January 3, 2010: The government is calling for more
money to be spent on developing new ICBMs. This is because the Russian
fear of American technology takes it as fact that U.S. anti-missile
defenses will, otherwise, eventually render Russian missiles useless.
While this is ability is not generally accepted in the West, in Russia
there are many who believe that the Americans are out to neutralize
Russian ICBMs, thus eliminating the only leverage Russia has to stop
America from "doing whatever it wants." But it's difficult getting more
money for new missiles, when the rest of the armed forces are falling
apart because Cold War era, non-nuclear, weapons have to be replaced.
Real soon. Or else.
Although the Internet recently implemented the ability to use web
site and domain names (like .ru) in alphabets other than the Roman one
used in the West, most Russians do not want to be forced, by the
government, to only use web site names written in the Russian
(Cyrillic) alphabet. Most Russian web users believe such a policy is
just another step towards the return of the Soviet era police state.
officials, both in Moscow and in the Caucasus, are blaming outside
influence (American aid and cash from Moslem countries) for keeping the
violence going. This is an interesting response to the real reasons;
corruption and bad administration. But it's a typical response. Blame
January 1, 2010: In yet another effort to curb
alcoholism, a higher minimum price has been established for vodka, and
similar beverages. At the same time, police are cracking down harder on
illegal manufacturing and distribution of vodka.
2009: In Dagestan, police found and killed a leader in the Islamic
terrorism there. Umalat Magomedov was known as the "Emir (military
leader) of Dagestan" to his Islamic radical followers. He was killed,
along with three of his followers in the gun battle.
24, 2009: The government has decided to take some serious steps to root
out corruption in the national police (Ministry of the Interior) force.
The new proposal is to cut the Ministry of Interior manpower 20
percent. In theory, the cuts would include, for the most part, the
corrupt cops and officials. However, the dismissals are not to start
until 2012, giving the bad guys time to shoot down this idea, like they
had done so many times in the past.
December 23, 2009: The
Defense Ministry made it official. The Bulava missile program will
proceed no matter what. The 13th test of this new Bulava, submarine
launched ballistic missile, failed on December 9th. This makes seven
failures, a record that would normally cause a program to be cancelled.
But Bulava (a submarine version of the successful Topol M ICBM) is
itself a replacement of an earlier failed effort to develop a new SLBM
(Sea Launched Ballistic Missile) for the new Borei class subs. These
ballistic missile nuclear subs (SSBN, or “boomers”) will replace the
current Delta IV class SSBNs. The Delta IVs are getting old, and have
only about a decade of useful service left. But The new Borei SSBNs are
useless without a new SLBM. One Borei is in service and two more are
under construction. In another decade, there might be six Boreis in
service, and apparently the navy is going to get Bulava into service no
matter what (as in ignoring a high percentage of missiles likely to
fail if used.) This would not be the first time this happened, but in
the past, such failure-prone weapons had their defects hidden from the
public. Not so with Bulava, whose failure has been a very public
spectacle. This sort of thing is eroding the pride, confidence, and
nostalgia Russians have had for their Soviet era past. Most of the
Soviet era military failures are still state secrets, but people are
beginning to understand that the past was not as glorious as they had
December 19, 2009: Georgia blew up a Soviet era
World War II memorial, to make way for a new parliament building.
Russia protested. This is part of a trend, where memorials to Russian
rule, in nations that used to be part of the Soviet Union, are
increasingly defaced or destroyed. Russians consider this ungrateful
and disrespectful, but the locals want to be rid of symbols of Russian
occupation and oppression. Most Russians can't comprehend this
attitude, which is a big problem for the non-Russian world.
17, 2009: The head of NATO declared that Russia was no longer a threat
to the West. But Russia is still a threat to many of the new countries
that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, and NATO would like to
work out some sort of deal with Russia on how NATO and Russia would
cope with things like the war between Georgia and Russia in 2008, and
the subsequent annexation of Georgian territory by Russia. Russia is
December 15, 2009: Vietnam has signed the
contract to purchase six Kilo class submarines, for $300 million each,
from Russia. This is part of a larger package, that includes over a
dozen patrol boats, at least two frigates and dozens of aircraft. In
effect, Russia is supplying the weapons to modernize Vietnam's armed
forces. Until Vietnam enacted market economy reforms in the last two
decades, the country was broke. But that has changed, and Russia
offered attractive prices. This annoys China, which considers Vietnam
part of southern China. But despite centuries of military efforts, the
Chinese could never keep Vietnam under control. Now Russia is arming
this wayward part of the motherland. China has not made open claims on
Vietnam for over a century, but the animosity, and memories, are still