Daily Archives: August 11, 2007

August 11, 2007 — Contents

SATURDAY AUGUST 11 CONTENTS


(1) Kalugin on Being Russian

(2) Cohen on Russia’s Arctic Gambit

(3) Golts on Russia’s Potemkin Military

NOTE: Check out La Russophobe‘s latest installment on Publius Pundit, where she deals with Russia’s most recent act of blatant aggression against the world, namely sending nuclear bombers to buzz the island of Guam during U.S. military exercises there.

Cohen on Russia’s Neo-Soviet Arctic Gambit and Why it Must be Stopped

Writing in the Washington Times the Heritage Foundation’s Ariel Cohen (pictured) lays bare the horror of Russian imperialism in the Arctic (hat tip: Robert Amsterdam).

By planting the Russian flag on the seabed under the North Pole and claiming a sector of the Continental Shelf the size of Western Europe, Moscow generated a new source of international tension, seemingly out of the blue.

Geopolitics and geoeconomics are driving Moscow’s latest moves. The potential profits are certainly compelling. Geologists believe a quarter of the world’s oil and gas — billions of barrels and trillions of cubic feet — may be located on the Arctic Continental Shelf and possibly under the polar cap.

The Arctic, the final frontier, also harbors precious, ferrous and nonferrous metals, as well as diamonds. At today’s prices, these riches may be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. And if the ice caps melt and shrink, not only will these resources will be more accessible than they are today, but a new sea route along the northern coast of Eurasia may be open to reach them.

The other side of the economic coin is political — the exploration and exploitation of polar petroleum and other resources may be a mega-project for the 21st century — the kind of opportunity that Russia is seeking to satisfy its ambition to become what President Vladimir Putin has termed “an energy superpower.”

In 2001 Russia filed a claim to expand the continental shelf with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf under the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), to which it is a party. However, in 2002 the commission declared it neither accepts nor rejects the Russian claim, and demanded more study. Russia plans to resubmit the claim, and expects to get the answer by 2010.

Russia’s claims are literally on thin ice. Moscow is extending its claim to the Arctic Ocean seabed based on its control of the Lomonosov Ridge and the Mendeleev Ridge, two underwater geological structures that jut into the ocean from the Russian continental shelf. However, it looks like the ridges do not extend far enough to justify Moscow’s claims beyond its 200-mile economic zone, while other countries also claim control of the same area.

This latest move by Moscow is also a chilling throwback to the 1930s Stalinist attempts to conquer the Arctic during the years when the U.S.S.R. was seized by fear and hatred. Stalin and his henchmen executed “enemies of the people” by the hundreds of thousands in mock trials and in the basements of the Lubyanka secret police headquarters, or in unnamed killing sites in the woods. Those not yet arrested were forced to applaud the “heroes of the Arctic”: pilots, sailors and explorers, in a macabre celebration of Stalinist tyranny.

To the regime’s critics, today’s expedition is a chilly reminder of the brutal era when millions of Gulag prisoners were sent to the frozen expanses to build senseless mega-projects for the power-crazy dictator.

Today’s Russian rhetoric is reminiscent of the past two centuries. The leader of the Arctic expedition, Artur Chilingarov, deputy chairman of the Russian Duma, proclaimed, “The Arctic is ours and we should manifest our presence.” Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Institute declared, “This is like placing a flag on the moon” — conveniently forgetting the United States never claimed the moon as its territory.

Andrei Kokoshin, chairman of a parliamentary committee on the ex-Soviet region, said Russia “will have to actively defend its interests in the Arctic” and called for reinforcing Russia’s Northern Fleet and border guard units and building airfields to “ensure full control.” Vladimir Putin spoke on a Russian nuclear powered ice-breaker earlier this year, urging greater efforts to secure Russia’s “strategic, economic, scientific and defense interests” in the Arctic.

A crisis over Russian claims in the Arctic would be perfectly avoidable, if Russia is prepared to behave in a more civilized manner. If Moscow suggested exploring the Arctic’s wealth in a cooperative fashion, in partnership with the United States and other countries aboard, this could become a productive project that furthered international cooperation. However, the current rush to dominate the Arctic Ocean and everything under it indicates that greed and aggression characterize the new Russian polar bear.

The State Department has expressed its skepticism regarding planting of the Russian flag, and said it has no legal standing or effect on Russia’s claim. Canada has voiced similar objections.

To stop the expansion, the U.S. should encourage its friends and allies — Canada, Denmark and Norway — to pursue their claims in the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. While the United Sates has not ratified the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), other Arctic countries, including Norway and Denmark, have filed their own claims with the Commission, opposing Russian demands.

The Nordic countries do not view Russia’s attempted seabed grab kindly. Nor should they. The U.S. should also encourage Canada to coordinate a possible claim through the International Justice Court in The Hague against the Russian grab.

Russia’s decision to take an aggressive stand has left the U.S., Canada and the Nordic countries little choice but to design a cooperative High North strategy, and invite other friendly countries, such as Great Britain, to expend the necessary means to build up the Western presence in the Arctic. This will probably have to include a fleet of modern icebreakers, submersibles, geophysics/seismic vessels, and polar aircraft.

There is too much at stake to leave it to the Russian bear.

Cohen on Russia’s Neo-Soviet Arctic Gambit and Why it Must be Stopped

Writing in the Washington Times the Heritage Foundation’s Ariel Cohen (pictured) lays bare the horror of Russian imperialism in the Arctic (hat tip: Robert Amsterdam).

By planting the Russian flag on the seabed under the North Pole and claiming a sector of the Continental Shelf the size of Western Europe, Moscow generated a new source of international tension, seemingly out of the blue.

Geopolitics and geoeconomics are driving Moscow’s latest moves. The potential profits are certainly compelling. Geologists believe a quarter of the world’s oil and gas — billions of barrels and trillions of cubic feet — may be located on the Arctic Continental Shelf and possibly under the polar cap.

The Arctic, the final frontier, also harbors precious, ferrous and nonferrous metals, as well as diamonds. At today’s prices, these riches may be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. And if the ice caps melt and shrink, not only will these resources will be more accessible than they are today, but a new sea route along the northern coast of Eurasia may be open to reach them.

The other side of the economic coin is political — the exploration and exploitation of polar petroleum and other resources may be a mega-project for the 21st century — the kind of opportunity that Russia is seeking to satisfy its ambition to become what President Vladimir Putin has termed “an energy superpower.”

