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  • The Rise of the Second Soviet Empire

    <header class="entry-header"> Russian Bombers Fly To Venezuela, Nicaragua During Strategic Forces Exercise

    by J.E. Dyer

    For some reason, the “reset/overcharge” policy of the Obama administration hasn’t induced Russia to take a chill pill on the global strategic forces exercises.

    Several sources have reported that on Wednesday 30 October, the Russians conducted a no-notice exercise with their strategic forces, which included the launch of several intercontinental missiles from land and sea. Russian forces also fired missiles from the S-300 and S-400 air- and missile-defense systems (similar to the U.S. Patriot system), along with short range ballistic missiles (NATO designation SS-26 and SS-21) from the Kapustin Yar test center in southern Russia.

    Missiles on the move

    A U.S. State Department spokesman said Russia complied with the New START treaty, issuing the proper notification that the ICBM and submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launches would take place.

    Claudia Rosett took a walk down memory lane in a Friday post at PJ Media, recalling the mid-1990s and how Russia’s strategic rocket force was languishing then. That was before Vladimir Putin announced a new build-up in 2007.

    It’s worth noting that on 30 October, Russia launched two different types of ICBM (and has a third, newer type deployed in the operational forces, the SS-27, which apparently was not launched on Wednesday).

    The U.S. has one type today (the Minuteman III). Russia launched two different types of SLBM on 30 October; the U.S. has one type (the Trident II). Russia launched two different types of short range ballistic missiles; the U.S. has one type (the U.S. Army ATACMS), and in fact does not field a missile in the range class of the SS-26 Stone, or “Iskander,” SRBM.

    The differences in the two nations’ approaches go beyond that, however. Russia has progressed meaningfully in developing new missiles of each major type in the last decade, whereas the U.S. has not. All of the intercontinental missiles launched on 30 October are older-generation weapon systems, designed and fielded between 25 and 50 years ago (although updated since). In this way, they parallel the U.S. strategic force – and the strategic thinking of both the U.S. and Russia in the first two decades of the INF/START era.

    But Russia has now already deployed an even newer ICBM, the SS-29, in the operational forces. Russia has conducted multiple test launches of a new-generation SLBM, the SS-N-30. A Russian admiral suggested in 2012 that the SS-N-30, or “Bulava” missile, was operational in the fleet – on new-generation nuclear submarines, the Borei class – although full operational status is reportedly pending the correction of problems with the Bulava missile.

    Variables moving in the wrong direction for U.S. security

    The argument as to whether this is troubling or not should properly center on the question of missile defense – including the Russians’ emphasis on designing the new missiles to defeat U.S. missile-defense systems.

    There are four major variables in the ICBM/SLBM and missile-defense equation: U.S. missiles, U.S. defenses, Russian missiles, and Russian defenses.

    Out of those four variables, there has been significant technological activity in three, over the last 15 years: U.S. defenses, Russian missiles, and Russian defenses (i.e., the deployment of the S-400, a highly capable air- and missile-defense system). But out of those three variables, there has been a significant doctrinal update in only two:

    Russian missiles, which are now being consciously designed to defeat our missile defense systems, and Russian defenses.

    This means two things, in particular: first, that the doctrinal intent of the U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) program lags global strategic reality. The doctrinal update we have not made is shifting our emphasis from defending against North Korean-style missiles (“first generation” missiles) – which is what we’ve emphasized in BMD development since early in the Clinton administration – to defending against the most modern Russian or Chinese ICBMs. Russia designs new missiles with defeating our BMD systems in mind, but we are not improving our BMD systems with defeating new-generation Russian ICBMs in mind.

    The other thing it means is that America’s intercontinental missile arsenal, which is not being updated today with either technology or doctrine in mind, is a lagging national-defense capability. It has remained static while Russia’s defenses have improved. This does not mean that the S-400 is capable of reliably shooting down Minuteman III or Trident II missiles. (It isn’t.) It does mean that America is not looking around the next corner to a future in which our current-generation ICBMs can be reliably intercepted. Russia is looking at the future from both standpoints: the missile and the interceptor. Russia is moving forward (as is China); we are standing still.

    A violation of the 1987 INF treaty?

    The other troubling aspect of Russian missile development is the nature of the new-generation RS-26 ballistic missile, which is yet another, different missile from any of the ones listed above. Russian sources call it an ICBM, but given its small size (and other factors), U.S. intelligence believes the Russians are covertly developing an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), in violation of the INF treaty signed by Reagan and Gorbachev in 1987. As with their other newer-generation missiles, the Russians have designed the missile system to defeat missile defenses.

    Keep in mind that Russia has a history of shady missile development and treaty violations. The former-Soviet SS-20 IRBM, for example, deployed in Eastern Europe in the 1970s, was based on an ICBM design (the SS-16), and capable of functioning as an ICBM with the addition of a third-stage booster (or the use of a lighter warhead). But the SS-20’s nominal 5,000km (3,100 statute mile) range as an IRBM kept it just under the 5,500km (3400 miles) cut-off for limitation by the SALT II treaty. This wasn’t the U.S.’s or NATO’s principal objection to the SS-20’s presence in Europe, but it is emblematic of the Russian pattern of designating missile systems to put them outside of treaty controls.

    A new Russian IRBM would violate the INF treaty, which banned them all for the U.S. and Russia. So the Russians are calling the RS-26 an ICBM.

    Like the SS-20, the RS-26 is based on an ICBM design, that of the SS-25. But it has been test-launched only to shorter ranges, and in other ways fits the profile of the SS-20’s development in the 1960s and 1970s.

    It can be argued, of course, that Russia perceives a need for IRBMs because of the neighborhood she lives in, which includes nuclear-missile-armed China, India, and Pakistan. But that’s where the title of this post comes into play. In a strategic sense, we need harbor no illusions about which nation Russia’s exertions are directed at.

    Nice hemisphere you got there

    Just before the big missile exercise on 30 October, the Russian air force deployed a pair of Tu-160 Blackjack bombers to Central America. On 28 October, the bombers took off from central Russia and flew to Venezuela, the first such deployment since 2008. From there, on 31 October, they proceeded to Nicaragua, making the first stop ever for Russian strategic bombers (or any other Russian combat aircraft) in that nation.

    Tu-160 Blackjacks are equipped with the AS-15 Kent (or Kh-55) air-launched cruise missile, which is similar to the U.S. Air Force’s AGM-86 ALCM. The AS-15’s range, in the version most likely to be used, is 2,500km (1,550 miles). The Blackjacks on this deployment may or may not have carried AS-15 missiles; I consider it extremely unlikely that they carried missiles with nuclear warheads, at any rate, although the AS-15 is nuclear-capable.

    Threat range of the AS-15 from Central American air space (Google map, author annotations)

    But these bombers represent the “third leg” of the nuclear-strategic “triad,” the other two legs being ground-based ICBMs and sea-based SLBMs. Where Russia chose to deploy them during a highly publicized strategic forces exercise was to Central America.

    The message could hardly be more pointed. The bombers could have ranged more of the United States with AS-15s if they had flown north, on their usual profiles in the North Pacific, North Atlantic, or the Arctic. Certainly, they could have held more of the U.S. at risk if they had gone to Cuba. But in an unprecedented move, Moscow sent them to Central America, where they could range only some of Florida and – once near Nicaragua – the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.


    To emphasize, during a strategic forces drill, that Russia has allies in Central America: places to land and launch strategic bombers. Places, unlike Cuba, that the United States can’t just reach out and smack. Venezuela and Nicaragua are both outside the intercept range of U.S. Air Force fighters – and the AS-15 missile can be launched at U.S. targets from well outside our fighters’ intercept range as well.

    Add this message to the one sent in February 2013, when Russian strategic bombers (Tu-95 Bears, on that occasion) flew a profile against Guam in the Pacific. The Russians demonstrated a capability then to approach Guam outside the intercept range of the U.S. Air Force in Northeast Asia. Bear aircraft armed with AS-15s could get within strike range of Guam but remain outside the intercept range of our fighters.

    Blackjacks launching from Central America could get within strike range of the American South, but remain outside the intercept range of our fighters there, too.

    Russia is doing a lot of talking lately, if anybody is listening.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Rise of the Second Soviet Empire started by American Patriot View original post
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    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Citizens of Russia, members of the Federation Council and deputies of the State Duma,

      Today’s address will be related to the current situation and conditions, as well as the tasks we are facing. But before delivering it I’d like to thank all of you for the support, unity and solidarity you have shown during the landmark events that will seriously influence the future of our country.

      This year we faced trials that only a mature and united nation and a truly sovereign and strong state can withstand. Russia has proved that it can protect its compatriots and defend truth and fairness.

      Russia has done this thanks to its citizens, thanks to your work and the results we have achieved together, and thanks to our profound understanding of the essence and importance of national interests. We have become aware of the indivisibility and integrity of the thousand-year long history of our country. We have come to believe in ourselves, to believe that we can do much and achieve every goal.

      Of course, we will talk about this year’s landmark events. You know that a referendum was held in Crimea in March, at which its residents clearly expressed their desire to join Russia. After that, the Crimean parliament – it should be stressed that it was a legitimate parliament that was elected back in 2010 – adopted a resolution on sovereignty. And then we saw the historical reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia.

      It was an event of special significance for the country and the people, because Crimea is where our people live, and the peninsula is of strategic importance for Russia as the spiritual source of the development of a multifaceted but solid Russian nation and a centralised Russian state. It was in Crimea, in the ancient city of Chersonesus or Korsun, as ancient Russian chroniclers called it, that Grand Prince Vladimir was baptised before bringing Christianity to Rus.

      In addition to ethnic similarity, a common language, common elements of their material culture, a common territory, even though its borders were not marked then, and a nascent common economy and government, Christianity was a powerful spiritual unifying force that helped involve various tribes and tribal unions of the vast Eastern Slavic world in the creation of a Russian nation and Russian state. It was thanks to this spiritual unity that our forefathers for the first time and forevermore saw themselves as a united nation. All of this allows us to say that Crimea, the ancient Korsun or Chersonesus, and Sevastopol have invaluable civilisational and even sacral importance for Russia, like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for the followers of Islam and Judaism.

      And this is how we will always consider it.

      Dear friends,

      We cannot fail to mention today our perspective on the developments in Ukraine and how we intend to work with our partners around the world.

      It is well known that Russia not only supported Ukraine and other brotherly republics of the former Soviet Union in their aspirations to sovereignty, but also facilitated this process greatly in the 1990s. Since then, our position has remained unchanged.

