Daily Archives: August 4, 2007

Annals of the Horrors of Nashi

The Thoughts of a Conservative Christian blog reports:

MOST OF US REMEMBER the joke from the famous Robin Williams film Good Morning, Vietnam.

“Here’s Airman Adrian Cronauer with a little riddle for you. What’s the difference between the army and the cub scouts? Ahhhnnn. Cub scouts don’t have heavy artillery.”

Nashi1.jpg

The latest incarnation of the scouts in Russia does not have its own artillery–not yet, anyway–but they did have several Russian Air Force (VVS) jets at their disposal this past week. A flight of six Sukhoi Su-27 fighters (shown above) — part of the VVS’s demonstration team — performed Tuesday for thousands of members of the youth group Nashi. The occasion was the group’s annual summer outdoor camp at Lake Seliger, a site some 350 kilometers from Moscow.

The Nashi summer camp has now been turned into campaign stop and political pulpit for major figures in the Russian government–hence the willingness of the powers-that-be in the Kremlin to spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars it cost to put on the Su-27 aerial display for the event.

The six aircraft had to fly a full three hours to reach the site of the Nashi camp, put on a one-hour show and then return to their base at Lipetsk. VVS officials would not provide any cost figures for the show they put on, but one of Russia’s most well-known test pilots, Magomed Tolboyev, told Obshaya Gazeta in Moscow that it would cost at least $216,000. This is based on afigure of $12,000 per flight hour to operate the Su-27, which consumes 5 to 6 tons of aviation fuel per hour. Aviation fuel costs about 20,000 roubles ($790) per ton, and this does not include the additional expense of airport landing and takeoff fees and air traffic control charges.

Annals of Russian Imperialism: The Battle for the Arctic

“I’m not sure of whether they’ve put a metal flag, a rubber flag or a bed sheet on the ocean floor. Either way, it doesn’t have any legal standing or effect on this claim.”

U.S. State Department

“Look, this isn’t the 15th century. You can’t go around the world and plant flags and say, ‘We’re claiming this territory.”

Canadian Foreign Ministry

Russia’s government-issued daily newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta stated on Friday that Russia’s mission to the sea floor below the polar ice cap “is the start of a new redistribution of the world.” Western governments responded by heaping appropriate scorn on Russia’s outrageous and untenable act of imperialism.

It seems that Russia, just like the USSR before it, is quite content to alienate the entire world and try to go it alone. Russia stands without a single nation of consequence as an ally, and after directly provoking Great Britain and the EU with its outrageous conduct in the Litvinenko matter is now going after Canada and the United States.

And so, Russia will go the way of the USSR.

Now This: Russia’s Space Program in Shambles

Dr. Smith! Will Robinson! Warning! Warning! Danger, danger! RIA Novosti reports:

Nikolai Sevastyanov, now a former president of the Energiya Space Rocket Corporation – the flagship company of Russia’s space industry – was forced to step down on the last day of July, despite the support of his top management.

Officially, the Russian Space Agency, or Roskosmos, has repeatedly said that Sevastyanov’s plans, especially those concerned with manned flights, did not fit into the 2006-2015 Federal Space Program. More than that, they said the former Energiya manager’s activities were not in line with the goals facing Russia’s ambitions in space. The reference was to a new reusable space transport system and a deep space research program, or missions to the Moon and Mars.

The trouble, however, is that opponents of the disgraced top manager are not in a position to shed light on the situation surrounding the Kliper project or to explain what is being done in this direction.

“By 2014, Russia may drop behind the United States, China and the European Union in manned flights unless it continues developing a new spacecraft. By 2014, the U.S. is planning to complete a new ship, the Orion, which will put up stiff competition against our Soyuz craft on the international market. We may seriously fall behind in technologies by that time,” a worried Sevastyanov said.

It was to address that problem that the corporation had developed, mainly with extra-budgetary funds, the well-known spacecraft Kliper, which has suited Roskosmos until now and been a visiting card of Russia’s rocket industry at many international air shows, including Russia’s MAKS-2005. Now, instead of an almost implemented program, which was, according to Sevastyanov, the reason behind his dismissal, modernization of the Soyuz spacecraft, of fifty years vintage, is being suggested for the hundredth time.

