The inimitable Pavel Felgenhauer reports:
The Russian defense industry is in crisis; its officials blame the defense ministry for withholding funds, while Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov in turn accuses arms producers of making weapons of questionable quality and charging unjustified high prices (EDM, July 7).
Russia’s ruling tandem of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have called for tempers to be calmed and for all to work together to allow rearmament plans to be implemented. At the same time, Medvedev agreed that the defense ministry must not procure “trash,” but must receive the best quality for its money and import foreign [Western] weapons as a measure of last resort (www.kremlin.ru, July 12). Two weeks ago, Medvedev threatened to “execute” troublemakers within the defense industry and sack leading bureaucrats responsible for defense industry problems that are preventing rearmament. Up to now nothing drastic has happened, but the crisis continues to fester.
Pig Russia, Wallowing in Mire
The diary of Russian foreign policy events over the past few weeks has been truly horrifying, even by the loathsome standards of Vladimir Putin’s KGB state.
Russia defended Iran. Then it protected Libya. Finally, it stood steadfast in the defense of Syria. And for the cherry on this fetid cake, it invited Pakistan to pay the first official state visit on Moscow in three decades just after learning it had been harboring America’s public enemy #1, Bin Laden, right outside its capital.
Civilized people can only ask themselves: Doesn’t Russia have any shame, or even common sense?
Advertisement for a World War II party in Moscow. The message reads: Thank you Granddad for the victory we had!
Get it Straight, Russia Lost World War II
Three were killed. No, four. Wait a minute, it was seven. No, no . . . eight!!
You could be forgiven if you were somewhat perplexed reading the news out of the Caucasus on May 8th. Each different media outlet you turned to seemed to have a different figure for the number of “militants” and “rebels” Russia had killed in its latest confrontation, though in each case they insisted only one member of the Russian armed forces had perished in the exchange.
As you can well imagine, if you could’n’t even get the number of militants, it was pretty darned impossible to find out anything about who they were or why they had been killed. Russians lack real information about such events, just as they lack real information about World War II, a conflict they lost but foolishly believe they won.
Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:
Russians know that Victory Day is approaching not only because commemorative St. George ribbons are being handed out on sidewalks or because of the abundance of patriotic programs on television about legendary Soviet spy Max Otto von Stirlitz. Muscovites, in particular, know the holiday is coming since they endure horrendous traffic jams — worse than usual — during the rehearsals of the military parade that will be the top public event on May 9.
But few Russians will take pride in viewing the military weapons that will be paraded across Red Square. These systems were developed 20 years ago, and they are produced in miniscule quantities today.
The Collapse of the Neo-Soviet Army
We cannot afford to create a fully professional army. If we save funds elsewhere, we will certainly go back to this idea, but well prepared.
— Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, October 2010
As shown in the chart at left, between 2006 and 2010 the number of young Russian men drafted into the army has nearly tripled, from just over 200,000 per year to nearly 600,000 per year.
There are two simple reasons for this shocking increase in conscription: First, the number of young men newly eligible to serve in the Russian army is plummeting along with the general population (from about 900,000 in 2004 to 500,000 in 2011); second, the horrors of dedovschina and other barbaric practices and hardships of the army have led many young men to reject the option of volunteering. The result is that nearly 100% of all newly-eligible Russians were drafted into the army in 2010. If things go on as they are, even drafting every single eligible man won’t be enough to fill out Russia’s ranks — and the Russian army will start collapsing.
Another New Low in Russian Humiliation
Meet Valentin Yudaskhin. A so-called Russian “fashion designer,” Mr. Yudaskin was hired by Vladimir Putin to design fashionable new Russian Army uniforms after Putin heard complaints that Russian recruits thought they looked like third-world idiots. In doing so, Yudaskin boldly declared he was creating a “uniform for victors.”
Take a look at him. Think about the fact that he’s Russian, working for a neo-Soviet regime run by a proud KGB spy. Now we ask you: How do you think this scheme worked out?
If you didn’t guess that people started dying, shame on you.
Defense expert Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:
General Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff, caused a stir last week after he said to journalists: “We aim to create a professional army. We can’t make it happen in a short time period, but year by year there will be an increase in the number of contract military personnel.”
Interestingly enough, only one month ago Makarov said the exact opposite. “We will not switch to a contract-based army. Instead, we will be drafting more soldiers …” to fill the gap.
A terrific report in the Washington Post exposes the fundamental weakness of Russia’s crumbling, corrupt, impoverished military establishment:
When one-time furniture salesman Anatoly Serdyukov was suddenly named Russia’s defense minister, many career military officers smirked. Now after tens of thousands have lost their jobs under his reforms, the mockery has turned to rumbles of possible mutiny.
