As America Burns a New Global Military Balance is Born - Summer, 2020

For this summer's blog commentary I am once again (after 4 long years) honored to present comrade Zoravar's latest military analysis titled "The New Global Military Balance, the Syrian Miracle and the Shifting sands of Libya". Please feel free to skip right down to his analysis featured immediately below my opening commentary. As a prelude or introduction to Zoravar's latest report, I would like to take this opportunity to comment on the recent sociopolitical unrest in the United States (which are race riots in my opinion) because both Zoravar's work on the Russian military and the prevailing political climate in the United States in recent times are inherently related to one-another. In other words, to better understand the geopolitical environment of the world today, to better appreciate Zoravar's work regarding the on-going evolution of Russia's armed forces and the Kremlin's rekindled superpower status, we need to take a closer look at the American empire's declining domestic health and its shrinking empire.

The United States of America changed forever right in front of our eyes in 2020, and essentially did so twice in two months. The manufactured pandemic and restrictions relating to it - which was ultimately designed to bring the country's booming economy to its knees and more-or-less imprison its people - is still being enforced in varying degrees around the country despite its counterproductive consequences, and the violent protest movements that were commenced by special interests were two massive, revolutionary blows that the country will NOT recover from in my opinion. This spring and summer were in my opinion a turning-point in the history of the United States. Going forward, the country will never be the same. What has been happening during the past few months in the United States has been historic and unprecedented. What we saw take place was in fact an attempted insurrection and a coup d'état. What we saw take place under the cover of the Covid-19 pandemic and the so-called Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, of course supported by Jewish activists as always, is actually how nations and empires are torn-apart from within. What we saw this spring and summer is how the seeds of violent revolutions and civilizational decline are sown.

When President Trump first got elected in 2017, a number of economists predicted an economic collapse during his presidency. The country's Liberal/Left promised to do all they can to topple his presidency by 2020. We recently learned that Dr. Fauci also promised the Trump administration a pandemic. Even the gods at the time seemed to be signalling. It is now very clear that what we see happening in the United States today - from the pandemic to the economic downturn to the relentless assaults against the Trump administration to the nation-wide race riots - is part of a big agenda. In other words, they are all interconnected. One must be blind not to see this. One would be a fool to believe otherwise. All this is designed to destroy the country's old system (i.e. White America). It is now very clear that the United States is heading towards uncharted territory. By all indicators, the final destination won't be pretty. The following link is to my blog commentary from Autumn, 2017. We clearly saw back then the official commencement of the on-going agenda/process to topple the Trump administration and remake the United States -
United States is entering a period of uncertainty and instability - Autumn, 2017:
I covered my concerns and observations about the manufactured Covid-19 pandemic in my previous blog commentary. I would therefore like to make some observations about the more recent race riots in the United States. Students of history know that popular protest movements with lofty slogans (similar to the rhetoric we are seeing coming out of BLM, Antifa and Anarchists in the United States) led to the bloody collapse of the French Empire and the Russian Empire two-hundred years and one-hundred years ago respectively. It now seems to be the United States' turn. The country is now being systematically placed on the same road. Consequently, we are seeing the flowering of Neo-Marxist ideology, the birth of extremist groups (both on the Left and on the Right) as well as separatist movements (again, both on the Left and on the Right). Make no mistake about it, what we are seeing today are the very seeds of the country's eventual demise, and no amount of 4th of July fireworks or photogenic flybys over national monuments will reverse the course. The kind of hate and division we are seeing in the United States today has not been seen in the country since the Civil War in the mid 19th century, when the country was overwhelmingly White, Christian and conservative. The kind of unrest we are seeing in the country today has not been seen in the country in over fifty years, when the country was still mostly White, still mostly Christian and still mostly Conservative. As we are periodically reminded, the veneer of civilization is very thin. All it takes is one spark for mankind to descend into a primitive state of existence -
Tucker: Our leaders dither as our cities burn:
Escalating Protests Nationwide Over Death Of George Floyd | NBC Nightly News:
United States descends into chaos as clashes between protesters and police escalate | ABC News:
Rioters clash with police, fires set near White House as protests escalate:
Riots and chaos engulf New York, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC:
Scenes of Chaos in Minneapolis, Minnesota as Buildings Burn during 4th day of George Floyd Protests:
Rioters destroy a line of police cars:
George Floyd Protests: Police Cars Swarmed On Los Angeles Freeway, U.S. Flag Burnt:
Demonstrations turn violent at the CNN Center in Atlanta:
Washington DC: protesters confront police during George Floyd protest:
L.A. turns to National Guard, curfew as violence, looting escalate:
Reports: Deep State, Soros, Obama fuel riots to hurt President Trump:
Project Veritas Exposes Another Far-Left Militant Group; George Soros And Hillary Named:
Intel report warns that far-right extremists may target Washington, D.C.:
Asheville Autonomous Zone Short-Lived, But Protesters May Try Again:
Portland Militants Attempting to Set Up New ‘Autonomous Zone’ After Seattle Version Overtaken By ‘Warlord’:
Tucker: The world welcomes its newest country:
The ‘Autonomous Zone’ In Seattle Is A Harbinger Of America’s Future If Politicians Don’t Start Working Together:
Trump tells governors to ‘DOMINATE’ rioters in scathing phone call:
Trump calls governors ‘weak’ on protests as designation of antifa as a terror organization is challenged: 
Tucker Carlson: Our leaders have sided with the agents of chaos – we're told crimes of the mob are our fault:
Floyd protests and Trump's response gave Washington a week it won't soon forget:
Picking up the pieces: Americans survey the damage after the sixth night of riots across the US that saw 50 Secret Service agents injured in DC, looters trash stores in NYC and now more than 4,000 arrests:
Shots fired as heavily-armed black militia members demanding the arrest of cops in Breonna Taylor's death face off with Three Percenters paramilitary group in Louisville:
Trump threatens to deploy federal agents to Chicago and other U.S. cities led by Democrats:

White House sends ‘almost 1,000’ National Guard troops & 200+ federal officers to help police in violence-plagued Kenosha:

The pictures of devastation in riot-torn Kenosha that Trump hopes will make the perfect backdrop for law and order campaign message:
Disregard all the analysis and explanations you are hearing from both sides of the political divide. The chaos and mayhem we are now seeing from coast-to-coast has nothing to do with "police brutality" or so-called White supremacy. The nationwide riots in the United States had little, if anything, to do with the oppression of Black Americans. There is no systematic oppression of Black Americans. Black Americans have never had it better, anywhere. Black Americans much, much better than any of their brethren anywhere in Africa. Black Americans are actually put on a pedestal in the United States by White Americans. American sport, music, television and cinema is replete with Black heroes and celebrities. Black-on-Black murders account for the vast majority of Blacks killed in the United States. Yes, some statistics do suggest that Blacks are more likely to be killed by policemen. What such statistics don't talk about however is also the well known fact that Black Americans are many times more likely to commit crimes than non-Blacks in the country. Blacks, who make-up around 15% of the population in the United States, commit about 50% of homicides. What is also not talked about is that more policemen are killed by Black criminals than the other way around. But, all these statistics and rationalizing are a moot point or effort in this discussion as there is a sociopolitical agenda behind what is happening, and that agenda has nothing to do with reality.

What we are seeing play-out all across the United States is simply a SHOW OF FORCE by Neo-Bolshevik hordes (i.e. George Soros and company, the same ones that also brought Boris Yeltsin to power in Russia and brought Levon Petrosyan and Nikol Pashinyan to power in Armenia). Those who destroyed the Russian Empire, those to fought to topple Joseph Stalin and those who then imploded the Soviet Union, have now turned their attention on their erstwhile ally, the United States. If it was Jews that enthusiastically latched on to Marxist/Globalist ideology in Czarist Russia and destroyed the Russian Empire in the name of land reform and egalitarianism, in the United States it's Blacks (and also Jews, Homosexuals and Hispanics but mainly Blacks) that will destroy the United States in the name of liberalism, multiculturalism, interracialism, open borders, integration, racial inequality, gender equality, etc. Russia's large Jewish population had their reasons to support the destruction of the old system they were living under, Blacks have their reasons to destroy old system in the United States. If Communism in Russia had a Jewish face, Socialism or whatever it's going to be called in the United States will mainly have a Black face.

The killing of George Floyd in Minnesota by policemen was atrocious. There cannot be any excuses for what happened. Period. Yes, we know that the Black community in the United States has a propensity to criminality. However, law enforcement agencies, those entrusted by society to up-hold the law, need to be more responsible, show more restraint and set a better example. If they don't, American society will suffer these types of fiery upheavals from time-to-time, until one day it all seriously boils over into a very bloody civil war. Besides, let's finally come to the realization that the United States is no longer a White nation, nor is it any longer a Christian nation. Non-Whites, Jews and Homosexuals yield great power in the country today. So, when it comes to how White Americans deal with non-White Americans, it's a dammed if you do, damned if you don't situation. In other words, if Whites continue trying to aggressively maintain their hold on the country by marginalizing non-Whites (who will soon become a permanent majority in the country anyway), the country will continue suffering periodic unrest, until one day there is very serious conflagration between the races. On the other hand, if Whites as a collective fully give into the multicultural/interracial agenda and embrace Black Americans and other non-White groups in the country, the country will quickly transform into a Third World status. It is therefore a no-win situation for White America. As they say in American parlance, the writing (or rather the graffiti) is on the wall.

As with all similar movements there is also of course an attempt to rewrite history. United States today is similarly getting a makeover. The destructive riots, the widespread looting, the vandalizing of historic monuments and the toppling of historic statues are, at their core, barbaric. What these Neo-Marxist/Globalist backed BLM, Antifa and Anarchist mobs are doing is no less abhorrent than what ISIS did in Syria, then what the Taliban did in Afghanistan in 2001, than what Nazis did on Krystallnacht, than what the Bolshevik did in Russia. In a nutshell, this is all a result of America's Cultural Marxism, which has been pushed in Europe and North America by Neo-Marxist/Globalists for many decades. Destroying, vandalizing and looting is what Barbarians, Bolsheviks and Trotskyites do best. The show has finally come to the United States. What we are seeing is merely a preview of bigger things to come -
Historical statues coming down all across the country tied to protests: A list: 
Full list of statues Black Lives Matter protesters want removed and why:
Crowd of protesters shout down Catholic priest trying to defend statue of Saint Louis in Missouri:
Rudy Giuliani calls Black Lives Matter ‘a Marxist organization’:
Leader of ultra-right militia The Three Percenters General BloodAgent predicts end of America by 2021 and warns of new civil war:
Civil War 2.0? The “Boogaloo” Movement Is A Wake-Up Call For America:
‘We’re in your house’: Armed black protesters march through Georgia Confederate park:
Thousands of Americans gather for Fourth of July protests across the US:
New York City is ‘dead forever,’ according to one proud New Yorker:

Cities Will See Citizens Flee, Fearing Continued Riots And The Reemergence Of Covid-19:

Antifa clash with Proud Boys in Portland, as police refuse to declare a riot & let violent brawls ‘resolve themselves’:

Armed Conflict in America Is a Turning Point. Are You Prepared?:

U.S Antifa Riots: How Radical Anti-American Marxists Tie to BLM Movement:

George Soros' quiet overhaul of the U.S. justice system:

The Coming Coup?:

America: much less stable, much less powerful, but more dangerous:

Former CIA operative: We are in Phase 2 of Marxist-Maoist takeover of the nation:

How to avoid America’s coming secession crisis:

There Are Actual Secession Movements in America: Here Are the Biggest Ones:

Trump is ignoring right-wing extremists who 'want to start a race war,' former DHS official says:

Here’s how November’s election could lead to a new Civil War in America. I pray I’m wrong, but fear I’m not:

Confessions of a voter fraud: I was a master at fixing mail-in ballots:

‘Is that a threat?’ Gov. Cuomo says Trump ‘better have an army’ to protect him if he comes to New York:

Top US general says military will not escort Donald Trump from the White House if election disputed:

Vigilante, volunteer, terrorist: how the US media covers Kyle Rittenhouse:

Veterans Fortify the Ranks of Militias Aligned With Trump’s Views:

What Portland and Kenosha say about the return of political violence in America:

'Rest in peace Jay': Donald Trump pays tribute to Patriot Prayer supporter who was shot dead in Portland during violent clashes:

AG Barr’s praise for fatal arrest of Portland ‘Antifa’ shooter triggers outbursts on ‘state murder, vigilantism & civil war’:
‘I don’t like saying it, but something will replace the US dollar’: Investor Jim Rogers says century of USD reign is ending:

Whoever wins in November, here’s six reasons why America is on the brink of a complete political and social breakdown:

The fact that there is talk about any of this in the United States is in itself astounding. America's affliction is both historic and unprecedented. It is unprecedented primarily because the White population in the United States, even without all the unrest and uncertainty in the country, is on a fast track to becoming a minority in the country their ancestors built. In other words, what we are seeing is the rise of a non-White America. As a result, White America (or rather those who still identify with White America) is fighting for its survival. This ominous reality facing White America is what's unprecedented in my opinion, and why the country's future looks bleak. Why does it look bleak? Well, we know that the character of nations of this world are a result of the genetic/cultural makeup of the people that inhabit them. Think of it this way: The United States is the way it has been because of White, Christian European settlers. Similarly, Brazil is the way it is because of the genetic makeup of its population. The Congo is the way it is because of the genetic makeup of its population. Japan is the way it is because of the genetic makeup of its population. Germany is the way it is because of the genetic makeup of its population. Armenia is the why it is because of the genetic makeup of its population. Et cetera. I say with utmost certainty that a non-White America, which is definitely where this is all heading, will be a drastically different place, and not for the better in my opinion. In my opinion, in only a few generations, the United States, if the union of states is still in existence, will closely resemble Brazilian society, without the tropical weather of course. At the end of the day, it is actually a simple choice for White Americans: They either "circle their wagons" so to speak (i.e. congregate in certain states and try to preserve their national/racial identity and culture through some of the nation's governorships) or they fall to their knees, confess their sins and accept non-White supremacy. In either case, and even in the best of circumstances, they will be doing so as minorities -
Education or propaganda? Nickelodeon makes children watch 9 MINUTES of ‘I can’t breathe’ BLM commercial, polarizing parents:
White police officers and community members wash the feet of black faith leaders in North Carolina to 'express humility and love':
Hundreds of White People get on the Ground and Renounce their White Privilege Death of George Floyd:
WATCH white people BEG FORGIVENESS from their black neighbors in prayer ceremony:
White residents wash black priests’ feet during George Floyd vigil in US:
Down on one knee, boy! White penitence over racism and George Floyd’s murder plunges new depths of piousness and pointlessness:
Tucker Carlson: Why Are Americans Surrendering To Mobs? Kneeling Will Never Be Good Enough For Them:
Why White Middle Class Americans Are Dying at an Alarming Rate:
Multiracial in America  Proud, Diverse and Growing in Numbers:
US white population declines and Generation ‘Z-Plus’ is minority white, census shows:
America's Getting Less White, and That Will Save It:
The scientific way to train white people to stop being racist:
Falling apart  U.S. secessionist movements gather attention:
Can Americans Overthrow The Evil That Rules Them? — Paul Craig Roberts:
"We are in a revolutionary moment": Chris Hedges explains why an uprising is coming — and soon:
The American Collapse Accelerates:
George Soros 2012 Perdiction on the Coming U.S. Class War:
Carol Baker: Obama-Appointed CDC Chair Doctor "We’ll just get rid of all the White Americans":
Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority (City Lights Open Media):
We've Reached the End of White Christian America:
Grim reality of why the West's white race is now a dying breed:
CNN guest: If black children aren't 'allowed innocence' then white children 'don't deserve innocence':
Tucker Investigates: What is destroying rural America?:
Self-flagellation, self-hate, self-loathing and self-destructive altruism is what many (if not most) White Americans seems to excels in today... all of it of course encouraged by organized Jewry. What we are seeing in the United States is nevertheless White plight, and it will result in White flight in many increasingly non-White states in the country. In any case, this is not yet the final end of the United States. Although the country has forever changed and in some aspects died, the old governing system still embedded in Washington DC is still too powerful, too wealthy and too tightly controlled to collapse just yet. The American empire's final demise, as inevitable as it may be, it will be a very long and painful road. But a collapse is certainly inevitable. The groundwork for it has been laid. It's just a matter of time. The following iconic pictures best symbolize the prevailing sociopolitical climate in the United States today, and the ominous direction it is heading towards -

WASHINGTON DC: Police stand guard outside the White House late Sunday as chaotic demonstrations took place in Washington, D.C.

Hundreds of protesters scattered as the truck sped directly at them while they marched across all 10 lanes of traffic

The United States, the country or rather the empire as we knew it, essentially died during the past three months. No amount of 4th of July fireworks displays and/or patriotic flag waving will bring it back. The masses of people we saw rioting from coast to coast were basically coming out to pay their last respects to the now all but dead empire. The America that will come to replace the former one will be a multicultural zoo resembling a typical third world cesspool like Brazil. What we saw in recent months was therefore also the birth pangs of a new United States. Said otherwise, despite any effort to revive it, the Old America we knew is now officially out of business. The large scale looting we saw from coast-to-coast was basically the country's going out of business "clearance" sale. Even the gods seemed angry over the course of the unrest -

The unthinkable has just happened: The foundations of a color revolution has finally been set in the United States. Political instability and unrest has finally come to the  purveyor of political instability and unrest around the world, the United States. It's only a matter of time now before we see a color revolution in the nation that made a living exporting color revolutions.
What we are seeing in the country in recent months is in essence a preview or rather a trailer of what's to come in larger magnitude further down the road. We are in a sense watching a new America finally rearing its head today. We are in a sense watching the fight between an Old America that is trying to survive  and a New America that is trying to be born. What we have been recently observing in the United States is at its core a show of force by domestic and foreign interests seeking to remake the country. It was a successful operation by all standards. Americans themselves were subjected to some "shock and awe" for a change. Division in the country, both political and ethnic, has gotten deeper. Just as President Obama's election energized the country's Right, President Trump's election energized the country's Left. Both sides are now energized and ready for action. A climate of hate has now been sown not only inside American society but also inside Washington DC itself, which is something that has not been seen since the Civil War in the mid 19th century. The United States has now been turned into a volatile powder keg. This November therefore promises to be a pivotal time in the history of the United States. We may therefore see more fireworks in the coming months.

The polished facade of the country, something that Washingtonians and Globalists worked hand-in-hand to craft for over a century, has been shattered in recent years. All of the internal decay in the United States has been laid bare for all to see. Trump's unexpected presidency and the rabid opposition to it has made this all too obvious. One day there will indeed be a spark that will collapse or fragment the United States, and the empire's former victims around the world will rejoice. It is only a matter of time. The country is full of hate and guns. That is a very volatile mix. But, as the saying goes: Karma is a bitch. For many decades imperial officials in Washington DC collaborated with Globalist/Neo-Marxist forces to inflict countries around the world with sociopolitical unrest in the name of "Fighting Terror", "Democracy" and "Westernization" (i.e. profit, power, exploitation, influence and conquest). For generations Anglo-American-Jews have had a toxic net effect on humanity -
At Least 37 Million People Displaced by US War on Terror, US Study Finds:
A Timeline of CIA Atrocities:

Mind Control: The MK Ultra File:

Seeds of Death: Unveiling The Lies of GMO's Full Documentary HD:

Council on Foreign Relations: Democracy-Promotion and U.S. NGOs:

NGOs: The Missionaries of Empire:

US spent $585 million on ‘promoting democracy’ worldwide in past year:

The National Endowment for Democracy, NGOs and the Imperial Uses:

Historian Webster G. Tarpley on "The Ford Presidency":
“American neoconservatives: a history and overview” Jim Lobe:
I have spoken about this for many years. A movement like BLM or Antifa or any other similar movement in a country opposed to the Anglo-American-Jewish political/financial paradigm would have immediately been exploited by the CIA and its covert teams of agent provocateurs and assassins. Examples are many: Russia, Ukraine, China, Venezuela, Cuba, Serbia, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, to name only a few. The aforementioned are countries Washington DC did its best to destroy. The Anglo-American-Jewish establishment is guilty of destroying nations, murdering millions of people and ruining the lives of tens-of-millions of more around the world. The United States is finally succumbing to the very poisons it has been administering. Globalist interests have finally turned on the United States. This is Karma -
‘US, Europe getting back SAME CHAOS they were sowing around the world’ – Russia’s FM spokeswoman on riots in America:
How the New World Order “Globalists” Are Dividing Americans: 
The Corona “Global False Alarm”, the Campaign against Racism and Neoliberalism:
For decades the WASP establishment in the United States (along with Jewish interests quietly operating within it) joined forces with Globalists/Neo-Marxists to bring "Democracy" (a form mob rule) to the world with destructive effect. The WASP intent was obviously to subvert and break-apart traditional societies around the world and make such countries easy to manipulate and exploit. For decades Globalist interests found the United States to be a very fertile ground to plant and harvest their agendas. Western power consequently became a dispenser of poisons around the world. As with all dispensers of poison, the poison was within itself as well. The Western world began falling sick from their own poisons starting in the 1960s. It only got worst with the ascent of Neoconservatism and Neoliberalism in the United States, and of course the fall of the Soviet Union, which put the American empire into overdrive.