“I think we will finalize the ultimate shape of the manned craft in the near future and submit our proposals to Roskosmos. I think it will be this year,” the corporation’s newly elected president, Vitaly Lopota, said on July 31. That, however, is no longer news, because this is not the first time the words have been spoken. On the other hand, his remarks about the Kliper are remarkable.

“I can say that we will not put the Kliper on view (at MAKS-2007 – A.K.). In the next few months we will take a close look at this idea, which was once voiced by former corporation manager Yury Semyonov.”

Somehow, one gets the feeling that the program for a very modern craft design is being made to appear obsolete. But does it mean, then, that the half-century-old equipment (Soyuz) is really genuine innovation?

Energiya supervises the operation of the Russian segment of the International Space Station and coordinates this unique and technologically very promising international program. But it is not clear how Roskosmos is planning to run the station in the near future with only Soyuz and Progress vehicles.

It is no secret that the Americans may either call a total halt to their orbital activities or reduce them to one-off expeditions that do not require regular flights to the station. We will be lucky if our partners manage to honor their pledge to fly enough shuttles to complete the deployment of the ISS. After that the shuttles will retire to clear the decks and provide money for a new American dream – another mission to the Moon and a flight to Mars.

You can cavil at these plans and Sevastyanov’s remarks about mining minerals on the Moon for as long as you like. Your efforts will not materialize in a new craft nor convince anybody that Russia can effectively run the completed orbital complex.

Of course, one can take it easy and continue taking pride in the number of annual launches and link research plans with the number of tourists wishing to have a ride on the ISS. But then it is not clear whether the Russian space effort has any future prospects worth pursuing.

Now This: Russia’s Space Program in Shambles

Dr. Smith! Will Robinson! Warning! Warning! Danger, danger! RIA Novosti reports:

Nikolai Sevastyanov, now a former president of the Energiya Space Rocket Corporation – the flagship company of Russia’s space industry – was forced to step down on the last day of July, despite the support of his top management.

Officially, the Russian Space Agency, or Roskosmos, has repeatedly said that Sevastyanov’s plans, especially those concerned with manned flights, did not fit into the 2006-2015 Federal Space Program. More than that, they said the former Energiya manager’s activities were not in line with the goals facing Russia’s ambitions in space. The reference was to a new reusable space transport system and a deep space research program, or missions to the Moon and Mars.

The trouble, however, is that opponents of the disgraced top manager are not in a position to shed light on the situation surrounding the Kliper project or to explain what is being done in this direction.

“By 2014, Russia may drop behind the United States, China and the European Union in manned flights unless it continues developing a new spacecraft. By 2014, the U.S. is planning to complete a new ship, the Orion, which will put up stiff competition against our Soyuz craft on the international market. We may seriously fall behind in technologies by that time,” a worried Sevastyanov said.

It was to address that problem that the corporation had developed, mainly with extra-budgetary funds, the well-known spacecraft Kliper, which has suited Roskosmos until now and been a visiting card of Russia’s rocket industry at many international air shows, including Russia’s MAKS-2005. Now, instead of an almost implemented program, which was, according to Sevastyanov, the reason behind his dismissal, modernization of the Soyuz spacecraft, of fifty years vintage, is being suggested for the hundredth time.

“I think we will finalize the ultimate shape of the manned craft in the near future and submit our proposals to Roskosmos. I think it will be this year,” the corporation’s newly elected president, Vitaly Lopota, said on July 31. That, however, is no longer news, because this is not the first time the words have been spoken. On the other hand, his remarks about the Kliper are remarkable.

“I can say that we will not put the Kliper on view (at MAKS-2007 – A.K.). In the next few months we will take a close look at this idea, which was once voiced by former corporation manager Yury Semyonov.”

Somehow, one gets the feeling that the program for a very modern craft design is being made to appear obsolete. But does it mean, then, that the half-century-old equipment (Soyuz) is really genuine innovation?

Energiya supervises the operation of the Russian segment of the International Space Station and coordinates this unique and technologically very promising international program. But it is not clear how Roskosmos is planning to run the station in the near future with only Soyuz and Progress vehicles.