In 2001 Russia filed a claim to expand the continental shelf with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf under the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), to which it is a party. However, in 2002 the commission declared it neither accepts nor rejects the Russian claim, and demanded more study. Russia plans to resubmit the claim, and expects to get the answer by 2010.

Russia’s claims are literally on thin ice. Moscow is extending its claim to the Arctic Ocean seabed based on its control of the Lomonosov Ridge and the Mendeleev Ridge, two underwater geological structures that jut into the ocean from the Russian continental shelf. However, it looks like the ridges do not extend far enough to justify Moscow’s claims beyond its 200-mile economic zone, while other countries also claim control of the same area.

This latest move by Moscow is also a chilling throwback to the 1930s Stalinist attempts to conquer the Arctic during the years when the U.S.S.R. was seized by fear and hatred. Stalin and his henchmen executed “enemies of the people” by the hundreds of thousands in mock trials and in the basements of the Lubyanka secret police headquarters, or in unnamed killing sites in the woods. Those not yet arrested were forced to applaud the “heroes of the Arctic”: pilots, sailors and explorers, in a macabre celebration of Stalinist tyranny.

To the regime’s critics, today’s expedition is a chilly reminder of the brutal era when millions of Gulag prisoners were sent to the frozen expanses to build senseless mega-projects for the power-crazy dictator.

Today’s Russian rhetoric is reminiscent of the past two centuries. The leader of the Arctic expedition, Artur Chilingarov, deputy chairman of the Russian Duma, proclaimed, “The Arctic is ours and we should manifest our presence.” Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Institute declared, “This is like placing a flag on the moon” — conveniently forgetting the United States never claimed the moon as its territory.

Andrei Kokoshin, chairman of a parliamentary committee on the ex-Soviet region, said Russia “will have to actively defend its interests in the Arctic” and called for reinforcing Russia’s Northern Fleet and border guard units and building airfields to “ensure full control.” Vladimir Putin spoke on a Russian nuclear powered ice-breaker earlier this year, urging greater efforts to secure Russia’s “strategic, economic, scientific and defense interests” in the Arctic.

A crisis over Russian claims in the Arctic would be perfectly avoidable, if Russia is prepared to behave in a more civilized manner. If Moscow suggested exploring the Arctic’s wealth in a cooperative fashion, in partnership with the United States and other countries aboard, this could become a productive project that furthered international cooperation. However, the current rush to dominate the Arctic Ocean and everything under it indicates that greed and aggression characterize the new Russian polar bear.

The State Department has expressed its skepticism regarding planting of the Russian flag, and said it has no legal standing or effect on Russia’s claim. Canada has voiced similar objections.

To stop the expansion, the U.S. should encourage its friends and allies — Canada, Denmark and Norway — to pursue their claims in the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. While the United Sates has not ratified the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), other Arctic countries, including Norway and Denmark, have filed their own claims with the Commission, opposing Russian demands.

The Nordic countries do not view Russia’s attempted seabed grab kindly. Nor should they. The U.S. should also encourage Canada to coordinate a possible claim through the International Justice Court in The Hague against the Russian grab.

Russia’s decision to take an aggressive stand has left the U.S., Canada and the Nordic countries little choice but to design a cooperative High North strategy, and invite other friendly countries, such as Great Britain, to expend the necessary means to build up the Western presence in the Arctic. This will probably have to include a fleet of modern icebreakers, submersibles, geophysics/seismic vessels, and polar aircraft.

There is too much at stake to leave it to the Russian bear.

Cohen on Russia’s Neo-Soviet Arctic Gambit and Why it Must be Stopped

Writing in the Washington Times the Heritage Foundation’s Ariel Cohen (pictured) lays bare the horror of Russian imperialism in the Arctic (hat tip: Robert Amsterdam).

By planting the Russian flag on the seabed under the North Pole and claiming a sector of the Continental Shelf the size of Western Europe, Moscow generated a new source of international tension, seemingly out of the blue.

Geopolitics and geoeconomics are driving Moscow’s latest moves. The potential profits are certainly compelling. Geologists believe a quarter of the world’s oil and gas — billions of barrels and trillions of cubic feet — may be located on the Arctic Continental Shelf and possibly under the polar cap.

The Arctic, the final frontier, also harbors precious, ferrous and nonferrous metals, as well as diamonds. At today’s prices, these riches may be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. And if the ice caps melt and shrink, not only will these resources will be more accessible than they are today, but a new sea route along the northern coast of Eurasia may be open to reach them.

The other side of the economic coin is political — the exploration and exploitation of polar petroleum and other resources may be a mega-project for the 21st century — the kind of opportunity that Russia is seeking to satisfy its ambition to become what President Vladimir Putin has termed “an energy superpower.”

In 2001 Russia filed a claim to expand the continental shelf with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf under the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), to which it is a party. However, in 2002 the commission declared it neither accepts nor rejects the Russian claim, and demanded more study. Russia plans to resubmit the claim, and expects to get the answer by 2010.

Russia’s claims are literally on thin ice. Moscow is extending its claim to the Arctic Ocean seabed based on its control of the Lomonosov Ridge and the Mendeleev Ridge, two underwater geological structures that jut into the ocean from the Russian continental shelf. However, it looks like the ridges do not extend far enough to justify Moscow’s claims beyond its 200-mile economic zone, while other countries also claim control of the same area.

This latest move by Moscow is also a chilling throwback to the 1930s Stalinist attempts to conquer the Arctic during the years when the U.S.S.R. was seized by fear and hatred. Stalin and his henchmen executed “enemies of the people” by the hundreds of thousands in mock trials and in the basements of the Lubyanka secret police headquarters, or in unnamed killing sites in the woods. Those not yet arrested were forced to applaud the “heroes of the Arctic”: pilots, sailors and explorers, in a macabre celebration of Stalinist tyranny.

To the regime’s critics, today’s expedition is a chilly reminder of the brutal era when millions of Gulag prisoners were sent to the frozen expanses to build senseless mega-projects for the power-crazy dictator.

Today’s Russian rhetoric is reminiscent of the past two centuries. The leader of the Arctic expedition, Artur Chilingarov, deputy chairman of the Russian Duma, proclaimed, “The Arctic is ours and we should manifest our presence.” Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Institute declared, “This is like placing a flag on the moon” — conveniently forgetting the United States never claimed the moon as its territory.