      Every nation has an inalienable sovereign right to determine its own development path, choose allies and political regimes, create an economy and ensure its security. Russia has always respected these rights and always will. This fully applies to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.

      It is true that we condemned the government coup and the forceful takeover of power in Kiev in February of this year. The developments we are currently witnessing in Ukraine and the tragedy unfolding in the country’s southeast prove that we were right to take such a stand.

      How did it all begin? I will have to remind you what happened back then. It is hard to believe that it all started with a technical decision by President Yanukovych to postpone the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. Make no mistake, he did not refuse to sign the document, but only postponed it in order to make some adjustments.

      As you recall, this move was fully in line with the constitutional authority vested upon an absolutely legitimate and internationally recognised head of state.

      Against this background, there was no way we could support this armed coup, the violence and the killings. Just take the bloody events in Odessa, where people were burned alive. How can the subsequent attempts to suppress people in Ukraine’s southeast, who oppose this mayhem, be supported? I reiterate that there was no way we could endorse these developments. What’s more, they were followed by hypocritical statements on the protection of international law and human rights. This is just cynical. I strongly believe that the time will come when the Ukrainian people will deliver a just assessment of these developments.

      How did the dialogue on this issue begin between Russia and its American and European partners? I mentioned our American friends for a reason, since they are always influencing Russia’s relations with its neighbours, either openly or behind the scenes. Sometimes it is even unclear whom to talk to: to the governments of certain countries or directly with their American patrons and sponsors.

      As I mentioned, in the case of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, there was no dialogue at all. We were told that it was none of our business or, to put it simply, we were told where to go.

      All the arguments that Russia and Ukraine are members of the CIS free-trade zone, that we have deep-rooted cooperation in industry and agriculture, and basically share the same infrastructure – no one wanted to hear these arguments, let alone take them into account.

      Our response was to say: fine, if you do not want to have a dialogue with us, we will have to protect our legitimate interests unilaterally and will not pay for what we view as erroneous policy.

      So what’s came out of it all? The agreement between Ukraine and the European Union has been signed and ratified, but the implementation of the provisions regarding trade and economy has been postponed until the end of next year. Doesn’t this mean that we were the ones who were actually right?

      There is also a question of why all this was done in Ukraine? What was the purpose of the government coup? Why shoot and keep shooting and killing people? In fact, the economy, finance and the social sector were destroyed and the country ruined.

      What Ukraine currently needs is economic assistance in carrying out reforms, not petty politics and pompous empty promises. However, our Western colleagues don’t seem eager to provide such assistance, while the Kiev authorities are not willing to address the challenges their people are facing.

      By the way, Russia has already made a major contribution to helping Ukraine. Let me reiterate that Russian banks already invested some $25 billion in Ukraine. Last year, Russia’s Finance Ministry extended a loan worth another $3 billion. Gazprom provided another $5.5 billion to Ukraine and even offered a discount that no one promised, requiring the country to pay $4.5 billion. Add it all up and you get as much as $ 32.5-33.5 billion that were provided only recently.

      Of course, we have the right to ask questions. What was this Ukrainian tragedy for? Wasn’t it possible to settle all the issues, even disputed issues, through dialogue, within a legal framework and legitimately?

      But now we are being told that this was actually competent, balanced politics that we should comply with unquestionably and blindfolded.
      This will never happen.

      If for some European countries national pride is a long-forgotten concept and sovereignty is too much of a luxury, true sovereignty for Russia is absolutely necessary for survival.

      Primarily, we should realise this as a nation. I would like to emphasise this: either we remain a sovereign nation, or we dissolve without a trace and lose our identity.

      Of course, other countries need to understand this, too. All participants in international life should be aware of this. And they should use this understanding to strengthen the role and the importance of international law,
      which we’ve talked about so much lately, rather than bend its standards to suit someone’s strategic interests contrary to its fundamental principles and common sense, considering everyone else to be poorly educated people who can’t read or write.

      It is imperative to respect the legitimate interests of all the participants in international dialogue. Only then, not with guns, missiles or combat aircraft, but precisely with the rule of law will we reliably protect the world against bloody conflict. Only then, will there be no need to scare anyone with imaginary self-deceptive isolation, or sanctions, which are, of course, damaging, but damaging to everyone, including those who initiate them.

      Speaking of the sanctions, they are not just a knee-jerk reaction on behalf of the United States or its allies to our position regarding the events and the coup in Ukraine, or even the so-called Crimean Spring. I’m sure that if these events had never happened – I want to point this out specifically for you as politicians sitting in this auditorium – if none of that had ever happened, they would have come up with some other excuse to try to contain Russia’s growing capabilities, affect our country in some way, or even take advantage of it.

      The policy of containment was not invented yesterday. It has been carried out against our country for many years, always, for decades, if not centuries. In short, whenever someone thinks that Russia has become too strong or independent, these tools are quickly put into use.

      However, talking to Russia from a position of force is an exercise in futility, even when it was faced with domestic hardships, as in the 1990s and early 2000s.

      We remember well how and who, almost openly, supported separatism back then and even outright terrorism in Russia, referred to murderers, whose hands were stained with blood, none other than rebels and organised high-level receptions for them. These “rebels” showed up in Chechnya again. I’m sure the local guys, the local law enforcement authorities, will take proper care of them. They are now working to eliminate another terrorist raid. Let’s support them.

      Let me reiterate, we remember high-level receptions for terrorists dubbed as fighters for freedom and democracy. Back then, we realised that the more ground we give and the more excuses we make, the more our opponents become brazen and the more cynical and aggressive their demeanour becomes.

      Despite our unprecedented openness back then and our willingness to cooperate in all, even the most sensitive issues, despite the fact that we considered – and all of you are aware of this and remember it – our former adversaries as close friends and even allies, the support for separatism in Russia from across the pond, including information, political and financial support and support provided by the special services – was absolutely obvious and left no doubt that they would gladly let Russia follow the Yugoslav scenario of disintegration and dismemberment. With all the tragic fallout for the people of Russia.

      It didn’t work. We didn’t allow that to happen.

      Just as it did not work for Hitler with his people-hating ideas, who set out to destroy Russia and push us back beyond the Urals. Everyone should remember how it ended.
      Next year, we will mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Our Army crushed the enemy and liberated Europe. However, we should not forget about the bitter defeats in 1941 and 1942 so as not to repeat the mistakes in the future.

      In this context, I will touch on an international security issue. There are many issues related to this. These include the fight against terrorism. We still encounter its manifestations, and of course, we will participate in the joint efforts to counter terrorism on the international level. Of course, we will work together to deal with other challenges, such as the spread of infectious diseases.

      However, in this case I would like to speak about the most serious and sensitive issue: international security. Since 2002, after the US unilaterally pulled out of the ABM Treaty, which was absolutely a cornerstone of international security, a strategic balance of forces and stability, the US has been working relentlessly to create a global missile defence system, including in Europe. This poses a threat not only to Russia, but to the world as a whole – precisely due to the possible disruption of this strategic balance of forces.

      I believe that this is bad for the US as well, because it creates the dangerous illusion of invulnerability. It strengthens the striving for unilateral, often, as we can see, ill-considered decisions and additional risks.

      We have said much about this. I will not go into details now. I will only say this. Maybe I am repeating myself. We have no intention to become involved in a costly arms race, but at the same time we will reliably and dependably guarantee our country’s defence in the new conditions. There are absolutely no doubts about this. This will be done. Russia has both the capability and the innovative solutions for this.

      No one will ever attain military superiority over Russia. We have a modern and combat ready army. As they now put it, a polite, but formidable army. We have the strength, will and courage to protect our freedom.

      We will protect the diversity of the world. We will tell the truth to people abroad, so that everyone can see the real and not distorted and false image of Russia. We will actively promote business and humanitarian relations, as well as scientific, education and cultural relations. We will do this even if some governments attempt to create a new iron curtain around Russia.

      We will never enter the path of self-isolation, xenophobia, suspicion and the search for enemies.

      All this is evidence of weakness, while we are strong and confident.

      Our goal is to have as many equal partners as possible, both in the West and in the East. We will expand our presence in those regions where integration is on the rise, where politics is not mixed with economy, and where obstacles to trade, to exchange of technology and investment and to the free movement of people are lifted.
      Under no conditions will we curtail our relations with Europe or America. At the same time, we will restore and expand our traditional ties with South America. We will continue our cooperation with Africa and the Middle East.

      We see how quickly Asia Pacific has been developing over the past few decades. As a Pacific power, Russia will use this huge potential comprehensively.
      Everyone knows the leaders and the drivers of global economic development. Many of them are our sincere friends and strategic partners.

      The Eurasian Economic Union will start working in full on January 1, 2015. I’d like to remind you about its fundamental principles. The topmost principles are equality, pragmatism and mutual respect, as well as the preservation of national identity and state sovereignty of its member countries. I am confident that strong cooperation will become a powerful source of development for all of the Eurasian Economic Union members.

      To conclude this part of my address, I’d like to say once again that our priorities are healthy families and a healthy nation, the traditional values which we inherited from our forefathers, combined with a focus on the future, stability as a vital condition of development and progress, respect for other nations and states, and the guaranteed security of Russia and the protection of its legitimate interests.

      Dear friends,

      To be able to implement all our plans and to meet the basic social commitments set forth in the presidential executive orders of May 2012, we must decide what we will do in the economy, finance and social spheres. But most importantly, we must choose a strategy.

      I repeat that Russia will be open to the world, cooperation, foreign investment and joint projects. But we must above all see that our development depends primarily on us.
      We will only succeed if we work towards prosperity and affluence, rather than hope for an opening or a favourable situation on foreign markets.

      We will succeed if we defeat disorder, irresponsibility and our habit of burying good decisions in red tape. I want everyone to understand that in today’s world this is not simply an obstacle to Russia’s development but a direct threat to its security.

      The period ahead will be complex and difficult, when much will depend on what each one of us do at our workplaces. The so-called sanctions and foreign restrictions are an incentive for a more efficient and faster movement towards our goals.

      There is much we need to do. We need to create new technologies, a competitive environment and an additional margin of strength in the industries, the financial system and in the training of personnel. We have a large domestic market and natural resources, capital and research projects for this. We also have talented, intelligent and diligent people who can learn very quickly.