As imperial officials in Washington DC worked closely with Globalists/Neo-Marxists to afflict nations around the world with economic collapse, political turmoil and societal unrest by financially supporting destructive agendas around (e.g. open society, open borders, IMF loans, privatization, multiculturalism, liberalization, homosexuality, feminism, democracy and westernization), Globalist were at the same time injecting the very same toxins deep inside American society itself. In other words, Globalists have turned on the United States. As a result, a Maidan-style unrest has finally come to an American town near you. But, unlike during Ukraine's Maidan, we unfortunately didn't see Russian officials giving out cookies. This is not surprising as Russians are notoriously bad when it comes to PR. Nevertheless, at the end of the day a lot of what we see happening today is also a result of supernatural forces at play beyond our visual and cognitive ability. Much of what we see transpiring today is preordained by forces beyond our comprehension, be it earthly or ethereal.

Moral of the story we are witnessing in the United States today: If you play with fire you will get burned sooner or later. The chickens are coming home to roost, as they say in American parlance. Live by the sword, die by the sword, as the biblical proverb warns.

Going forward, the nation's police forces will be even further restricted from dealing with crime in Black neighborhoods (where statistically most of the crime in the United States occurs). The process has already started. More-and-more policemen will become demoralized and more-and-more Americans will avoid serving in law enforcement. The process has already started. More government funds will be transferred from police departments and wasted on "inner cities". The process has already started. American society will become even more violent than it already is. The process has already stared. The Black demographic in the county will be pandered to at the expense of the country's White demographic. The process has already started. The vengeful/violent sector among Black Americans will be energized like never before. The process has already started. White Americans will literally be on their knees in front of their former slaves begging for mercy. The process has already started. The country's Right, the mostly White, Christian, Conservatives, well as White Nationalist types, will also become radicalized and will more actively seek separation from the United States. The process has already started. In fact, White America will in a few years will be the new oppressed minority. The process has already started. If current world trends are to be considered, White Americans can expect to be treated not very well to say the least. The process has already started.

Neo-Marxists/Globalists set the foundations of the American empire's downfall many decades ago, the 1960s to be precise. The seeds are beginning to bare fruit today. Barbarians have now sacked Rome. The empire's former slaves are revolting. Rome is burning as Senators are quarreling among themselves. Going forward, there will be a few more sackings of Rome, until the empire disintegrates into pieces and altogether disappears from the political map. This may happen to the American empire within the lifetime of those alive today. The writing is clearly on the wall. White America - the backbone of the United States since its founding - will in a few years become a minority and most probably next the oppressed minority. Nothing and no one will change this. The process has already started. Make no mistake about it, there is an agenda in store for the United States. In a nutshell: It's about the spread of Neo-Marxist ideas in a formerly White, formerly conservative, formerly traditional and a formerly Christian nation. And, this, in a nutshell, is why they want to dumb down society, take guns away from the citizenry, fill the country with illegal migrants from third world countries and promote abortions, atheism, Satanism, feminism, homosexuality and pedophilia -
KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov's warning to America:
Why are we in Decline - Cultural Marxism:
Is Cultural Marxism America's New Mainline Ideology?:
Out of Shadows Documentary - Exposing the Sins of MSM and Hollywood:
Mainely Unspoken "Dumbing Down of Schools" with Charlotte Iserbyt:

The Dumbing Down of America - By Design:

We've Reached the End of White Christian America:
Soros' Ideology Exposed: A Post-Modern, Post-Family, Post-Border New World Order:

From Netflix's 'Cuties' to Sex Trafficking, We Have a Child Exploitation Problem:

The US government just officially recognized the Satanic Temple as a religion:

Cardi B - WAP feat. Megan Thee Stallion [Official Lyric Video]:

The American empire is dying indeed. The United States is going through a metamorphosis of sorts. American intellectuals have been talking about all this for some time now, but not many were listening -
Suicide of a Superpower: Pat Buchanan on the Death of Western Civilization:
The Collapse of the American Empire?:
"We are in a revolutionary moment": Chris Hedges explains why an uprising is coming — and soon:
The American Collapse Accelerates:
Are We Rome? Ben Powell Compares the U.S. with the Roman Empire:
The Fall of Rome and Modern Parallels | Lawrence Reed at FreedomFest:
I am not a big fan of President Trump primarily due to his Right wing Jewish backers, nor do I particularly like Evangelical (Christian-Zionist) Rednecks in the United States. But, purely from an American perspective, despite his subservience to organized Jewry, President Trump may be the last hope Old America has today. Trump's importance in this regard was instinctually realized by White America from day one -
It Was Cultural Anxiety That Drove White, Working-Class Voters to Trump:
How Trump Exposed America’s White Identity Crisis:
Pew Research Center: Behind Trump’s victory: Divisions by race, gender, education: 
Does White America Fear Black Equality? The Economic Forces Behind Trump’s Win:
Two thirds of Trump voters viewed the election as Americas last chance:
How Trump Happened: Racism Against Barack Obama:
Analysis Trump Is White America’s Great White Hope:
Those behind the recent unrest in the United States will try to keep sociopolitical tensions going until the next elections. Their ultimate intent is to topple the "Trump regime". President Trump's political opposition will do their best to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic, the sociopolitical unrest and the country's resulting economic downturn to undermine the Trump presidency. I also suspect that the Democrat party will try to use the pandemic as an excuse not to put their near-senile presidential candidate on the debate stage with President Trump. Therefore, the next presidential election promises to be perhaps the most important in the history of the United States.

But, in the big picture, it's a foregone conclusion. Regardless of everything else, and despite President Trump's best efforts, in two or three decades Whites in the United States will become a minority in the country their forefathers built. Jews have been talking abut this with glee for many years. Everything good (and bad) about the United States was a reflection of the civilization (White, European) that built the country and turned it into the world's most powerful and most wealthy nation on earth. But wealth and influence comes with a heavy price for it attracts the attention of hungry masses around the world yearning for a free meal. As such, all empires eventually end up looking like the peoples they conquered and/or enslaved. Perhaps this is why President Trump wants to restraint an out-of-control Pentagon and in doing so shrink the American empire. Too little, too late. The demographic makeup of the country has been changing rapidly for decades. The changes will be permanent. Consequently, the United States is no longer the country our parents and/or grandparents dreamed of migrating to. The United States is no longer a White or European nation. The United States is no longer a Christian nation. And there is no longer an "American Dream". No matter how you look at it, the future of American civilization in general does not look too good. This may be unprecedented in the history of the United States but we have seen this before. Yesterday's slaves are running amok today and destroying Rome. Rome is burning as the Senators are quarreling. The United States is burning as its Senators are quarreling. The burning of police stations; the looting of thousands of homes and shops all across the United States; the unrest in front of the White House; the president of the United States being taken into a bunker for safety; special forces being deployed in Washington DC; and the talk of deploying active duty military personnel in American cities to bring law and order if governors refuse stamp put riots in their cities are unprecedented and symbolic of the downward spiral the United States is in today.

Globalists/Neo-Marxists have made their point very clear. Every time there is an opportunity to incite the masses there will be similar - if not worst - unrest in the country. This was a show of force indeed. Any further abuse - or even perceived abuse - of Blacks in the United States will provoke, incite and agitate extremists in the country's tens-of-millions strong Black community as well as the country's political Left. This will fasten the pace of the country's darkening, so to speak. As we have seen with the recent crime wave gripping the country, this will also significantly restrict the way police forces handle societal disorder and crime, especially when it's connected to the Black community. And even if abuse against Black Americans is somehow stopped, in a generation or two non-Whites in the United States will become a clear majority anyway. It's clearly a lose-lose situation for White America. The sociopolitical situation in the country will get progressively worst (especially for Whites) at a faster pace from now on. The United States is gradually being turned into a Third World cesspool. Once the nation's racial demographics change for good and Whites permanently become a minority in the country their ancestors built - and once increasing numbers of nations around the world begin avoiding the US dollar as a reserve currency and therefore dethrones the dollar - the United States will collapse - not figuratively but quite literally. Such a collapse will make the Soviet collapse look like a pleasant walk in a flower garden.

What we witnessed in the United States during the past few months was an insurrection and a coup d'état against the old system and its only champion, the Trump administration. The next presidential elections will be very interesting, to say the least. No matter how one looks at the current mess in the United States, what we are living through today is the death of the Old America and the birth of a New America. Those who are happy with the death of the Old America, have the country's degenerate WASP elite and organized Jewry to thank for. Those of you however who see the very ominous writing on the wall and are therefore not happy with the birth of the New America, I suggest you start planning your move out of the country. If you don't, you will eventually regret not doing so. The New America that is being formed in front of our eyes today is NOT the United States our grandparents dreamed of living in. At the end of the day, what we are seeing happening in the United States today eventually happens to all "open societies" - without exception. All empires, in one way or another, end up falling to their former slaves - without exception. All advanced and "enlightened" societies implode - without exception. For the sake of Russians (and therefore of Armenians) let's hope Russia never again becomes as democratic, as liberal, as developed, as progressive and as "open" as Western societies. Imagine Russians kneeling in front of Tatars, Dagestanis, Circassians and Chechens and asking for forgiveness. That would be the end of not only Russia but also of Armenia. As I always say, thank God for Russian racism and thank God for Russian arrogance.

As Armenians let's remind ourselves that the systematic destruction of the United States by Globalist/Neo-Marxists forces are in the bigger picture the same ones that toppled the Russian Czar and destroyed the Russian Empire one hundred years ago (resulting in tens of millions of dead, including over 1.5 million Armenians). They are the same ones that later destroyed the Soviet Union (because Stalin had transformed their Liberal Marxism into Nationalist Marxism). They are the same ones that brought a corrupt criminal mastermind like Levon Petrosyan into power into Armenia to lay the foundations of a failed state and the same ones that recently brought Levon's acolyte, the mentally disturbed street scoundrel known as Nikol to continue Armenia's spiritual destruction and cultural decay. The Trotskyite/Neo-Bolshevik pandemic has infected much of the world in recent decades. Armenian society, both in and out of the homeland, has not been immune to say the least. Armenia fell victim to this global pandemic in 2018. Armenia today has anti-nationalist activists in power, activist who have made a living by serving Anglo-American-Jewish interests. Consequently, Armenia risks sinking deeper-and-deeper into third world poverty, multicultural toxicity and moral ambiguity. Similar to how White Americans are so dumbed-down that most do not see the destruction of their nation and their culture taking place right in front of their eyes, Armenians are also incapable of seeing the destruction of their nation and culture happening today. My attitude towards Armenians however is much harsher because we Armenians as a people are supposed to be much smarter than this. We have been through a lot during the past century, we therefore should know better. But, we don't, and that is why we continue suffering. They meticulously worked on White America for many decades to corrupt it from within and make it self-destructive. We Armenians on the other hand seem to have always had that self-destructive gene in us, which is why our history reads like a tragic novel. But, we must not despair as not everything happening in the world today is bad. There is still some hope in this world, and that hope is found in Mother Russia.

The world's first military cathedral opened near Moscow recently. Behold its magnificence, admire its beauty -
Строительство Главного храма ВС РФ завершено:
A powerful message has sent out to the world by the Kremlin. It's significance cannot be overstated. It's more than just a cathedral, it's a monument, a museum and a shrine extolling the greatness of the Russian nation and highlighting its immense sacrifices for the benefit of all mankind. With this magnificent edifice, the Russian nation as a whole has effectively become the embodiment of a Warrior Saint. The Russian people now have the blessed burden to live-up to their calling as great warriors and purveyors of classical European culture and Apostolic Christianity. In closing, I would like to apologize for the lengthy prelude to Zoravar's military analysis. I was initially going to dedicate an entire blog commentary to the recent race riots in the United States, but when I was informed of Zoravar's long overdue work I could not pass up the opportunity. After all, Russia's star continues to rise. After all, the 75 anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany was just celebrated. After all, Russians just recently voted to change the nation's constitution that was adopted during the chaotic 1990s. Zoravar's timely work is therefore coming on the heels of some very historic and unprecedented and interrelated world events. Now, without any further ado I present to you Zoravar's latest military analysis.

Summer, 2020

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The New Global Military Balance, the Syrian Miracle and the Shifting Sands of Libya

“You did not listen to us then, NOW YOU WILL”. These words were the highlight of the very ceremonious State of the Nation speech delivered by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (VVP) on the 1st of March 2018. Right after mentioning those words, he went on and revealed a number of top secret and until that moment highly classified superior technology weapon systems that would comprehensively alter the prevailing Military Balance and have lasting geostrategic and geopolitical implications for the foreseeable future. That speech marked an important date in modern history: it is officially (or unofficially) the day when the military balance shifted. I will describe some of these weapons a little bit later in this article. Please allow me to first elaborate a bit more on the geopolitical and historical aspects.

Vladimir V. Putin delivers annual address to Federal Assembly:

Here is the “Real Deal”: Basically, VVP “Read the Riot Act” to the Western Leaders and informed not only them, but every nation, every ruler and every citizen on Earth that the Russian Federation has now the most powerful military arsenal on this planet in both conventional and nuclear arenas. In a subtle manner, he implied that the era when the mighty Soviet Union had disintegrated and its armed forces all but collapsed was over because Russia was resurrected, risen and ready to defend its interests anywhere in the world. That the times when the US and its allies had a free hand and could attack, destroy or subdue Russia’s friend, client or allied countries (such as Serbia, Iraq and Libya) without fearing a Russian military involvement, intervention or retaliation has expired.

Let me place everything in a historical perspective: When the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991 and disintegrated into 15 different countries, the Russian Federation lost much of the economy, population and military power that the former entity possessed. During those tumultuous and chaotic times, how could its remnant armed forces confront the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) armies that were bombing Serbia to its knees when they themselves were having a hard time subduing an internal rebellion in Chechnya?

As the saying goes “Might is Right”, the West took full advantage of its superiority in conventional warfare capabilities: NATO expended eastwards by incorporating all the former Warsaw Pact countries and reached Russia’s borders. Some former ex-Soviet Republics (Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania) were added as well. Yugoslavia was first carved into pieces and then bombed (Serbia) for trying to defend its own best interests. Iraq was destroyed for being too powerful and for not playing by the West’s rules. Even nations like Libya and Syria that tried their best to stay out of trouble in the new World Order were devastated: the former was bombed to the stone age, while the later received gangs of Western supported, financed, armed and trained terrorist groups tasked to ravage, rape, pillage and destroy it.

Furthermore, the US and allies spared no effort to take other ex-Soviet states (such as Ukraine) out of Russia’s orbit and concurrently surround Russia with US bases (Afghanistan and other places) in order to exert more and more military, financial and economic pressure to suffocate it… with the eventual aim of creating enough dissent and rebellion to make the huge country collapse and break down into smaller pieces that could be easily controlled and the natural resources and populations exploited.

The whole plan was crystal clear 20 years ago. It was for his incapacity to properly address this bleak situation that Boris Yeltsin, the former President of the Russian Federation, resigned (or was made to resign) at the end of the last century and was replaced by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin who was tasked with the frighteningly impossible mission of reversing the situation…and the rest is history.

Fast forward to the 1st of March 2018 and VVP’s address to the nation: An immediate consequence of that famous speech was the change in style of the Kremlin’s Foreign Policy. Sergei Lavrov, the long standing and highly respected Foreign Minister had to take a break in his diplomatic career. Make no mistake, he still keeps his job, but as from the above date, he has less tasks in his portfolio and his schedule includes less overseas travel. All foreign countries and rulers who have issues with Moscow will now have to talk to the other Sergei… Namely, the Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

As expected, the Western Main Stream Media (MSM) never accepted the reality of the new military balance and performed its usual spin around it, but the writing was on the wall: the era of Western military hegemony was over. During his 2 decades reign in power, Putin has Made Russia Great Again. The Federation was from now on speaking in the only language that the White House and the Pentagon would understand. No wonder why Donald Trump seems to highly respects VVP…

How did that happen? How could the Russians leapfrog the West and achieve not only parity, but overall superiority in both Strategic (nuclear) and Tactical (conventional) arsenals?

The answer is to be found in universities and on factory floors.

Countries are not forged, shaped and built in Stock Markets but rather in Universities and Colleges. And no, not by having students majoring in Sociology, Psychology, Political Sciences or Gender Studies, but in more important subjects such as Nuclear Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Nanotechnology, Thermodynamics, Robotics, Aerodynamics, Hydrodynamics, Fiber Optics, Chemical Engineering, Metallurgy etc. Countries are not forged, shaped and built by having young people tending to retail customers in shopping malls or by flipping hamburgers at McDonalds, but rather in having the youngsters learn advanced skills in colleges, scientific schools or other post school institutions that teach advanced welding techniques, electronics, mechanics etc. Compare the education system in the USA where most high school students will have a hard time finding sizeable countries on the map with that in Russia where students consistently win awards in international championships in Mathematics, Sciences etc.

Today Russia is the world’s leading nation in Nuclear Science and Nuclear Power. (The last nuclear power plant in the USA was built 30 years ago). Russia is the leader in Space technology (up to very recently, US Astronauts used the Russian SOYUZ spacecraft to go to space). I can keep on going with more examples, a full article will be needed to describe the advances of Russian technology ranging from cutting edge aerodynamics to designing and building monster icebreakers. No, I am not pretending to be the expert who should be writing such an article, but I am known to be this blog’s resident “connoisseur” of military stuff, so I will provide the readers with one key area in weapons know-how where Russia puts everybody else to shame: that is in Rocket Technology.

Already highly sophisticated, Russian Rocket Propulsion science has advanced so much over the last couple of decades that they are now way ahead of everybody else in terms of not years but decades. Couple this with their lead in heat resistant metallurgy and you have a recipe where the Federation’s missiles and rockets vastly outperform all earthly competitors in speed, range and every other parameter. No wonder that the USA is up to this date still purchasing “Made in Russia” Soyuz RD-180 rocket engines to power their ATLAS-V space vehicles.

Time to illustrate the above superiority with specific examples. One of the new weapon systems revealed by V.V. Putin during his famous 1st of March 2018 speech is the land-based SARMAT Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) that has such a long range that it does not need to fly over the Arctic to hit its intended targets on the mainland USA, instead it can take a longer southerly route and go over the Antarctic, thus avoiding all the US Anti-Ballistic Missile systems (ABM) that are exclusively based in the North.

A completely different approach to beat America’s ABM systems is used by a Hypersonic Glider called the AVANGARD. It is a Hypersonic reentry vehicle that flies at over 20 times the speed of sound (Mach 20). Furthermore, AVANGARD is maneuverable, it changes course multiple times in flight and makes the task of all existing and foreseeable ABM systems impossible.

Speaking of Hypersonic missiles, VVP Revealed the world’s first Hypersonic missile that entered service (to qualify as “hypersonic” an object must travel at a speed greater than a nominal Mach 6). The KINZHAL is carried by the MIG-31 fighter, it is launched at 20 km altitude and flies up to 2000 kms at a speed 8 times the speed of sound. It can be armed with either a nuclear or conventional warhead and its intended targets can be naval (aircraft carriers for example) or land based (Airfields, Command Centers, Ammunition Depots etc.). Because of its speed, KINZHAL can’t be stopped by any Western anti-air system.
MiG-31 Fighter with KINZHAL Hypersonic Missile

The AVANGARD and KINZHAL hypersonics are already in service and deployed. They are soon to be followed by the Mach 8 speed ZIRCON which is a ship or submarine based Anti-Ship Missile (ASM) with a 1000 km range, the 3000 km GZUR that will be launched by the Tu-22 Backfire bomber and a smaller missile of unknown name that will be the main offensive weapon of the Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter. There is also a plethora of other hypersonic missile programs that are in the design stage.

