 10 CIS member countries on February 10, 1995.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20081015/117749210.html

CIS Defense Ministers to Meet in St. Petersburg

The Council of CIS defense ministers will hold its 55th meeting in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, a spokesman for the alliance's executive committee said. During the meeting defense ministry officials from the Russian-dominated Commonwealth of Independent States are expected to consider around 20 defense cooperation issues. The defense ministers will also focus on ways of improving the united air defense system of CIS countries. In the light of developments in the North Caucasus, CIS members will also review the role and activity of the collective CIS peacekeeping force in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone. The CIS, a loose alliance of former Soviet states, comprises Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Ukraine is a founding and participating country but technically not a member state. Turkmenistan holds associate status.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/world/20081015/117739640.html

Russian Combat Aircraft to Join Military Drills With Belarus

Russian military aircraft and helicopters will conduct joint exercises with the Belarusian Air Force, a Russian Air Force spokesman said on Wednesday. Lt. Col. Vladimir Drik said Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters, Su-25 Frogfoot close-support aircraft and Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters had landed at three Belarusian airbases on October 13 in preparation for the Fall-2008 operational and tactical exercises with the Belarusian Armed Forces. The Fall-2008 exercises will involve around 8,500 personnel, military and special hardware, including over 40 aircraft, more than 60 tanks, around 250 armored vehicles and up to 40 artillery pieces. The participation by Russian aircraft in the exercises is part of the ongoing Russia-Belarus Stability-2008 drills, Drik said. The Stability-2008 exercises will last until October 21 across various regions of Russia and Belarus with the goal of practicing the strategic deployment of the Armed Forces, including the nuclear triad, to counter potential threats near the Russian border. "The exercise will involve the majority of personnel and strategic aircraft in service with strategic aviation units," Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin earlier said. "The crews will deploy the entire range of on board weaponry." The Russian Air Force combat training program has scheduled more than 200 exercises with 350 live firing drills for the second half of 2008.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20081015/117741196.html

Russian Strategic Bombers Complete Week-Long Drills

Russian strategic bombers have successfully completed a series of large-scale, week-long exercises, the Long-Range Aviation commander said on Tuesday. The drills, part of the Stability 2008 strategic command and staff exercises, were conducted on October 6 through 12 under the command Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, Air Force commander, involving over 30 warplanes. "A total of 40 sorties have been flown with an aggregate of 300 flying hours clocked," Maj. Gen. Pavel Androsov said. The Stability-2008 maneuvers are being conducted in various parts of Russia and Belarus with the goal of practicing strategic deployment of the Armed Forces, including the nuclear triad, to counter potential threats near Russia's borders. They started on September 22 and will last until October 21. Russian strategic bombers, Tu-160 Blackjacks and Tu-95MS Bear-Hs, have flown with full combat payloads and launched all of their standard-issue cruise missiles for the first time in over two decades. Tu-95MS and Tu-160 aircraft can carry six and 12 Kh-55 (AS-15 Kent) long-range cruise missiles, respectively. The Air Force has said the scope of the exercise is unprecedented, involving the Tu-22M3 Backfire strategic bombers, air superiority fighters, interceptors and aerial tankers. According to various sources, in addition to 16 Tu-160 bombers the Russian Air Force currently has 40 Tu-95MS bombers and 141 Tu-22M3 bombers in service.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20081014/117727246.html

Russian Military Spending to Hit $50 bln in 2009

Russia's military spending will reach 1.3 trillion rubles ($50 billion) in 2009, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Thursday. Ivanov met with President Dmitry Medvedev ahead of the State Duma's second reading of the 2009-11 draft state budget. "This is the total aggregate amount (1.3 trillion rubles) for 2009. I hope that the State Duma will approve this sum in its second reading tomorrow," Ivanov said. He also said that following the events in the Caucasus, the targets had been reviewed and the defense budget for 2009 had been increased by 60 billion rubles ($2.3 billion), "in addition to the 20 billion rubles allocated for the establishment of two new military bases in South Ossetia and Abkhazia." Medvedev said that military spending should be maintained, adding that the defense budget been increased in accordance with his instructions. Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in August after Georgia launched a military offensive against South Ossetia in an attempt to regain control over the republic, which split from Georgia in the early 1990s.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20081016/117784473.html