      The most important thing now is to give the people an opportunity for self-fulfilment. Freedom for development in the economic and social spheres, for public initiatives is the best possible response both to any external restrictions and to our domestic problems. The more actively people become involved in organising their own lives, the more independent they are, both economically and politically, and the greater Russia’s potential.

      In this context, I will cite one quote: “He who loves Russia should wish freedom for it; above all, freedom for Russia as such, for its international independence and self-sufficiency; freedom for Russia as a unity of Russian and all other ethnic cultures; and finally, freedom for the Russian people, freedom for all of us: freedom of faith, of the search for truth, creativity, work, and property.” Ivan Ilyin. This makes a lot of sense and offers a good guideline for all of us today.
      Ladies and gentlemen,

      Conscientious work, private property, the freedom of enterprise – these are the same kind of fundamental conservative values as patriotism, and respect for the history, traditions, and culture of one’s country.

      We all want the same thing: wellbeing for Russia. So the relations between business and the state should be built on the philosophy of a common cause, partnership, and equal dialogue.

      Naturally, responsibility and compliance with the law and obligations are essential in the business world, as it is in other areas of life. And this is exactly how the overwhelming, absolute majority of our business people work. They value their business and social reputation. Like genuine patriots, they want to be a benefit to Russia. These are the kind of people to look to, providing conditions for their productive work.

      This is not the first time we are speaking about the need for new approaches to the activities of oversight, supervisory, and law enforcement agencies. Nevertheless, things are changing very slowly here. The presumption of guilt is still very much alive. Instead of curbing individual violations, they close the path and create problems for thousands of law-abiding, self-motivated people.

      It is essential to lift restrictions on business as much as possible, free it from intrusive supervision and control. I said intrusive supervision and control. I will consider this in more detail later. I propose the following measures in this regard.

      Every inspection should become public. Next year, a special register will be launched, with information on what agency has initiated an inspection, for what purpose, and what results it has produced. This will make it possible to stop unwarranted and, worse still, ‘paid to order’ visits from oversight agencies. This problem is extremely relevant not only for business, but also for the public sector, municipal institutions and social NGOs.

      Finally, it’s crucial to abandon the basic principle of total, endless control. The situation should be monitored where there are real risks or signs of transgression. You see, even when we have already done something with regard to restrictions, and these restrictions seem to be working well, there are so many inspection agencies that if every one of them comes at least once, then that’s it, the company would just fold. In 2015, the Government should make all the necessary decisions to switch to this system, a system of restrictions with regard to reviews and inspections.

      Concerning small business, I propose establishing ‘holidays from inspections’. If a company has acquired a good reputation and if there have not been any serious charges against it for three years, then for the next three years it should be exempted from routine inspections by government or municipal supervisory agencies. Of course, this does not apply to emergencies, when there is a danger to people’s health and life.

      Business people talk about the need for stable legislation and predictable rules, including taxes. I completely agree with this. I propose to freeze the existing tax parameters as they are for the next four years, not revisit the matter again, not change them.

      Meanwhile, it is important to implement the decisions that have already been made to ease the tax burden. First of all, for those who are just setting up their operations. As we have agreed, two-year tax holidays will be provided to small businesses registering for the first time. Production facilities that are starting from scratch will be entitled to the same exemptions.
      Another thing. I propose a full amnesty for capital returning to Russia. I stress, full amnesty.

      Of course, it is essential to explain to the people who will make these decisions what full amnesty means. It means that if a person legalises his holdings and property in Russia, he will receive firm legal guarantees that he will not be summoned to various agencies, including law enforcement agencies, that they will not “put the squeeze” on him, that he will not be asked about the sources of his capital and methods of its acquisition, that he will not be prosecuted or face administrative liability, and that he will not be questioned by the tax service or law enforcement agencies. Let’s do this now, but only once. Everyone who wants to come to Russia should be given this opportunity.

      We all understand that the sources of assets are different, that they were earned or acquired in various ways. However, I am confident that we should finally close, turn the “offshore page” in the history of our economy and our country. It is very important and necessary to do this.

      I expect that after the well-known events in Cyprus and with the on-going sanctions campaign, our business has finally realised that its interests abroad are not reckoned with and that it can even be fleeced like a sheep.

      And that the best possible guarantee is national jurisdiction, even with all of its problems. We will continue to deal with those problems with conviction, together with our business community, of course.

      Russia has already made significant headway in improving its business climate. A new legislative framework has for the most part been developed on the federal level. Now the focus should be shifted to the quality of law enforcement, promoting so called best practices in the regions in partnership with business, using the national investment climate ratings to this end. From next year, the ratings system will be introduced in all the regions. We will review the progress at a State Council meeting without fail.

      We need properly developed construction sites and transport infrastructure in order to be able to expand businesses and accommodate new production sites. Our regions must focus on fixing regional and local roads. To enable them to do so, we have introduced additional sources for regional road funds. Overall, we should seek to double the volume of road construction across Russia.

      Of course, what I have just said has been verified by the relevant government agencies. They all confirmed that this is a feasible project. We’ll be expecting to see the results of your work, colleagues.

      In 2015, we will launch a programme to reimburse the regions’ expenses involved in creating technology parks. I hope that the regions will make good use of this opportunity to develop their own industrial capacity. These additional measures are being taken in order to support economic and industrial growth in strategically important Russian regions.

      The law on a special economic zone in Crimea has been adopted. Favourable conditions will be created here for businesses, agriculture and tourism, manufacturing industries and maritime transport, including taxation, customs and other procedures.

      As you may be aware, customs preferences for Kaliningrad Region will expire in 2016. It is imperative that alternative measures to support this region, which have already been prepared, be implemented in order to maintain a comfortable entrepreneurial climate.

      I’d like to ask the Government to complete this work as soon as possible. I’d also like to ask the deputies not to delay their review of the law on priority development areas (PDA).

      In addition, I propose extending PDA regulations to new projects in a number of single-industry cities with the most difficult socioeconomic situations, rather than waiting three years, as provided by the draft law (I believe it has passed its first reading). Instead, we should amend it and start working on single-industry cities right away.
      Of course, PDAs should play a key role in developing the Russian Far East. We have announced ambitious plans for developing this region, and we will, of course, implement them. I’d like to ask the Government to consider recapitalising the Far East Development Fund. We can allocate a portion of federal tax increments, which will be obtained from new businesses opening in the region, for these purposes.

      As is often the case in such matters, we had a tough conversation on this issue with the Finance Ministry. We agree that initially this can be done with an exception for VAT. Then, we’ll see how well this system works.

      I propose providing a free port status to Vladivostok, with an attractive and easy customs regime. As you may be aware, Sevastopol and other Crimean ports have already been given this status.

      We also need a comprehensive project for modern and competitive development of the Northern Sea Route. It must operate not just as an effective transit route, but also promote business activity on the Russian Pacific coast and the development of Arctic territories.

      Colleagues, the quality and the size of the Russian economy must be consistent with our geopolitical and historical role. We must escape the trap of zero-level growth and achieve an above-average global growth rate within the next three to four years. This is the only way to increase Russia’s share in the global economy, and thus strengthen our influence and economic independence.

      The national economy should also be more effective. It’s imperative that labour productivity be increased by no less than five percent annually. The Government should find reserves for this and come up with a plan for the best way to use them. At the same time, it’s important to maintain a stable macroeconomic environment and reduce inflation in the medium term to four percent, but, importantly, not through suppressing business activity. We must at last learn to harmonise two goals: containing inflation and stimulating growth.

      Today we are faced with reduced foreign exchange proceeds and, as a consequence, with a weaker national currency, the ruble. As you are aware, the Bank of Russia has switched to a floating exchange rate, but this does not mean that the Bank of Russia has withdrawn from controlling the exchange rate, and that the ruble may now be the object of unchecked financial speculation.

      I’d like to ask the Bank of Russia and the Government to carry out tough and concerted actions to discourage the so-called speculators from playing on fluctuations of the Russian currency. In this regard, I’d like to point out that the authorities know who these speculators are. We have the proper instruments of influence, and the time is ripe to use them.

      Of course, a weaker ruble increases the risk of a short-term surge in inflation. It’s imperative that we protect the interests of our people, first and foremost, those with low incomes, and the Government and the regions must ensure control over the situation on the food, medicine and other basic goods markets. I’m sure this can be done without any problem, and it must be done.

      A weaker national currency also increases the pricing environment and the competitiveness of our companies. We take this factor into account in our policy of import substitution (at least, where it’s appropriate and necessary). Within three to five years, we must provide our customers with high-quality and affordable medicines and food that are produced mostly in Russia.

      The grain crop in Russia in 2014 was one of the best in recent history. The overall output growth across our agro-industrial complex currently stands at about 6 percent. We now have efficient large agricultural enterprises and farms, and we will support them. Let’s thank our agricultural workers for their performance this year.

      We must also lessen our critical dependence on foreign technology and industrial goods, including in the machine-tool building and instrument-making industries, power engineering, and the production of equipment for field development, including on the Arctic shelf. Our commodities and infrastructure companies can seriously help our producers in this sphere. When implementing large oil, energy and transport projects, they must rely above all on domestic producers and promote demand for their products.

      At this point, it’s mostly the other way around: we buy everything abroad, leaving the domestic industries and science empty-handed. I suggest creating a special governmental coordination centre and giving the Government more authority in this sphere. This centre would dovetail the implementation of large projects with placement of contracts at Russian companies, with further development of the national production and research facilities, and production localisation.

      As for imports, we must only buy distinctly unique equipment and technology abroad. I’d like to add that we must also cooperate with domestic producers when upgrading the housing and utility sector, public transport, agriculture and other industries.

      I am instructing the Government to take the necessary decisions to expand small and medium-sized businesses’ access to purchases by state companies, and in particular to determine the volume of state-owned companies’ mandatory annual purchases from small and medium firms. This is tens and hundreds of billions of rubles that must be used to boost the development of national businesses.

      It goes without saying that their products must satisfy the strictest quality and price conditions. Next, we must prevent internal monopolism. I want to stress that reasonable import substitution – reasonable is the key word here – is a long-term priority, irrespective of external conditions.

      Moreover, import substitution programmes must encourage the creation of a large group of industrial companies that can be competitive not only domestically but also on foreign markets. These companies exist in Russia. They are highly efficient and have export potential – very good potential. But they are short of capital, technology, personnel and equipment. We must remove as many of these restrictions as possible. We must provide investment incentives so that these companies can increase growth, increase their capitalisation and production severalfold and become established on foreign markets.