The USA/NATO/West does not have any hypersonic missiles in service currently and is not expected to have anything ready for many years to come. They can certainly deliver a conventional strike on Russia (a nuclear one is unthinkable because that will be the end of this planet) with their own cruise missiles and aviation, however all of their assets are subsonic or at best supersonic and are more suited to beat smaller nation’s armies into submission. Taking on the Russian Federation is a completely different ball game. The Federation’s Aerospace Forces - Vosdooshny Kosmichesky Sil (VKS) - are designed, equipped and tasked to minimize and mitigate such a strike by shooting down the attackers. Indeed, the superior Russian Rocket Technology is not limited to strike weapons, it also encompasses defensive weapons such as Surface to Air Missiles (SAM). The up to 400 km range S-400 Air Defense System is currently the main SAM of the VKS and is superior to any other competitor’s system.

A couple of formidable medium range systems have recently joined the ranks as well: The wheeled S-350 VITYAZ (120 km range) and the tracked BUK-M3 (70 km range) systems. Within a couple of years, we will see the 600 km range S-500 and the even bigger and longer ranged system called NUDOL. These are specifically designed to shoot down all existing and upcoming Ballistic and Hypersonic missiles. Even the short range PANTSIR system is benefiting from the aforementioned advances in rocket technology. As currently displayed in the 75th anniversary of Victory military parade, the modernized PANTSIR-SM model features an improved missile that has double the engagement range (40 km) of its predecessor… amazing for a missile that weighs just 76 kilograms. By the way, a few of the older PANTSIR systems originally sold to the U.A.E. government have made their way to Libya and, without having a proper Air Defense Radar network, have managed to shot down dozens of Turkish Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) while suffering minimal losses.

The heart of an airplane are its engines. Only 4 countries on this planet have truly high-tech aircraft engine technology: USA, UK, France and Russia. China and a few others countries that make aircraft engines don’t qualify as they are at least a generation behind. The Soviet-made engines of yesterday rivaled their Western competitors in power, but lacked in fuel economy and in longevity. The technology gap that existed in the past has now been bridged by the Russians. The current Sukhoi-30, 34, 35 and 57 jet fighters have better range and endurance compared to their American or European rivals. As for strategic bombers, the Federation has restarted production of a brand new and improved version of the supersonic Tupolev Tu-160M which is the fastest strategic bomber (Mach 2 speed) on the planet. Furthermore, construction of the prototype of their next generation stealth intercontinental bomber code-named PAK-DA (again designed by the Tupolev design bureau) has begun, it should perform its first flight during 2021 or 2022– years before the US can put their prospective B-21 equivalent in the air.

The process of modernizing the Federation’s ground forces continues. Kalashnikov’s new AK-12 model is now being distributed to units. Airborne troops are completely being re-equipped with the BMD-4 model airdroppable troop transporter while the armored divisions are gearing up to soon receive the latest ARMATA tanks, KURGANETS and BOOMERANG armored vehicles. The first batch of KOALITSYA self-propelled artillery systems have recently been delivered.

Enough said, so much has been done and is still being done to upgrade the Kremlin’s armed forces. In the meanwhile, and despite their gargantuan annual military budgets, major Western/NATO countries did and are still doing relatively little. On more than one occasion, US President Donald Trump accused his predecessor Barak Obama for the decline in the US Armed Forces. I believe he is partially right. Obama certainly neglected the military and did very little in re-equipping and modernizing the various branches of the Pentagon, but he was not the one who started the decline. Too busy fighting insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq during George W. Bush’s presidency, the bulk of the acquisition budgets were utilized to purchase weapons to fight insurgents such as Mine Resistant Vehicles (MRAP) and UAVs that are fine for that type of warfare, but of little use against a superpower like Russia. I addition, the fact that the US annual military budget of over $700 billion is being spent in an unwise, corrupt and inefficient manner is public knowledge: examples of uber-expensive weapon systems that come with myriads of problems and show all kinds of deficiencies (such as the F-35 fighter, the Zumwalt Destroyer, the Littoral Fighting Ship and the Ford aircraft carrier) abound.

In the meanwhile, Russia’s budget which is a fraction of the above amount is being used more cleverly. Furthermore, the Russian Defense Ministry has enough reserves that can be utilized in an emergency such as the recent CORONAVIRUS pandemic. In a mere few weeks, the Defense Ministry built 16 permanent (not temporary) and fully equipped (with MRI, CT scan, etc.) hospitals in 16 different cities across the country to accommodate any surge in COVID-19 patients.

Видеохроника строительства военного госпиталя в Нижнем Новгороде:
The bottom line is: In case of a hypothetical shootout between Russia and the West, it will be the “paper tiger” armies of the later that will succumb to a saturation attack of wave after wave of devastating Hypersonic missile strikes.

Now, the icing on the cake is this: the above scenario is not only applicable to wars at Russia’s borders, but anywhere in Europe and/or Asia as the Kremlin’s arm is now longer and can accept challenges and defend its interest in further away lands. The successful Russian intervention campaign in Syria is the best case in mind. No country on this planet shall dare to attack the seemingly vulnerable Russian base in Hmeimim. In case they do, the retaliation will be disproportional. Make no mistake, there was a clear and definite Pentagon plan to send US troops to Venezuela to force a regime change in that country. They just did not dare execute it. By the way, the 2 large landing/helicopter carrier ships that are soon to be started in a Crimean shipyard are purposed for exactly this type of long range operations in distant waters/lands.

Let’s bring in China to the Global military balance equation: Despite its polished exterior appearance, China is relatively weak militarily. Not because it doesn't have enough nuclear weapons—as this problem could be addressed promptly – but because of the huge technological, cultural and organizational issues of her conventional capabilities which are nowhere near that of the United States or Russia. China may be an industrial giant, but it still is a midget in technology and innovation. China continues to struggle in aviation, submarine, space and other key technological and operational concepts. There are reasons to believe that most of these technological gaps will never be closed. Furthermore, China has no real operational experience.

I reiterate, it is the West in general and the United States in particular who today lost a conventional arms race. They now find themselves a generation behind Russia in technologies that are fundamental in Military Affairs. It is preposterous to even contemplate the fate of US (NATO) forces in Europe or in the Middle -East, let alone in the immediate geographic vicinity of Russia, in case some "exceptional idiots" in the US decide to commit a suicide and attack Russia. NATO forces and their decision centers will be dramatically degraded and ultimately defeated without the use by Russia of any nuclear weapons. As a clarification, let me mention that since World War II, it is the conventional arsenals that are the Kingmakers, not the nuclear ones because:

1. Nuclear weapons are not for fighting wars. They are primarily deterrents to avoid a war.

2. Nuclear weapons are last resort weapons and by all metrics are weapons of the conventionally weaker side.

So, it should be absolutely no surprise to the reader as to why President Donald Trump promises to exit the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) that prohibits all testing of nuclear weapons. He is known to be bombastic about his “economic achievements”, ability to sanction or place tariffs on anyone and talk about a “super-duper” missile that he is going to build. But he very well knows and understands the fact that the USA is no longer the “Top Dog” when it comes to brute force. He feels the need to exit all the existing treaties like the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF), Open Skies treaty and now the CTBT. Abandoning these treaties is merely another manifestation of Trump Admin's unique style, designed to cover up for the fact of a loss of the conventional arms race.

For the Kremlin, the style of any US president is irrelevant. Today, in the age of hypersonic missiles, combat networks, advanced electronic measures, instant propagation of tactical, operational and strategic information, and instant decision-making, we are looking at a warfare of unprecedented precision. Today, VVP’s team knows that they have the upper hand, that no sane commander-in-chief will mess with the Russian Forces in Syria or try to forcefully take Ukraine (or others) into NATO or bomb one of the Bear’s friends. So, resumption of nuclear testing by the USA can only create a sense of amusement in the Kremlin where the leadership knows that their own nuclear and, especially, conventional war-making potential keeps the US from unleashing conflicts all over the globe. That is the “Real Deal”.

Allow me to squeeze in a few words about economic sanctions and oil price wars. Throughout history, Russia in its different iterations (the Tsarist Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation) has always been under some sort of official (or unofficial) and declared (or undeclared) sanctions even when East-West relations were at their best. The recent string of sanctions that started in 2014 with the Ukraine conflict do hurt the Bear in the short term, but end up being beneficial at the end. Russia has no lack of resources, land, know-how, technology and motivated people. Thanks to these sanctions and with their successful import-substitution programs they are now locally producing things that they never made before. The best example is in agriculture where Russia switched from being a net food importer to a net food exporter in a matter of a just a few years.

By already taking the necessary steps in advance, all possible future Western sanctions will also become inconsequential, including “nuclear” ones such as kicking Russia out of the SWIFT international money transfer system or attacks on Russia’s sovereign debt.

As for the recent oil price war, it certainly was not Russia who initiated it. I also doubt that it was a unilateral Saudi move because the rulers of that Kingdom won’t dare do any such thing without their US patron, protector and survival guarantor’s consent, approval, blessing and guidance. Yet, as it has always called or checked every bluff in the last decade, Moscow called this one too and ended up the winner: after hitting rock bottom, oil prices have now stabilized around US$ 40 per barrel. This price is exactly the price at which the Federation’s annual budget is calculated at. There will be no deficit in the Russian government’s budget this year if the price remains at that level throughout the year. Whenever the price of the benchmark Ural oil goes above US$ 42 per barrel, every cent of the additional income goes to a reserve fund which is meant for any possible future “rainy days”. On the other hand, the Saudi budget needs oil to be at US$ 80 in order to balance itself. Currently, the Kingdom’s coffers are being depleted in terms of billions every month. At this rate, they will go bankrupt in a few short years. As for the US shale oil industry, the current level of pricing is simply disastrous and will lead to the closure of many wells. What a humiliating defeat.

I have a hard time grasping the sheer nuttiness of the “exceptional idiots” who come up with such pathetic, primitive and predictable moves to hurt Russia when every and each one of them is long anticipated, expected and already countered by the Bear. Not a single US Congressman or Congresswomen seems to be able to understand the fact that Russia as a country, nation, population, race, ethnicity and culture is nowadays in its ultimate national survival mode just like during the years of the Great Patriotic War. Definitely not a good time to mess with the Russians. History lessons anyone?

Oh, how about gold? The price of an ounce of that precious metal has gone up and is currently trading at around US$ 1700. Guess who has been constantly buying and stockpiling gold since 2007? Yes, it is that brown-furred animal with long claws and sharp teeth…

Time to move to Syria and provide a detailed analysis of the reasons behind the success of the Russian military intervention in Syria’s conflict where the whole table was overturned by so few people with so little assets in such a short time.

By all metrics, the war in Syria has been a huge success for Russia: Relatively few casualties, battlefield victories and demonstration of power. There is no other way to say this: The Federation’s Armed Forces crushed the combined Islamist, Jihadi, Wahabi, Salafi and Caliphate hordes in a most convincing and decisive manner.

The 2 adjectives in the English language that can best describe the Russian intervention in Syria both begin with the letter “E”. They are: Efficient and Effective.

Efficient: because it achieved its main objectives with the minimum of assets, manpower, effort, cost and time.

Effective: because it did the job as per expectations (perhaps even better than expectations).

Just like a cliché Hollywood movie, the Federation’s military arrived at the very last moment. Confronted with a myriad of Islamo-fascist and terrorist organizations strongly supported and lavishly financed by the USA, West Europe, NATO, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others, Bashar Al-Assad’s army and government were on their last legs and at the verge of collapse. Perhaps the Kremlin was reluctant in sending the armed forces sooner because of the costs, uncertainties and risks involved in any Middle-East armed confrontation. Or perhaps, they were taking their time to plan their move perfectly – as the saying goes: Russians don’t take a dump without a plan.

In any case, the military involvement had to be efficient by costing very little to the government’s budget so that the nation’s development is not compromised. Low cost of the mission was achieved by a number of means:

Operational costs are charged to the Defense Ministry’s annual “Training and Military Maneuvers Budget”. From the day the Bear showed up in Syria, its armed forces reduced the number of annual large-scale military exercises. This did not reduce the effectiveness of the army as the soldiers were getting “real” training in Syria instead. For example, Air Force pilots and ground crews from virtually every Russian combat squadron are being rotated in Syria. The Aerospace Forces (VKS) commander was quoted a couple of years ago saying that over 75% of the military pilots have already seen action in Syria.

Another major step in efficiency and cost reduction was achieved by concentrating most of the assets and personnel in one location – In this case at the Hmeimim airbase. This helped in simplifying logistics, communications, command and everything else from defending the base itself to cooking the meals.

To eliminate costs overruns and mission creep, it was decided to have no more than a few thousand people in Syria (from aircrew to nurses and from cooks to snipers). The fighting on the ground had to be mostly done by the Syrians themselves with the Russians providing air support, intelligence and advice.

It was also decided to provide the Syrian Army with very little in new weaponry. Instead, Russian military advisers (Khabirs) helped the Syrian Army improve their own logistics chain and more specifically their repair facilities were vast amounts of disabled, damaged, malfunctioning or dysfunctional tanks, vehicles, artillery and other assets got repaired and were sent back to the front.

Now for the “effectiveness” part: the right weapon systems with the correct tactics had to be chosen. Here are some of the “toys” that made a lot of difference on the ground.

Throughout the civil war, the Syrian air force lost a sizeable number of aircraft/pilots to the opponents’ air defense means. Granted, Syria’s fighter planes are old and are not equipped with modern threat detection and avoidance means. Nevertheless, to avoid attrition, Russian pilots are instructed not to fly below 5000 m. This relatively high altitude puts them beyond the reach of the Jihadi’s shoulder-carried anti-air missiles. But, by flying higher, the effectiveness of the aerial bombing is much reduced unless you use Precision Guided Bombs or Missiles (PGM). Unfortunately, PGMs tend to be very expensive: they were first used in Vietnam by the Americans who soon found out that it is financially unsustainable to use them in large scale over a long period of time. So, to reduce costs, the Americans developed a kit consisting of small wings and a navigation system. The kit can be mounted on any “cheap and dumb” bomb. From a high altitude, the pilot releases the modified bomb when in vicinity of the target, the bomb-mounted navigation device does the rest by making the weapon glide to the target with pinpoint accuracy.

To keep the costs of the operation in check, the Russians used PGMs only on a few occasions. The vast majority of their strikes are carried out by using the oldest bombs in their stocks. I have seen countless numbers of video clips showing the air strikes taking off from Hmeimim airbase with bombs that look like they are relics from the fifties and sixties (if not from World War II). Surprisingly, the bombs were hitting their intended targets, the missions were accomplished and the objectives were being achieved. Here is how: The Russians are using a different method to make their “old, dumb and cheap” bombs accurate. Enter the SV-24 navigation bombing device that most Russian combat aircraft are equipped with. Instead of using a special bomb mounted “kit” like the Americans, the Russians have found an even more affordable and almost as effective way to make best use of their old weapons. Rather than placing a navigation device on every bomb, they placed a specially-designed navigation part on the aircraft itself. The SV-24 gadget helps the pilot fly the intended course and it automatically releases the “dumb” bomb at the right moment. When dropped from higher altitudes, the accuracy of this method cannot exactly be described as “surgical precision” since the bomb will most likely land within a few meters of the intended target… but that does not matter because your weapon is a 250kg or 500kg bomb! The target is most certainly destroyed. Simple and effective.

So, all the magnificent KALIBR and KH-101 cruise missiles launched by warships and strategic bombers that we have seen on our TV screens in the early phases of the Russian mission were mostly a propaganda sideshow and for weapons testing purposes. The tools that really broke the back of the jihadi nutjobs were old bombs that were made in Soviet factories before most of us were even born. If that is not both “Efficient and Effective”, I don’t know what is.

OKHOTNIK Strike Drone

Targets search, identification and designation is done by Electronic Surveillance Measures (ESM), satellites and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). Speaking of the later, Syria is the first battleground in which the Russians have used UAVs intensively. In the old days, the Soviets were leaders in UAV technology, but with the demise of the USSR they fell behind the Americans, Israelis and even the Chinese. They are fast catching up now and the new models (ORION, OKHOTNIK, ALTIUS etc.) that are just entering service are truly world class. In Syria, the simpler ORLAN-10 and FOREPOST are the most commonly used ones. The majority of the aerial footage provided by the Russian Ministry of Defense is filmed by these vehicles. 

Since day 1, I have been following the military aspects of the war in Syria and have been through a large number of photos and video clips. From the early days of the Russian military involvement, I noticed that the Russians had brought with them one battery of MSTA-B towed artillery consisting of 6 guns. This good old 152mm gun is nothing really modern or fantastic. But photos of this battery with the small number of Russian gunners were showing up at every major battle. Earlier on, I believed it was just to lend support to the Syrian artillery units who are not known to be accurate or effective. But upon closer analysis of some drone footage, I noticed that some of the successful precision strikes delivered on rebel targets were making smaller explosions incompatible with the expected larger explosions of air dropped bombs. I concluded that they were artillery rounds delivered with ultra-high precision: One shell is fired and the target is destroyed. It can be only the KRASNAPOL
KRASNAPOL 152mm Artillery Shell

2K25 Krasnopol 152mm laser guided artillery shell against Islamic state terrorists in Syria:

Here is how it works: the UAV identifies the target and places a laser beam on it. The gun crew fires in the general direction of the target. Using the laser beam, the KRASNOPOL guides itself to the target and strikes it with surgical precision. I received confirmation later on when I started seeing actual photos of that munition being used in Syria. More recently, at least one Syrian artillery unit has been identified using the KRASNOPOL as well on the Idlib front after receiving the appropriate training from the Russians. I suspect it is this unit using this type of ammunition that delivered the very first successful strike on the Turkish Army that was being transported to the Idlib front.

During the decade old Syrian conflict, seldom did the sides use Night Vision equipment. The bulk of the fighting was almost always during the daylight hours. Night time activities were limited to sporadic and random shooting or shelling. That changed when the Russians came. Various types of night vision equipment including Light-Intensification, Infra-red and Thermal devices, ensured the destruction of the jihadi manpower, equipment and positions during the dark hours. The black sky is the domain of the Mi-28, Mi-35 and Ka-52 Night hunter helicopter gunships. They could come in close to their targets and destroy them with little risk to themselves. Similarly, Russian Spetsnaz (Special Forces) roamed the terrain in complete stealth mode and ambushed the terrorists right in their own camps.

At one point during the war, Russians gave the Syrian Army a few T-90 tanks equipped with Thermal Night Vision. A new night-time tactic that I have noticed recently involves the use of these relatively modern tanks: It consists of one such tank coming in very close to a rebel held village and harassing the defenders by lobbing high explosive shells to any location where they see movement on their Thermal Vision screen. By receiving such a pounding from an invisible enemy, the powerless defenders are either destroyed or morally beaten. The village is now ripe for the attack that will come at dawn.

Needless to say, a key reason behind the success of the Federation army’s success was the ample use of its elaborate means of Electronic Warfare. I have already mentioned about Electronic Surveillance which is a very complex and not well published form of warfare. To make it easy for the reader to understand, I will simplify things by saying that Rebel communications are listened to, anything that sounds like a commander or leader is sorted out and destined for a strike. Communication are jammed, false messages are relayed and so on. This type of warfare is just as destructive as aerial bombing and contributes to the demoralization of the enemy and the collapse of entire fronts.

Suffice to say that Russia has very modern and capable EW equipment both on the ground in Hmeimim and in the air (Tu-214R, A-50 and Il-20 airplanes) as well as sea based (spy ships in the Mediterranean). When Turkey upped the ante during the latest battles in Idlib and sent its armed UAVs to inflict as much damage to the Syrian Army, the Russians just switched on a few gadgets (I am being simplistic here) and the Turkish UAVs could no longer operate properly. Some “lost control” and fell from the sky, others were shot down and the rest flew back to base. Turkey’s President Erdogan saw what happened and had to travel to Moscow to accept the humiliating defeat.

Tupolev Tu-214R Electronic Warfare Plane

There is one dirty secret that the Russians possess and have used in Syria; it is a Private Military Company (PMC) called WAGNER. This Paramilitary Group is very similar to the American ACADEMI (previously called BLACKWATER). As the name implies, it is a private company providing armed combat or security services for financial gain and its well-paid combatants don’t receive medals, pensions or any benefits. They work on contract basis and do the dirty job for the Ministry with absolute deniability. In case one of these “unlawful” warriors is taken prisoner, there is no country or Defense Ministry to look after his well-being or release. WAGNER is very much active in Syria and its members are often seen mixed with Syrian Army troops. Despite official denials (as expected), Russia is increasingly using this paramilitary group; they have certainly seen action in the Donbass conflict and their presence is now confirmed in Libya as well.