It is no secret that the Americans may either call a total halt to their orbital activities or reduce them to one-off expeditions that do not require regular flights to the station. We will be lucky if our partners manage to honor their pledge to fly enough shuttles to complete the deployment of the ISS. After that the shuttles will retire to clear the decks and provide money for a new American dream – another mission to the Moon and a flight to Mars.

You can cavil at these plans and Sevastyanov’s remarks about mining minerals on the Moon for as long as you like. Your efforts will not materialize in a new craft nor convince anybody that Russia can effectively run the completed orbital complex.

Of course, one can take it easy and continue taking pride in the number of annual launches and link research plans with the number of tourists wishing to have a ride on the ISS. But then it is not clear whether the Russian space effort has any future prospects worth pursuing.

Now This: Russia’s Space Program in Shambles

Dr. Smith! Will Robinson! Warning! Warning! Danger, danger! RIA Novosti reports:

Nikolai Sevastyanov, now a former president of the Energiya Space Rocket Corporation – the flagship company of Russia’s space industry – was forced to step down on the last day of July, despite the support of his top management.

Officially, the Russian Space Agency, or Roskosmos, has repeatedly said that Sevastyanov’s plans, especially those concerned with manned flights, did not fit into the 2006-2015 Federal Space Program. More than that, they said the former Energiya manager’s activities were not in line with the goals facing Russia’s ambitions in space. The reference was to a new reusable space transport system and a deep space research program, or missions to the Moon and Mars.

The trouble, however, is that opponents of the disgraced top manager are not in a position to shed light on the situation surrounding the Kliper project or to explain what is being done in this direction.

“By 2014, Russia may drop behind the United States, China and the European Union in manned flights unless it continues developing a new spacecraft. By 2014, the U.S. is planning to complete a new ship, the Orion, which will put up stiff competition against our Soyuz craft on the international market. We may seriously fall behind in technologies by that time,” a worried Sevastyanov said.

It was to address that problem that the corporation had developed, mainly with extra-budgetary funds, the well-known spacecraft Kliper, which has suited Roskosmos until now and been a visiting card of Russia’s rocket industry at many international air shows, including Russia’s MAKS-2005. Now, instead of an almost implemented program, which was, according to Sevastyanov, the reason behind his dismissal, modernization of the Soyuz spacecraft, of fifty years vintage, is being suggested for the hundredth time.

“I think we will finalize the ultimate shape of the manned craft in the near future and submit our proposals to Roskosmos. I think it will be this year,” the corporation’s newly elected president, Vitaly Lopota, said on July 31. That, however, is no longer news, because this is not the first time the words have been spoken. On the other hand, his remarks about the Kliper are remarkable.

“I can say that we will not put the Kliper on view (at MAKS-2007 – A.K.). In the next few months we will take a close look at this idea, which was once voiced by former corporation manager Yury Semyonov.”

Somehow, one gets the feeling that the program for a very modern craft design is being made to appear obsolete. But does it mean, then, that the half-century-old equipment (Soyuz) is really genuine innovation?

Energiya supervises the operation of the Russian segment of the International Space Station and coordinates this unique and technologically very promising international program. But it is not clear how Roskosmos is planning to run the station in the near future with only Soyuz and Progress vehicles.

It is no secret that the Americans may either call a total halt to their orbital activities or reduce them to one-off expeditions that do not require regular flights to the station. We will be lucky if our partners manage to honor their pledge to fly enough shuttles to complete the deployment of the ISS. After that the shuttles will retire to clear the decks and provide money for a new American dream – another mission to the Moon and a flight to Mars.

You can cavil at these plans and Sevastyanov’s remarks about mining minerals on the Moon for as long as you like. Your efforts will not materialize in a new craft nor convince anybody that Russia can effectively run the completed orbital complex.

Of course, one can take it easy and continue taking pride in the number of annual launches and link research plans with the number of tourists wishing to have a ride on the ISS. But then it is not clear whether the Russian space effort has any future prospects worth pursuing.