      I am instructing the Agency for Strategic Initiatives to join forces with Vnesheconombank, the Russian Direct Investment Fund and other development institutions to draft a relevant programme and system. The first pilot programme for the support for non-commodity companies must be launched already next year.

      The integrated credit and insurance export support centre, which will start operating in 2015, will stimulate domestic exports. Its services will be available to all non-commodity companies, both big and small.

      In the next three years the capitalisation of Roseximbank, which was created for this purpose, should reach approximately 30 billion rubles. In the next three years, the volume of Russian high value-added exports should grow by 50 percent.

      Of course, considerable funds will be needed for the development of the non-commodity and other economic sectors. Russia has these funds. We have large domestic savings, which must be used for this.

      Despite any external restrictions, we must increase our annual investment to 25 percent of GDP by 2018. What does this mean? I’ll explain it with just a few words.
      It means that we must invest as much as we save. Our savings must work for the national economy and development, rather than the export of capital. To be able to do this, we must seriously strengthen the stability of our banking system – the Central Bank has been working towards this end quite persistently – and also reduce the dependence of the national financial market on external risks.

      I propose using our reserves (above all, the National Welfare Fund) to implement a programme for recapitalisation of leading domestic banks, with funding to be provided under clearly specified conditions to be funnelled into the most significant projects in the real economy at affordable interest rates. Furthermore, banks will have to introduce project financing mechanisms.

      Regarding budget spending, the key requirements here should be thrift and maximum return, the correct choice of priorities and factoring in the current economic situation. For the next three years, we should set the goal of cutting costs and ineffective budget spending by at least five percent of total spending in real terms.
      A huge economic reserve is lying on the surface. It is enough to look at government-financed construction projects to see this. At a recent forum of the Russian Popular Front, examples were cited of funds being invested in grandiose buildings or the construction costs of same-type – I want to emphasise this point – facilities, differing several times over, even in neighbouring regions.

      I believe that it is necessary to phase in a system of a single technical contracting authority, and centralise the preparation of standard projects, construction documentation and the choice of subcontractors. This will make it possible to overcome the existing disparity in construction costs and ensure significant saving of public funds spent on capital construction projects, between 10 percent and 20 percent. This practice should be extended to all civil construction projects financed from the federal budget. I instruct the Government to submit relevant proposals.

      Yesterday, the Prime Minister and I discussed this topic. Of course, there are some pitfalls here, and knowing what they are, it is important to avoid them, move with caution, implement several pilot projects in several regions and see what happens.

      However, leaving the situation as it is today is no longer an option. As I said earlier, construction costs of similar facilities in neighbouring regions differ many times over. What is this?

      Diversion or embezzlement of budget funds allocated for federal defence contracts should be treated as a direct threat to national security and dealt with seriously and severely, as in the suppression of the financing of terrorism. I mention this for a reason.

      I don’t think there is anything to hide or gloss over here. We have just held our regularl meeting in Sochi with the leadership of the Defence Ministry, combat arms and services commanders and leading defence company designers.

      On certain positions, prices double, triple or quadruple, and in one case they grew 11 times. You realise that this has nothing to do with inflation or with anything, considering that practically 100 percent of funding is provided in advance.

      I would like to reiterate, and I’m bringing this to the attention of law enforcement agencies. I instruct the Defence Ministry, the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring and other relevant agencies to develop a system of strict, effective oversight over the use of funding allocated for federal defence contracts. This system should operate along the entire supply chain. Tougher penalties should be imposed on those in charge of federal defence contract implementation for misspending every ruble from the budget.
      It is also crucial to streamline state-owned company budgets. To this end, unified financial settlement centres should be established therein, something like the treasury, to ensure the transparency and optimisation of financial flows and their effective management. Parent companies should also clearly see how funds are used in their subsidiaries.

      Key efficiency parameters should be introduced in all companies where the state holds over 50 percent of stock, including the requirement to reduce operating expenses by at least 2-3 percent a year. I should add that compensations to state company management should be directly related to performance and economic realities.

      I’m confident that Russia is capable not only of carrying out a large-scale effort to upgrade its industrial sector, but also of becoming a supplier of ideas and technology for the whole world, emerging as a leading producer of goods and services that would shape the global technology agenda. Russian companies will embody national success and pride, just as our nuclear and space projects once did.

      We have already adopted legislative amendments to introduce strict environmental standards. Their purpose is to push companies to implement the so-called best available technology, so that the key industries benefit from continuous upgrades.

      That said, we should also be mindful of future challenges. In this regard, I propose implementing a national technology initiative. Long-term forecasts should provide us with insight into the tasks Russia could face in the next 10-15 years, what state-of-the-art solutions will be needed to ensure national security, improve quality of life, and promote industries operating in a new technological environment.

      Promoters of promising creative projects should join efforts with vibrant companies that are ready to implement cutting-edge solutions. The leading universities, research centres, the Russian Academy of Sciences and major business associations should also be involved in this effort. And of course, our compatriots working abroad as academics or in high-tech sectors should also be invited to join in, but only those of them who actually have something to contribute.

      I propose that the Government make the necessary arrangements, with assistance from the Agency for Strategic Initiatives. It is important that business representatives, academics and developers tell us what barriers need to be removed and what additional assistance they require. The most advanced technologies will yield results only if there are people who are ready to develop and use them.

      Unfortunately, engineers are still mostly educated at universities that are no longer linked to the actual producers, and lack access to the latest research and solutions. It is high time that we focus on the quality of education, not sheer enrolment numbers, and ensure that engineers are trained by top higher education institutions with strong industry connections, and preferably in the same regions where the future engineers will live.

      This quality requirement should also be applied to regular labour force. By 2020, at least half of Russia’s vocational training colleges are expected to offer education in 50 of the most relevant and promising labour professions, in accordance with the highest international standards and using advanced technology. Contests among workers and engineers should also become an important indicator of the changes in vocational training. The system of professional contests is not new, and Russia has joined it and has become a proactive member. This is not just about enhancing the prestige of engineering and labour jobs, but also an opportunity to be guided by the best practices in the training of such professionals. Building on this experience, professional and educational standards can be devised.

      As you know, Russia competes in various international professional contests. I don’t have the data on hand, so I’ll cite them by memory, since they are worth mentioning.

      Three teams have been created: one with experts from leading enterprises, one with students and a third with 14 to 17 year old school students. They have trained to perform various tasks of the same kind. The team of 14 to 17 year old school students was able to find the best solutions for the most complex tasks in the space industry, where they worked on spacecraft, as well in traditional industrial tasks, despite the fact that such tasks were designed for highly-skilled workers. School students beat university students, as well as workers from the leading companies, by a wide margin. What this means is that, first, we have great potential, a lot of young promising talent. It also means that a lot has to be done to change the professional training system. It’s what I spoke about. We just need to avoid acting formally here. There is now a clear understanding of what should be done, so now we must just start doing it. Once we engage in this effort, we must keep up the momentum, since despite the changes in labour professions and training, the key economic driver always was and will continue to be the availability of highly-skilled qualified workforce and engineers. A network of certification centres should be created so that workers can prove that they meet professional requirements.


      I’ll move on to the next topic, which is demographics. In the early 2000s, UN experts predicted further demographic decline in Russia. According to UN forecasts, the population of our country was supposed to shrink to 136 million people by the end of 2013. On January 1, 2014, the population of Russia was almost 144 million people, 8 million more than forecast by the United Nations.

      In addition, as you know, Russia registered natural population growth for two years in a row in 2013 and 2014. It is expected that by late 2014, with Crimea and Sevastopol included, Russia’s population will exceed 146 million people. Our demographic programmes have proved their effectiveness, and we will continue to implement them, with full coverage for the people of Crimea and Sevastopol. Families in Crimea and Sevastopol that have had a second or subsequent child since 2007 will receive the full amount of maternity capital.

      I would like to draw your attention to another important and meaningful fact. This year, Russia was for the first time recognised as a successful country in world health rankings. The average life expectancy in such countries exceeds 70 years. Currently, this indicator in Russia is over 71. I believe that we have every opportunity to increase average life expectancy to 74 years in the near future and achieve a drastic reduction in mortality. That’s why I propose declaring 2015 the National Year of Fighting Cardiovascular Diseases, which is the leading cause of death, and combining the efforts of healthcare workers, representatives of culture, education, media, civic and sports organisations in order to resolve this problem.

      The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi played an enormous role in promoting a healthy lifestyle. Once again, I’d like to congratulate our Olympians on their success.

      Of course, the kindest words go to the Paralympic athletes. Friends, you have become true heroes of Russia. Largely thanks to you, attitudes towards people with disabilities have undergone a dramatic change. I’m convinced that our society will become truly united when we provide equal opportunities to everyone.

      Government programmes must include measures to provide vocational training and employment opportunities to people with disabilities and create a barrier-free environment in all spheres of life. I suggest extending the Accessible Environment programme to 2020. We also need to create a modern domestic industry to manufacture goods for people with disabilities, including devices for physical therapy and rehabilitation.

      With regard to healthcare, it is imperative to complete the transition to an insurance-based system and to make sure all its mechanisms are working without a fault. We have been talking about it and working on it for quite a while now, but insurance-based medicine still isn’t working properly. Importantly, both patients and medical staff should have a clear understanding of how health insurance works. We must create a centralised system of public oversight over the quality of healthcare organisations with corresponding powers and levers. I’d like to ask the Government to amend the legislation accordingly.

      I also propose providing a special training certificate to doctors. They will use it to choose the best educational programme for them in order to take advanced courses and improve their skills. The hours and methods of such training should be convenient for the doctors.

      Even with the most advanced technological innovations in medicine, a doctor’s personal qualities remain important. That includes a focus on the patient, a noble attitude and commitment to their professional and moral duty. Such medical professionals are the backbone of our healthcare system. And we must create all the conditions for them to be able to do their job properly.

      Colleagues, yesterday, for the first time in many years, students in Russian schools wrote graduation compositions. This is another step towards a more objective system of evaluating the academic progress, knowledge, perspective and intellect of the younger generation and, importantly, the quality of the teachers’ work.

      I’d like to ask the Ministry of Education and Science in conjunction with the professional community to review the results of these compositions and the national final school exam and come up with solutions aimed at increasing teachers’ accountability and motivating children to learn new skills.

      It should be noted that the national final school exam has allowed gifted children from remote towns and villages and low-income families to apply to the nation’s best universities.