Andrei Kokoshin, chairman of a parliamentary committee on the ex-Soviet region, said Russia “will have to actively defend its interests in the Arctic” and called for reinforcing Russia’s Northern Fleet and border guard units and building airfields to “ensure full control.” Vladimir Putin spoke on a Russian nuclear powered ice-breaker earlier this year, urging greater efforts to secure Russia’s “strategic, economic, scientific and defense interests” in the Arctic.

A crisis over Russian claims in the Arctic would be perfectly avoidable, if Russia is prepared to behave in a more civilized manner. If Moscow suggested exploring the Arctic’s wealth in a cooperative fashion, in partnership with the United States and other countries aboard, this could become a productive project that furthered international cooperation. However, the current rush to dominate the Arctic Ocean and everything under it indicates that greed and aggression characterize the new Russian polar bear.

The State Department has expressed its skepticism regarding planting of the Russian flag, and said it has no legal standing or effect on Russia’s claim. Canada has voiced similar objections.

To stop the expansion, the U.S. should encourage its friends and allies — Canada, Denmark and Norway — to pursue their claims in the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. While the United Sates has not ratified the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), other Arctic countries, including Norway and Denmark, have filed their own claims with the Commission, opposing Russian demands.

The Nordic countries do not view Russia’s attempted seabed grab kindly. Nor should they. The U.S. should also encourage Canada to coordinate a possible claim through the International Justice Court in The Hague against the Russian grab.

Russia’s decision to take an aggressive stand has left the U.S., Canada and the Nordic countries little choice but to design a cooperative High North strategy, and invite other friendly countries, such as Great Britain, to expend the necessary means to build up the Western presence in the Arctic. This will probably have to include a fleet of modern icebreakers, submersibles, geophysics/seismic vessels, and polar aircraft.

There is too much at stake to leave it to the Russian bear.

Cohen on Russia’s Neo-Soviet Arctic Gambit and Why it Must be Stopped

Writing in the Washington Times the Heritage Foundation’s Ariel Cohen (pictured) lays bare the horror of Russian imperialism in the Arctic (hat tip: Robert Amsterdam).

By planting the Russian flag on the seabed under the North Pole and claiming a sector of the Continental Shelf the size of Western Europe, Moscow generated a new source of international tension, seemingly out of the blue.

Geopolitics and geoeconomics are driving Moscow’s latest moves. The potential profits are certainly compelling. Geologists believe a quarter of the world’s oil and gas — billions of barrels and trillions of cubic feet — may be located on the Arctic Continental Shelf and possibly under the polar cap.

The Arctic, the final frontier, also harbors precious, ferrous and nonferrous metals, as well as diamonds. At today’s prices, these riches may be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. And if the ice caps melt and shrink, not only will these resources will be more accessible than they are today, but a new sea route along the northern coast of Eurasia may be open to reach them.

The other side of the economic coin is political — the exploration and exploitation of polar petroleum and other resources may be a mega-project for the 21st century — the kind of opportunity that Russia is seeking to satisfy its ambition to become what President Vladimir Putin has termed “an energy superpower.”

In 2001 Russia filed a claim to expand the continental shelf with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf under the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), to which it is a party. However, in 2002 the commission declared it neither accepts nor rejects the Russian claim, and demanded more study. Russia plans to resubmit the claim, and expects to get the answer by 2010.

Russia’s claims are literally on thin ice. Moscow is extending its claim to the Arctic Ocean seabed based on its control of the Lomonosov Ridge and the Mendeleev Ridge, two underwater geological structures that jut into the ocean from the Russian continental shelf. However, it looks like the ridges do not extend far enough to justify Moscow’s claims beyond its 200-mile economic zone, while other countries also claim control of the same area.

This latest move by Moscow is also a chilling throwback to the 1930s Stalinist attempts to conquer the Arctic during the years when the U.S.S.R. was seized by fear and hatred. Stalin and his henchmen executed “enemies of the people” by the hundreds of thousands in mock trials and in the basements of the Lubyanka secret police headquarters, or in unnamed killing sites in the woods. Those not yet arrested were forced to applaud the “heroes of the Arctic”: pilots, sailors and explorers, in a macabre celebration of Stalinist tyranny.

To the regime’s critics, today’s expedition is a chilly reminder of the brutal era when millions of Gulag prisoners were sent to the frozen expanses to build senseless mega-projects for the power-crazy dictator.

Today’s Russian rhetoric is reminiscent of the past two centuries. The leader of the Arctic expedition, Artur Chilingarov, deputy chairman of the Russian Duma, proclaimed, “The Arctic is ours and we should manifest our presence.” Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Institute declared, “This is like placing a flag on the moon” — conveniently forgetting the United States never claimed the moon as its territory.

Andrei Kokoshin, chairman of a parliamentary committee on the ex-Soviet region, said Russia “will have to actively defend its interests in the Arctic” and called for reinforcing Russia’s Northern Fleet and border guard units and building airfields to “ensure full control.” Vladimir Putin spoke on a Russian nuclear powered ice-breaker earlier this year, urging greater efforts to secure Russia’s “strategic, economic, scientific and defense interests” in the Arctic.

A crisis over Russian claims in the Arctic would be perfectly avoidable, if Russia is prepared to behave in a more civilized manner. If Moscow suggested exploring the Arctic’s wealth in a cooperative fashion, in partnership with the United States and other countries aboard, this could become a productive project that furthered international cooperation. However, the current rush to dominate the Arctic Ocean and everything under it indicates that greed and aggression characterize the new Russian polar bear.

The State Department has expressed its skepticism regarding planting of the Russian flag, and said it has no legal standing or effect on Russia’s claim. Canada has voiced similar objections.

To stop the expansion, the U.S. should encourage its friends and allies — Canada, Denmark and Norway — to pursue their claims in the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. While the United Sates has not ratified the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), other Arctic countries, including Norway and Denmark, have filed their own claims with the Commission, opposing Russian demands.

The Nordic countries do not view Russia’s attempted seabed grab kindly. Nor should they. The U.S. should also encourage Canada to coordinate a possible claim through the International Justice Court in The Hague against the Russian grab.

Russia’s decision to take an aggressive stand has left the U.S., Canada and the Nordic countries little choice but to design a cooperative High North strategy, and invite other friendly countries, such as Great Britain, to expend the necessary means to build up the Western presence in the Arctic. This will probably have to include a fleet of modern icebreakers, submersibles, geophysics/seismic vessels, and polar aircraft.

There is too much at stake to leave it to the Russian bear.

Cohen on Russia’s Neo-Soviet Arctic Gambit and Why it Must be Stopped

Writing in the Washington Times the Heritage Foundation’s Ariel Cohen (pictured) lays bare the horror of Russian imperialism in the Arctic (hat tip: Robert Amsterdam).