As of today, the last bastion (Idlib province) of the Islamist rebels is half liberated by the Syrian Arab Army. The Damascus- Aleppo M5 highway has been reopened and efforts are being made to do the same to the Latakia-Aleppo portion of the M4 highway as well. Despite all the Turkish assistance and direct military support, the remaining unliberated part of the Idlib province is now tactically defeated as well because the rebels are no longer a match to the Syrian Arab Army. The Turks simply don’t have Russia’s immense abilities. One of the reasons why the remaining part of the Idlib province is not yet cleansed is because VVP does not want to have Erdogan humiliated badly with a military defeat and a complete failure of his “Otomanist” Syrian agenda. Having said that, Moscow’s long-term objective remains the same: All of Syria will be liberated “sooner or later” and by “hook or by crook”. Military preparations are on the way. I invite you to watch this clip from Anna News about the kind of trainings that the Syrians are taking – in purely Russian-style.
[Сирия] "Тигры" вышли на учения:
Erdogan’s main focus has now shifted to Libya where thousands of his Syrian jihadis have now moved there to fight on behalf of Turkey. Ankara has also committed a significant number of military advisers as well as a whole fleet of strike UAVs. The Turkish Navy is also at Libya’s shores to provide support to the Tripoli based GNA government. This UN recognized GNA government is a “Muslim Brotherhood” entity supported by both Turkey and Qatar. On the opposing side, you have the Benghazi based Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal Haftar and supported by the anti-Muslim Brotherhood Islamic countries of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as some European Union countries (mainly France, Greece and Cyprus). The prize of the Libyan conflict is “control of that North African country’s oil and gas reserves”. The LNA was doing very well until recently and was at the verge of capturing Tripoli, but heavy Turkish involvement enabled the GNA to stop the LNA’s advance and recapture some of their lost ground.

Libya is very much a tribal country where alliances shift quickly and betrayals are common. This makes it difficult to predict the outcome of the ongoing civil war. With the shift in the Global Military Balance that I discussed earlier, the emboldened and increasingly assertive Kremlin is naturally looking for its best interest in this conflict. It can certainly send a military contingent there and end the civil war in its favor in a couple of days. However, Russian does not have as much stake in that country as the other above-mentioned countries. While maintaining diplomatic contact with both LNA and GNA as well as all the other directly or indirectly involved countries, Moscow is currently limiting itself to supplying weapons to the LNA via Egypt (Saudi Arabia and the UAE are paying the bills) and providing the services of the WAGNER paramilitary group. The chess-masters of the Russian foreign Ministry are placing themselves in advantageous positions by betting on all the “horses” and looking forward to rip as much benefit from the conflict regardless of the outcome:
- In case peace is established in Libya, Moscow will be well placed to be an important arms supplier to that country as well as sign a number of fossil fuel exploration deals.
- In case the war continues in Libya, Moscow would love to see Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France and others wear themselves out while it keeps good relations with all parties and makes money by selling arms.
Back to Global Military matters. I cannot write an article about military power without saying that yes, advanced technology and superior weaponry are important to win wars, yet throughout human history, there are numerous instances when the qualitatively and/or quantitatively disadvantaged side came up on top. We have a good example right in front of our own eyes these days in Yemen where tribal groups of mostly illiterate and malnourished people armed with not much more than a Kalashnikov rifle are holding their ground and even winning against a coalition that includes Saudi Arabia. As we all know, the oil-rich Saudi Kingdom is one of world’s leading military spenders, yet with all their fancy toys, they are being humiliated by a bunch of Yemenis who look like cavemen from the stone ages.

Weapons are just tools; it is the men who win battles. The soldiers and officers who are more motivated and are better prepared psychologically and spiritually will have a stronger desire in victory, will endure better the harshness of the battlefield and will have less fear of death. Nothing provides more motivation than beliefs, principles, values and respect of one’s roots and traditions. Soldiers need a moral and spiritual compass: that is where Religion and Church come into play. And what a fantastic job the Russians are doing there; both the Defense Ministry and The Russian Pravoslavny (Orthodox) Church. I will refrain from discussing this subject any further, the reader will understand me better by watching the following short video clip about the Cathedral of Christ’s Resurrection: The new Military Cathedral of Russia that was recently opened and consecrated this year near Moscow. A real masterpiece.
Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed forces

Строительство Главного храма ВС РФ завершено:

We Armenians can draw parallels when contemplating our own military history. During the epic battles of Avarayr, Sartarabad and Artsakh, what was going on in our warrior’s minds and spirits? Do we understand why our Kantsasar church in Artsakh is known as a military church?

Which brings me to the subject of the Russian military contingent in the Republic of Armenia. Namely, the 102th Military Base garrisoned in Gyumri and the 3624th Air Base in Erebuni which hosts a squadron of MiG-29 jet fighters, Mi-24 gunships and Mi-8 transport helicopters. It is no secret that the main purpose of this contingent has always been and still is to act as a deterrent against any Turkish plans to attack Armenia proper. By defending the Western borders of Armenia, it also allows the Armenian Army to concentrate its forces on the Nagorno-Karabagh front against any Azeri adventure against the Republic of Artsakh.

Now, with the Russians firmly established on the Syrian coast at Hmeimim airbase and Tartous port - and with plans of opening up a second airbase in Eastern Syria – the Russian bases in Armenia gain a pivotal importance in a presumed Kremlin plan to surround Turkey with bases in the form of an eastbound arc stretching from Crimea to the Eastern Mediterranean aimed at containing Turkey militarily while making it more and more energy-dependent on Russian by opening up the Turkish Stream undersea gas pipeline and contracting the construction of the first nuclear power plant in that country. Amazingly, they are even making Ankara more dependent on Russian weapons by selling them export versions of the S-400 missiles for example. In the meanwhile, Russia-Turkey trade volume is growing to all-time highs and the Turkish tour operators and resorts are increasingly needing Russians to come there to tan their backs on Antalya’s beaches.

Externally, Russian people may look a lot like white Europeans and Americans, but because they also have partly Asian origins, they are better in long-term thinking, planning and playing chess. For many years now, the Kremlin has been exploiting Erdogan’s “Ottoman”, Islamic and nationalist aspirations in order to pull Turkey away from the Western orbit by constantly driving wedges deeper between them.

After deteriorating Erdogan’s relations with the Western countries, making him increasingly more dependent on Russia and after beating him in Syria, the Kremlin has left one door open to him: the door to Libya. Let him exercise his Ottoman expansionist fantasies there and plan on making Turkey more energy self sufficient by placing a foothold on Libyan oil. Let him butt heads with other nations that ae not so friendly with the Bear… After all, the best war is the war between your enemies.

A few words on the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan: Those two nations still remain under US occupation and have lost their sovereignty. But the American boots are on increasingly unstable sands. Sectarian, religious and tribal divides in those countries are fare worse than it may appear on our daily doses of MSM news. The increasing impoverishment of the local populations which is currently being accentuated by the worsening global economy (partly due to COVID-19) will result in desperate masses of armed people taking to the streets and shooting at whoever and whatever. US forces will certainly come under direct fire or at least be caught in crossfires. Donald Trump is very much aware of this and faces the dilemma of pulling his troops out or not. Positioning and preparing itself for any event, the Kremlin is playing the long game by maintaining relations with all parties, not involving itself in the myriad of issues and by letting other parties (Iran for example) fan the flames.

As for the Ukraine, I will repeat what I said many times before: Russia lost Ukraine in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. The Maidan coup was another blow to the Kremlin as that country embarked on a Russophobic path. However, the Russians snatched a couple of important victories from the jaws of defeat: Crimea returned back to the Russian Motherland and Donbass gained a sort of autonomous status that will be a constant obstacle to all of the major drastic plans of the Kiev regime and its Western handlers. Let me be very clear: Russia will never allow the Ukraine to join NATO. I am certain that there will be Russian tanks in Kiev if anyone attempts to peacefully of forcefully make that country join the Western military alliance. After all, Kiev is the mother of all Russian cities and Moscow will not hesitate to use its Army if that red line is crossed. For the foreseeable future, Russia will continue to play the long game there and ensure that eventually most (if not all) of that country returns to the Russian orbit.

Being a patriotic Armenian, I can not refrain myself from talking about the current Military Balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The overall military superiority that we had established at the end of the war in 1994 has been eroded over the years thanks to Baku’s massive arms purchases from Russia, Ukraine, Israel, turkey etc. By the middle of the second decade of this century, the balance tilted to the Azerbaijani side with us Armenians having only the nature of the terrain to our advantage (Artsakh stands on higher ground). We won the Nagorno-Karabagh war almost 3 decades ago because the Azeris were less well prepared for the war and because our warriors enjoyed a higher degree of motivation.

After spending lavishly and some hard training, our opponent is now better armed than us, has a bigger population and larger economy. Azerbaijanis are also as motivated as us in capturing Artsakh as we are to keep it. Let me dismiss the misconception of our Armenian patriotism prevailing and winning any future war. Patriotism is not exclusive to us, Azerbaijani (and Turks) can be just as patriotic and they hate us as much as we hate them.

But the military balance remains very dynamic and things have over the last few years seen some sort of reversal: aware of the fact that Azerbaijan was slowly getting the upper hand, Moscow addressed the status by making substantial arms “sales” to Yerevan. My apologies for erroneously using the word “sales” as these transactions hardly qualify as such. They were more like “arms transfers” for almost free. The Republic of Armenia simply does not have the financial capability to pay for expensive weapons systems such as ISKANDER tactical missiles, SMERCH heavy multiple rocket launchers, KORNET anti-tank guided missiles and other goodies. Officially, they were sold to us at “domestic” prices which really means that for all intents and purposes these weapons were given to us by the Moscow as gifts. By the end of last year, the bear gave us a Christmas present in the form of 4 brand new Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter bombers that are superior to anything in the Azeri inventory as well as batteries of highly sophisticated short range TOR-M2MK air defense complexes that will close the battlefield skies to all manned and unmanned Azeri air assets.

Because Armenia now enjoys air superiority, the Azeris are now intensively negotiating with Moscow the purchase of some new jet fighters. Russia rejected earlier requests to supply Azerbaijan with ISKANDER missiles but has accepted to sell some jet fighters. The Azeris are looking into 3 models: the Su-30SM, the Su-35S and the MiG-35. The Su-30SM is identical to our recent acquisition and seems to be the least likely candidate. The smaller and least powerful MiG-35 is the most likely one because it happens to be very compatible with their current MiG-29 on which they are based. The Su-35 is the most formidable of the 3 but comes at a high price tag. Considering the relatively low current oil prices (the main driver of the Azerbaijani economy), it remains to be seen what our opponents end up with. The Russian Federation does not give them the same “domestic” pricing privilege they extend to Armenia; Baku will have to pay the full international price and the Bear will laugh all the way to the Bank.

God forbid, if full scale war breaks out today in Artsakh, and given the current military balance with a slight on-paper military superiority to the Azeri side countered by a positional advantage from ours, I predict there will be massive bloodshed from both sides with little or no gain to either party.

It was the unpopular government of Serzh Sarkisyan who could not maintain the advantageous military balance that we enjoyed during the previous administrations. The current Nikol Pachinyan regime whose popularity is in freefall seems to have other priorities than preserving Armenian sovereignty over Artsakh. Still, I am confident we will not lose an armed conflict unless treachery, backstabbing and behind stage deals occur and the fortress collapses from within as it has so often happened in our proud but sad history.

Moscow does not want another full-scale war in the Caucasus, it will do its best to deter any Azeri aggression. However, Moscow is unhappy with the current no-peace and no-war status quo. It wants some sort of permanent settlement and resolution of the Armenian-Azeri conflict with the placement of Russian troops as peacekeepers on an agreed border. I am not going to dwell further into the political aspects of such a settlement and leave it to the owner of this Blog who can better elaborate on that. Suffice to say that the leadership of the Republic of Armenia should be able to keep Artsakh Armenian by understanding very well the Bear’s best interests in the Caucasus and making sure that ours and theirs remain compatible at all times. It is not difficult to achieve that objective as there is a major facilitating factor: Russia will never trust or befriend Turkey (and by association Azerbaijan). Over the last couple of centuries, the Bear has fought (and won) a dozen major wars against the Wolf. It is just impossible to have them as friends since they have entirely conflicting interests: They both want to control the Caucasus.

To conclude this article, allow me to emphasize this: Despite being stacked against all odds and facing immense obstacles and powerful opponents, the Russian Federation made it to the top both technologically and spiritually. Us mortals are now facing the dawn of a new world order, a changing world where the cards have been redistributed and the rules have been changed. Indeed, the world is changing, not as much by COVID-19 or by some local riots, but by the shift in the global military balance. Think carefully if you are planning long term (investing, choosing a country to live in, your future, your children’s future, etc.). A powerful and developed Russian Federation that is wealthy, powerful, politically stable, independent, sovereign, financially unassailable, technologically advanced, industrially self-sufficient, militarily unconquerable and - most importantly - spiritually rich, is an undeniable example to all nations on Earth on how to take control of their own affairs without bending to the corrupt bankster cartels and their minions who are mere wannabe masters of the universe.


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Shoigu: the main advantage of the latest Russian systems is unattainable efficiency

All the promising weapons systems that the Supreme Commander spoke about a year ago in his Address to the Federal Assembly today already exist in hardware, and some are in operation, said Army Minister Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation. "All this is an absolute reality. The most important advantage of the latest Russian systems is unattainable efficiency. At the same time, colleagues abroad realize that our developments are hundreds of times cheaper than any systems deployed against us. And not only the US missile defense system," said the Secretary of Defense RF. He noted that today the preparation of the infrastructure of the missile connection in the Orenburg region for the deployment of the first regiment with the Avangard complex is in full swing. “In December of this year, the regiment will take up combat duty,” S. Shoigu said. He also announced the successful completion of offshore testing of the Poseidon unmanned underwater vehicle. "The personnel of the Poseidon carrier submarine has been trained," said the Minister of Defense. “MiG-31 crews equipped with dagger hypersonic missiles have already completed more than 380 air patrol flights over the Black and Caspian Seas,” S. Shoigu said. He noted that the testing of the Sarmat missile complex went to the next stage. The planned rearmament of strategic nuclear forces and general forces continues. "The main goal of this work is to guarantee the military security of our country without increasing current budget expenditures or pulling into an arms race," the minister emphasized.

The first modernized "Borey" handed over to the military

On Thursday, May 28, “Knyaz Vladimir”, the first strategic nuclear missile submarine of the modernized project 955A (code Borey-A), was transferred to the Russian Navy. According to the press service of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, a corresponding acceptance act was signed at Sevmash. The acceptance certificate was signed after the successful completion of all stages of nuclear submarine testing and confirms the readiness of "Prince Vladimir" for commissioning, the USC press service added.

“The construction of the Prince Vladimir nuclear submarine is proof that we continue to develop the best shipbuilding traditions, the foundation of which is brilliant work and the high responsibility of scientists, designers and shipbuilders. This ship is a new word in the line of strategic missile carriers. “Prince Vladimir ”has more advanced characteristics. Ahead is the ceremony of raising the St. Andrew’s flag, "said Mikhail Budnichenko.

Earlier it was reported that the official ceremony of introducing the nuclear-powered ship into the Navy is expected in mid-June. Underwater Strategic Missile Carrier ""laid at the Sevmash in 2012. He became the fourth nuclear submarine in a series of eight Boreys and the first representative of the improved Borey-A project 955A. Initially, the transfer of the submarine to the fleet was planned for 2017, but it was launched only in November 2017. In the spring of 2018, it became known that the transfer of the nuclear submarines to the fleet was postponed to 2019, but the tests of the nuclear submarine continued in 2020. At present, four more nuclear submarines of project 955A are at different stages of construction: “Knyaz Oleg”, "Generalissimus Suvorov", "Emperor Alexander III" and "Knyaz Pozharsky". Each submarine of this type is armed with 16 Bulava solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Russia’s state arms seller to offer hypersonic weapon tracking radar to foreign customers

While developing the radar’s export version, attention was paid to the growing significance of air defense weapons in ensuring the security of states, the company said.

Russia’s state arms seller Rosoboronexport (part of the state hi-tech corporation Rostec) has started promoting on international arms markets the 59N6-TE mobile radar capable of detecting hypersonic targets, the company’s press office reported on Thursday. "Today Rosoboronexport is bringing to the market the latest radar station capable of effectively detecting a wide range of advanced and future air objects, including hypersonic targets," the company’s press office quoted Rosoboronexport CEO Alexander Mikheyev as saying. "While developing the export version of the radar, the growing role of air defense systems for the provision of security of states was taken into account, as well as the needs of foreign customers in the expansion of the reconnaissance capabilities of their air defense units," he said.

Rosoboronexport expects high demand for the new station in the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and North Africa. The 59N6-TE mobile three-dimensional station is an exclusively Russian-made product, which implies present-day Russian hardware components with digital processing and signal generation. It is fully solid-state and has high potential together with enhanced jamming resistance, according to the data posted on the company’s website. "The 59N6-TE is a radar of medium and high altitude, having a decimeter wavelength range. Apart from hypersonic targets, it also effectively detects aerodynamic and ballistic objects," the statement says.

The 59N6-TE radar provides for the measurement of the range, azimuth and altitude of aerial targets. It is capable of detecting objects flying at a speed of up to 8 000 km/h at a range of up to 450 kilometers and at an altitude of up to 200 kilometers. After detection, it exchanges radar information with C4I systems. It operates in conditions of jamming and carries out direction finding of active noise jammers, Rosoboronexport said. "In a real time mode, it can simultaneously track no less than 1 000 objects and recognize 8 classes of targets, which includes selection of anti-radar missiles and warning its own combat crew of the danger of elimination, inter alia, by high precision munitions and homing missiles. The 59N6-TE radar also includes equipment for the recognition of detected aerial targets in international radar recognition systems Mk-XA and ATC RBS," the company said.

Russian troops receive 1st batch of latest Koalitsiya-SV artillery systems

Koalitsiya-SV artillery system Valery Sharifulin/TASS

The weapon's firepower outstrips that of other artillery systems, according to the producer

The first batch of the latest Koalitsiya-SV artillery systems has arrived for the Russian troops, the press office of the state hi-tech corporation Rostec told TASS on Friday. "This is the first delivery of the Koalitsiya-SV multiservice artillery system to the troops. Its firepower is based on the 152mm gun with a rate of fire of over 10 rounds per minute, which is higher than the speed of fire of other artillery systems," Rostec said.

Russia begins construction of the first PAK DA strategic bomber - sources

The final assembly of the entire machine should be complete in 2021

Russia has commenced construction of its first strategic stealth bomber within the Perspective Aviation Complex for Long-Range Aviation (PAK DA) program, also known as "Product 80" and "Courier", a source in the military-industrial complex told TASS. "The production of airframe elements will be handled by one of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC)’s plants; development of working design documentation is complete, material shipping has commenced," the source said. Another source told TASS that construction of the plane’s cockpit is already underway. "The final assembly of the entire machine should be complete in 2021," he noted. The Tupolev Design Bureau’s press service refrained from commenting on construction of the first PAK DA. In December 2019, Deputy Minister of Defense Alexey Krivoruchko told the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper that the draft project of the plane had been approved and that the Tupolev Design Bureau began development of the working design documentation, began creation of parts and elements of the test PAK DA units. In February 2020, Krivoruchko announced that the first engine for the plane will begin stand trials this year.

The new plane

It is known that the PAK DA is designed using the flying wing scheme. The machine will feature technologies and materials that reduce its radar visibility (stealth technology). The plane will be subsonic, and will be able to carry current and future cruise missiles, precision bombs and hypersonic weapons, it will be provided with the newest communications and jamming equipment.

Russian scientists have created the most heat-resistant material in the world

The most heat-resistant material in the world was created by Russian specialists from the Center for Structural Ceramic Nanomaterials NITU MISiS. Theoretically, the melting point of the new compound is 4,200º C. Scientists have not been able to measure the exact value at the moment, since simulating such thermal loads in the laboratory is extremely difficult. The substance proposed by the researchers, hafnium carbonitride (Hf-CN), was obtained by self-propagating high-temperature synthesis and is a hafnium-carbon-nitrogen binder. In addition to incredible thermal stability, the material has high hardness (21.3 GPa), thermal conductivity and oxidation resistance. It is worth noting that the discovery of Russian specialists, first of all, is of great importance for the aerospace industry. For example, in the future, hafnium carbonitride could be used in the manufacture of head fairings, parts of aircraft engines and other elements. All this would allow to increase the life of domestic aircraft, and most importantly, to make them even more reliable. In addition, new material could also contribute to the military industry. In particular, it could be used to create hypersonic missiles, which, moving in dense layers of the atmosphere, are subjected to the highest thermal effects.

Coming to a Country Near You: A Russian Nuclear Power Plant

A Russian state company is financing and building reactors across the world, reaping for Moscow both profits and geopolitical influence.