Now This: Russia’s Space Program in Shambles

Dr. Smith! Will Robinson! Warning! Warning! Danger, danger! RIA Novosti reports:

Nikolai Sevastyanov, now a former president of the Energiya Space Rocket Corporation – the flagship company of Russia’s space industry – was forced to step down on the last day of July, despite the support of his top management.

Officially, the Russian Space Agency, or Roskosmos, has repeatedly said that Sevastyanov’s plans, especially those concerned with manned flights, did not fit into the 2006-2015 Federal Space Program. More than that, they said the former Energiya manager’s activities were not in line with the goals facing Russia’s ambitions in space. The reference was to a new reusable space transport system and a deep space research program, or missions to the Moon and Mars.

The trouble, however, is that opponents of the disgraced top manager are not in a position to shed light on the situation surrounding the Kliper project or to explain what is being done in this direction.

“By 2014, Russia may drop behind the United States, China and the European Union in manned flights unless it continues developing a new spacecraft. By 2014, the U.S. is planning to complete a new ship, the Orion, which will put up stiff competition against our Soyuz craft on the international market. We may seriously fall behind in technologies by that time,” a worried Sevastyanov said.

It was to address that problem that the corporation had developed, mainly with extra-budgetary funds, the well-known spacecraft Kliper, which has suited Roskosmos until now and been a visiting card of Russia’s rocket industry at many international air shows, including Russia’s MAKS-2005. Now, instead of an almost implemented program, which was, according to Sevastyanov, the reason behind his dismissal, modernization of the Soyuz spacecraft, of fifty years vintage, is being suggested for the hundredth time.

“I think we will finalize the ultimate shape of the manned craft in the near future and submit our proposals to Roskosmos. I think it will be this year,” the corporation’s newly elected president, Vitaly Lopota, said on July 31. That, however, is no longer news, because this is not the first time the words have been spoken. On the other hand, his remarks about the Kliper are remarkable.

“I can say that we will not put the Kliper on view (at MAKS-2007 – A.K.). In the next few months we will take a close look at this idea, which was once voiced by former corporation manager Yury Semyonov.”

Somehow, one gets the feeling that the program for a very modern craft design is being made to appear obsolete. But does it mean, then, that the half-century-old equipment (Soyuz) is really genuine innovation?

Energiya supervises the operation of the Russian segment of the International Space Station and coordinates this unique and technologically very promising international program. But it is not clear how Roskosmos is planning to run the station in the near future with only Soyuz and Progress vehicles.

It is no secret that the Americans may either call a total halt to their orbital activities or reduce them to one-off expeditions that do not require regular flights to the station. We will be lucky if our partners manage to honor their pledge to fly enough shuttles to complete the deployment of the ISS. After that the shuttles will retire to clear the decks and provide money for a new American dream – another mission to the Moon and a flight to Mars.

You can cavil at these plans and Sevastyanov’s remarks about mining minerals on the Moon for as long as you like. Your efforts will not materialize in a new craft nor convince anybody that Russia can effectively run the completed orbital complex.

Of course, one can take it easy and continue taking pride in the number of annual launches and link research plans with the number of tourists wishing to have a ride on the ISS. But then it is not clear whether the Russian space effort has any future prospects worth pursuing.

Now This: Russia’s Space Program in Shambles

Dr. Smith! Will Robinson! Warning! Warning! Danger, danger! RIA Novosti reports:

Nikolai Sevastyanov, now a former president of the Energiya Space Rocket Corporation – the flagship company of Russia’s space industry – was forced to step down on the last day of July, despite the support of his top management.

Officially, the Russian Space Agency, or Roskosmos, has repeatedly said that Sevastyanov’s plans, especially those concerned with manned flights, did not fit into the 2006-2015 Federal Space Program. More than that, they said the former Energiya manager’s activities were not in line with the goals facing Russia’s ambitions in space. The reference was to a new reusable space transport system and a deep space research program, or missions to the Moon and Mars.

The trouble, however, is that opponents of the disgraced top manager are not in a position to shed light on the situation surrounding the Kliper project or to explain what is being done in this direction.

“By 2014, Russia may drop behind the United States, China and the European Union in manned flights unless it continues developing a new spacecraft. By 2014, the U.S. is planning to complete a new ship, the Orion, which will put up stiff competition against our Soyuz craft on the international market. We may seriously fall behind in technologies by that time,” a worried Sevastyanov said.