A union of veterans from the Airborne Forces, considered the most professional and proud branch of Russia’s military, has set a protest rally against Serdyukov for Sunday. It is unclear whether any serving officers will take part, but the rally in a Moscow park down the road from the Defense Ministry has raised fears of an uprising in one of the world’s largest armies.
Some observers say that the veterans’ campaign against Serdyukov, the first civilian defense minister in 90 years, may have been orchestrated by members of the top military brass and weapons industries who have lost power and money because of his reforms.
“It’s the most radical reform of the Russian military in 150 years,” said Vitaly Shlykov, a retired military intelligence officer who advises the Defense Ministry on the reforms. “And it touches upon huge resources.”
Racism and Insurrection in the Russian Army
In our last issue we carried two items illustrating the dire consequences of unchecked power being given to Russia’s cadre of spies and its police officers. Today, we turn our attention to the Russian military.
Last week we were appalled and terrified by the spectacle that unfolded in the Siberian city of Perm. The indispensable and brilliant Paul Goble, translating from the Russian press, reports how Russian army units there are in open rebellion against their officers because large numbers of the young recruits are Muslim and they face daily oppression from their racist Slavic “brothers.” What the Kremlin does not seem to have noticed while ignoring this scathing, barbaric racism is that its victims are being armed and trained to kill.
The upshot of the rebellion was the Russian officers were forced to turn to Muslim clerics and beg for their assistance in quelling the insurrection.
Paul Goble reports:
The way in which Moscow is arming and training units assigned to the Organization of the Collective Security Treaty suggests that these forces will be used against domestic opposition groups in the member states – not excluding the Russian Federation, according to some analysts — rather than exclusively against foreign aggressors.
Col.Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of the unified staff of the ODKB (its Russian acronym), said that “the international forces subordinate to him soon will begin to receive as armaments water cannon, traumatic pistols, tear gas and noise grenades – all “so-called non-lethal” weapons.
Up until now, such weapons have generally been used by the police or special services rather than by national armies or international alliances. Obviously, “tank columns are not dispersed by water cannon.” Indeed, most of the units in the ODKB are “motorized rifle battalions, the chief task of which is repulsing a foreign threat.”
Back in June, we translated from the pages of Novaya Gazeta a story about Russian soldiers having their organs harvested and sold for profit. Now, the Moscow Times updates the story:
It’s been more than seven years since the border guards, a unit of the Federal Security Service, returned Alma Bukharbayeva’s teenage son in a sealed casket.
Marat Burtubayev, 18, was serving with his unit in the Khabarovsk region, near the Chinese border, for his required two years of military service. He was eight months into his service when commanders said the young recruit hanged himself in January 2003.
But what they did not explain — and what Bukharbayeva has been trying to learn ever since — is what happened to her son’s internal organs.
Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation, writing in the Washington Times:
Last week, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, commander of the Russian air force, announced that Moscow had deployed a state-of-the-art S-300 (SA-20 Favorit variant) long-range air-defense system in Abkhazia, a region of the Republic of Georgia that Russia has occupied since the August 2008 war.
Since then, Russia has recognized breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent republics. According to Gen. Zelin, the task of the air-defense system is “to prevent violation of Abkhaz and South Ossetian airspace and to destroy any aircraft intruding into their airspace no matter what their purpose might be.” On Saturday, Gen. Zelin announced that the Russian air force had resumed flights from the Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi.
However, there is much more than defense of Abkhazia to the Russian deployment.
Bloody, Violent, Horrifying Russia
Last year, Russia ranked a shocking #136 out of 144 nations in the world on the Global Peace Index. Only eight countries on the planet were viewed as being more horrifyingly prone to violence than Russia.
Amazingly, this year things got even worse. Russia now ranks #143 out of 149 countries, dropping a stunning seven places so that now, even with five countries added to the list, only seven nations on the planet, not eight, are more barbaric than Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Sitting in the bottom ten, Russia is keeping company with the likes of Chad, Afganistan, Pakistan and Sudan. Once again, the people of Russia stand exposed and humiliated before the world.
Russia Butchers its Soldiers, Literally
by Yuri Borodyanksy
June 7, 2010
Translated from the Russian by La Russophobe Staff
(as always, corrections to the Russian translation are welcome)
In the family video recording of Roman Suslov (pictured, left) saying his goodbyes to his family and friends on the railway platform, the young man’s eyes betray no alarm. On the faces of his parents, his sisters, his beloved wife clutching their infant son, there is not the slightest hint of what would happen four days later.
The young man was to travel some 5,000 kilometers from his home in Omsk to Khabarovsk, and from there go onward by bus to his posting in a motor rifle unit in the city of Bikin. He was not particularly eager to join the army, but nor was he seeking to avoid his obligation.