Rising from the former potato and wheat fields of a collective farm, huge towers of concrete beckon to one of Europe’s poorest countries with the promise of cheap, plentiful supplies of electricity for generations to come. But the location of Belarus’s first nuclear power plant — an area of pristine farmland just 40 miles from the capital of neighboring Lithuania — points to calculations that go beyond just kilowatts. The plant was built by Rosatom, a state-owned Russian nuclear conglomerate, and financed with a $10 billion credit line from Moscow. Belarus soldiers at a new military base nearby have been trained in St. Petersburg by Russia’s National Guard, a security force set up by the Kremlin in 2016.

The facility’s two reactors, set to go into operation soon, will produce far more electricity than Belarus can consume and lie far away from industrial areas eager for cheap power on the other side of the country. Lithuania, seen as a promising potential market when planning for the plant began more than a decade ago, is now so horrified by the prospect of Russian-controlled nuclear fission on its doorstep that it has outlawed the purchase of any electricity the plant produces and started holding nuclear accident exercises.

For all the problems and protests, however, the Astravets plant is in many ways a model of success in what, under President Vladimir V. Putin, has become an aggressive push into foreign markets by Russia’s sprawling nuclear industry. Rosatom has secured more than 30 reactor supply deals. Last year, the company claimed it had international projects worth $202.4 billion in its portfolio. Russia’s success — it has sold more nuclear technology abroad since Mr. Putin came to power in 1999 than the United States, France, China, South Korea and Japan combined, according to a recent study — is in part commercial, generating lucrative contracts in Europe, Asia and even Africa to sustain Rosatom’s more than 250,000 engineers, researchers, salespeople and other employees.

But it has also given Moscow a powerful geopolitical tool, locking clients like Belarus, but also members of the European Union like Hungary, into long-term dependency on Rosatom, and therefore the Russian state. That strategy seems particularly evident with plants like the one here in Belarus. Rosatom, formed in 2007 from the remnants of the Soviet-era Ministry of Atomic Energy, has now joined Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled natural gas behemoth, and Rosneft, a state-owned petroleum giant, in the vanguard of a drive by Mr. Putin to develop “national champions” that serve as both profit-driven businesses and instruments of Russian power.

“The nuclear plant is an example of Russia’s desire to keep states along its borders in its orbit at all cost,” Linas Linkevicius, Lithuania’s foreign minister, said, referring to the Astravets facility. “It helps them preserve more influence.”

With other kinds of electricity plants, the contractor builds the structure and leaves its operation to the owner. But with nuclear plants, the owner, usually a foreign government, remains dependent on the contractor for 50 years or more for fuel, know-how and eventually decommissioning.

“It means a strategic partnership with another country for a long, long time,” said Mark Hibbs, a Berlin-based expert on the nuclear energy industry. This, he added, will leave Belarus “connected at the hip with Russia for decades.”

The two countries are already extremely close, bound by history, the Russian language and the shared legacy of the Soviet Union. But Belarus’s authoritarian leader, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, who has long played Russia off against the West to maintain his country’s independence, now faces growing pressure from Moscow not just to align with Russia but to join it in a merged “union state.”

Rosatom insists its deals are strictly business and Mr. Putin, in public statements, has eschewed any open mixing of nuclear commerce and politics. When Ukraine, once a major Rosatom client, overthrew its pro-Kremlin president in 2014, Mr. Putin told officials that Russia “needs to cooperate with all our traditional partners” no matter what their politics. But, he added, this must “of course ensure our own interests.”

A big part of Rosatom’s success in winning so many contracts comes from the provision of credits to finance the plants. Ted Jones, director for national security and international programs at the Nuclear Energy Institute in Washington, a trade association, complained that state support, particularly in financing, has given Rosatom a huge advantage over rivals like Westinghouse, the largest American nuclear contractor.

“They are driven by different interests. Westinghouse is a business. Rosatom is a designated strategic exporter,” he said, “They are notching up big strategic wins each time they get a deal.”

Unlike Western companies in the nuclear business, which must abide by rules set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that limit the role of state financial support and impose other constraints, Rosatom, a recipient of lavish support from the Russian government and treasury, has a free hand to pursue its own business. Over the past decade, Russia has opened credit lines of more than $60 billion to six countries for nuclear power plants. Westinghouse lost out on a contract to build a new reactor in Hungary when Russia offered the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, a loan of $11 billion. Rosatom’s deal for the Paks II nuclear plant in Hungary helped cement close ties between Mr. Putin and Mr. Orban, who has frequently broken with fellow European leaders to side with the Kremlin on issues like Ukraine and the shortcomings of liberal democracy.

Rosatom, having shaken off its reputation as a swamp of corruption and escaped from the dark cloud left by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, is now a front-runner for a revived nuclear power project in Bulgaria, another member of the European Union. It won a $30 billion contract for four reactors in Egypt, a longtime U.S. ally, and another big nuclear plant deal in Turkey, a NATO member whose president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has worked increasingly closely with Mr. Putin, despite their being sharply at odds over Syria. It has had some setbacks. In February, Bolivia’s caretaker government suspended the construction of a Rosatom nuclear research center, saying the project had not received all the required regulatory approvals. The center was part of a $350 million deal with Rosatom approved in 2016 by the former president, Evo Morales, an ally of Russia; the new government has scrapped dozens of his initiatives since taking office in November.

The new plant in Belarus has always involved more than just straightforward economic calculations for both Moscow and Minsk, the Belarusian capital. Officials in Minsk promote Astravets as the best way to break the country’s reliance on Russian gas. “We had no other path,” said Lilya V. Dulinets, deputy head of the Belarusian nuclear energy department. “We were thinking about our energy security, which is what economic security, and hence the state’s independence, is based upon.”

Sergei Chaly, a Belarusian economist, questioned this. The Rosatom plant, he said, will only substitute a dependence on Russian nuclear fuel for a dependence on Russian gas, which is currently used to generate 95 percent of the country’s electricity. It will also produce far more energy than Belarus needs, he added. To make use of the surplus, Belarus will become one of the few countries with a state program to drastically increase the use of electricity. Soviet-era water heating plants across the country that were using gas will be converted to electric power. The plant is also nudging Belarus into closer military cooperation with Russia, which has supplied Tor antiaircraft missiles to help protect the facility from attack and helped train Belarus military personnel serving at a new army base set up near Astravets to defend the plant.

Russia’s success in winning contracts at a time when many of its competitors are struggling to stay in the nuclear business has stirred fears in the West that the global market is turning into a duopoly controlled by Russia and China, where the state has also provided financial and other support to boost foreign sales. “The concern is that by 2030 or 2040 all the new business will be operated by Russia and China because they will be offering financing terms that nobody else can,” Mr. Hibbs said. Safety concerns, heightened by the 2011 disaster in Fukushima, Japan, have hit the whole industry hard, particularly in the West, where antinuclear groups are vocal and influential. But even Belarus, a tightly controlled authoritarian state, has struggled to curb public fears: Almost a quarter of its territory was contaminated by radioactive cesium released by the Chernobyl reactor.

The US military "gets its ass handed to it" in World War 3 simulation – researchers

Military wargames carried out by RAND Corporation show that the US’ advantage is slipping. In a simulated ‘World War 3’ scenario, the world’s greatest military power loses decisively to Russia and China. RAND’s wargames pit the United States – depicted in blue on maps – against an imaginary aggressor, this time Russia and China. In these simulated scenarios, taking place in either the Baltic region or Taiwan, things don’t go well for the United States. Of course, the US is not fighting on its own turf here. Neither do the RAND team explain exactly how America ended up fighting a hypothetical war thousands of miles from home. But defense money is defense money, and the researchers were keen to paint an apocalyptic picture, no doubt timed to coincide with the 2020 military budget, released on Monday.

“We lose a lot of people. We lose a lot of equipment. We usually fail to achieve our objective of preventing aggression by the adversary,” RAND analyst David Ochmanek told a security conference on Thursday. “In our games, when we fight Russia and China, blue gets its ass handed to it.”

The US military easily dispatched anything that Iraqi regular forces could throw at it in the 1990s, and again in 2003. Likewise, US forces enjoyed conventional superiority over Taliban forces in Afghanistan. War with Russia and China would see that advantage crumble, however, the RAND study warned. Land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace would all be up for contention in such a conflict. The technological advances. The US’ Air Force and Navy could fall victim to hypersonic missiles, like the ‘Avangard’ hypersonic glider tested by Russia in December. Retired US General Howard ‘Dallas’ Thompson warned at the time that current US defenses are “simply incapable” of countering the hypersonic missile, which flies at over 20 times the speed of sound. Lightning-fast strikes on runways and airbases could ground the US’ new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. While the F-35 is unmatched in the skies, pinpoint missile strikes could stop it leaving the tarmac in the first place.

“In every case I know of, the F-35 rules the sky when it’s in the sky,” Robert Work, a former deputy secretary of defense, told the panel on Thursday. “But it gets killed on the ground in large numbers.”

Just under 100,000 US troops are stationed in Europe. These forces, too, are vulnerable to missiles, airstrikes and drone attacks. Compounding the threat from the skies is the threat of Chinese cyberwarfare. If American communications satellites and wireless networks were to be taken out, “the brain and the nervous system that connects all of these pieces is suppressed, if not shattered,” Ochmanek said. “On our side, whenever we have an exercise, when the red force really destroys our command and control, we stop the exercise and say, ‘Let’s restart.’”

As for a solution, the researchers at RAND call for, predictably, spending hikes. “$24 billion a year for the next five years would be a good expenditure,” Work suggested. President Trump announced a whopping $750 billion military budget on Monday, and such doom-and-gloom predictions always precede the yearly announcement. Last week, General Curtis Scaparotti – the US’ top general in Europe – talked up the perceived threat from Russia to demand more troops, jets, missiles, and ships to bolster the US presence in Europe. Even at last year's $716 billion, The United States’ military budget is already double that of China and Russia combined.

Russia Is Quickly Becoming the Most Dominant Force in Energy

Moscow’s oil pricing dispute with the Government of Saudi Arabia, a domestic U.S. oil boom, and a fall in global oil demand since the COVID19 outbreak have damaged Russia’s oil industry. But its influence over the global oil market seems only set to increase, just one of the resource sectors Russia is seeking to dominate in the 21st Century.

Oil: As the worldwide response to the pandemic was heating up in early March 2020, Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s two leading oil exporters, launched a pricing war for their oil on international markets. The Kremlin had ignored Saudi demands to OPEC members and other oil-producing/exporting states to cut production to stabilize prices, causing Saudi Arabia to increase its production and send prices lower.

Because Saudi Arabia can produce and export oil for a much lower price than Russia, analysts were left pondering the wisdom behind Russia’s brinksmanship. The Kremlin most likely sought to undermine the U.S. oil industry, which despite surging in recent years, still requires even higher prices to break even. Suffering temporarily at the hands of the Saudis may now allow Russia to steadily recapture international market share.

The complete collapse of oil prices amid the dispute and COVID19 outbreak forced OPEC, Russia, the U.S., and other oil powers to hash out a deal in April 2020 to save the industry itself. But the Kremlin may have the most to gain. Though second in oil exports, third in production and refining, and eighth in reserves, Russia enjoys several advantages over other oil powers; advantages which have established it as the most dominant force in the industry.

Saudi Arabia, for example, is the largest oil exporter, second-largest producer, and has the second-largest reserves. However, it is only ranked eighth in refining, meaning its exports are largely unfinished products that must be refined elsewhere before they can be used. But more importantly, Saudi Arabia cannot viably defend its infrastructure, made evident in May 2019 when Iran attacked Saudi oil facilities using drones and missiles. The incident temporarily halved Saudi production, casting doubt on Saudi Arabia’s ability to safeguard its facilities and the transportation routes to foreign markets.

Amid increasing Iranian aggression and U.S. disengagement from the region, Saudi Arabia’s longterm oil export capabilities are under threat. Without the guarantee of a steady stream of oil, buyers will naturally look to other suppliers, and Saudi Arabia’s influence over the international oil market risks dwindling significantly. As one of the world’s foremost military powers, Russia can not only defend its networks but attack those of others; such as in the 2008 Georgia War where its aircraft damaged Georgian oil pipelines. Furthermore, Russia’s enormous size grants it proximity to the most profitable European and Asian markets, simplifying logistics and reducing the need to transport shipments through hostile territory.

While the U.S. is both the top oil producer and oil refiner, helped largely by its shale oil boom, it has just recently become a net oil exporter; but only barely. It consumes the second-most oil after the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and despite the US’ growing energy independence, it cannot sway prices and international supply the same way as larger exporters. Furthermore, it too is far away from the most profitable markets in Europe and Asia.

The Kremlin’s added advantage over Washington is the direct coordination of its political and commercial goals with the state-run oil company, Rosneft. Other Russian oil companies are largely in lockstep with Russian Government policy. U.S. companies are directed by profit margins instead of geopolitical outreach, and often require human rights agreements before deals are inked.

Led by Rosneft, Russia’s oil companies have become a global alternative to the traditional power of the U.S./Western oil companies. They have significantly increased their control over Venezuela’s oil industry, for example, after almost 20 years of increasingly tense relations between Venezuela and the U.S./West. With the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela’s political leadership has been strengthened by Moscow’s assistance during its current ongoing crisis, which could eventually reverse its oil fortunes in the future.

The other pillars of the international oil industry face their own setbacks. Military weaknesses, fractured leaderships, undeveloped industries, and economic sanctions are some of the problems that hinder OPEC states. Furthermore, without Saudi Arabia’s ability to periodically flood markets, the organization is largely toothless. The PRC is the second-largest oil refiner and fifth-largest producer, but it still imports far more than it can produce domestically. Its major focus is importing enough for domestic use, yet it is unable to protect the global sea lanes that ensure its supply. In part due to this concern, Russia has become the second-largest supplier of oil to the PRC after Saudi Arabia.

Finally, in Canada, there is a lack of political and public will for new pipelines which could increase its capabilities and customer base. Its major buyer, the U.S., has become vastly more self-sufficient in oil, while new pipeline networks into the U.S. have been blocked by U.S. officials on environmental concerns, casting further uncertainty onto Canada’s oil industry.

Natural Gas: Russia’s ability to defend its infrastructure and strong placement in all sectors of the oil industry guarantee it major influence in the future. But oil is not the only resource that Russia seeks to dominate this century. Since the 1970s, technological advancements have made natural gas cheaper to extract, while environmental concerns have made it an increasingly popular substitute for carbon-heavy oil, particularly in Europe.

Russia has an even more commanding position in the international natural gas market. It is first in natural gas reserves and exports, and second in production. Its only real rival is the U.S., which, as with oil, has only recently become a net exporter. Gazprom, Russia’s largest company, has led the Kremlin’s attempts to gain commercial and political benefits from its gas industry. For example, since the early 1990s, the Kremlin has repeatedly cut off gas to Ukraine to draw concessions from its leadership (and to ensure payment of overdue bills). Though Ukraine has since weaned itself off Russian gas, much of Russia’s gas still passes through Ukraine on its way to Europe. Ukraine’s economy remains partially reliant on the transit fees which the gas flow generates, meaning it is still very much hostage to Russian supply cuts.

The European Union (EU) has often been forced to mediate Russian-Ukrainian gas disputes. Yet since the 2014 Ukraine crisis and in the face of opposition from Eastern European countries, Western European countries have continued to pursue several Russian natural gas pipelines, such as the Turkstream and the Nordstream pipelines. These networks will only increase Russia’s ability to punish Ukraine and Eastern European countries in future years, without jeopardizing its sales to Western Europe. This has not gone unnoticed in Washington. US presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have criticized the Nordstream pipeline network in particular. Nonetheless, Germany and other Western EU states have continued to increase their gas imports from Russia, significantly undermining the united economic front projected by Western politicians since the Ukraine crisis in 2014.

The Kremlin has prioritized defending its access to the European market from other gas powers. Qatar and Iran are desperate to make use of their large reserves, yet any Europe-bound pipeline would require passage through Syria. In 2018, Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad signed an agreement giving Russia sole rights to gas and oil production in Syria, allowing the Kremlin to keep competition to a minimum. The PRC’s current use of natural gas is low, covering less than 10 percent of its energy needs But the enormous scale of its energy consumption has still made it the largest natural gas importer. With growing energy needs and an eye on CO2 emissions, the PRC’s appetite for natural gas would, under normal conditions, be likely to increase, assuming the PRC economy retains its viability.

On top of Russia’s existing gas pipelines to the PRC, liquefied natural gas (LNG) is now making it possible for the PRC to receive Russian LNG at its ports. The PRC was, in early June 2020, expected to soon overtake Japan as the largest LNG importer, and the USPRC trade war may prevent U.S. gas suppliers from capitalizing on a major market, leaving Russia with the lion’s share. As LNG helps propel natural gas to a truly global commodity, Russia is already beating the U.S. at this pricing war in Europe, and future gas developments in Russia’s Arctic are promising for its LNG prospects around the world.

Nuclear Power: Russia’s influence is not limited to natural resources. Led by state firm Rosatom, Russia has also seized the initiative following disruptions to the global nuclear industry. After the Fukushima incident in 2011, Japan and Germany, both major nuclear energy powers, began shutting down much of their nuclear facilities. Others, like France, South Korea, and the U.S., have also had faltering industries in recent years.

After the Chernobyl disaster and collapse of the USSR, Russia’s nuclear industry began to pick up again in the late 1990s and has made steady progress in the years since. Though fourth in nuclear power production, Russia is again in a commanding position. Rosatom and its subsidiaries have integrated operations — a huge input in fuel cycle, reactor sales, and reactor maintenance — and have worked to increase their control over uranium deposits from Kazakhstan to the U.S.

Russia appears to be banking on exporting its reactor technology for the future. It has a dozen more orders for nuclear power reactors than its only competitor, the PRC, which it is already working with Rosatom, anyway. Across Europe and Asia, deals for Russian reactors are being implemented or explored. Completing current reactor deals with EU members Hungary and Finland, with their vigorous safety standards, will help Rosatom demonstrate it is ready for more contracts around the world.
But it is in Africa that Russia sees an opportunity. Nuclear power has been viewed as the answer to the continent’s projected growth in population and energy demand, and Russia is hoping to monopolize the continent’s nuclear industry before it potentially takes off.

In late 2019, Rosatom’s floating nuclear power plant, the Akademik Lomonosov Kuznets, began delivering power to Russia’s Chukotka region in Siberia. Capable of powering a city of 100,000 people, it is the only transportable nuclear power plant in the world. Rosatom’s intention to build seven of them, along with Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreakers, will help the Kremlin bring power to its energy-deficient Arctic. If it does so successfully, Rosatom may be able to revolutionize (and monopolize) transportable nuclear power.

Other: Russia maintains moderate influence in coal, iron, and steel markets. But even in renewable energy, Russia may play a powerful future role in hydropower. It is already the fifth-largest producer of hydropower in the world, and if it can exploit its extensive river networks, Russia could increase its potential even further.

Russia’s renewable energy industry is undeveloped apart from hydropower yet has potential elsewhere. The country’s vast size means it has access to plenty of resources, and while solar power is limited, geothermal and wind energy could be exploited with proper funding. Russia meanwhile has several tidal power stations, and the proposed Penzhin Tidal Power Plant indicates the Kremlin sees potential in this area as well.

Weaknesses and Future: Russia’s resource power is not without its weaknesses. Oil and gas revenue accounts for a majority of government revenue, making Russia vulnerable to drops in demand and prices. And, as many countries (including its important European markets) attempt to reduce their emissions, alternatives to oil and natural gas will increasingly be sought. At the same time, nuclear and hydropower are far from sure bets for the future of global energy use.

Nonetheless, military strength, state-run companies, impressive reserves, production and export capabilities, and proximity to major markets have given Russia an edge in 21st Century resource markets. While this may help fill the Kremlin’s coffers, its true goal is binding countries to current and future Russian resource flows and controlling global supplies. With few major rivals in multiple markets, this process is already well underway.

Tupolev Flies Modernized ‘Blackjack’

Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has issued a statement about the maiden flight of what it calls “the first experimental example of a deeply modernized Tu-160M created on the platform of the in-service Tu-160” strategic bomber (NATO codename “Blackjack”). The flight occurred on February 2 from the airport of the Kazan Aviation Plant named after Gorbunov (local acronym KAZ, formerly Kazan Aviation Industrial Organization or KAPO) and lasted for 34 minutes. KAZ is a part of Tupolev, itself a UAC member. Headed by Anri Naskidyants, the crew from Tupolev’s flight test-base in Zhukovsky reported that the aircraft attained a maximum altitude of 1,500 meters (4,920 feet) and behaved well.