By planting the Russian flag on the seabed under the North Pole and claiming a sector of the Continental Shelf the size of Western Europe, Moscow generated a new source of international tension, seemingly out of the blue.

Geopolitics and geoeconomics are driving Moscow’s latest moves. The potential profits are certainly compelling. Geologists believe a quarter of the world’s oil and gas — billions of barrels and trillions of cubic feet — may be located on the Arctic Continental Shelf and possibly under the polar cap.

The Arctic, the final frontier, also harbors precious, ferrous and nonferrous metals, as well as diamonds. At today’s prices, these riches may be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. And if the ice caps melt and shrink, not only will these resources will be more accessible than they are today, but a new sea route along the northern coast of Eurasia may be open to reach them.

The other side of the economic coin is political — the exploration and exploitation of polar petroleum and other resources may be a mega-project for the 21st century — the kind of opportunity that Russia is seeking to satisfy its ambition to become what President Vladimir Putin has termed “an energy superpower.”

In 2001 Russia filed a claim to expand the continental shelf with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf under the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), to which it is a party. However, in 2002 the commission declared it neither accepts nor rejects the Russian claim, and demanded more study. Russia plans to resubmit the claim, and expects to get the answer by 2010.

Russia’s claims are literally on thin ice. Moscow is extending its claim to the Arctic Ocean seabed based on its control of the Lomonosov Ridge and the Mendeleev Ridge, two underwater geological structures that jut into the ocean from the Russian continental shelf. However, it looks like the ridges do not extend far enough to justify Moscow’s claims beyond its 200-mile economic zone, while other countries also claim control of the same area.

This latest move by Moscow is also a chilling throwback to the 1930s Stalinist attempts to conquer the Arctic during the years when the U.S.S.R. was seized by fear and hatred. Stalin and his henchmen executed “enemies of the people” by the hundreds of thousands in mock trials and in the basements of the Lubyanka secret police headquarters, or in unnamed killing sites in the woods. Those not yet arrested were forced to applaud the “heroes of the Arctic”: pilots, sailors and explorers, in a macabre celebration of Stalinist tyranny.

To the regime’s critics, today’s expedition is a chilly reminder of the brutal era when millions of Gulag prisoners were sent to the frozen expanses to build senseless mega-projects for the power-crazy dictator.

Today’s Russian rhetoric is reminiscent of the past two centuries. The leader of the Arctic expedition, Artur Chilingarov, deputy chairman of the Russian Duma, proclaimed, “The Arctic is ours and we should manifest our presence.” Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Institute declared, “This is like placing a flag on the moon” — conveniently forgetting the United States never claimed the moon as its territory.

Andrei Kokoshin, chairman of a parliamentary committee on the ex-Soviet region, said Russia “will have to actively defend its interests in the Arctic” and called for reinforcing Russia’s Northern Fleet and border guard units and building airfields to “ensure full control.” Vladimir Putin spoke on a Russian nuclear powered ice-breaker earlier this year, urging greater efforts to secure Russia’s “strategic, economic, scientific and defense interests” in the Arctic.

A crisis over Russian claims in the Arctic would be perfectly avoidable, if Russia is prepared to behave in a more civilized manner. If Moscow suggested exploring the Arctic’s wealth in a cooperative fashion, in partnership with the United States and other countries aboard, this could become a productive project that furthered international cooperation. However, the current rush to dominate the Arctic Ocean and everything under it indicates that greed and aggression characterize the new Russian polar bear.

The State Department has expressed its skepticism regarding planting of the Russian flag, and said it has no legal standing or effect on Russia’s claim. Canada has voiced similar objections.

To stop the expansion, the U.S. should encourage its friends and allies — Canada, Denmark and Norway — to pursue their claims in the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. While the United Sates has not ratified the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), other Arctic countries, including Norway and Denmark, have filed their own claims with the Commission, opposing Russian demands.

The Nordic countries do not view Russia’s attempted seabed grab kindly. Nor should they. The U.S. should also encourage Canada to coordinate a possible claim through the International Justice Court in The Hague against the Russian grab.

Russia’s decision to take an aggressive stand has left the U.S., Canada and the Nordic countries little choice but to design a cooperative High North strategy, and invite other friendly countries, such as Great Britain, to expend the necessary means to build up the Western presence in the Arctic. This will probably have to include a fleet of modern icebreakers, submersibles, geophysics/seismic vessels, and polar aircraft.

There is too much at stake to leave it to the Russian bear.

Kalugin Speaks

Former KGB spy Oleg Kalugin (pictured), interviewed by Foreign Policy (hat tip: Robert Amsterdam).

Former KGB general Oleg Kalugin spoke out against the Soviet regime in the late 1980s. Now a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, he again finds himself at odds with the government of his homeland. With tensions growing between Russia and the West, FP spoke with this dissident spy about Putin’s KGB past, the dangers of political activism, and the future of Russian democracy.

FOREIGN POLICY: In 1980, you were transferred within the KGB from foreign counterintelligence to the domestic arm of the KGB. You were later very public about your discomfort with the way the KGB operated within the Soviet Union. In your mind, what was the distinction between spying on Americans versus Soviet citizens and dissidents?

Oleg Kalugin: When I was transferred to the domestic service, I learned the truth about my own country. Instead of spying on America or whoever, I had to look into the domestic problems and ferret out Russians who by Soviet standards looked disloyal to the Soviet regime. Who are my enemies? People who do not feel good, who are not happy, who are disgruntled, disenchanted, disillusioned? And my job is to punish them by putting them in jail or psychiatric institutions? I understood pretty well why the Soviets were unhappy.

FP: When you were in St. Petersburg working for the KGB, you counted Vladimir Putin and Nikolai Patrushev, the current head of the FSB, Russia’s domestic security agency, as your subordinates. What memories do you have of these two men?

OK: Nikolai Patrushev was my subordinate for years in Leningrad. One day he brought a report about one dissident in his district and said, “We must take care of him, maybe arrest him.” I said, “Why? Give me the case.” I read the file of this man, and it showed that he was honest about the lack of food, long lines you have to stand in for food, the bureaucracy of the Soviet party and government institutions. When Patrushev brought it, I said, “Why do we have to put him in jail? What is this case?” Patrushev’s first desire was to put the guy in jail because he would spread his discontent and unhappiness among his friends and colleagues and that was dangerous. Putin was too small to report to me directly. He was an operative; he was five steps below, so he never reported to me. He was one of 3,000 guys. He was just a gray, nonentity walking in the corridors. He was like all subordinates who had no confidence in themselves.