      Talented children are a valuable asset of the nation, and we need to provide additional support to young people who show an aptitude for technology, liberal arts or inventing at an early age, who have achieved success in national or international academic and professional contests, and have patents or publications in academic journals. We have many such young people.

      I propose establishing 5,000 annual presidential grants for talented young people who study at higher education institutions. Each grant will be for 20,000 rubles a month.
      Of course, certain conditions will apply for the duration of their studies at a higher education institution. First, such students must make a commitment to work for a certain time in Russia, as targeted training programmes currently require. Second, they would have to confirm their eligibility each year by demonstrating the necessary academic and personal achievements for the duration of their studies.

      Every child and teenager in our country should be able to find something to do outside the classroom. Any curtailment of extracurricular, supplemental education is unacceptable. Art, technology and music centres help create well-rounded people.

      I’d like to ask the Government and the regions to focus on this issue and come up with financial and organisational approaches to address it. Most importantly, children and their parents should have a choice between getting additional education at school, a municipal centre of creativity, or a non-governmental educational organisation.

      Importantly, all these options must be affordable and children must have access to classes taught by properly trained professionals.

      Another important issue that I spoke about in last year’s address is overcrowded schools and classrooms. We have crunched the numbers and found that we need to create an additional 4.5 million spots at schools.

      How did we arrive at this number? Today, nearly two million schoolchildren attend the second shift. There are schools with three shifts. In the coming years, with a growing birth rate (which we hope will continue), the number of pupils will increase by another 2.5 million.

      Naturally, we also have to solve the issue highlighted in the executive orders signed in 2012, that of increasing the number of preschools, something we spoke about with our colleagues from the Government yesterday. This is the way it should be. We have to consider all our opportunities and remember that one problem will intensify – that of spots at schools. I ask the Government, together with the regional authorities, to develop a comprehensive approach to resolving these issues.

      Education, healthcare, and the social welfare system should become a true public benefit and serve all citizens of the country. Attention to the people cannot be faked. You cannot simulate teaching, medical assistance or social care. We have to learn to feel respect for ourselves and honour reputation. It’s the reputation of individual hospitals, schools, universities and social institutions that form the country’s overall reputation.

      Citizens don’t have to think about where to apply for a social service: at a state, municipal or private organisation. They have the right to come to those who can provide professional assistance, with full dedication, putting their soul in their work. All the other things – including technical, organisational and legal issues concerning the provision of services – is the responsibility of the state, the responsibility to properly organise the work.

      We will continue to support socially oriented non-commercial organisations. Such NGOs, as a rule, bring together people who feel their civil duty and who are aware of how much mercy, attention, care and kindness mean. We should use their proposals and experience, especially when implementing social initiatives.

      We must not allow discrimination of the non-governmental sector in the social sphere and eliminate all barriers to it: not only legal ones, which have been mostly abolished, but also those that persist, I mean organisational and administrative barriers. Equal access should be provided for the non-governmental sector to financial resources.

      Competition is a crucial factor to boost the quality of services in the social sphere. Also, it is necessary to launch a mechanism of independent assessment of the quality of services and to ensure transparency of information on the work of agencies providing social services. I ask the Russian Popular Front, together with civic associations, to assist the reforms in the social sector.

      Following next year’s results, I plan to meet with representatives of the non-governmental sector. We will discuss what changes we have succeeded in achieving lately. Overall, we should considerably expand the opportunities for dialogue, for exchange of ideas between the Government and the public, particularly the Civic Chamber and its regional branches.

      These structures should be incorporated, both at the federal and regional level, into a comprehensive expert examination of draft laws and government decisions, including at the level of the so-called initial reading, which should serve as an efficient feedback mechanism.

      We can see how active citizens are and what constructive efforts they are taking. Not only are they highlighting issues for the authorities to tackle, they also actively participate in settling issues and problems. They realise full well that much depends on their personal efforts. The will, deeds and generosity of these people make up the invaluable social potential of the nation.

      Everyone who is prepared to take responsibility has to be involved in the implementation of the plans of developing the country, certain regions and municipalities. If the state and the public act as one, in an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual trust, success is guaranteed.

      I would like to address representatives of all political parties and social forces. I am counting on our joint consolidated work. Russia’s interests demand this unity and this work.

      Friends, citizens of Russia,

      I will conclude my address where I began it. This year, as has been the case many times during crucial historical moments, our people have demonstrated national enthusiasm, vital endurance and patriotism. The difficulties we are facing today also create new opportunities for us. We are ready to take up any challenge and win.
      Thank you.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Russian Air Force in 2015, received 150 aircraft and helicopters

      23:32 01/08/2015.

      FLOWING IN MULTI SU-30SM and Su-35S, SU-30M2, Frontovska LOVCI MIG-29SMT, fighter-bomber SU-34

      Russia's Air Force will within the military public procurement profit this year more than 150 aircraft and helicopters, told reporters a representative of the press service of the Ministry of Defense and information for RF Air Force Colonel Igor Klimov.

      "In accordance with military procurement for 2015 is planned for the army to gain more than 150 helicopters and planes" - said Klimov.

      According to him, Russia RV will receive the following technique: multi-purpose fighter aircraft Su-30SM, Su-30M2, Frontovska fighters MiG-29SMT, fighter-bomber Su-34 jet super-manerabilne multipurpose fighters Su-35S, ie a strong school-combat 130 passenger aircraft An-148 transport aircraft Il-76MD-90s.

      The army aviation will be delivered helicopters Ka-52, Mi-28N, Mi-8AMTŠ (MTV-5-1), Mi-8MTPR, Mi-35M, Mi-26, Ka-226 and Ansat-U.

      "The plan is that the Air Force be delivered radar systems" sky-M "," Gamma "," Sopka "radars for low height" Podljot "zenith missile systems S-400 zenith rocket fired systems" vest-S "- said the colonel.

      It also planned to distribute more than 30 trainers for members of the PSC jednicica and deployment of new aviation simulator in Toržku, Ryazan, Syzran and other cities.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Putin Cuts Off Gas Supply To Six European Countries Without Warning

      On January 14, Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s natural gas monopoly, Gazprom, to cut back by 60% the natural gas delivered to Europe through Ukraine. His ostensible reason: Ukraine was illegally siphoning off gas for its own use—a charge Ukraine denies. Overall Europe depends on Russia for 30% of its gas supplies, and some 80% of Europe’s Russian natural gas comes via Ukraine. Putin’s order would leave six countries in eastern and southeastern Europe totally without gas.

      Gazprom announced that it will instead ship gas previously transiting Ukraine to the Greek-Turkish border via a Black-Sea underwater pipeline. Gazprom’s CEO brushed off European objections that it has no infrastructure to handle such shipments, stating that “We have informed our European partners, and now it is up to them to put in place the necessary infrastructure starting from the Turkish-Greek border.” In other words, Europe must undertake a massive infrastructure investment to replace a well-functioning transmission system, just for Putin’s convenience.

      European Energy officials issued the following angry statement: “Without prior warning and in clear contradiction with the reassurances given by the highest Russian and Ukrainian authorities to the European Union, gas supplies to some EU member states have been substantially cut.”

      Putin’s out-of-the-blue order went largely unnoticed due to the tragic events in Paris and Switzerland’s sudden decision to float its currency, but it prompted emergency negotiations between Gazprom and European energy officials.

      The initial reaction from those paying attention was that Putin was bluffing. As the European Commission’s vice president for energy union told reporters, “The decision makes no economic sense.” Russia’s European natural gas sales were already plummeting before Putin’s dramatic announcement. Russia is desperate for hard currency earnings as sanctions exclude it from credit markets; its major companies face huge debt refinancing; Russia’s currency reserves are collapsing; the economy is heading towards a deep recession; and the ruble is hitting new lows.

      So far, however, Putin is making good on his bluff. Ukraine’s Naftogas reports that it has been completely shut off along with six countries of eastern and southeastern Europe. Among them, Bulgaria claims it has only a few days’ supply.

      Why is Vladimir Putin committing what many would think is economic suicide? By arbitrarily cutting gas supplies to six European countries and threatening the rest with severe cutbacks, he is surely destroying what was once Gazprom’s monopoly over the European gas market. As Europe’s chief negotiator declared in frustration, “We don’t work like this.” The loss of the European natural gas market would be a financial blow from which Russia could scarcely recover, and it almost insures the issuance of a charge of monopoly behavior against Gazprom, when the European anti-monopoly commission reports in June.
      The only possible economic rationale for Putin’s move is that it creates so much economic uncertainty that the prices of oil and natural gas rise. If this is his plan, it would have only a short-term effect that cannot offset the long term of losing the European market. Moreover, greater uncertainty will accelerate the capital flow from Russia and cause further losses in the ruble exchange rate. If uncertainty is Putin’s game, he will lose.

      The most likely explanation is the “rat trapped in a corner” theory that Putin always is most dangerous when he is trapped. Low oil prices, sanctions, the collapsing economy, the fall in the ruble, the snub at the G20 in Australia, and the failure of his Novorossiya crusade have combined to motivate him to lash out with whatever weapons remain in his hands. Russia’s more sober minds within the ruling elite have to consider whether Russia can tolerate such erratic behavior from the man who sits atop the power vertical that he has created.

    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Russia hit back on Wednesday at U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech

      Saying it showed the United States believes it is "number one" and seeks world domination.

      "The Americans have taken the course of confrontation and do not assess their own steps critically at all," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference.

      "Yesterday's speech by the president shows that at the centre of the (U.S.) philosophy is only one thing: 'We are number one and everyone else has to respect that.' ... It shows that the United States wants all the same to dominate the world and cannot merely be first among equals."

      This phase would pass, Lavrov said, but added that it would take time.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Hmmm... Wait a minute.

      "The Americans are number one and everyone else had BETTER respect that..."

      There, fixed it.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Look over here at my other hand!

      Vladimir Putin accuses U.S. of acting like imperialist Soviet Union

      10:48 a.m. ET

      Getty Pool

      Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned of the dangers of imperialism while saying his nation had no ambition to "restore the empire" of the post-World War II Soviet Union.
      Fielding questions during his annual call-in event with Russian citizens, Putin said Moscow's attempt to foist its economic model on neighboring states "ended in nothing good, this wasn't good, and we've got to admit it." And pivoting from there, Putin then dinged the U.S. for not realizing the same danger as it pursued a strikingly similar foreign policy.
      "By the way, this is what the United States is doing across the entire world now," he said. Jon Terbush
    1. Ryan Ruck's Avatar
      Ryan Ruck -

      Europe Faces A 'Real Threat' From Russia, Warns US Army Commander

      The commander of the US army in Europe, Lt-Gen Frederick "Ben" Hodges, says that NATO must remain united "as insurance" against Russia

      April 18, 2015

      The commander of the US army in Europe has warned that NATO must remain united in the face of a "real threat" from Russia.