“During this flight, the crew performed all necessary checks to do with the renovated systems and equipment that had been installed as part of the deep modernization effort. According to crew reports, the flight was uneventful, all systems and onboard equipment functioned normally,” read the UAC statement. It went on to say that the bomber has received a number of new systems, including flight controls and navigation equipment, communications and electronic countermeasure systems, and radar, which have resulted in a significant increase in its combat efficiency.

The two low-resolution images available on the corporate website depict an aircraft on takeoff and landing whose airframe is mostly painted with green-yellow primer while having a number of white parts likely taken from unserviceable Tu-160s. However, neither the statement nor the pictures, provide sufficient information to tell whether the aircraft comes with a rebuilt or newly-manufactured airframe.

Secrecy shrouds the ongoing large-scale Tu-160 modernization and production restoration effort, which began in 2015, when defense minister Sergei Shoigu instructed UAC to resume the type’s manufacturing, while promising an order for 50 new aircraft, sometimes referred to as the Tu-160M2. Later, President Putin mentioned an already-placed contract for 10 bombers for delivery in 2021-2026 with more to come. Two years ago he visited the plant in Kazan to witness the maiden flight of the aircraft 8-04 “Piotr Deinekin,” which was an example of the “Tu-160M1+” subtype, which was accepted by the Russian Air and Space Force (local acronym VKS) in December 2018. It became the 17th Tu-160 in the VKS inventory and seventh Tu-160M with extended functionality and weapons arsenal.

The maiden flight of the Tu-160 prototype occurred in December 1981. At a gross weight of 275 tonnes (606,260 pounds), the type still represents the world’s largest-ever combat jet. Four 25-tonne-thrust NK-32 afterburner-equipped turbofans can accelerate it to Mach 2.0 and give a range of over 12,000 km (6,500 nm), extendable through aerial refueling. The type remained in production in Kazan until the mid-1990s. Using pre-manufactured parts, the plant completed the aircraft named “Alexander Molodchiy” in 2000 and “Vitaly Kopylov” in 2008. At that time, then-UAC president Alexei Fedorov claimed: “From now on, KAPO will perform only repair and modernization on Tu-160s and Tu-22M3s built earlier.” At that point, Tu-160 production stood at 36 units, of which a number had been lost in crashes, cannibalized for parts, or cut up under disarmament treaties with the U.S.

In times of rising geopolitical tensions, the remaining Tu-160s have been involved in the air campaign against the Islamic State, firing Raduga Kh-555 and Kh-101 long-range cruise missiles at targets in Syria, and they are back in the forefront of the Russia-U.S. confrontation. On January 31, NORAD “positively identified two Tu-160 'Blackjack' Russian bombers entering the Canadian Air Defense Identification Zone” as they flew from a base in Russia across the Arctic Ocean on a combat training mission that lasted for 16 hours. In reply to this, NORAD Commander General O’Shaughnessy commented on Twitter, “Our adversaries continue to flex their long-range weapons systems and engage in increasingly aggressive efforts, to include the approaches to the United States and Canada.”

Russia's new stealthy 'Hunter' drone just took flight for the first time with the country's most advanced fighter

Russia's new heavy combat drone has flown for the first time alongside the country's most advanced fighter jet, giving the fighter a new edge in battle, the Russian defense ministry announced Friday. "The Okhotnik unmanned aerial vehicle has performed its first joint flight with a fifth-generation Su-57 plane," the ministry said in a statement, according to Russia's state-run TASS news agency. The two Russian aircraft flew together "to broaden the fighter's radar coverage and to provide target acquisition for employing air-launched weapons," the ministry added.

Первый совместный полет БЛА «Охотник» и истребителя Су-57:

Photos of the Okhotnik first surfaced online in January, but it wasn't until June that the unmanned aircraft was formally unveiled. This summer, the heavy attack drone completed its maiden flight, during which it flew circles over an airfield for 20 minutes. The flight involving both the Okhotnik drone and the Su-57 fighter appears to confirm what some have suspected for months — that the stealthy flying-wing drone was designed to fight alongside and provide critical battespace information to Russia's new fifth-generation fighters. In January, shortly after photos of the Okhtonik appeared online, photos of an Su-57 with an interesting new paint job appeared. The redesign featured silhouettes of a Su-57 and a flying-wing aircraft that looked a lot like the Okhotnik.

Russia’s Rosatom and Zvezda Shipyard Sign Contract for World’s Largest Nuclear Icebreake

The Leader-class nuclear icebreaker is designed to ensure year-round navigation on the eastern parts of the Northern Sea Route by 2027. Questions remain about the project’s ambitious timeline as Russia’s nuclear icebreaker program has faced ongoing delays and technical issues in recent years. Russia pushes ahead with plans to ensure year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route. The Leader-class icebreaker, also referred to as LK-120Ya, will be twice as powerful as the country’s current nuclear icebreakers. The vessel will use two RITM-400 type nuclear reactors to power four propellers with 30 MW capacity each. With a total displacement of 69,700 tons it will also be more than twice as heavy as Russia’s newest and currently largest icebreaker, Arktika.

The vessel is designed to break channels as wide as possible through the sea ice for oil and gas tankers to follow in its wake. To this end the Leader-class is nearly 48 meters wide, 13 meters more than current icebreakers. With massive amounts of power and its large weight the vessel will be able to break through up to four meters of ice, compared to 2.3 meters for the current Arktika-class. “The commissioning of this atomic icebreaker will enable Rosatomflot to ensure safe and regular operations in the eastern region of the Arctic, provide year-round navigation in the waters of the Northern Sea Route, and open up new opportunities for commercial high-latitude routes,” says Rosatomflot’s general director Mustafa Kashka. According to the contract signed between Rosatomflot and the Zvezda shipyard, the vessel is planned to be commissioned in 2027, with two additional icebreakers of the type to follow by 2033.

An ambitious timeline

This timeline may end up being too ambitious in light of the fact that the Arktika-class, of which Russia is currently building five vessels, has faced several delays and technical challenges. Construction on the class’ lead vessel Arktika began back in 2013 and the vessel has yet to be placed into service. Originally Arktika was supposed to be delivered by December 2017 but due to problems with domestically-sourced components of the steam turbines the vessel was delayed nearly two years. After the ship began sea trials earlier this year it was revealed that one of its propulsion motors suffered irreparable damage during a short circuit requiring a complicated and lengthy replacement of the motor next year. The repair involves cutting through the hull of the ship to remove and replace the 300 tons unit.

While the ship could operate with reduced engine power until a repair can be done in 2021 experts now recommend that the vessel not leave the Baltic Sea as it will have to return to the Baltic shipyard at St. Petersburg next summer. The Leader-class will be constructed by the Zvezda shipyard in Far East Russia near Vladivostok. The shipyard has seen recent expansion but has until now been unsuccessful in securing contracts for nuclear icebreakers. The contracts for all five Arktika-class icebreakers went to the Baltic shipyard. Zvezda also aims to build ice-capable LNG carriers for Novatek, but recently lost a bid to Samsung Heavy Industry of South Korea. Construction of the world-largest nuclear icebreaker undoubtedly represents the most complex vessel built by the shipyard.

The concept for a massive 120MW nuclear icebreaker escorting ships through the thick ice of the East Siberian Sea during the heart of winter goes back as far as the early 1990s. The idea and the need for larger icebreakers gained traction over the past decade as companies such as Novatek and Rosneft began exploiting natural resources in the region and transporting them along the NSR. Currently, the companies’ ice-hardened oil and gas carriers can routinely travel to Asia only during Summer and Fall. During winter the ice still proves too challenging. The Leader-class’ ability to break up to 2.5 meters thick ice continuously at 10 knots, a capability the current fleet of icebreakers lack, will be key to ensuring reliable and speedy escorts for commercial vessels during winter.

The Leader-class will be able to make a channel for vessels with a freight capacity of up to 200,000 tons. Except during the depth of winter, the route will take no more than eight days. The three Leader-class vessels are estimated to cost 120bn rubles or $1.6bn. In comparison the United States Coast Guard is hoping to commission three much-smaller conventional icebreakers at an estimated cost of $2.1bn.

Contract signed for Another 76 Front-Line Bombers Sukhoi Su-34

According to the newspaper “Izvestia”, in the material “Sukhoi” by Anton Lavrov and Roman Kretsul, the Ministry of Defense will purchase an improved version of the Su-34, the Russian Ministry of Defense agreed on the details of the contract for a new batch of the latest Su-34 bombers. It is expected that by 2027 at least 76 vehicles will enter the troops. Under the new contract, the Su-34 will be built in an improved version: with modern weapons and a whole range of reconnaissance systems on board. Experts believe that such aircraft will seriously strengthen the combat capabilities of the Russian Aerospace Forces.

Deferred contract

Details of the contract for a new large batch of Su-34s have already been agreed, sources in the Ministry of Defense and the military-industrial complex told Izvestia. Although the document itself has not yet been signed, defense industry enterprises have begun to order components for its execution. According to the procurement statements (a copy is at the disposal of Izvestia), 76 modernized bombers will be built. Every year until 2027 it is planned to produce from 8 to 14 aircraft. The first nodes for their assembly should go to the plant in the second half of this year.

The first contract for the supply of these universal machines was concluded in 2008. Then the Ministry of Defense agreed on the acquisition of 32 bombers. A larger agreement was signed in 2012: according to this document, the military department received another 92 aircraft. All Su-34s under the new contract will be modernized as part of the Sych development program. As previously reported by Izvestia, the modernization includes updating the avionics, installing high-precision weapons and a set of several suspended reconnaissance containers. The advanced version is previously designated as Su-34M or Su-34 HBO. In December last year, UAC Director General Yuri Slyusar said that the machine will double the combat capability of the currently available base modification.

Due to the long cycle of aircraft creation, from the purchase of components to the delivery of a finished combat vehicle to the customer, the Ministry of Defense allowed Sukhoi to begin preparations for their serial production before the official signing of the state contract. To equip the updated bomber, as part of the Sych development work, three replaceable hanging containers with reconnaissance equipment are being developed. They significantly exceed the capabilities of embedded equipment and should give the aircraft a qualitatively new ability to detect targets. A variant of the container with the designation UKR-RT is intended for electronic reconnaissance, UKR-OE for optoelectronic, and UKR-RL for radar. They all use a single data bus to interact with the aircraft.

Suspended equipment will give the Su-34 the ability to detect the work of radars and radio stations over hundreds of kilometers, as well as determine their coordinates. With the UKR-RL container, the bomber will be able to “see” at any time of the day, even through dense clouds. The Su-34 is replacing the Su-24 bomber, which could not fight fighters, said the former commander of the 4th Army Air Force and Air Defense Hero of Russia Valery Gorbenko.

“This is a new generation aircraft that can carry out both fighter and bombing tasks,” an expert told Izvestia. - In Soviet times, we had fighter-bomber aircraft, but in the 1990s it was destroyed. Su-34 with a new avionics, sighting and navigation system closes the niche of medium-sized bombers. Larger than the Su-34, machines already belong to strategic aviation. The plane showed itself perfectly in Syria, it can work at the forefront, has a good range and is capable of refueling in the air. Very promising technique. It is great that two more powerful shock regiments will be put into service.

bomber The Su-34 bomber is designed to deliver guided and unguided weapons to enemy land and sea targets. But its fighter past allows the aircraft to conduct air combat as well. On the Sukhoi, when used in Syria, in some cases they hung not only short-range air-to-air missiles, but also long-range R-27s capable of shooting down enemy aircraft at a distance of 60 km. Maybe he can carry the Mosquito supersonic anti-ship ammunition. To break through air defense systems, the bomber is equipped with the powerful Khibiny airborne electronic warfare system. With his help, he is able to neutralize enemy radars and cover not only himself, but also other planes flying nearby. In 2008–2020, the Ministry of Defense expanded its arsenal with more than 120 serial Su-34s. After the execution of the new contract, the number of cars will approach 200.

Russia Sends More Advanced Spy Planes to Syria

Russia Sends More Advanced Spy Planes to Syria

One of the most advanced Russian spy planes has arrived in the coastal province of Lattakia, the Fars news agency reported on Friday, citing military sources. As reported, the Russian Tupolev Tu-214R has arrived to the Hmeimim airbase outside the Syrian coastal city of Jableh in Southern Lattakia. Most likely, the aircraft will track terrorist movements around the country.

“The aircraft is known to carry sensor packages to perform ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) and SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) missions: the antennae of the Tu-214R can intercept the signals emitted by the enemy systems (radars, aircraft, radios, combat vehicles, mobile phones etc) so as it can build the EOB (Electronic Order of Battle) of the enemy forces: where the enemy forces are operating, what kind of equipment they are using and, by eavesdropping into their radio/phone communications, what they are doing and what will be their next move.”

Last week, the spokesman for the Russian President, Dmitry Peskhov, announced that sending more soldiers to Syria remains in place. “When the decision was made to cut the number of personnel of our aviation contingent in Syria, you remember the statement of both the Russian president and the military, who said that the temporary infrastructure in Syria remained and therefore the contingent could be increased very quickly, if necessary. This will be done in accordance with the relevant tasks,” Peskhov said. According to Dmitry Peskhov, “such prospects increasing Russian personnel in Syria were declared by the president rather long ago.”

Some parts of the Russian armed forces were drawn down in Syria in mid-March. At the same time, Russia left a sizable part of its air contingent in the country which helped the Syrian Army to liberate Palmyra, captured by ISIL, two weeks after the withdrawal. At the time, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, made it clear that the right to re-deploy the Russian forces in Syria if necessary will be saved for Moscow. Russia initially started to take part in the country’s conflict on the side of the Syrian government in last September, helping the government forces to advance on several fronts for the first time in months. Recently, Russia has received a US proposal for closer military cooperation and intelligence sharing on Syria. However, top US military officials said that any cooperation between the US and Russia in Syria would not be based on trust.

Russia’s international reserves up despite crisis

The Bank of Russia’s spending on the coronavirus crisis has been fairly moderate so far. Moscow even increased its money cushion in the first five months of 2020 thanks to the revaluation of gold, which totals 22% of Russia’s reserves. Russia managed to increase its hard currency reserves by $3,8bn between January 1 and May 31, says bneIntelliNews adding that the current slowdown is the country’s cheapest crisis ever. Last year, the Central Bank managed to increase its reserves by more than $90,2bn continuing to accumulate extra cash in 2020, although at a lot slower pace. So far, the regulator has spent less than $7bn from its collective reserves on dealing with the aftermath of this year’s economic shocks.

By comparison, Russia spent $90bn of $454bn in 2014 to deal with the global oil price shock, which halved both the value of the ruble and oil prices. In the first nine months following the 2008 global financial crisis, the country spent $212,8bn of its $596-bn reserves to support the ruble and bolster the economy. As for 1998, when Russia’s financial sector entirely went into meltdown, Moscow had a mere $8bn in hard currency reserves in the aftermath.

This time, the Central Bank’s mere $7-bn spending has been more than offset by the appreciation of gold the regulator holds as part of its cash reserves. As of March 2020, Russia accumulated 2,299 tonnes of the yellow metal valued at $127,6bn at the beginning of June, which is $17bn more than at the start of the year. The Central Bank has been actively buying gold since 2007 to replace its dollar-denominated assets. Monetary gold currently accounts for 22% of Russia’s total reserves. The Central Bank has been actively buying gold since 2007 to replace its dollar-denominated assets.

Moreover, an observed recovery of oil prices means that Russia can probably go back to accumulating reserve cash by more traditional means. Crude prices have recovered remarkably fast after the latest OPEC+ deal was agreed in April, reaching the Kremlin’s ‘comfort zone’ level of above $40 per barrel. At $42 per barrel, Russia will start accumulating money in the National Wealth Fund under the so-called budget rule. The fund itself is supposed to cover any budget deficit during a crisis, and the country’s Ministry of Finance is going to tap it to cover an anticipated deficit of 3 trillion rubles this year.

The crisis is still going to be painful for the national economy. According to Russia’s Federal State Statistics Service, basic sectors were down by 10% year on year in April, while consumer-oriented sectors decreased by a third or more. It is expected that Moscow will run 0,5% of GDP deficit instead of a 2% surplus this year. The Kremlin’s national action plan for economic growth recovery envisages some $72,8bn of the spending, or 7,8% of GDP. However, part of this money will be redirected from the National Priority Projects, which are already included in the current budget.


Russia will be able to counter hypersonic weapons once other states develop them, Putin pledges

Moscow knows other nations are hastily designing their own hypersonic weapons – but by the time they are acquired, the Russian military will have learned how to shield the country from them, President Vladimir Putin has said. The likes of the US and China have their own projects to build missiles capable of travelling several times faster than the speed of sound. Putin believes the world’s leading defense powers will eventually succeed in developing the ultra-fast weaponry. However, the President explained to Russia-1 TV, on Sunday, that Russia won’t be caught off-guard once that happens. At present, the country seems to be leading the field in this area.

"I think that we can pleasantly surprise our partners with the fact that when they get these weapons, we will have the means of combating them, with a high degree of probability," Putin forecast.

The US president just recently teased a new “super-duper” missile, which he claimed could travel 17 times faster than the speed of sound. Russia appears to be the first nation in the world to have deployed a similar-class weapon – the Avangard glide vehicle – into service. Other munitions, like the Kinzhal (dagger) cruise missile and the Zircon anti-ship missile, are undergoing trials or said to be in the works now. Apart from offensive weaponry, Russia has recently rolled out a radar station – which happens to be the latest addition to the Protivnik (adversary) family – designed to track over a thousand fast-moving targets, including those that are hypersonic.

Putin has stated before that the US is playing catch-up with Russia for the first time in history. He believes that obtaining hypersonic weapons was crucial to maintaining overall parity with the US, which has repeatedly tried to tilt the strategic balance in its favor. For example, building ballistic missile shields not only on American soil, but also overseas, most notably in Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. However, most of these facilities are effectively obsolete now given hypersonic systems can easily pierce any existing defenses, President Putin said in March, adding, “it is essential not only for us, but also for global security."

Putin: Russia is now fully self-sufficient in basic food products

The president mentioned the grain harvest in Russia, which for six consecutive years exceeds 100 million tons

President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia is now fully self-sufficient in basic food products. "Russia is fully self-sufficient in basic foodstuffs, it is consistently venturing into global markets, and is one of the leading exporters in a number of positions," the head of state said at a meeting on the situation in agriculture and the food industry. "In recent years, the Russian agricultural and industrial sector has gained high, outstripping pace and is strengthening its position as a modern, high-tech industry with good potential for quality growth," the president said. As an example, he mentioned the grain harvest in Russia, which for six consecutive years exceeds 100 million tons.

"This year we also have good harvest prospects," Putin said. He thanked the workers of domestic agriculture and agricultural enterprises for hard work, for results that are meaningful for the whole country.

"Today, when the Russian and world economies are having a hard time, it’s important to maintain the achieved dynamics in the agro-industrial complex, the confidence of our farmers in stable work and the stability of the industry’s cooperative ties. We need to secure our own, domestic market and evaluate and use the opportunities that are opening up for our companies, in particular for export," the head of state said. He referred to the opinion of experts who believe that agriculture and the food industry were less affected by the limitations of the coronavirus epidemic than other sectors of the economy, although there are still risks of plunging incomes and higher production costs.

"Now that the spring field work is in full swing, it is all the more important to support Russian farmers, labor teams, ensure the consistency of activities of farms and enterprises so that they have resources for the purchase of fuel and fertilizers as well as for the purchase and processing of raw materials. And of course, one should pay attention to the wages of employees," Putin said. He stressed that "it concerns not only large enterprises and agricultural holdings, but, above all, small enterprises and farms."

The U.S. shale-oil industry may collapse

The U.S. shale-oil industry may collapse due to the sharp fall in oil prices because of the coronavirus pandemic, a new influential report predicts. The demand for and price of oil tumbled due to the economic slowdown and have since begun to recover, but Australian think tank the Institute for Economics and Peace warns that a low price will affect political regimes in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. IEP’s annual Global Peace Index, published Wednesday, analyzes tension around the world and compiles an index of the most peaceful countries. It suggests the effects of the pandemic may “result in the collapse of the shale-oil industry in the U.S., unless oil prices return to their prior levels.”

While the price of oil CL.1, 2.03% has begun to recover from its nadir — having crashed into negative territory in April — analysts at Goldman Sachs warned in a Tuesday note that the rise in the oil price has been overdone and forecast a drop in Brent crude prices BRNQ20, 1.72% to $35 a barrel, from around $43 a barrel, within weeks. Shale oil is produced through fracking, the controversial process of pumping high-pressure water and sand underground to fracture rock and release valuable new energy reserves known as shale. Among the biggest producers of shale oil are Exxon Mobil XOM, 0.36%, Chevron CVX, 0.29% and EOG Resources EOG, 0.88%.