FP: Why don’t you consider yourself a defector?

OK: I never defected. A defector is one who deserts his service. I never deserted. I was rehabilitated. I would go back to Russia, but Putin called me publicly a traitor and I called him a war criminal. I asked for political asylum in the United States.

FP: Do you believe, as Alexander Litvinenko did, that the apartment bombings in Moscow, which were blamed on Chechen rebels and used as a pretext to invade Chechnya, were planned?

OK: I do believe that. The Chechens would never blow up low-income housing in Moscow. Why would they? That would spread animosity towards the Chechens. Mr. Shchekochikhin, the editor of the only liberal Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, was appointed by the Russian parliament to investigate the bombings of these apartment houses and was poisoned just like Litvinenko. He died the same way: He lost his hair, 12 days in a coma. Sergey Yushchenkov, also a member of the same commission to investigate the bombings, was gunned down by his apartment. That is a train of events that tells you the current nature of the regime. Those who tried to investigate it are all dead.

FP: What in your mind then is the difference between the system Putin operates and Soviet Russia?

OK: Putin has partially restored the old Stalinist methods. The difference is Stalin used mass repressions. He would imprison and execute hundreds of thousands, millions. In Putin’s case, it is more selective: individuals who he finds too hostile or harmful for his rule. Putin has actually put the country back to the authoritarian state; it’s not as bloody but just as criminal as Stalin’s regime.

FP: At what point did you begin to become suspicious of Putin, and what pushed you to become more outspoken against him?

OK: Putin? Well, I was always outspoken about him. I know this man’s background better than many others. I do not talk in details—people who knew them are all dead now because they were vocal, they were open. I am quiet. There is only one man who is vocal, and he may be in trouble: [former] world chess champion [Garry] Kasparov. He has been very outspoken in his attacks on Putin, and I believe that he is probably next on the list.

FP: Do you credit your KGB training for your life at this point?

OK: Well, it helps. It really helps.

On Russia’s Potemkin Military

Writing in the Moscow Times Alexander Golts (pictured), deputy editor of the online newspaper Yezhednevny Zhurnal, exposes the pathetic Potemkin village that is the Russian military.

For some time now, the Kremlin has been having some real difficulties dealing with how it presents certain information to the public. It is becoming trickier to find just the right words to describe meetings between President Vladimir Putin and the leading candidates to become the next president.

It has become quite awkward, for example, to present First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov when he speaks with Putin about relatively mundane affairs. The Kremlin finds it necessary to show Ivanov in a more important light — one that is more fitting for a presidential candidate. Therefore, Ivanov has recently been presented on television as sort of an adviser to Putin, offering the president a complex analysis of the national economy.

No one would think of questioning Ivanov’s ability to play the serious role on television as an economic adviser and analyst, especially when he waxes eloquently about all of Russia’s economic achievements. Listening to Ivanov, one would actually believe that the country has overcome its dependence on oil revenues. He declared that the manufacturing sector grew by 12.2 percent — almost double the growth rate in all other sectors. I listened with great pleasure as the first deputy prime minister told his boss about the sharp increases in the manufacture of locomotives, dump trucks and cranes.

But when Ivanov cheerfully stated that the defense industry grew by more than 15 percent, I was a bit taken back. This doesn’t jibe with what top military brass (including Ivanov himself while he was defense minister) have been stating — that the State Armaments Program for 2007 to 2015, the ambitious 5 trillion ruble ($200 billion) strategic defense program intended to modernize the armed forces, is under the threat of collapse.

In April, at a meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission in Yekaterinburg, the first deputy chairman of the commission, Vladislav Putilin, said, “The targets for increasing armaments have not been met, even when spending for the program consistently increases.” In addition, Lieutenant General Vladimir Mikheyev, who is the first deputy chief of armaments for the Defense Ministry, stated, “Uncertainty regarding financing means that we will not receive the tanks from Nizhny Tagil-based manufacturer Uralvagonzavod, nor the Su-34 aircraft that the armaments program mandates.”

Another piece of bad news from this front: a $1.5 billion Russian-Indian contract for the completion and modernization of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier fell through. The money was allocated, but the work was not done.

Moreover, malfunctions forced a three-day delay in the commission of the new multipurpose Su-34 aircraft by the state test-flight center in Akhtubinsk, in the Astrakhan region. A representative of Sukhoi, which manufactures the aircraft, said any talk of mass producing the plane was out of the question. Only one Su-34 has been assembled in its Novosibirsk plant so far this year. The most optimistic estimates indicate that only two more Su-34s will be produced by the end of 2007.

This is truly an astonishing phenomenon. Ivanov believes that the defense industry is experiencing amazing growth, even though the armaments program remains woefully unfulfilled. The reason behind this is really very simple — the uncontrollable increase in military production prices. This is what Ivanov and other officials have been complaining about all the time. The cost of the T-90 tank rose by almost 25 percent in just three months. What is often presented as a growth in the defense industry is really only a growth in prices. This is the reason military brass avoid disclosing the actual numbers of tanks, airplanes and helicopters that have been manufactured for the military.

It appears that the scenario that many experts predicted is now playing out. For the past 10 years, Defense Ministry officials went out of their way to convince us: “Just give us the money and we’ll inundate the army with the most modern arms imaginable.” But there was not an ounce of truth in those statements. All of today’s armaments were developed based on designs from the 1980s and 1990s and can hardly be called new.

One of the worst inefficiencies in the defense manufacturing sector is that there is no reliable supply chain of subcontractors, which could provide component parts to large defense manufacturing plants. This network collapsed along with the collapse of the Soviet Union. As a result, everything has been manufactured in a primitive way.

In examining the first year of the ambitious arms procurement program, we see that prices are on the rise, but production is not. But Ivanov has his own solution — the creation of the same type of “power vertical” that Putin implemented on a national scale. The new vertical structure will be organized as a state-run holding company that brings together all manufacturers of military technology.

But this will do nothing to solve the fundamental problem of a poor supply chain and lack of reliable component parts. After creating a single aircraft construction corporation, the state now plans to establish another holding company for aircraft engine construction as well. Officials have announced that fifth-generation fighter jets will fly within one year, even though the aircraft’s engine is still in the prototype stage and manufacturers are still squabbling over who will produce it.