      "It's not an assumption. There is a Russian threat," Lt-Gen Frederick "Ben" Hodges said.

      "You've got the Russian ambassador threatening that Denmark will be a nuclear target if it participates in any missile defence programme. And when you look at the unsafe way Russian aircraft are flying without transponders in proximity to civilian aircraft, that's not professional conduct."

      Gen Hodges spoke to the Telegraph on the sidelines of a military debriefing after an exercise to move live Patriot missiles 750 miles across Europe by road and deploy them on the outskirts of Warsaw.

      The sight of a US military convoy crossing the German-Polish border more than 20 years after the end of the Cold War made international headlines and brought traffic to a standstill as people posed for selfies beside the troops.

      The intention of such a highly visible deployment was to send a signal, Gen Hodges said.

      "That's exactly what it was about, reassuring our allies," he said.

      Gen Hodges pointed to recent Russian decisions to move Iskandar ballistic missiles to its Kaliningrad enclave, between Lithuania and Poland, and long-range nuclear-capable bombers to Crimea.

      "I don't think a military confrontation is inevitable. But you have to be militarily ready in order to enable effective diplomacy," he said.

      "The best insurance we have against a showdown is that NATO stands together."

      Since taking over command of the US army in Europe last year, Gen Hodges has found himself on the front line of an increasingly nervous stand-off with Vladimir Putin's Russia.

      Eastern European countries are looking to NATO, and the US in particular, for reassurance that they will not be left to face Russian aggression alone.

      A year after it pulled its last tank out of Europe, the US is sending hundreds of tanks and heavy fighting vehicles back to the continent, and Gen Hodges is in the middle of talks over where to position them.

      But he has also assumed command at a time when many Western European countries are cutting their military budgets, and relying ever more on the US for their defence.

      "I think the question for each country to ask is: are they security consumers or security providers?" Gen Hodges said. "Do they bring capabilities the alliance needs?"

      He declined to be drawn on the UK's defence budget, and the major parties' failure to commit to NATO's spending targetof 2 per cent of GDP.

      "My experience of the UK is principally of the British army, and they are one of the best armies in the world," he said. "They have extremely capable officers and NCOs.

      "The relationship between the US and the UK is as strong as ever and we are always looking for ways to strengthen it. We need the capability that the British bring. They've been by our side in everything we've done.

      "We've got our own challenges in the US army. Globally countries are facing pressure on defence spending, including the US.

      "I'm confident the UK will live up to its responsibilities."

      In recent years, while Western countries have been cutting their defence budgets, Russia has been spending heavily on modernising its military.

      "We're not interested in a fair fight with anyone," Gen Hodges said. "We want to have overmatch in all systems. I don't think that we've fallen behind but Russia has closed the gap in certain capabilities. We don't want them to close that gap."

      The recent involvement of Russian forces in fighting in eastern Ukraine has shown that they have made huge advances, particularly in electronic warfare, Gen Hodges said.

      But he doesn't think this is the start of a new Cold War.

      "That was a different situation, with gigantic forces and large numbers of nuclear weapons," he said. "The only thing that is similar now is that Russia and NATO have different views about what the security environment in Europe should be.

      "I don't think it's the same as the Cold War. We did very specific things then that are no longer relevant. We don't need 300,000 soldiers in Europe. Nobody can afford that any more.

      "We want to see Russia back in the international community and cooperating against Islamic terrorism and on Iran's nuclear ambitions. That's different from the Cold War."

      Gen Hodges has an easy manner with the men under his command, making jokes and asking the opinions of the most junior privates, as well as senior officers.

      He has combat experience as a brigade commander in Iraq, but in his current role he has to deal with different challenges.

      "I'm sure they're not going to line up Russian tanks and go rolling into another country," he said. "They don't want a military confrontation with NATO. Our alliance is the most successful alliance in history and it has a lot of capability."

      Russia will not risk an open attack on a NATO member, he believes, for fear the alliance will invoke Article V of its treaty, under which an attack on one member is an attack on all.

      Instead, the danger is that Russia will seek to put pressure on NATO members on its borders through other means.

      "Russia doesn't want to let the temperature reach 100C, they want to keep the temperature at 90C, 95C, but they try to keep it under 100C," he said.

      "There's information, economic pressure, border violations. There are different ways of keeping the pressure up. They don't want a clear attack, they want a situation where all 28 [NATO member countries] won't say there's a clear attack."

      He pointed to the large Russian-speaking populations in the Baltic countries, and the economic power Russia has as a major consumer of eastern European agricultural produce, as possible avenues Mr Putin may try to exploit.

      But he said that NATO remains united in the face of Russian aggression.

      "If President Putin's objective is to fracture the alliance, then he's going about it the wrong way," Gen Hodges said. "At the Wales summit there was a unity of the alliance I have not seen before, and it came about because of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and its use of force to change the borders of a sovereign country, Ukraine. It was a direct response to Russia's behaviour in Crimea."

      He points to recent moves by traditionally neutral Sweden and Finland to cooperate more closely on defence with NATO members Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

      "Nobody's trying to join Russia. There's no country scurrying to get under Russia's protective umbrella," he said.

      "Why do so many countries want to join the EU or NATO? It's about values. They want security and prosperity.

      "Russia wants to make it difficult for countries that were affiliated with the USSR or the Warsaw Pact to join the West. The way they see it they're entitled to a role, to a sphere of influence.

      "I think the position of the West is that this idea of a sphere of influence is not applicable in the 21st century. In the 21st century countries have the right to decide for themselves what is right for them and what kind of country they want to be. They've made the European choice. That's what this is all about."

      Since taking up his command, Gen Hodges has been outspoken over the Russian threat in a way that is rare for a serving general.

      "I think I understand my role. I don't make policy for the US or the alliance. I carry out policy," he said.

      He has chosen to speak out because he fears the Russia is going unchallenged in the information war, he said.

      "We talk about DIME: diplomacy, information, military and economy. An important aspect of how Russia operates is how they use information.

      "They use information the way they use infantry and missiles. They're not burdened by the truth. Most of the independent media has left Russia and a large percentage is government-owned or -dominated. They don't have to worry about congressional or parliamentary oversight. There's a constant bombardment of information."

      In his last interview before his death on Monday, Günter Grass, the Nobel-winning German author, said he feared that humanity was "sleepwalking" towards another World War.

      Gen Hodges disagreed. "I think we were sleepwalking a few years ago when we thought Russia wanted to be a part of the international community," he said. "They were with us in Bosnia. We actually have a mechanism for them to cooperate with NATO.

      "But I think we're wide-awake now."

      Then General hits on some great points but I think he is dead wrong on the new Cold War and us being "wide-awake".
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      "It's not an assumption. There is a Russian threat," Lt-Gen Frederick "Ben" Hodges said.

      The Russians are our friends. Everyone tells us this, so it MUST be true.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Russia claims it's in the early stages of developing an aircraft carrier that can hold 100 planes

      • Feb. 10, 2015, 5:02 PM
      • 29,857
      • 21

      Screenshot/www.youtube.comAnother angle on the mockup.

      Russia's government-owned Krylov State Research Center is on its way towards developing Russia's latest aircraft carrier, according to Russian media.

      The aircraft carrier is in a very rudimentary stage of its development. It's still under conceptual testing in Krylov's laboratory.
      But if the tests prove successful and the carrier's design is deemed plausible, the research center will follow through with a 1:1 scale metal mock-up of the carrier (China may have just constructed its own mock-up of a new carrier).
      According to Russia's TV Vezda, the carrier would be able to stow 100 aircraft onboard. The body of the carrier is also being designed to minimize drag by 20% compared to past Russian carriers. If built, the vessel would be Russia's first carrier to debut since the Admiral Kuznetsov, which launched in 1985. The Kuznetsov is Russia's only functioning carrier.
      TV Vezda also stated that the ship would feature catapults on the ship's top to launch aircraft during storms. However, this claim is countered by the fact that the carrier's models feature a ski-ramp style aircraft in the front aircraft takeoff like older Soviet models, which did not have catapults.
      The Russian carrier, if constructed, would be slightly larger than the US's current Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, which can carry around 90 aircraft.

      Screenshot/www.youtube.comKrylov's small scale mockup of its future carrier.

      However, any indication of Russian plans should be taken with skepticism. The carrier is still in a conceptual phase and only a scaled mockup has been built so far. Any plans for Russia's construction of the carrier could also be seriously hampered as Moscow is expected to enter a recession due to current economic sanctions and the falling value of the Russian ruble. It might not have the money for this ambitious of a military project, especially with so many other needs.

      Russia's drive to modernize its navy comes as its force is deteriorating rapidly. The vast majority of Russia's Navy is a holdover from the country's Soviet fleet. These ships are older than Moscow would like and suffer from frequent mechanical failures.

      Of Russia's 270 strong navy, only about 125 vessels are functional. Only approximately 45 of those 125 ships and submarines are functional and deployable, according to War Is Boring.

      Russia was meant to have received two Mistral-class assault ships from France in 2014 as part of its fleet modernization, but the deal was put on hold over the crisis in Ukraine.

      In Oct. 2014, China's Xinhua reported that Russia would seek to acquire an advanced aircraft carrier by the 2030s. The vessel would be capable of operating in diverse environments and could accommodate both manned and unmanned systems.

      Russia completed project nuclear powered supercarrier

      02:32 05/21/2015.

      Was named "Storm" A MODEL OF ITS BEING EXPOSED TO MARITIME FAIR IN S. Petersburg

      You will be able to autonomously navigating 120 days. It has a crew of 4,000-5,000 people, and will be able to perform tasks at the height of waves up to nine meters. He will carry 80-90 combat aircraft and helicopters of various purposes, plus jet aircraft radar reconnaissance and helicopters Ka-27

      DESIGNING new multipurpose heavy aircraft supercarrier "Storm" has been completed in the State Scientific Centre "Krilov," the agency TASS.

      According to the director of this scientific center Valeria Polyakova, the new ship will be able to perform various tasks away from the naval base because it will be capable of destroying land and sea targets opponents using their own weapons and aircraft from an air group, as well as achieving self-defense.