He was better prepared than many of his peers to endure the hardships and privations of army life, being an experienced boxer and wrestler. He was also gainfully employed at the lone successful local industrial enterprise, having studied at the local chemical and mechanical college. He also found time to participate in amateur theater productions.
He had big plans for his future. “Well, when I get back from the army, he said to me,” relates his mother Tatiana Suslov “we will build a house and all live there happily ever after.” He had just married his wife Oksana the prior June 25th, and then the draft notice arrived.
Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:
A distinctive feature of the Russian power vertical is that leaders do not bother determining what government officials have already said on a particular subject before preparing their own remarks. At a meeting on security agency budgets on May 24, President Dmitry Medvedev set the goal of modernizing at least 30 percent of Russia’s weaponry by 2015. The president was apparently unaware of the previous arms program, announced by then-Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov three years ago. In 2007, Ivanov told State Duma deputies that the program would rearm 45 percent of the military by 2015. It failed miserably.
In addition, officials often do not feel obliged to fulfill the orders of their bosses — even those issued by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. In a February meeting on the new armament program, Putin ordered that 70 percent of the country’s armed forces be modernized by 2020. But at a recent Duma hearing, acting army chief Lieutenant General Oleg Frolov contradicted Putin. Frolov said the 13 trillion rubles ($418.4 billion) for rearmament to be allocated over the next 10 years was only sufficient for modernizing Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, air defense forces and aviation. He said 36 trillion rubles ($1.2 trillion) would be needed to carry out all of the tasks put before the armed forces.
Thus, the new armaments program is doomed to fail, just like the four previous plans. All of these programs go through the same life cycle:
Russia, purveyor to Terror
Russia proudly announced last week that it plans to deliver vast quantities of offensive weapons, including fighter jets and armored attack vehicles, to Syria, as well as defensive systems for nuclear technology it also plans to to hand over the the rogue regime in Damascus.
So Russia is a pipeline to Syria. That crazed dictatorship, of course, is itself a pipeline — to the Hezbollah terrorist organization which is committed to the destruction of one of America’s closest allies, Israel, as well as to the United States itself, no differently than Osama bin Laden. In fact, as Pajamas Media reports, Russia is even manufacturing covert weaponry which appears to have terrorists as its primary market.
We can’t help but wonder: How would Russia react if the United States decided to begin pumping dangerous offensive weapons into a country that was well known to be supplying the same weapons to the terrorist “bandits” of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia? Would Russians be inclined to say “that’s America’s right, it’s none of our concern?” Or would they be outraged and demand that the U.S. cease such actions immediately?
Canadian military history professor Alexander Hill, writing in the Moscow Times:
Many Russians are understandably proud of the Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War — the Soviet term for their war against Nazi Germany fr om June 22, 1941 to May 9, 1945. Few historians in the East or West would disagree that the bulk of the German army was destroyed on the Eastern Front during World War II. The eastward advance of the German army and its allies was halted initially at Moscow in December 1941, then again at Stalingrad in November 1942, almost two years before the Americans had committed significant ground forces against Germany.
The surrender of German and Romanian forces at Stalingrad in February 1943 marked the destruction of a force of more than 250,000 men, of whom more than 91,000 surrendered to the Red Army. By the time of the D-Day landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944, the Red Army was advancing rapidly westward through Ukraine and Belarus, recapturing Minsk in July 1944 and reaching the gates of Warsaw by August. Berlin finally fell to the Red Army on May 2, 1945, with German capitulation following shortly afterward — technically on May 8 according to the Western Allies, or May 9 for the Soviets, although sporadic fighting continued for a day or two afterward.
These victories were achieved at horrendous cost — more than 8.5 million Soviet soldiers were either killed, died later of wounds or did not return from German captivity. Up to 27 million Soviet citizens died as a result of the war.
World War II was not, however, just a war between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, and the victory in May 1945 was not just a Soviet victory but a victory for the Allied alliance as well. From June 1940 to June 1941, Britain and the Commonwealth fought alone against Nazi Germany, even while material assistance increased from the United States as 1941 progressed.
Paul Goble reports:
Faced with a declining number of men in the prime draft age group and increasing resistance even among them, the Russian defense ministry is calling for extending the length of time during which the spring draft will take place, drafting men as old as 30, reducing the number of deferments and bringing to justice those who illegally avoid service.
If these measures are adopted, the Russian military might be able to fill its draft quota this time around but only at the cost of increasing disruptions in the economy and especially in the lives of young men and of worsening public attitudes toward the military, activists and experts warn.
Russia’s spring draft began on April 1 and was slated to last until July 15, but the problems the military has been having with securing enough draftees this time around have been so severe that the General Staff this week offered a series of proposals so that it can reach its quota.
Russia’s Military Collapse
“So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people, greedy, barbarous and cruel. As you are.”