In addition, a critical shortage of component materials in the defense sector was announced just days ago. At the latest meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission, Sergei Ivanov said: “There is a deficit of over 1,500 materials needed in defense. That constitutes a threat to the state’s defense capability and economic security.”

To solve these problems, yet another holding company will undoubtedly be created in the near future — this time for defense materials. Eventually there might be a separate holding company for nuts and another for bolts. But I doubt this will lead to long-term economic growth.

On Russia’s Potemkin Military

Writing in the Moscow Times Alexander Golts (pictured), deputy editor of the online newspaper Yezhednevny Zhurnal, exposes the pathetic Potemkin village that is the Russian military.

For some time now, the Kremlin has been having some real difficulties dealing with how it presents certain information to the public. It is becoming trickier to find just the right words to describe meetings between President Vladimir Putin and the leading candidates to become the next president.

It has become quite awkward, for example, to present First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov when he speaks with Putin about relatively mundane affairs. The Kremlin finds it necessary to show Ivanov in a more important light — one that is more fitting for a presidential candidate. Therefore, Ivanov has recently been presented on television as sort of an adviser to Putin, offering the president a complex analysis of the national economy.

No one would think of questioning Ivanov’s ability to play the serious role on television as an economic adviser and analyst, especially when he waxes eloquently about all of Russia’s economic achievements. Listening to Ivanov, one would actually believe that the country has overcome its dependence on oil revenues. He declared that the manufacturing sector grew by 12.2 percent — almost double the growth rate in all other sectors. I listened with great pleasure as the first deputy prime minister told his boss about the sharp increases in the manufacture of locomotives, dump trucks and cranes.

But when Ivanov cheerfully stated that the defense industry grew by more than 15 percent, I was a bit taken back. This doesn’t jibe with what top military brass (including Ivanov himself while he was defense minister) have been stating — that the State Armaments Program for 2007 to 2015, the ambitious 5 trillion ruble ($200 billion) strategic defense program intended to modernize the armed forces, is under the threat of collapse.

In April, at a meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission in Yekaterinburg, the first deputy chairman of the commission, Vladislav Putilin, said, “The targets for increasing armaments have not been met, even when spending for the program consistently increases.” In addition, Lieutenant General Vladimir Mikheyev, who is the first deputy chief of armaments for the Defense Ministry, stated, “Uncertainty regarding financing means that we will not receive the tanks from Nizhny Tagil-based manufacturer Uralvagonzavod, nor the Su-34 aircraft that the armaments program mandates.”

Another piece of bad news from this front: a $1.5 billion Russian-Indian contract for the completion and modernization of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier fell through. The money was allocated, but the work was not done.

Moreover, malfunctions forced a three-day delay in the commission of the new multipurpose Su-34 aircraft by the state test-flight center in Akhtubinsk, in the Astrakhan region. A representative of Sukhoi, which manufactures the aircraft, said any talk of mass producing the plane was out of the question. Only one Su-34 has been assembled in its Novosibirsk plant so far this year. The most optimistic estimates indicate that only two more Su-34s will be produced by the end of 2007.

This is truly an astonishing phenomenon. Ivanov believes that the defense industry is experiencing amazing growth, even though the armaments program remains woefully unfulfilled. The reason behind this is really very simple — the uncontrollable increase in military production prices. This is what Ivanov and other officials have been complaining about all the time. The cost of the T-90 tank rose by almost 25 percent in just three months. What is often presented as a growth in the defense industry is really only a growth in prices. This is the reason military brass avoid disclosing the actual numbers of tanks, airplanes and helicopters that have been manufactured for the military.

It appears that the scenario that many experts predicted is now playing out. For the past 10 years, Defense Ministry officials went out of their way to convince us: “Just give us the money and we’ll inundate the army with the most modern arms imaginable.” But there was not an ounce of truth in those statements. All of today’s armaments were developed based on designs from the 1980s and 1990s and can hardly be called new.

One of the worst inefficiencies in the defense manufacturing sector is that there is no reliable supply chain of subcontractors, which could provide component parts to large defense manufacturing plants. This network collapsed along with the collapse of the Soviet Union. As a result, everything has been manufactured in a primitive way.

In examining the first year of the ambitious arms procurement program, we see that prices are on the rise, but production is not. But Ivanov has his own solution — the creation of the same type of “power vertical” that Putin implemented on a national scale. The new vertical structure will be organized as a state-run holding company that brings together all manufacturers of military technology.

But this will do nothing to solve the fundamental problem of a poor supply chain and lack of reliable component parts. After creating a single aircraft construction corporation, the state now plans to establish another holding company for aircraft engine construction as well. Officials have announced that fifth-generation fighter jets will fly within one year, even though the aircraft’s engine is still in the prototype stage and manufacturers are still squabbling over who will produce it.

In addition, a critical shortage of component materials in the defense sector was announced just days ago. At the latest meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission, Sergei Ivanov said: “There is a deficit of over 1,500 materials needed in defense. That constitutes a threat to the state’s defense capability and economic security.”

To solve these problems, yet another holding company will undoubtedly be created in the near future — this time for defense materials. Eventually there might be a separate holding company for nuts and another for bolts. But I doubt this will lead to long-term economic growth.

On Russia’s Potemkin Military

Writing in the Moscow Times Alexander Golts (pictured), deputy editor of the online newspaper Yezhednevny Zhurnal, exposes the pathetic Potemkin village that is the Russian military.

For some time now, the Kremlin has been having some real difficulties dealing with how it presents certain information to the public. It is becoming trickier to find just the right words to describe meetings between President Vladimir Putin and the leading candidates to become the next president.

It has become quite awkward, for example, to present First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov when he speaks with Putin about relatively mundane affairs. The Kremlin finds it necessary to show Ivanov in a more important light — one that is more fitting for a presidential candidate. Therefore, Ivanov has recently been presented on television as sort of an adviser to Putin, offering the president a complex analysis of the national economy.

No one would think of questioning Ivanov’s ability to play the serious role on television as an economic adviser and analyst, especially when he waxes eloquently about all of Russia’s economic achievements. Listening to Ivanov, one would actually believe that the country has overcome its dependence on oil revenues. He declared that the manufacturing sector grew by 12.2 percent — almost double the growth rate in all other sectors. I listened with great pleasure as the first deputy prime minister told his boss about the sharp increases in the manufacture of locomotives, dump trucks and cranes.