      Main constructive "surprise" of an aircraft carrier is a possibility of replacing the conventional engine, which is equipped with atomic.

      Dimensions and characteristics of the ship are: displacement: 90-100 thousand tons, length 330 m, width 40 m, draft: 11 m, maximum speed: 30 knots, the speed of navigation: 20 knots, autonomy: 120 days. Impressive is the number of crew - 4,000-5,000 people.

      An aircraft carrier will be able to perform tasks at the height of waves up to nine meters. Air group consists of 80-90 combat aircraft (airplanes and helicopters) for different purposes, plus jet aircraft radar reconnaissance and helicopters Ka-27 countries.

      The planes will ascend not only by the two kickers, but the two electromagnetic catapult.

      Air defense system will protect four with vertical zenith rocket launch and the ship will be able to equip and antitorpedskim system.

      According to the Poles, the characteristics of the ship can be modified during construction at each stage works, when a potential client is asked to modify weapons systems and equipment.

      The sphere of application of atomic engine in a war fleet still is - top Russian designers' thoughts. Russia in this area holds advantages inherited from the USSR.

      At the international naval show in St. Petersburg in 2015, as promising designers will be shown a model "Storm" of large dimensions.

      According to experts, the new aircraft carrier opens the most incredible opportunities for the application of nuclear aircraft carriers.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Russian Defense Ministry signed a new contract to deliver 30 Yak-130s by 2018

      Within the framework of the state defense order SDO 2016-2018 the Ministry of Defence and the PJSC "Corporation" Irkut ", part of the United Aircraft Corporation, signed a contract for the supply of air and space forces of Russia trainer aircraft Yak-130.

      State contract for the supply signed by Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov and President of PJSC "Corporation" Irkut "Oleg Demchenko.

      In accordance with the terms of the contract before the end of 2018 30 Yak-130 will be transferred to video conferencing.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Quote Originally Posted by vector7 View Post
      Preparing your boys to openly serve...

      Quote Originally Posted by vector7 View Post
      Biden: More Women And Gays In Military Only Makes It Stronger

      Jonah Bennett
      12:18 PM 05/22/2016

      In a speech to West Point’s class of 2016, Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday that more women and openly gay soldiers will only serve to make the U.S. military stronger.

      “Having men and women together in the battlefield is an incredible asset, particularly when they’re asked to lead teams in parts of the world with fundamentally different expectations and norms,” Biden said in his graduation speech at West Point, according to The Associated Press.

      Biden heaped praise on Eugene Coleman, the class president, for coming out as gay.

      “E.J. would have been discharged from the Army, and we would have lost an incredible talent,” Biden said, referring to standard practice before the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2010. “Thanks for your courage, E.J., and I expect we’re going to hear big things from you, pal.”

      Pushing diversity has been a central objective of the Obama administration.

      Earlier this week, the Senate finally confirmed Eric Fanning, President Barack Obama’s pick for Secretary of the Army. He was initially nominated in September, but GOP Sen. Pat Roberts placed a hold on the nomination, saying he wanted assurances that the Pentagon would not move detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Kansas. Roberts insisted that his hold had nothing to do with Fanning’s sexual orientation. This hold infuriated White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who blasted Roberts for trying to grab public attention.

      In December, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter opened all combat roles up to women, a move which has kicked off additional efforts to facilitate integration. The Navy and Marine Corps are conducting a review to make sure job titles don’t unfairly exclude women by having the word “man” in them.
      Quote Originally Posted by vector7 View Post
      Army Approves First Female Officers For Ground Combat Roles

      Via Free Beacon:

      The U.S. Army has approved the first 22 women the service will commission as infantry and armor officers in the coming weeks.

      USA Today reported that the nearly two dozen women are close to completing their officer training either at West Point or in ROTC or Officer Candidate School. The service will commission them as second lieutenants upon their graduation.

      In order to completely qualify for the roles, the women need to successfully finish the specialty schools and meet all physical requirements. Thirteen of the women will become armor officers, while nine others will commissioned as infantry officers.

      The announcement is a telling development in the military’s effort to integrate women into the force’s combat roles. It comes in the wake of Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s order that the military open up all combat roles to women this year.

      In issuing the order, Carter rejected a request from the Marine commandant that some ground combat jobs remain closed to women. A Marine Corps study released last year found that female Marines were injured twice as often as their male counterparts, less accurate with infantry weapons, and less effective at removing injured troops from the battlefield.

      Carter has defended his decision as an effort to select from the “ largest pool of people” to fill combat roles.

      The military has anticipated small numbers of women to put themselves up for combat roles at first.

      In February, Carter encouraged women to “step forward” into the newly opened combat positions.
      Russian schools push to begin Army Training students at 10 years old

      20 May 2016

      Photo AFP

      School children in Russia will soon be taught a variety of military skills such as maintaining firearms as part of a new drive by the country's defence ministry.

      The training will be provided by a revived Soviet-era organisation called Yunarmiya - or Young Army - and will be launched on 22 May as a pilot scheme in the city of Yaroslavl, before going nationwide in September, according to the state news agency RIA-Novosti. It will include things like assembling assault rifles, shooting and parachute jumping, but also theoretical subjects such as military history and tactics, the Gazeta.ru news website reports, quoting defence ministry officials.

      Students will wear uniform, and units will have their own "headquarters" and banner. The age group is likely to be 14 to 18, but could start as soon as 10. Officials stress that attendance will not be compulsory, and will be in addition to normal existing lessons.

      The aim appears to be to expand the military education already offered by schools. Russia has seen a surge in nationalism since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and the ministry says it seeks to make the country's "growing number of patriotic military movements" more structured.

      Views on these developments appear to be mixed. "Attempts to militarise children are a violation of their rights," Valentina Melnikova - who heads a soldiers' rights group - tells Gazeta. But the head of a rival, government-funded organisation, Andrei Kurochkin, says there is a need to "strengthen discipline, raise the prestige of the army and develop patriotic education". One parent who spoke to Gazeta is less than impressed: "I wonder if there will be any normal schools left," he says.



      Meanwhile here in America's public schools 10 year old children...

      Chicago schools to teach 5th graders how to ‘increase sexual pleasure’

      planned parenthood , sex ed

      CAUTION: The following article includes some graphic descriptions of sexuality in explaining the contents of a sex ed program intended for ten-year-olds.

      Last year, Chicago’s public school district outraged local parents and made national headlines when it announced its new sex education program would include kindergarteners. Now, the program is again stirring controversy, as parents at one elementary school reacted with shock and dismay upon learning that their 5th grade students – ages 10 and 11 – would be taught how to use female condoms and lube for both vaginal and anal sex, with an emphasis on longer-lasting intercourse and enhanced sexual pleasure.

      Parents at Andrew Jackson Language Academy were invited to attend a seminar on the school’s sex-ed program in a letter from school principal Mathew Ditto. The letter promised that during the seminar, school faculty and a Chicago Public Schools representative would “share the lessons and information that will be taught to your child.”

      According to the letter, topics to be covered in the sex-ed program beginning in kindergarten include personal safety, human reproduction and childbirth, puberty, abstinence and healthy relationships. Starting in 4th grade, information about HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases is introduced. By 5th grade, students are taught how to obtain and use contraception, including a condom demonstration...

      Quote Originally Posted by vector7 View Post
      As Obama Weakens America, The Russians And Chinese Prepare

      Jeremiah Johnson
      November 16th, 2015

      Comments (109)
      Read by 7,216 people

      Jeremiah Johnson is a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne) and a graduate of the U.S. Army’s SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape).

      We have seen some very heinous events over the past years of the Obama administration’s rule. We have seen the hollowing out of our military command structure (everyone is familiar with the list of field-grade and general staff-level commanders purged by Obama). We witnessed the “mothballing” of TARS (the balloon system complementing NORAD). We watch, as this administration shuts down production of the Tomahawk cruise missile, gets rid of the A-10 “Warthog” fleet that destroys tanks, and retires a dozen cruisers of the U.S. Navy, along with the aircraft carrier George Washington.

      We watched one of the greatest examples of complicit treason and traitorous behavior as Obama sat on a well-lit stage in the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Summit, leaned over toward Dmitri Medvedev, and said, “Tell Vladimir, I will have more flexibility after the next election.” This statement concerned the stationing of U.S. missile defenses in eastern Europe and the reduction of ICBM’s (the United States’ missiles).

      We watch as Obama has used his cabinet and the power-base he enjoyed when he had control of the U.S. Senate to lower the standards of the U.S. military, weakening it and turning it into an institution where his fundamental transformation agenda takes precedence over battle readiness and effectiveness. Unit cohesion is being undermined and destroyed, and the strength of our armed forces is on the wane.

      We watched on as Obama handed the Chinese and Russians our response matrices and battle plans under the auspices of “Partnership Readiness and Joint Training Exercises.”

      This refers specifically to operations with the participation and direction of FEMA with joint drills between U.S. and Chinese forces in Hawaii November 12-14, 2013. These drills were conducted for “disaster management,” specifically for “humanitarian purposes,” and on U.S. soil. One of the administration’s “Yes-men,” American Admiral Sam Locklear stated:
      “These types of exercises give us a good place to start and to get into the kind of rhythm of understanding and trusting each other.”

      This came from the mouth of a U.S. Admiral, the commander of US Pacific Command. It is a shame that he isn’t being quoted right now with the standoff that is currently taking place between China and the U.S. just outside of Chinese territorial waters. What would his opinion be of the new hypersonic missile that China has developed to take out an entire carrier group with just ¼ megaton warhead?

      Just this past weekend we witnessed more weakness and obfuscation regarding the missile launched off of the coast of California in the evening of 11/7/15, witnessed by thousands of people. Dave Hodges posted a comment from a gentleman who worked on Trident missiles who believed the launch (by the U.S. Navy) was to gauge response time and effectiveness in dealing with an SLBM (Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile). Remember, the THAD system has proven itself several times under rigidly controlled conditions in Hawaii to be an abysmal failure regarding missile intercepts.

      Matching the level of the (purposeful, administration-designed) U.S. complacency, the Russian military has been matchless in terms of tactical acumen and performance.

      Vladimir Putin’s brilliance is visible in the Russian offer in the form of a request for the U.S. to join it in the fight against ISIL/ISIS… a war against the very entity created and sponsored by the Obama administration. By not accepting the Russian offer, the U.S. appears not to be helping its “fellow partner and actor” on the world-stage of affairs. If it does accept, then the U.S. fights against its own creation.