The IEP report says that the combined weakness in commercial, travel and industrial activity led to a plunge in oil prices in global markets. “These markets were already affected by an oversupply, emanating from Russia and Saudi Arabia who could not agree on production curbs,” it says. But, on a positive note, it goes on to rank the countries most likely to stage a swift economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic, using four indicators. China, Indonesia, Russia, Mexico and Australia all emerge as best placed to facilitate a recovery because they have low unemployment rates, low dependence on international trade, low tax revenue relative to gross domestic product, and low central government debt as a proportion of GDP.

IEP founder Steve Killelea said: “COVID-19 is negatively impacting peace across the world, with nations expected to become increasingly polarized in their ability to maintain peace and security. This reflects the virus’s potential to undo years of socioeconomic development, exacerbate humanitarian crises, and aggravate and encourage unrest and conflict.”

He identified a predictable list of sectors hurt by the lockdown, which includes aviation, hospitality, tourism, retail and finance. Health care, telecom and food production are best placed. One upside is that drug trafficking and other types of crime have seen a likely temporary reduction as a result of social isolation around the world. However, reports of domestic violence, suicide and mental illness increased. Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Austria, Portugal and Denmark. Afghanistan remains the least peaceful country, a position it has held for two years, followed by Syria, Iraq and South Sudan.

“The fundamental tensions of the past decade around conflict, environmental pressures and socioeconomic strife remain,” Killelea said. “It’s likely that the economic impact of COVID-19 will magnify these tensions by increasing unemployment, widening inequality and worsening labor conditions — creating alienation from the political system and increasing civil unrest. We therefore find ourselves at a critical juncture.”

It's Russia’s cheapest crisis ever and the CBR is still accumulating cash

It's Russia’s cheapest crisis ever and the country is still accumulating cash, despite the coronacrisis

Despite an oil price shock, a two-month lockdown of the entire Russian economy, a 20% devaluation of the ruble and an economic bailout package that is worth 10% of GDP, Russia managed to increase its hard currency reserves by $3.8bn between January 1 and May 31. So far, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is proving to be the cheapest crisis Russia has ever experienced and despite the huge economic shock the economy has received, Russia Inc. is already back in profit. The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has managed to accumulate more than $90.2bn in reserves over the last year, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Finance, and continued to stash extra cash away even in the midst of the current crisis, albeit at a lot slower pace.

So far the CBR has spent a total of just under $7bn from its collective reserves to deal with the aftermath of the various shocks that have hit economy, but that has more than been offset by the appreciation of the two thousand tons of gold the central bank holds as part of its cash reserves. That is an enormous change from previous crises. Russia spent $212.8bn of its $596bn of total reserves to prop up the ruble and bolster the economy in the first nine months following the 2008 global financial meltdown, which is said to be less painful than the current coronacrisis.

Likewise, Russia spent $90bn of its $454bn of reserves in 2014 to cushion the blow during the last oil price shock, when both the value of the ruble and the price of oil halved in just a matter of months. And neither of these two crises come anywhere close to the crises of 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, and 1998, when Russia’s financial sector entirely went into meltdown. The end of communism effective bankrupted the country completely and in the aftermath of 1998 Russia had a mere $8bn in hard currency reserves, much of which was stolen in the form of bailouts for the leading oligarch-owned banks, who promptly whisked the money away into offshore havens.  With a price tag of a mere $7bn, so far this coronacrisis has cost the CBR lunch money and won’t make any noticeable dent in its cash mountain at all.

Golden lining

A large part of the increase in the value of Russia reserves is due to a revaluation of gold, as the CBR has accumulated 2,299 tonnes of the yellow metal as of March this year, which the CBR has valued at $127.6bn as of the start of June, or $17bn more than at the start of this year. The CBR has been actively buying gold since 2007 (and in parallel selling down its dollar-denominated assets like US federal T-bills) as it tries to unhook itself from dependence on the dollar. Today monetary gold accounts for 22% of Russia’s total reserves of $566.1bn as of June 1, up from $554.4 as of January 1 this year. Gold prices always do well in a crisis, which is part of the reason the CBR has bought so much, but since oil prices bounced back in the last week, Russia could go back to accumulating reserve cash by more traditional means. Oil prices are up since the OPEC+ production cut deal, which will reduce output of oil by 9.7mn bpd, that Russia signed off on April 13, which was then extended last weekend to the end of July.

Rising oil prices put Russia Inc. back in profit

Oil prices have recovered remarkably fast after the OPEC+ deal was agreed, breaking above $40 to the barrel again, back into the Kremlin’s “comfort zone,” according to the Finance Ministry. Russia Inc. is back in profit with $40 oil, which is the price a barrel needs to cost for the budget to break even. In addition, at $42 per barrel Russia will start accumulating money in its reserve fund, the National Welfare Fund (NWF), as under the so-called budget rule, any oil tax revenues earned from oil prices over $42.4 have to siphoned off into the NWF. The NWF is there to cover any budget deficit in a crisis and the Finance Ministry was intending to tap the fund, which held RUB12 trillion ($174bn) as of the start of March, to cover an anticipated deficit of RUB3 trillion this year. The reserves fell to RUB9 trillion in May after the Ministry of Finance used part of the funds to buy a stake in Sberbank, the biggest bank in Russia, from the CBR – a backdoor route to give the CBR a war chest of cash it could use to defend the ruble if needed – but still leaving at least three years worth of cash in the fund to cover a budget deficit.

Still a crisis price to pay

That is not to say this crisis is not going to be painful, and the government is going to have to spend heavily to get Russia Inc. back to work. Rosstat reported this week that the basic sectors – a good proxy for GDP – were down by 10% year on year in April and that the consumer orientated sectors are all down by at least a third or more. Last week Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin unveiled the latest version of the National Plan for Economic Recovery (NPER) that calls for some RUB5 trillion ($72.8bn) of spending, or 7.8% of GDP. However, much of this money is simply funds that were already committed under the current budget to pay for the 12 national projects and which are now going to be re-tasked to stimulate the economy or support the social sector. Bottom line is, the 2% of GDP budget surplus will disappear and the government will run a 0.5% of GDP deficit, plus the Ministry of Finance intends to borrow an extra RUB2 trillion ($29bn) from the domestic bond market on top of the RUB2 trillion already pencilled into the current budget, to help pay for the NPER. Again, that means the reserves will remain a last line of defence and if Russia Inc. continues its rebound there is a good chance that the Kremlin will end this year with even more cash in reserve than it has now.

Russian rebound under way, safe haven for investors

As reported by bne IntelliNews, the economic rebound in Russia is already visible after the ruble has clawed back much of the ground it lost in the last two months against the dollar. At the same time, if there is a deficit this year the ministry also now has the option of financing it by issuing Russian Ministry of Finance ruble-denominated OFZ treasury bills, which are increasingly seen as a safe haven by international investors thanks to Russia’s rock solid finances. Indeed, over a third of the foreign investors in the OFZ are from the US, where the bonds have proved to be a popular investment with institutional investors such as insurance companies and pension funds. As a sign of how popular these bonds are, the yields on the OFZ have dropped 300 basis points in just four months to 5.4% as of the start of June after briefly spiking to 8.4% in March. A third of the outstanding OFZs are currently owned by foreign investors.

Doom and gloom overdone

In previous crises there has always been an army of doomsayers predicting Russia will run out of money, but not only have they been proved wrong, the opposite has always happened. In 2014 Russia did spend down its then Reserve Fund completely, but the NWF, which was originally intended to cover future pension payments, was simply re-tasked as a general economic support fund to replace the Reserve Fund. Given the RUB12 trillion in the NWF at the start of April, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said there was enough in the state’s coffers to cover the budget for ten years, even if oil prices remained as low as $25 per barrel. However, within a few weeks as the scale of the coronacrisis became more apparent, Siluanov walked those statements back and said the fund would cover some three years of deficits, without the need to cut budget spending or raise taxes. Now that oil prices are back in the Kremlin’s comfort zone it could well be that the Ministry of Finance doesn't need to tap the fund at all.

Thanks to Sanctions, Russia Is Cushioned From Virus’s Economic Shocks

Red Square in Moscow on Thursday. After Russia was hit with sanctions, the government and companies adapted to isolation and were virtually forced to prepare for economic shocks like the one hammering the global economy.

Years of economic isolation and bulging financial reserves have positioned the country to ride out the coronavirus panic and bounce right back

Six years ago, the United States and the European Union slammed the door on Western bank loans for Russian companies, starving the country’s oil and banking industries of financing. The harsh measure, and others that followed, were intended to punish Russia for military interventions in Ukraine and Syria and for meddling in the 2016 American election to help Donald J. Trump. Paradoxically, however, those sanctions and the policies Russia enacted in response prepared the Kremlin for what came this month: a universal dislocation of the global economy from the coronavirus pandemic and an oil price war that led to a collapse in oil prices and the revenues that Russia relies upon to support social spending.

Far from being a basket case, Russia enters the crisis with bulging financial reserves, its big companies nearly free of debt and all but self-sufficient in agriculture. After Russia was hit with the sanctions, President Vladimir V. Putin’s government and companies adapted to isolation and were virtually forced to prepare for economic shocks like the one hammering the global economy today. “Russia will be a bit better off than other countries because of its experience, because of sanctions and because of reserves,” said Vladimir V. Tikhomirov, chief economist for BCS Global Markets, referring to the roughly $600 billion in gold and hard currency reserves the country has amassed. To be sure, Russia has taken a hard hit from the collapse of oil prices, with the national currency, the ruble, losing about 20 percent of its value in recent weeks. Oil and natural gas account for about 60 percent of Russia’s exports.

It is still too early to predict how outbreaks of the virus will spread and how various governments will respond. Given the state of Russia’s ramshackle and underfunded health care system, the coronavirus outbreak could be catastrophic. With the state’s tight grip on the news media, many Russians suspect that the Kremlin could be hiding the scale of the problem or the extent of preparedness, hampering an effective response. Still, some countries, Russia among them, seem better positioned than others. For Russia, that is linked to the Western sanctions. Take, for example, a 2014 sanction limiting loans from Western financial institutions to a maximum of three months. Russian companies responded by paying down their debt so that total government and corporate foreign debt in Russia fell to $455 billion at the start of this year from $713 billion in 2014. By contrast, Western companies have taken advantage of low interest rates to run up trillions of dollars in debt in the past decade.

“Russia over the past six years has been living with a hostile foreign environment because of sanctions,” said Mr. Tikhomirov. When the virus threat passes, he said, “it’s possible things will come back to life faster in Russia than in other countries because there won’t be the negative drag of debt.”

The Russian government on Thursday published its plan to contain the virus and maintain economic activity. It said that all pneumonia patients would now be tested and that the country was making 100,000 test kits a day. The plan revised rules for paid sick leave so that companies must pay an advance when an employee goes on leave. It will dip into the National Welfare Fund, the main sovereign wealth fund, to pay bonuses to medical workers. Russia has 55,000 hospital beds available to treat coronavirus patients and 40,000 ventilators, which are critical in treating the sickest patients, the statement said. By Friday, Russia had reported 199 cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. For now, Russia is relying on quarantines of individuals and contact tracking without major lockdowns. But measures to halt the virus’s spread will most likely bring Russia’s economy to a halt, as they have elsewhere, as companies send employees home. At that point, Russia’s treasure chest of hard currency will be of little help.

The reserves will come into play during a recovery, though, as Russia will not be competing for financing from capital markets to stimulate the economy. For years, economists criticized Russian economic policy as overly conservative, emphasizing saving over spending. It seemed to reflect a deep-seated Russian belief: No matter how bad things are today, they can always get worse. Now, that policy looks justified, particularly in view of the country’s reliance on natural resource extraction for most of its hard currency earnings. “Russia is more ready than ever before in its history,” said Vladimir Osakovsky, the chief Russia economist at the Bank of America, referring to the economic fallout from the virus’s spread.

Russia built those reserves throughout the sanctions period by writing into its budget an artificially low estimate for the global price of oil. All tax on profits above that level went into the national piggy bank. The policy starved the economy of investment — the gross domestic product grew at 1.3 percent last year — but put Russia in a solid position entering the coronavirus crisis. Russia’s agricultural sector is also benefiting from changes introduced after sanctions on food imports. Before European agricultural products fell victim to the sanctions war, for example, Koza Nostra, a small company making gourmet cheese, was a barely viable family enterprise. But after sanctions cut off French cheese imports, the company doubled and then tripled its output in ensuing years. “It was the right approach,” the general director, Aleksandr Asatryan, said of the Kremlin’s move to prop up Russian agriculture in response to sanctions, useful today as insulation against trade disruptions.

Since 2014, the share of imported food on the Russian market has fallen to about 10 percent today from about 25 percent. Russia is self-sufficient for most staples other than fresh fruits and vegetables. More than guaranteeing nutrition, the shift allows the government to reserve its hard currency for a recovery rather than expend it propping up the ruble to keep imported food affordable. “Even in a bad scenario, Russia can survive this shock better than many other economies,” said Sofya Donets, an economist at Renaissance, a Moscow investment bank, who returned to work last week after a mandatory quarantine.

Russia in the Year of Corona. What to Expect of the Economy

In a global comparison, Russia’s corona epidemic response has been very strong. The best and most foolproof indicator is the fatality rate. Russia has experienced the lowest Covid-19 mortality among all countries in the Northern Hemisphere, significantly lower than nearly all Western countries. Presently the fatality rate in Russia is 10 per 1 million, compared to 684 in Belgium, 544 (Spain),  483 (UK), 481 (Italy), 386 (France), 274 (Sweden) and 211 (USA).

Russia’s initial decisive response helped reduce the spread. The Russian healthcare system proved superior to most other countries in terms of adequate facilities, medical devices and protective gear. Russia increased capacity nationwide by refurbishing existing hospitals and constructing 17 new ones in record time (4-6 weeks). The country also ramped up domestic production of medical necessities, including personal protective equipment. By May, Russia’s production capacity was enough to cover 100% of domestic needs. At the time of this writing, Russia has not yet exhausted its hospital capacity (even at the virus’ epicenter in Moscow). Another commendable facet of its response has been the rapid roll out of testing. In absolute numbers, Russia (4.5 million tests) is second only to the US. In per capita terms, Russia has conducted one-third more tests than the United States and is now on par with Germany.

Most countries have almost exclusively tested only severely ill people who have been admitted to hospital. Russia, on the other hand, is currently the global leader in contact tracing. As a result, many outwardly healthy people have been tested. Two weeks ago, the Russian epidemiology authority reported that 60% of all those who tested positive in Moscow were asymptomatic. Later it was  reported that 95% of all those who tested positive were either asymptomatic or  only with mild symptoms, similar to  a common cold. Lately, there have not been any new reports on the proportion of severely ill vs. those showing mild symptoms among people tested.. The author assumes this is due  to  the government’s efforts to motivate  people to follow  the stay-home orders strictly during the last ten days of the lockdown, coinciding with the traditional Russian May Day and Victory Day holidays. Due to the  extraordinary warm and sunny weather, the government faces an increasing challenge to keep people at home. However, today the Swedish government reported that a staggering 98.5% of all infected people in their country were asymptomatic or mild. Presumably, this would also apply to Russia.

Preliminary, the government has promised to start gradually loosen the lockdown restrictions starting from May 12. Most seem to think it is about time. The comparison of Russia’s infection with the global count would just not seem to motivate that Russia keeps the restrictions in full force anymore.

Russia’s economy proves strong in a global comparison

With the corona crisis taking its toll around the world, Russia’s economy looks relatively  strong in a global comparison. This should not come as a surprise to anybody who has been following our Awara reports  on the Russian and global economies. In a seminal report with the ominous title With Global Recession Looming, Russia Looks Strong — which garnered across various platforms over a quarter of a million readers last August – we at Awara predicted the global crisis. Everything pointed to it even before corona.  The meltdown we are seeing in some of the Western countries is entirely due to the dreadful  shape of those economies, which has been becoming increasingly evident. Only massive amounts of QE cash injections and central bank bond purchasing at zero or negative rates kept the economies superficially afloat. In this report, we also pointed out all the relative strengths the Russian economy possessed and which would help to mitigate the effects of the global crisis on the Russian economy.

To quote our earlier seminal report:

“The debt saturation point has been reached, therefore this time it will be different, the central bankers have lost their magic wand and won’t be able to renew the debt binge and extend it with one more decade. Instead, there will be a day of reckoning. Governments and corporations will have to put their act together and let the market weed out the failed entities. Those who cannot carry the debt, will have to shed it. There will be bloodbath with defaults, bankruptcies and massive unemployment. – Perhaps a revolution here and there. – There will be no choice, deleveraging must happen. Now, whether this system will come crashing down or just slowly die as it trundles downhill will not matter all that much. It will eventually die either way. Most people would prefer the slow motion option, but only with the crash would a cure come. Whatever, it has become increasingly difficult to stave off the crash and this time around, the financial markets would take the real economy down with them big time.”

We also reported about Russia’s advantage:

“The question then is, who would be left standing? Naturally, those who are less leveraged. Now, scroll back to have a new look at the above charts on government and household debt. Find the position of Russia there? That’s right. Russia is the country with – by far – the least debt, both public and private. Having after 2014 following sanctions been cut off from the Western debt orgy, even Russian corporations are shielded against a possible Western debt apocalypse. Let’s look at Russia’s present financial health report.”

Subsequent events have proven that Awara was absolutely correct in everything referenced in that report about Russia’s extraordinary financial and economic We recommend all who have a stake or who want to explore the opportunities on the Russian market, to go through the solid set of arguments in this Awara report. We then followed up on that August report with a brief in January called As Global Growth Stalls, The Russian Economy is Gathering Momentum. That was just after corona had become a global scare. In this report, we acknowledged the possibility that the corona crisis could wreak havoc in the global economy. But allowing for this scenario, we stressed that Russia would anyway fare substantially better than most of the world, and in particular, better than most Western countries on average. All the points made in the January economic brief still remain valid for a better understanding of today’s situation.

Skyrocketing debt, but not in Russia

Russia’s strengths are many. The extraordinary low level of government (national) debt forms the rock solid fundament of the country’s economic edifice. By the end of 2019, Russia’s national debt-to-GDP was 12.9%. This is a fraction of the debt levels of the old developed countries of the West. In the US, the national debt was way above 100% by 2019, when state and municipal debt is added to the official figures. (That in accordance with the global standards, which the US has not been following). With the already announced corona bailouts and stimulus, with the shortfall of tax revenue and additional debt and a lower GDP as the base, the US debt level will shoot above  the 130% level. Hereby, Russia, is expected to add 3% to its national debt. All major Western countries have at least 3 times as much debt as Russia and many – for example, Italy, France, Spain – are in a similar debt crisis as the US. It is expected that most, if not all countries  will  follow the US lead with skyrocketing borrowings. These different debt trajectories will only increase Russia’s comparative advantages. Being in this favorable situation, Russia has ample room to dip into a budget deficit, especially after two years of solid surpluses. Presently it is expected that Russia could manage the crisis with a mere 3.5% budget deficit in 2020. That’s a level, which has been the norm  in the West even during the “good years.” Following the enormous economic crisis in the US, experts are predicting a record $3.8 trillion budget deficit, a staggering 18.7% of GDP. Most European countries might not go as high as the US in jacking up the deficits, though  an average of at least 10% is to be expected.

GDP decline – far too early for definite predictions, but Russia relatively better off

We think it is far too early to make any predictions on countries’ actual GDP 2020. There are too many unknown factors. What is the level of permanent destruction and bankruptcies caused by the corona responses across the globe? (Quite a lot). Will the corona unemployment turn structural and long-term? (We think, to a big degree, yes). What has been the real level of destruction of disposable income and asset values, eroding of savings? (Huge). How long will restrictive measures stay in force? (At least leisure and travel, especially international will mostly remain shut until end of year). Will international trade and investments rebound? (Not, just by waving the magic wand of calling off the corona measures). Will beggar-thy-neighbor currency and trade wars raise their heads? (Yes). Will the US go out with full-blown trade war and sanctions on? (Looks so).

It is impossible to estimate the long-term economic effect of all these questions on the global economy and any given country in particular. Therefore, we think it is best to refrain from giving numeric predictions. We are however on much firmer  ground to assess how countries will do relatively to each other. For this purpose, we may look at the GDP forecast given by the rating agency Fitch. Fitch predicts (April) that Russia would incur a 3.3% GDP cut, this while their predictions are much worse for Western countries, Fitch expecting eurozone GDP to decline by 7%, US GDP by 5.6%, and UK GDP by 6.3% in 2020. We would in fact expect a bigger GDP decline for those countries and perhaps for Russia as well, though with a major advantage for Russia.