It was to address that problem that the corporation had developed, mainly with extra-budgetary funds, the well-known spacecraft Kliper, which has suited Roskosmos until now and been a visiting card of Russia’s rocket industry at many international air shows, including Russia’s MAKS-2005. Now, instead of an almost implemented program, which was, according to Sevastyanov, the reason behind his dismissal, modernization of the Soyuz spacecraft, of fifty years vintage, is being suggested for the hundredth time.

“I think we will finalize the ultimate shape of the manned craft in the near future and submit our proposals to Roskosmos. I think it will be this year,” the corporation’s newly elected president, Vitaly Lopota, said on July 31. That, however, is no longer news, because this is not the first time the words have been spoken. On the other hand, his remarks about the Kliper are remarkable.

“I can say that we will not put the Kliper on view (at MAKS-2007 – A.K.). In the next few months we will take a close look at this idea, which was once voiced by former corporation manager Yury Semyonov.”

Somehow, one gets the feeling that the program for a very modern craft design is being made to appear obsolete. But does it mean, then, that the half-century-old equipment (Soyuz) is really genuine innovation?

Energiya supervises the operation of the Russian segment of the International Space Station and coordinates this unique and technologically very promising international program. But it is not clear how Roskosmos is planning to run the station in the near future with only Soyuz and Progress vehicles.

It is no secret that the Americans may either call a total halt to their orbital activities or reduce them to one-off expeditions that do not require regular flights to the station. We will be lucky if our partners manage to honor their pledge to fly enough shuttles to complete the deployment of the ISS. After that the shuttles will retire to clear the decks and provide money for a new American dream – another mission to the Moon and a flight to Mars.

You can cavil at these plans and Sevastyanov’s remarks about mining minerals on the Moon for as long as you like. Your efforts will not materialize in a new craft nor convince anybody that Russia can effectively run the completed orbital complex.

Of course, one can take it easy and continue taking pride in the number of annual launches and link research plans with the number of tourists wishing to have a ride on the ISS. But then it is not clear whether the Russian space effort has any future prospects worth pursuing.

Annals of Russian "Sportsmanship"

Sometimes certain readers question our judgment in reporting on tennis, saying nobody’s interested. Well, it so happens that we were simply deluged with advance e-mails about the following story, we believe we’ve received more messages about this than about any other story in advance of publication.

So there. Nyaahh! ;P

The International Herald Tribune reports:

Tennis officials are investigating suspicious betting patterns on a match involving top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia [LR: That’s him with the fishing pole. Why? He’s a Russian tennis player, that’s why!] , who retired with an injury against a low-ranked opponent at an ATP tournament in Poland. In an unprecedented move, British online gambling company Betfair voided all bets Friday placed on Thursday’s second-round match at the Prokom Open in Sopot between the defending champion and No. 4-ranked Davydenko and No. 87-ranked Martin Vassallo Arguello of Argentina. Betfair said it received about US$7 million in bets on the match — 10 times the usual amount — and most of the money was on Arguello to win, even after Davydenko won the first set 6-2. Arguello won the second set 6-3 and was leading 2-1 in the third when the Russian retired. Davydenko said he aggravated a left foot injury in the second set. He received medical attention from a tournament trainer before deciding to quit. Betfair, which has had an agreement with the ATP since 2003 to share information on any irregular betting activity, said it was concerned with the volume of wagers coming in on Arguello from the start. “We think the market quite clearly wasn’t fair,” Betfair managing director Mark Davies said. “The prices seemed very odd. As a result, in the interest of fairness and integrity and in consultation with the ATP, we have decided to void the market and return all stakes to (bettors).” It’s the first time the company has taken such a step in any sport. Davies said Betfair would turn over its betting records for the ATP to investigate. “The ATP takes issues surrounding gambling extremely seriously,” the men’s tour said in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring our sport remains corruption free and have strict rules in place governing this area.

The faithful LR reader may remember Mr. Davydenko from our prior posts here and here telling you about his high level of professionalism, maturity and classic Russian integrity.