      The Russians are quietly and patiently on the move. We witnessed the annexation (the conquest) of Ukraine. Now a bitter semi-stalemate exists between ethnic Russian separatists with Ukrainian citizenship and the Ukrainian military, the former also “augmented” with Spetsnaz units. Those selfsame units have rotated into the Syrian theater of operations. We are watching the ongoing actions in Syria with the continuous Russian bombing of ISIS and the gradual movement of ground troops into the country.

      Russia has been on the move, now, incrementally and patiently. In December 2013, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that Russia would respond with nuclear weapons. The Yars (SS-29) ICBM has been developed that can penetrate all current U.S. missile defenses. For those who may think this piece to be “slanted” towards current U.S. policy, please think again:

      The U.S. has been in the process (for decades) of destabilizing former Soviet-bloc, eastern European nations with the infusion of capital from the IMF and with the insertion of American bases, military personnel, and war materials.

      The Varshavyanka-class submarines (diesel, improved Kilo-class subs), also known as Project 636, with stealth technology and improved range in combat, are capable of striking targets on the land, under water, and on the surface. A 45-day range without refueling, and an arsenal of 18 torpedoes and 8 SAM’s (surface to air missiles) make these subs very formidable. They also can be fitted with cruise missiles capable of delivering a 250 kiloton warhead. They have been labeled the “black holes” of the ocean by the U.S. navy. One of these bad boys cruising up the Chesapeake Bay and into the Potomac…could pop out a cruise missile and fry DC in under three minutes.

      A federal police officer reported on Steve Quayle’s website that Russia has been moving her subs into the Pacific, prepositioning its assets to conduct an attack on the West Coast of the U.S. and/or an EMP-device attack. The U.S. has been pushing things in Syria. Remember on March 24, 2014, that Andrei Kozyrev, former Russian Foreign Minister said that the Ukraine crisis was “in the 11th hour” to avoid a nuclear war. The U.S. was pushing things then in Europe, and this was the reason for the declaration of willingness to use nukes. On March 22, just two days earlier, the U.S. had sent 12 F-16 fighter planes and 300 troops to Poland.

      The main point is that the U.S. and the NATO countries are now facing nations that are not backing down and if anything are taking a superior position regarding a potential attack posture. With the U.S. economy in a shambles and our military capabilities seriously compromised, the fall is visible on the horizon and steadily approaching. The situation changes on a daily basis, but one can see the two sides are on a collision course, one way or another.

      Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson is also a Gunsmith, a Certified Master Herbalist, a Montana Master Food Preserver, and a graduate of the U.S. Army’s SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape). He lives in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with his wife and three cats. You can follow Jeremiah’s regular writings at SHTFplan.com or contact him here.
      This article may be republished or excerpted with proper attribution to the author and a link to www.SHTFplan.com.
    1. Ryan Ruck's Avatar
      Ryan Ruck -

      Russian MoD Pondering Re-Launch Of Military Bases In Cuba And Vietnam – Deputy Defense Minister

      October 7, 2016

      Moscow is considering plans to return to Cuba and Vietnam where it had military bases in the past, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pankov said on Friday, according to RIA news agency.

      “We are working on this,” Pankov said, while declining to elaborate. The Russian Defense Ministry is re-assessing the decisions made in the past to shut down the bases in those countries, according to the defense official.

      Previously the deputy head of the foreign affairs committee of the Russian parliament, Aleksey Chepa said that Russia “should re-assess the issue of our presence in other regions of the world. I believe that it would correspond with Russian interests to restore the bases in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa that were closed,” as quoted by TASS.

      There were Soviet and Russian military bases in Cuba and Vietnam until 2002. The Russian navy was deployed in Cam Rahn, Vietnam, and Russia had a radio-electronic intelligence center in Lourdes, Cuba.

      While functioning, the Lourdes SIGINT facility was the largest of its kind operated by the USSR (and later Russia) outside of the country. The facility occupied 73 square kilometers and hosted some 1,500 employees at the peak of its activity.

      The Soviet Union leased the Cam Rahn base rent-free from 1979 until 2004. In June 2001, the Vietnamese government announced that following the expiry of Russia's lease, Hanoi would “not sign an agreement with any country to use Cam Ranh Bay for military purposes.”

      However, at the end of 2014, a deal was signed between Russian and Vietnam, setting up standards of use of Russian warships in the port of Cam Ranh. According to the simplified procedure, Russian ships would only have to give prior notice to the Vietnamese authorities before entering Cam Ranh Bay, while other foreign navies would be limited to only one ship visit a year to Vietnamese ports.

      Back in May, Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Nguyen Thanh Sean told RIA Novosti that Vietnam isn’t against the return of Russia to the military base in Cam Ranh Bay, but this cooperation shouldn’t be directed against third countries.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -

      We are ready to continue building the Union State of Russia and Belarus, including establishing a joint issuing centre, single customs service, court and accounts chamber. In this case, we will also have a joint pricing and tariff policy
      — Dmitry Medvedev (@MedvedevRussiaE)
      December 13, 2018

    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      The chill in US-Russia relations has some worried about stumbling into a military conflict

      By: Robert Burns, The Associated Press   April 14
      An Air Force maintenance unit crew chief inspects the wings of a B-52 Stratofortress at RAF Fairford, England, on March 28, 2019. There are more than 400 airmen and six aircraft deployed to RAF Fairford in support of U.S. Strategic Command’s Bomber Task Force in Europe and the base acts as the United States Air Forces' forward operating location for bombers in Europe. (Staff Sgt. Philip Bryant/Air Force)

      WASHINGTON — It has the makings of a new Cold War, or worse.

      The deep chill in U.S.-Russian relations is stirring concern in some quarters that Washington and Moscow are in danger of stumbling into an armed confrontation that, by mistake or miscalculation, could lead to nuclear war.

      American and European analysts and current and former U.S. military officers say the nuclear superpowers need to talk more. A foundational arms control agreement is being abandoned and the last major limitation on strategic nuclear weapons could go away in less than two years. Unlike during the Cold War, when generations lived under threat of a nuclear Armageddon, the two militaries are barely on speaking terms.

      "During the Cold War, we understood each other's signals. We talked," says the top NATO commander in Europe, U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who is about to retire. "I'm concerned that we don't know them as well today."
      Scaparrotti, in his role as Supreme Allied Commander Europe, has met only twice with Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian general staff, but has spoken to him by phone a number of other times.

      "I personally think communication is a very important part of deterrence," Scaparrotti said, referring to the idea that adversaries who know each other's capabilities and intentions are less likely to fall into conflict. "So, I think we should have more communication with Russia. It would ensure that we understand each other and why we are doing what we're doing."

      He added: "It doesn't have to be a lot."

      U.S. European Command Commander Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti hosts a command "all hands" at Patch Barracks, Germany, Sept. 10, 2018. (Visual Information Specialist Rey Ramon/Army)

      The United States and Russia, which together control more than 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons, say that in August they will leave the 1987 treaty that banned an entire class of nuclear weapons. And there appears to be little prospect of extending the 2010 New Start treaty that limits each side's strategic nuclear weapons.

      After a period of post-Cold War cooperation on nuclear security and other defense issues, the relationship between Washington and Moscow took a nosedive, particularly after Russian forces entered the former Soviet republic of Georgia in 2008. Tensions spiked with Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014 and its military intervention in eastern Ukraine. In response, Congress in 2016 severely limited military cooperation with Russia.

      The law prohibits "military-to-military cooperation" until the secretary of defense certifies that Russia "has ceased its occupation of Ukrainian territory" and "aggressive activities." The law was amended last year to state that it does not limit military talks aimed at "reducing the risk of conflict."

      Relations frayed even further amid U.S. allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, although President Donald Trump has doubted Russian complicity in what U.S. intelligence agencies assert was an effort by Moscow to boost Trump’s chances of winning the White House. After a Helsinki summit with Putin in July, Trump publicly accepted the Kremlin leader’s denial of interference.

      Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview Friday that Russian behavior is to blame for the strained relationship.

      "It's very difficult for us to have normal relationships with a country that has not behaved normally over the last few years," Dunford said. "There are major issues that affect our bilateral relationship that have to be addressed, to include where Russia has violated international laws, norms and standards."

      Dunford said he speaks regularly with Gerasimov, his Russian counterpart, and the two sides talk on other levels.

      "I'm satisfied right now with our military-to-military communication to maintain a degree of transparency that mitigates the risk of miscalculation," he said. "I think we have a framework within to manage a crisis, should one occur, at the senior military-to-military level."

      James Stavridis, a retired Navy admiral who was the top NATO commander in Europe from 2009 to 2013, says the West must confront Russia where necessary, including on its interventions in Ukraine and Syria. But he believes there room for cooperation on multiple fronts, including the Arctic and arms control.

      "We are in danger of stumbling backward into a Cold War that is to no one's advantage," he said in an email exchange. "Without steady, political-level engagement between the defense establishments, the risk of a true new Cold War rises steadily."
      No one is predicting a deliberate Russian act of war in Europe, but the decline in regular talks is a worry to many.

      Moscow says it is ready to talk.

      "Russia remains open for interaction aimed at de-escalating tension, restoring mutual trust, preventing any misinterpretations of one another's intentions, and reducing the risk of dangerous incidents," the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement last week in response to NATO's 70th anniversary celebration.

      Sam Nunn, who served in the Senate as a Democrat from Georgia from 1972 to 1997, argues that dialogue with Russia is too important to set aside, even if it carries domestic political risk.

      "You can't call time out," he said in an interview. "The nuclear issues go on, and they're getting more dangerous."

      Nunn co-wrote an opinion piece with former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Defense Secretary William Perry arguing that the U.S. and its allies and Russia are caught in a "policy paralysis" that could lead to a military confrontation and potentially the first use of nuclear weapons since the U.S. bombed Japan in August 1945.

      "A bold policy shift is needed," they wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, "to support a strategic re-engagement with Russia and walk back from this perilous precipice. Otherwise, our nations may soon be entrenched in a nuclear standoff more precarious, disorienting and economically costly than the Cold War."

      A group of U.S., Canadian, European and Russian security experts and former officials in February issued a call for talks with Russia on crisis management.

      "The risks of mutual misunderstanding and unintended signals that stem from an absence of dialogue relating to crisis management ... are real," the Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group said in a statement.

      It said this could lead to conventional war with Russia or, in a worst case scenario, “the potential for nuclear threats, or even nuclear use, where millions could be killed in minutes.”