Military Training Also In for Makeover

Along with the reform of the Russian military and the staff of the Defense Ministry, military education will also be reorganized. The number of military training institutions will be cut from 65 to 10 in a move that is sure to be unpopular. The Defense Ministry will retain six academies, one military university and three military science centers (that will be a new form of educational institution). One of those military science centers will be formed around the General Military Academy through its merger with four officers’ training schools and a number of cadet schools. Another will be the Academy of the Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defense Forces and Engineering Forces in Kostroma. The air force and naval fleet will have their own training centers and a Military Missile and Space Defense Academy will be founded and located either in Serpukhov or Kubinka. The Military Academy of the Armed Forces in Ryazan will have a number of functions. The Military Academy of Communications in Stavropol and the General Staff Academy will be retained, and the Military Diplomatic Institute (which trains students for intelligence work abroad) and the Defense Ministry Scientific Research Institute will become part of the General Staff Academy. The Military University and Military Medical Academy will continue training servicemen in humanities and medicine. All military construction school, physical fitness institutes and the financial and economic academy will be closed.

The Defense Ministry noted that the military education system was expensive (with a budget of 900 million rubles) and inefficient. Military institutes do not attract a large number of students and the number of officers in the Russian armed forces is being rapidly curtailed. There will be no transition period for the reform, although some military training functions, particularly the preparation of military lawyers, will be transferred to civilian schools. Kommersant has learned that military psychologists, economists, translators and other narrow specialists will also be trained by civilians. The 50,000 students in the military educational system will be reassigned to institutions within the new system. In 2005, the “military departments” in civilian institutions were reduced by 80 percent, which led to a flurry of protest and petitioning. Deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defense and United Russia member Mikhail Babich has already objected to this round of reforms. The Defense Ministry itself acknowledges that some of the changes will be painful. It mentioned in particular the merger of the world-renowned Zhukov and Gagarin Military Aviation Academies.

Source: http://www.kommersant.com/p1041455/m...orm_education/

In related news:

Venezuela Will Buy Russian Tanks

Venezuela is considering the purchases of Russian T-92 tanks and armored vehicles as part of a plan to increase the country’s defensive abilities. Venezuelan Gen. Jesus Gonzalez announced these plans after a meeting with Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolay Patrushev, the Associated Press reports. Gonzalez said Venezuela would determine the size of its order for tanks, airplanes, ships and helicopters the country needs. The country intends to place the order before the end of the year. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visited Russia on September 25 and 26 and signed agreements on partnership in the area of energy at that time, as well as confirming plans for Russian-Venezuelan naval exercises in November. Two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers visited Venezuela earlier this year as part of military exercises. The Western press is calling the Russian-Venezuelan ties “friendship against the United States.” The Russian leadership claims, however, that relations with Venezuela are motivated by economic interests.

Source: http://www.kommersant.com/p-13410/Ru...weapons_sales/

New Russia-Venezuela Military Contract

Russia and Venezuela may sign a contract for the delivery of a large shipment of BMP-3 armored vehicles in the next month, deputy director of Rosoboronexport Igor Sevastyanov told journalists. “In addition to the firearms and ammunition already delivered, a large shipment of BMP-3 armored vehicles is being prepared. The contract may be signed within a month,” he said. Negotiations are also underway for the delivery of multiple-launch rocket systems and artillery systems. Sevastyanov added that two factories are already under construction in Venezuela. One will produce Kalashnikov machineguns and the other will produce ammunition. He said that Rosoboronexport representatives recently visited Venezuela. “The goal of our trip was to work out current problems, overcome minor misunderstandings and keep our forward movement going,” he said. Sevastyanov said that export orders for Russian equipment are so large that factories are working in three shifts per day and Russia’s military industry will expand significantly in the near future. Land, air and sea technology is in demand. Demand for Russian technology is at a 15-year high. Aviation and armored vehicles are most in demand, mainly in countries that have had protracted wars. Antiaircraft technology is also becoming more popular.

Source: http://www.kommersant.com/p-13400/ar...on_and_export/

No comments:

Post a Comment

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.