But when Ivanov cheerfully stated that the defense industry grew by more than 15 percent, I was a bit taken back. This doesn’t jibe with what top military brass (including Ivanov himself while he was defense minister) have been stating — that the State Armaments Program for 2007 to 2015, the ambitious 5 trillion ruble ($200 billion) strategic defense program intended to modernize the armed forces, is under the threat of collapse.

In April, at a meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission in Yekaterinburg, the first deputy chairman of the commission, Vladislav Putilin, said, “The targets for increasing armaments have not been met, even when spending for the program consistently increases.” In addition, Lieutenant General Vladimir Mikheyev, who is the first deputy chief of armaments for the Defense Ministry, stated, “Uncertainty regarding financing means that we will not receive the tanks from Nizhny Tagil-based manufacturer Uralvagonzavod, nor the Su-34 aircraft that the armaments program mandates.”

Another piece of bad news from this front: a $1.5 billion Russian-Indian contract for the completion and modernization of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier fell through. The money was allocated, but the work was not done.

Moreover, malfunctions forced a three-day delay in the commission of the new multipurpose Su-34 aircraft by the state test-flight center in Akhtubinsk, in the Astrakhan region. A representative of Sukhoi, which manufactures the aircraft, said any talk of mass producing the plane was out of the question. Only one Su-34 has been assembled in its Novosibirsk plant so far this year. The most optimistic estimates indicate that only two more Su-34s will be produced by the end of 2007.

This is truly an astonishing phenomenon. Ivanov believes that the defense industry is experiencing amazing growth, even though the armaments program remains woefully unfulfilled. The reason behind this is really very simple — the uncontrollable increase in military production prices. This is what Ivanov and other officials have been complaining about all the time. The cost of the T-90 tank rose by almost 25 percent in just three months. What is often presented as a growth in the defense industry is really only a growth in prices. This is the reason military brass avoid disclosing the actual numbers of tanks, airplanes and helicopters that have been manufactured for the military.

It appears that the scenario that many experts predicted is now playing out. For the past 10 years, Defense Ministry officials went out of their way to convince us: “Just give us the money and we’ll inundate the army with the most modern arms imaginable.” But there was not an ounce of truth in those statements. All of today’s armaments were developed based on designs from the 1980s and 1990s and can hardly be called new.

One of the worst inefficiencies in the defense manufacturing sector is that there is no reliable supply chain of subcontractors, which could provide component parts to large defense manufacturing plants. This network collapsed along with the collapse of the Soviet Union. As a result, everything has been manufactured in a primitive way.

In examining the first year of the ambitious arms procurement program, we see that prices are on the rise, but production is not. But Ivanov has his own solution — the creation of the same type of “power vertical” that Putin implemented on a national scale. The new vertical structure will be organized as a state-run holding company that brings together all manufacturers of military technology.

But this will do nothing to solve the fundamental problem of a poor supply chain and lack of reliable component parts. After creating a single aircraft construction corporation, the state now plans to establish another holding company for aircraft engine construction as well. Officials have announced that fifth-generation fighter jets will fly within one year, even though the aircraft’s engine is still in the prototype stage and manufacturers are still squabbling over who will produce it.

In addition, a critical shortage of component materials in the defense sector was announced just days ago. At the latest meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission, Sergei Ivanov said: “There is a deficit of over 1,500 materials needed in defense. That constitutes a threat to the state’s defense capability and economic security.”

To solve these problems, yet another holding company will undoubtedly be created in the near future — this time for defense materials. Eventually there might be a separate holding company for nuts and another for bolts. But I doubt this will lead to long-term economic growth.

On Russia’s Potemkin Military

Writing in the Moscow Times Alexander Golts (pictured), deputy editor of the online newspaper Yezhednevny Zhurnal, exposes the pathetic Potemkin village that is the Russian military.

For some time now, the Kremlin has been having some real difficulties dealing with how it presents certain information to the public. It is becoming trickier to find just the right words to describe meetings between President Vladimir Putin and the leading candidates to become the next president.

It has become quite awkward, for example, to present First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov when he speaks with Putin about relatively mundane affairs. The Kremlin finds it necessary to show Ivanov in a more important light — one that is more fitting for a presidential candidate. Therefore, Ivanov has recently been presented on television as sort of an adviser to Putin, offering the president a complex analysis of the national economy.

No one would think of questioning Ivanov’s ability to play the serious role on television as an economic adviser and analyst, especially when he waxes eloquently about all of Russia’s economic achievements. Listening to Ivanov, one would actually believe that the country has overcome its dependence on oil revenues. He declared that the manufacturing sector grew by 12.2 percent — almost double the growth rate in all other sectors. I listened with great pleasure as the first deputy prime minister told his boss about the sharp increases in the manufacture of locomotives, dump trucks and cranes.

But when Ivanov cheerfully stated that the defense industry grew by more than 15 percent, I was a bit taken back. This doesn’t jibe with what top military brass (including Ivanov himself while he was defense minister) have been stating — that the State Armaments Program for 2007 to 2015, the ambitious 5 trillion ruble ($200 billion) strategic defense program intended to modernize the armed forces, is under the threat of collapse.

In April, at a meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission in Yekaterinburg, the first deputy chairman of the commission, Vladislav Putilin, said, “The targets for increasing armaments have not been met, even when spending for the program consistently increases.” In addition, Lieutenant General Vladimir Mikheyev, who is the first deputy chief of armaments for the Defense Ministry, stated, “Uncertainty regarding financing means that we will not receive the tanks from Nizhny Tagil-based manufacturer Uralvagonzavod, nor the Su-34 aircraft that the armaments program mandates.”

Another piece of bad news from this front: a $1.5 billion Russian-Indian contract for the completion and modernization of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier fell through. The money was allocated, but the work was not done.

Moreover, malfunctions forced a three-day delay in the commission of the new multipurpose Su-34 aircraft by the state test-flight center in Akhtubinsk, in the Astrakhan region. A representative of Sukhoi, which manufactures the aircraft, said any talk of mass producing the plane was out of the question. Only one Su-34 has been assembled in its Novosibirsk plant so far this year. The most optimistic estimates indicate that only two more Su-34s will be produced by the end of 2007.

This is truly an astonishing phenomenon. Ivanov believes that the defense industry is experiencing amazing growth, even though the armaments program remains woefully unfulfilled. The reason behind this is really very simple — the uncontrollable increase in military production prices. This is what Ivanov and other officials have been complaining about all the time. The cost of the T-90 tank rose by almost 25 percent in just three months. What is often presented as a growth in the defense industry is really only a growth in prices. This is the reason military brass avoid disclosing the actual numbers of tanks, airplanes and helicopters that have been manufactured for the military.

