EDITORIAL: Russia’s Nuclear Shell Game


Russia’s Nuclear Shell Game

A week ago Tuesday, Russia once again tried to fire a Bulava nuclear missile from a submarine, this one located  in the White Sea.  For the fifth time in ten tries, the missile veered wildly off course and had to be destroyed immediately after leaving the launching pad, ending the effort in total failure and humiliation.

Russia has already put the Bulava into production even though 50% of the test launches have ended in failure since 2004.  After a successful test in November, Russian military officials had crazily hyped the December test as “decisive” and indicated that once it went off without a hitch they would commission the missile into service.  Three new nuclear submarines are being built just to carry this missile; now, they’ll be unarmed for the forseeable future (assuming the Kremlin even manages to put them to sea).

There’s little hope in the Sineva class of missiles that the Bulava is supposed to replace. Creaking relics of Soviet times, in 2004 not one but two such rockets failed to even leave the submarine while then-“president” Vladimir Putin was on hand to watch a supposed display of Russian military might.  It was a new low in neo-Soviet humiliation.

Undeterred by plunging cash reserves, stock market capitalization and currency value, nor by soaring unemployment and inflation, the Russian government is blindly barging ahead with a massive increase in weapons procurement and defense spending, including a four-fold increase in nuclear missile production. Russia’s 2008 defense budget was in excess of 1 trillion rubles, 20% more than in 2007, and will go up at an even higher rate in 2009 — over 25%.  Over the next three years the Kremlin plans to spend a jaw-dropping 4 trillion rubles on the military, even as the nation crashes into a brutal recession.

This is, to put it mildly, insanity.  It’s exactly the same behavior that bankrupted and obliterated the USSR, a country with a much larger population and industrial base.  Russia can’t afford a new nuclear arms race with the United States, not when as we reported last week it is spending 40% less than the world average on infrastructure and losing railway and airline sevice at a rapid rate, leaving larger and larger segments of the population stranded. Not when the average Russian man doesn’t live to see age 60, placing Russia outside the top 100 nations of the world in that category.  Not when Russia leads the world in divorce and suicide, AIDS and smoking, fire and road fatalities, and inumerable other plagues.

If the people of Russia won’t demand better from their government, they deserve their suffering. They deserve, for the third time in a century, to see their nation collapse upon itself, condemened as  virulent aggressor and scorned as backward and crude.

4 responses to “EDITORIAL: Russia’s Nuclear Shell Game

  1. Agree especially with the last paragraph. If the Narod in their lazy stupidity think Stalin was one of their greatest citizens, then it’s hard to have too much sympathy for them as they’re robbed and swindled by yet another brutal kleptocracy. As usual, it’s those who’ve actually realized they’re still bonded serfs on the decaying, Pliushkin-estate of Russia who are left carrying the can again…

  2. that last paragraph seems rather unempathetic and vindictive to me


    Where is it written that we are supposed to be empathetic and forgiving? Were we, how would that bring democracy to Russia faster? We see no evidence that it could do so, and certainly you present none. We have no empathy for Vladimir Putin or those who support him, and we will not forgive them until the deserve it, which they currently do not.

  3. Well we all know the traditional Russian military teqnichue is “death by avalanche”, or more simply using overwhelming numbers to roll over the oppositon regardless of casualties. See WW2 or the recent invasion of Georgia for details.

    Besides, who needs high tech equipment that reduces losses when you are only giving it to uneducated serfs?

    BTW La Russophobe, your blog should be required reading for ANYONE who hopes to have an understanding of fascist Russia!

  4. Oops, not enough coffee today, I meant “technique”

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