— Peter O’Toole to Omar Sharif in “Laurence of Arabia”, 1962
Just last week, we editorialized about the shocking collapse of the Russian military. We pointed out that, in being forced to purchase weapons from NATO countries that it cannot manufacture itself, Putin’s Russia was not only humiliating itself before the eyes of the world but exposing itself to grave danger: Its ability to maintain these weapons would depend solely on the good will of countries Russia considers its enemies. Russia is buying ships from France, armored vehicles from Italy and, if you can believe it, drone aircraft from Israel.
Now it’s time to tell the other side of the story, namely the truly devastating impact of the pathetic inability of the Russian Kremlin to make its own weapons on the national economy. The always indispensable Paul Goble reports that even the Russians themselves recognize the horrifying consequences they face.
Pathetic Military Failure for Putin’s Russia
Despite having had charge of Russia for more than a decade now, and despite the surging price of oil, the New York Times reports that the state of Vladimir Putin’s military-industrial complex is so pathetic that Russia has no other choice than to buy its arms abroad, even from NATO countries who are, according to Putin, Russia’s sworn enemies.
Doesn’t it occur to anyone in the Kremlin that buying weapons from your enemies isn’t such a good idea? What if they decide to stop selling you spare parts?
A warship deal, a broadcaster and an irritated Kremlin
By Inge Snip
What happens when you pit a major shipbuilding deal between Paris and Moscow alonside the creation of a Russian-language Georgian television channel carried by the French satellite carrier Eutelsat? Simply: the satellite channel loses out.
On January 15, the Georgia-based broadcaster First Caucasian began airing via Eutelsat and was expected to receive a solid contract on February 1. However, in a surprise move, Eutelsat instead opted to discontinue broadcasting, citing an ever-fluctuating list of reasons that have failed to remain consistent. Although First Caucasian remains viewable on cable in Georgia and online, the channel’s satellite broadcasts were a crucial part of its strategy to be available to large parts of Russia to challenge the Kremlin’s near-total media monopoly. Of course, Russia would have none of that. As Russian deputy interior minister Arkady Yedelev stated on January 14, “the TV channel is definitely directed towards planting anti-Russian, anti-State stance and the ideology of extremism.” Right.
Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:
With the United States canceling its plans to deploy elements of a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic and with the imminent signing of a new nuclear arms control agreement between Moscow and Washington, Russia’s foreign policy is facing something of a dilemma. If U.S.-Russian relations get too warm, the Kremlin might have trouble reconciling its “reset” with the traditional belief that the West is out to get Russia.
The problem is that the main pillar of Russian foreign policy has always been to place the blame for its problems on somebody else. Take, for example, the European Security Treaty, President Dmitry Medvedev’s pet project. The West has been highly indifferent to his proposal, and for Medvedev this is additional evidence of how the West ignores Moscow’s peaceful intentions.
Radio Free Europe reports on what it calls Dima Medvedev’s “laughable” call for reform:
So the president of Russia continues his effort to conquer the Internet space. Dmitry Medvedev’s article “Russia, Forward!” which appeared on gazeta.ru on September 10, is charming. Its charm is unqualified and unconditional — I’d even say that it is absolute. At least it would be hard for me to imagine anything more charming.
My first reaction when I read the piece was a desire to copy it and rework it a bit. For example, maybe put it on a pink background and decorate it with flowers here and there. To mark out particular paragraphs with lipstick kisses and others with smiley faces.
Mikhail Barabanov, editor-in-chief of the Moscow Defense Brief, writing in the Moscow Times, reports on the latest total insanity coming out of the Russian military establishment:
Most people had trouble believing media reports last month that the Russian Navy was planning to buy a $1 billion helicopter carrier from France. First, the Kremlin has always adhered to the sacred principle of producing big-ticket military projects domestically at any cost. After all, it is a given that a superpower must be able to manufacture its own ships, fighter jets and missiles. Second, France is a NATO country. Third, Russia is supposed to be in a deep economic crisis. Where would the military come up with $1 billion to buy a single ship? Fourth, Russian officials themselves denied the reports.
Russia Stabs its Heroes in the Heart
Russia is firing 200,000 of its military officers, having suddenly discovered they are superfluous. Why? Because the government has run out of money to pay and house them, much less all the enlisted men they would supposedly manage.
Yet, to avoid a mass insurrection by destitute military men who know how to use guns, Russia has promised each of them a $400/month pension and a free apartment. That pension alone would cost the Kremlin nearly a billion dollars each year to pay, with another gigantic sum being tacked on in monthly rent. It makes no sense, of course, for the Kremlin to make such a claim when the reason for the firings in the first place was lack of funds, but sense has never been an obstacle to the Russian government.
So the officers are being relegated to tiny, moldy, disgusting trailer parks along with their families.