It appears that the scenario that many experts predicted is now playing out. For the past 10 years, Defense Ministry officials went out of their way to convince us: “Just give us the money and we’ll inundate the army with the most modern arms imaginable.” But there was not an ounce of truth in those statements. All of today’s armaments were developed based on designs from the 1980s and 1990s and can hardly be called new.

One of the worst inefficiencies in the defense manufacturing sector is that there is no reliable supply chain of subcontractors, which could provide component parts to large defense manufacturing plants. This network collapsed along with the collapse of the Soviet Union. As a result, everything has been manufactured in a primitive way.

In examining the first year of the ambitious arms procurement program, we see that prices are on the rise, but production is not. But Ivanov has his own solution — the creation of the same type of “power vertical” that Putin implemented on a national scale. The new vertical structure will be organized as a state-run holding company that brings together all manufacturers of military technology.

But this will do nothing to solve the fundamental problem of a poor supply chain and lack of reliable component parts. After creating a single aircraft construction corporation, the state now plans to establish another holding company for aircraft engine construction as well. Officials have announced that fifth-generation fighter jets will fly within one year, even though the aircraft’s engine is still in the prototype stage and manufacturers are still squabbling over who will produce it.

In addition, a critical shortage of component materials in the defense sector was announced just days ago. At the latest meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission, Sergei Ivanov said: “There is a deficit of over 1,500 materials needed in defense. That constitutes a threat to the state’s defense capability and economic security.”

To solve these problems, yet another holding company will undoubtedly be created in the near future — this time for defense materials. Eventually there might be a separate holding company for nuts and another for bolts. But I doubt this will lead to long-term economic growth.

On Russia’s Potemkin Military

Writing in the Moscow Times Alexander Golts (pictured), deputy editor of the online newspaper Yezhednevny Zhurnal, exposes the pathetic Potemkin village that is the Russian military.

For some time now, the Kremlin has been having some real difficulties dealing with how it presents certain information to the public. It is becoming trickier to find just the right words to describe meetings between President Vladimir Putin and the leading candidates to become the next president.

It has become quite awkward, for example, to present First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov when he speaks with Putin about relatively mundane affairs. The Kremlin finds it necessary to show Ivanov in a more important light — one that is more fitting for a presidential candidate. Therefore, Ivanov has recently been presented on television as sort of an adviser to Putin, offering the president a complex analysis of the national economy.

No one would think of questioning Ivanov’s ability to play the serious role on television as an economic adviser and analyst, especially when he waxes eloquently about all of Russia’s economic achievements. Listening to Ivanov, one would actually believe that the country has overcome its dependence on oil revenues. He declared that the manufacturing sector grew by 12.2 percent — almost double the growth rate in all other sectors. I listened with great pleasure as the first deputy prime minister told his boss about the sharp increases in the manufacture of locomotives, dump trucks and cranes.

But when Ivanov cheerfully stated that the defense industry grew by more than 15 percent, I was a bit taken back. This doesn’t jibe with what top military brass (including Ivanov himself while he was defense minister) have been stating — that the State Armaments Program for 2007 to 2015, the ambitious 5 trillion ruble ($200 billion) strategic defense program intended to modernize the armed forces, is under the threat of collapse.

In April, at a meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission in Yekaterinburg, the first deputy chairman of the commission, Vladislav Putilin, said, “The targets for increasing armaments have not been met, even when spending for the program consistently increases.” In addition, Lieutenant General Vladimir Mikheyev, who is the first deputy chief of armaments for the Defense Ministry, stated, “Uncertainty regarding financing means that we will not receive the tanks from Nizhny Tagil-based manufacturer Uralvagonzavod, nor the Su-34 aircraft that the armaments program mandates.”

Another piece of bad news from this front: a $1.5 billion Russian-Indian contract for the completion and modernization of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier fell through. The money was allocated, but the work was not done.

Moreover, malfunctions forced a three-day delay in the commission of the new multipurpose Su-34 aircraft by the state test-flight center in Akhtubinsk, in the Astrakhan region. A representative of Sukhoi, which manufactures the aircraft, said any talk of mass producing the plane was out of the question. Only one Su-34 has been assembled in its Novosibirsk plant so far this year. The most optimistic estimates indicate that only two more Su-34s will be produced by the end of 2007.

This is truly an astonishing phenomenon. Ivanov believes that the defense industry is experiencing amazing growth, even though the armaments program remains woefully unfulfilled. The reason behind this is really very simple — the uncontrollable increase in military production prices. This is what Ivanov and other officials have been complaining about all the time. The cost of the T-90 tank rose by almost 25 percent in just three months. What is often presented as a growth in the defense industry is really only a growth in prices. This is the reason military brass avoid disclosing the actual numbers of tanks, airplanes and helicopters that have been manufactured for the military.

It appears that the scenario that many experts predicted is now playing out. For the past 10 years, Defense Ministry officials went out of their way to convince us: “Just give us the money and we’ll inundate the army with the most modern arms imaginable.” But there was not an ounce of truth in those statements. All of today’s armaments were developed based on designs from the 1980s and 1990s and can hardly be called new.

One of the worst inefficiencies in the defense manufacturing sector is that there is no reliable supply chain of subcontractors, which could provide component parts to large defense manufacturing plants. This network collapsed along with the collapse of the Soviet Union. As a result, everything has been manufactured in a primitive way.

In examining the first year of the ambitious arms procurement program, we see that prices are on the rise, but production is not. But Ivanov has his own solution — the creation of the same type of “power vertical” that Putin implemented on a national scale. The new vertical structure will be organized as a state-run holding company that brings together all manufacturers of military technology.

But this will do nothing to solve the fundamental problem of a poor supply chain and lack of reliable component parts. After creating a single aircraft construction corporation, the state now plans to establish another holding company for aircraft engine construction as well. Officials have announced that fifth-generation fighter jets will fly within one year, even though the aircraft’s engine is still in the prototype stage and manufacturers are still squabbling over who will produce it.

In addition, a critical shortage of component materials in the defense sector was announced just days ago. At the latest meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission, Sergei Ivanov said: “There is a deficit of over 1,500 materials needed in defense. That constitutes a threat to the state’s defense capability and economic security.”

To solve these problems, yet another holding company will undoubtedly be created in the near future — this time for defense materials. Eventually there might be a separate holding company for nuts and another for bolts. But I doubt this will lead to long-term economic growth.