When estimating the Russian GDP decline, one has to bear in mind that the fossil fuel sector makes up a much smaller portion of the GDP than commonly believed. According to the latest figures from the World Bank, we estimate it as forming 9% of the economic output. Furthermore, GDP growth is calculated based on production volumes rather than prices, and the former is  not expected to significantly decline. We estimate that Brent oil would cost $35 per barrel by the end of this year.

No galloping inflation this time. Rate cuts expected

Not only the Russian government is financially solid, but also corporations and households. Household debt in Russia is also the lowest among major countries. At the same time, Russians have – proportionally – much more savings than for example Americans. Furthermore, there is no reason to expect Russian unemployment to rise beyond 9%. We estimate that most probably it will not exceed  7% by year-end. Meanwhile, unemployment already has shot up to 20% in the US. Russia also has in store for the hard times the possibility to slash interest rates, hardly an option for Western countries who already are at zero or negative rates. Already in April, the Russian central bank  cut the key rate by 0.5% to 5.5%. As inflation has not picked up, we see room for further rate cuts down to 4% within the next half year.

In all the financial crises Russia has experienced since 1990, the big problem was always the galloping inflation. This time however, inflation didn’t budge beyond a small initial shock. The difference is the incredible story of Russia’s solid finances and the amazing success of its important substitution policies. Import substitution is what Russians call the efforts to bring in manufacturing and food production onshore. This process was intensified after the West imposed sanctions on Russia in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis. As a result, Russia now is virtually self-sufficient in food and even exporting a surplus. Russia has also come close to self-sufficiency in medicine. Overall, Russia has by far the absolutely smallest share of imports relative to the total economy among all major countries. So far, critics of Russia have focused on the relatively smaller level of export of manufactured goods, while they failed to realize the importance of the vastly more significant domestic autarky.

This success of domestic production is what put an end to Russia’s vicious inflation cycle. Earlier, when Russia was dependent on foreign imports and energy exports, the ruble plummeted and prices shot up during a crisis. This is not the case anymore.

Oil price won’t break the bear’s back

This time even the sharp plunge in oil prices did not break Russia’s back. There have even been speculations that Russia has not been trying especially hard to prevent the rumored tripartite oil price war between itself, Saudi Arabia and the United States. The influential oil and energy news source reported in March that Russia could well cope – thanks to its built up reserves and financial solidity – with oil prices as low as $25 per barrel up to 10 years from point of view of keeping the countries budget afloat and foreign reserves intact. Meanwhile experts deemed that the Saudis would barely last for 2 years. Anton Siluanov, the minister of finance, estimated in late April that the money in the sovereign wealth fund will suffice to see the country through to 2024 according to the present situation assessment. The balance should be 7 trillion rubles ($90 bn) at the end of the year. The minister expects that the total cost of the corona response would be only 6.5% of GDP. (We assume, this means over next two years). The main source of funding the crisis response would consist of borrowings.

No blanket bailouts and money printing

Although business associations and the financial press have been criticizing the government for insufficient support in response to the crisis, we think it is good that the government has been cautious in this regard. The European governments have announced massive packages; the ECB has opened up an unlimited tab for bond purchases; the US government is doling out trillions; and the Fed was at $6 trillion bailouts and QE last time we checked. Russia on the contrary has not announced any blanket bailouts or QE monetary easing and bond purchases. All that big business has received so far is a paltry $10 million in tax deferments. The government is readying a program for them. Anything paid out however, in form of loans or other financing, will be considered case-by-case. Most importantly, the government has announced that only companies that refrain from mass lay-offs  will be eligible.

So far, there has been more direct support for SMEs, most importantly with a 50% reduction in employer’s social contribution. Direct support has also gone to front-line sufferers of the corona restrictions, enterprises in non-food retail, restaurants, bars, leisure, sports etc. In general, the relief provided to those is rather inadequate and unfortunately many of those companies are expected to go bankrupt. The support to households has been twofold. Most importantly, employers have been forced to bear the cost of  the stay-home regime, as the government mandated that they have to pay full salaries during this period. Dismissals, furloughing and reduction of pay was outlawed, although there are reports that many have proceeded to do so anyway. However, all such actions can be contested in court.

Russia relies on market mechanisms

Russia mainly and correctly relies on market forces to take it out of the crisis. This is only possible because Russia still being  one of the few countries in the world that still runs a market economy. Russia of all countries in the world is in the unique position to conduct a classical countercyclical fiscal and monetary policy on all fronts. (It’s classical according to theory, but as far as we know, first time ever applied in practice). It means dipping into a budget deficit in hard times after having secured surpluses when the going was good. It means using reserves from the sovereign wealth fund, to fund public works. It also means slashing the interest rates, when it is needed to ease monetary conditions and stimulate the economy.

Russia now the world’s fifth largest economy ahead of Germany

With corona dominating the news, the business media entirely  missed the latest IMF GDP figures for 2019, made official on April 22. The PPP conversion now showed that Russia had passed Germany as the world’s fifth largest economy. The other stunning fact was that the Chinese economy is now one-third bigger than the US. Note also, once the UK will be deducted from the EU totals, India alone will be very close to overtake the EU in economic size. We stress that the PPP conversion is the only sensible way to measure the relative size of countries’ economies. The PPP measures the real output of goods and services, whereas the nominal GDP only measures how expensive one country is relative to another. We have explained the difference between PPP and nominal GDP in this article. If anybody still wants to take comfort in the nominal figures in an attempt to cling on to a lost world, then by all means do carry on, who are we to stop you?

Russia is the 5th economy in the World

Most importantly, these figures show a trend, which cannot be denied. Note, these are not adjusted for debt levels. If we would do that – reduce the artificial GDP portion achieved through wasteful (non-productive) debt – then Russia would come out even far better. Actually, we have earlier done such an exercise on reducing debt from countries’ GDP and the results were shocking. You can access that report here. At the end, we are sure that due to the corona crisis Russia, China and India will extend their relative GDP leads. Therefore, our advice: Go East, corporations, young and old.

Armenian Military to Get More Russian Warplanes

Armenia’s Air Force will receive more Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets from Russia soon, Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan said on Tuesday. Four such multirole jets were delivered to an airbase in Gyumri late last month less than a year after the signing of a relevant Russian-Armenian contract. Financial and other terms of the deal are still not known. Tonoyan said in February that Yerevan plans to buy eight more Su-30SMs in the coming years. The minister was asked on Tuesday by reporters when the next batch of the advanced warplanes will be delivered to Armenia. “Soon,” he replied. He did not elaborate.

The Armenian Air Force had no fighter jets until this year. It largely consisted of 15 or so low-flying Su-25 aircraft designed for air-to-ground missions. Su-30SM can perform a much broader range of military tasks with more long-range and precision-guided weapons. It is a modernized version of a heavy fighter jet developed by the Sukhoi company in the late 1980s. The Russian military first commissioned such jets in 2012. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian described their acquisition as a “turning point for the security of Armenia” when he spoke at the Gyumri airbase on December 27. He also noted that the Armenian military has received the “first batch” of Su-30SMs.

According to Tonoyan and Pashinian, Armenia also acquired large quantities of other Russian-made weapons in the course of 2019. Those include sophisticated Tor-M2MK air-defense systems. The Defense Ministry in Yerevan has said that they will “considerably” strengthen Armenia’s air defenses. Russia has always been the principal source of military hardware supplied to the Armenian army. Membership in Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) allows Armenia to acquire Russian weapons at knockdown prices and even for free.

Russian Top Gun 'headbutts' B-52 Over Black Sea: Russian Forces Ram American Armoured Vehicle in Syria
  • Two Russian Su-27 fighter jets intercepted B-52 bomber over Black Sea on Friday
  • US Air Force accused Russian pilots of coming within 100ft of B-52 bomber
  • Pentagon released video showing one Su-27 flying directly in front of the B-52 
  • Russia said it sent warplanes because B-52 was 'headed for Russian border'
  • On Friday, US flew six B-52 bombers over all 30 members of the NATO alliance
  • Military tensions appear to be ratcheting up between two Cold War-era foes 
  • Four US troops were hurt when Russian vehicle sideswiped them in Syria
  • Russia on Friday confirmed that it was holding major war games near Alaska
  • Fishermen in Bering Sea reported being alarmed by presence of Russian assets
  • Russian nuclear submarine Omsk surfaced in international water near Alaska 
  • They are the largest drills Russia has held in the area since Soviet times
The Pentagon has released new video of a Russian Su-27 fighter jet veering directly into the path of an American B-52 bomber in what US officials decried as an 'unsafe and unprofessional' intercept. The B-52 was conducting 'routine operations' over the Black Sea on Friday morning when two Russian Su-27s crossed within 100ft of its nose multiple times in international airspace, the Air Force said in a statement Saturday. In one particularly alarming clip, one of Su-27s is seen pulling up next to the B-52's left wing before swerving directly in front of its nose. The Russian pilots conducted the dangerous maneuver - which is often referred to as 'thumping' or a 'head-butt' and can be extremely dangerous - by shifting into afterburner mode. In modern aviation, when pilots activate afterburners, it injects fuel directly into the exhaust stream of a turbine engine, increasing the thrust so that the aircraft can accelerate. The Pentagon said the repeated maneuvers caused turbulence for the B-52, making it difficult for the pilot to maintain control of the aircraft.
Video captured the moment a Russian Su-27 fighter jet veered directly into the path of an American B-52 bomber over the Black

'Actions like these increase the potential for midair collisions, are unnecessary, and inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules,' said General Jeff Harrigian of US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander. 'While the Russian aircraft were operating in international airspace, they jeopardized the safety of flight of the aircraft involved. 'We expect them to operate within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent accidents.' The Russian government did not share the American assessment of the incident. The Defense Ministry in Moscow said in a statement that the American B-52 was 'approaching the state border of the Russian Federation.' 'To identify the air target and prevent violation of the state border of Russia, two Su-27 fighters were raised into the air,' according to the Russian Defense Ministry. 'After the foreign military plane turned away from the state border, the Russian fighter safely returned to the home airfield.

'The entire flight of Russian Su-27 fighters took place strictly in accordance with international rules for the use of airspace. 'The American aircraft was not allowed to violate the state border of the Russian Federation.' Russian and American planes frequently intercept each other over in international airspace that borders sensitive areas with geopolitical significance. The incident is the latest indicator of increased military tensions between the two Cold War-era foes. The Russian military on Thursday blamed US troops for a collision of Russian and US military vehicles in Syria's northeast. US officials said Wednesday that a Russian vehicle sideswiped a light-armored US military vehicle, injuring four Americans, while two Russian helicopters flew overhead, one as close as 70 feet from the US vehicle. On Friday, the US military flew B-52 bombers over all 30 NATO member countries in what is perceived by observers as a show of force meant to dispel doubts about Washington's commitment to the alliance.
This is the moment before the Russian vehicle from which the video footage came hits the US armored vehicle as the two patrols move fast across a field in the east of Syria with a Russian military helicopter flying low overhead

'Six US Air Force B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers will fly over all 30 NATO nations in Europe and North America on August 28,' US European Command said in a statement Friday. Meanwhile, the Russian navy conducted major war games near Alaska involving dozens of ships and aircraft, the military said on Friday, the biggest such drills in the area since Soviet times. Russia's navy chief, Adm. Nikolai Yevmenov, said that more than 50 warships and about 40 aircraft were taking part in the exercise in the Bering Sea, which involved multiple practice missile launches. 'We are holding such massive drills there for the first time ever,' Yevmenov said in a statement released by the Russian Defense Ministry. As part of the exercises, the Russian nuclear submarine Omsk surfaced near Alaska on Thursday, U.S. military officials said.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command are closely monitoring the submarine, Northern Command spokesman Bill Lewis said. 'We have not received any requests for assistance from the Russian Navy or other mariners in the area,' Lewis said from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. 'We always stand ready to assist those in distress.' Lewis declined to provide further details about the submarine, including its proximity to Alaska. He only said it was operating in international waters near Alaska. 'We closely track vessels of interest, including foreign military naval vessels, in our area of responsibility,' Lewis said. The Russian military exercise is taking place in international waters, well outside the US territorial sea, he said. The presence of Russian military assets in the war games caused a stir for U.S. commercial fishing vessels in the Bering Sea on Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard said. 'We were notified by multiple fishing vessels that were operating out the Bering Sea that they had come across these vessels and were concerned. So they contacted us,' Coast Guard spokesman Kip Wadlow said earlier Thursday.

The Coast Guard contacted the Alaskan Command at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, which confirmed the ships were there as part of a pre-planned Russian military exercise that was known to some U.S. military officials, Wadlow said. Wadlow did not have information about the scope of the exercise or how many Russian vessels were involved, referring those questions to the Alaskan Command. Officials at the Anchorage base referred questions to Air Force officials at the U.S. Northern Command. It wasn't immediately clear when the exercises began or if they had finished. Yevmenov emphasized that the war games are part of Russia´s efforts to boost its presence in the Arctic region and protect its resources. 'We are building up our forces to ensure the economic development of the region,' he said. 'We are getting used to the Arctic spaces.' The Russian military has rebuilt and expanded numerous facilities across the polar region in recent years, revamping runways and deploying additional air defense assets.

Russia has prioritized boosting its military presence in the Arctic region, which is believed to hold up to one-quarter of the Earth´s undiscovered oil and gas. Russian President Vladimir Putin has cited estimates that put the value of Arctic mineral riches at $30 trillion. Russia's Pacific Fleet, whose assets were taking part in the maneuvers, said the Omsk nuclear submarine and the Varyag missile cruiser launched cruise missiles at a practice target in the Bering Sea as part of the exercise. The maneuvers also saw Onyx cruise missiles being fired at a practice target in the Gulf of Anadyr from the coast of the Chukchi Peninsula, it added. Russian state RIA Novosti news agency quoted Russia's Pacific Fleet sources as saying that the surfacing of the Omsk nuclear submarine was routine. Also late Thursday, NORAD sent F-22 fighter jets to intercept three groups of two Tu-142 Russian maritime patrol aircraft that came close to Alaska. The Russian aircraft remained in the area for about five hours and came within 50 nautical miles of Alaska. Officials said the Russian jets remained in international air space, and at no time entered United States or Canadian sovereign air space. 'Our northern approaches have had an increase in foreign military activity as our competitors continue to expand their military presence and probe our defenses,' Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of NORAD, said in a statement. '

This year, we´ve conducted more than a dozen intercepts, the most in recent years. The importance of our continued efforts to project air defense operations in and through the north has never been more apparent.' It cited former Russian navy's chief of staff, retired Adm. Viktor Kravchenko, as saying that by having the submarine surface in the area the navy may have wanted to send a deliberate signal. 'It's a signal that we aren't asleep and we are wherever we want,' RIA Novosti quoted Kravchenko as saying. The presence of Russian military assets in the area caused a stir for U.S. commercial fishing vessels in the Bering Sea on Wednesday. 'We were notified by multiple fishing vessels that were operating out the Bering Sea that they had come across these vessels and were concerned,' U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Kip Wadlow said Thursday. The Coast Guard contacted the Alaskan Command at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, which confirmed the ships were there as part of a pre-planned Russian military exercise that was known to some U.S. military officials, he said. The Russian military has expanded the number and the scope of its war games in recent years as Russia-West relations have sunk to their lowest level since the Cold War after Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, and other crises.

Putin mocks U.S. embassy for flying rainbow flag

FILE PHOTO: A rainbow flag flies in support of the LGBT community at the British Embassy in Moscow

President Vladimir Putin on Friday mocked the U.S. embassy in Moscow for flying a rainbow flag to celebrate LGBT rights, suggesting it reflected the sexual orientation of its staff. His comments followed a nationwide vote on constitutional reforms that included an amendment enshrining the definition of marriage specifically as a union between a man and a woman. Putin said the U.S. embassy's move to raise the LGBT pride flag "revealed something about the people that work there".

"It's no big deal though. We have spoken about this many times, and our position is clear," said Putin, who has sought to distance Russia from liberal Western values and aligned himself with the Russian Orthodox Church. "Yes, we passed a law banning the propaganda of homosexuality among minors. So what? Let people grow up, become adults and then decide their own destinies."

The legislation has been used to stop gay pride marches and detain gay rights activists. Putin said during the campaign to change the constitution that he would not let the traditional notion of a mother and father be subverted by what he called "parent number 1" and "parent number 2".

On Friday, the head of the Women's Union of Russia, Ekaterina Lakhova, told Putin that she feared an ice cream with the brand name 'Rainbow', as well as other multi-coloured advertising, could constitute propaganda for non-traditional values and have a harmful effect on children, the RIA news agency reported.

"Even indirectly, such things make our children accustomed to that ... flag, the one that was hung up by the embassy," Lakhova was cited as saying. "It would be very good to have a commission to make sure that those values that we enshrined in our constitution are upheld," she said. Other countries have also flown rainbow flags outside their embassies in Moscow, including Britain.

Ռուսաստանն ատոմային հրետանի է տեղակայել Ադրբեջանից 180 կմ հեռավորության վրա

ՌԴ նախագահ Վլադիմիր Պուտինի հայտարարված զորքերի մարտունակության անակնկալ ստուգման շրջանակներում Ինգուշեթիայում մեծ հզորության հրետանային ստորաբազանումներ են գործարկվել, հաղորդում է «Российская газета»-ն: Ինչպես հաղորդում է Հարավային ռազմական օկրուգի մամուլի ծառայությունը, գործողության համաձայն «Смерч» և «Ураган» համազարկային կրակի ռեակտիվ համակարգերի միաժամանակյա հարվածին կաջակցեն «Малка» ինքնագնաց հրետանային կայանքի և «Тюльпан» 240 միլիմետրանոց ինքնագնաց ականանետի: Նշվում է, որ «Тюльпан»-ը համարվում է ռուսական բանակի ամենամեծ տրամաչափ ունեցող ականանետը: Այն ունակ է խոցել թշնամու լավ ամրացված պաշտպանական կառույցները: «Тюльпан»-ի կրակային հեռավորությունը հասնում է 20 կիլոմետրի: Այդ ականանետի առանձնահատկություններից է կիրառվող ռազմամթերքի արսենալը: «Тюльпан»-ը ունակ է ականակոծել երկու կիլոտոննա հզորությամբ ջերմամիջուկային ականներից: Հիշեցնենք՝ ՆԱՏՕ-ի խոսնակ Օանա Լունգեսկուն դատապարտել է Ռուսաստանի զորքերի մարտունակության անակնկալ ստուգումը: Նշենք, որ ՆԱՏՕ անդամ երկրներից են նաև ԱՄՆ-ն և Թուրքիան:


Россия перебросила в Армения свои средства ПВО, РЭБ и артиллерию - этого хватает чтобы разбить армию и Азербайджана, и Турции

Россия перебросила в Армению вооружения, позволяющее разбить армию Турции и Азербайджана вместе взятые.

Согласно имеющимся в распоряжении ресурса данным, начиная с середины июля российские военные самолёты совершили огромное количество загадочных рейсов в Армению, перебросив сюда, как сообщается, порядка 400 тонн военных грузов. Согласно данным, речь идёт о современнейшем вооружении, включая средства противовоздушной обороны, РЛС малой, средней и большой дальности, комплексы радиоэлектронного подавления, средства артиллерии и пр. По некоторым, не имеющим пока никакого подтверждения данным, в Армению могли быть переброшены дополнительные ПВО малой и большой дальности, включая ЗРК С-300.

«Президент Азербайджана Ильхам Алиев в ходе телефонного разговора с российским лидером Владимиром Путиным накануне, 12 августа, поднял вопрос о поставках в Армению начиная с 17 июля свыше 400 тонн военных грузов. Об этом говорится в опубликованном сегодня сообщении пресс-службы президента Азербайджана. «После столкновений на армяно-азербайджанской границе, из России через воздушное пространство Казахстана, Туркменистана и Ирана в Армению было доставлено свыше 400 тонн военных грузов и основной целью его телефонного звонка является прояснить этот вопрос», — указывается в релизе. В частности, Алиев заявил, что, начиная с 17 июля, имеют место интенсивные грузовые поставки военного назначения из РФ в Армению, и этот вопрос вызывает серьезное беспокойство в Азербайджане», - об этом сообщает «EA Daily».

Специалисты в свою очередь обращают внимание на тот факт, что Армения, в отличие от Азербайджана, является страной членом ОДКБ, и в условиях конфликта, Россия, а, равно и другие члены ОДКБ, вполне могут оказывать Еревану всю необходимую помощь, в том числе и военную, в связи с чем, претензии со стороны Баку являются совершенно неоправданными, особенно на фоне продолжающихся атак против Армении.

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