Well, Pretty sure about Mr.Putin's honesty & MAN ON MISSION attitude after he reclaims the presidential position with elections due in coming days.
Nice & diligent article but appears like a inspirational stuff for US people though. Personally i'm fan of Russian tech & Mr.Putin so holding the excitement for the next several years.
Isn't Putin the guy who once said "Whoever doesn't miss the Soviet Union has no heart, but whoever wants it back has no brain"? Apparently western intellectuals haven't lost their cold war hangover, and think that every attempt by Russia to grow in the direction it undertook post USSR is an attempt to become USSR once again.
Seriously, no one sensible is worried about the rise of the Soviet Union. It was disolved because people didn't want it. The CIS is weakening day by day as Russian economic influence remains in decline. The economic crises brought Russian trade with the FSU states to a standstill. They were able to maintain control by having the only outlets for Central Asian fossil fuels but that is quickly changing. Pipelines are going out to China and Europe. Russia is shooting itself in the foot by bypassing Belarus and Ukraine with the Stream pipelines which will lower their hold on them. The CSTO rapid reaction force is basically Russia and Kazahkstan, the rest of the states aren't interested. Trade with the EU has surpassed trade with Russia in most of these states. Russia has been breaking their reliance with military suppliers left over from the USSR which only decreases leverage. They are trying to bring ethnic Russians back into the RF which only lowers their populations outside the RF. Russian dominance is long past.
Small business is the life blood of any succesful economy and it only accounts for 15% in Russia compared to 60% in the EU. Trying to start an SB is so hard no one wants to do it. It takes years to get the permits and then the loans have such a high interest rate you have to turn to European banques. Now the legislation makes even that hard. If you start to become succesful, your competition will take you to court, pay a bribe and force you out of business. The only success is that tied to the state power. Russian economy is still dominated by one industry towns, that is a state run factory at the core of each local economy, and most of those have had to cut wages in half with major layoffs. The roads have turned to dust and the pipes leak most of the water. Russian state is unwilling to invest in infrastructure so they turn to FDI but few are buying unless it is for raw materials. Problem for the people is they don't live near the raw materials. Most of the planes, helos, and cars being bought are foreign. Russian shipbuilding is in shambles. France now runs their automobile industry.
Russia is and will continue to be an energy super power but they are drying up all of their easy to reach fields. After 2015 Russia will have to spend 5-10 times as much to extract what they currently do. By kicking out foreign investors to help pay for this development only makes the investment climate that much worse. With the record loss in profits for both Gazprom and Lukoil the capital needed to develop the fields may just dry up with a lack of profitabilty in extraction costs. FDI has dropped from $70 billion a year to just $15 billion in 2009. At current projections, Russia won't reach its 2008 GDP level until 2013. The crises set them back by 5 years. When China's bubble bursts, Russia will be the hardest hit in the raw materials sector setting them back another 5 years. It will be another lost decade.
The military reforms look good on the surface, but the cuts are far deeper than most people realise. The VVS is looking for total number of aircraft in the 2000 range, this includes everything from fighters, transports, helos and UAVs. UAVs are supposed to make up the largest chunk with 40% of all aircraft. This will reduce the manned systems to 1200. The standing army is reduced to 360,000 with 500,000 in reserve. 20,000 tanks down to 2000 active 6000 in storage. The Navy is by far in the worst shape with problems too numerous to go into here but the ship numbers will be reduced by at least 50% from their 2005 levels. Overall, you are looking at a 40% reduction from pre-reform to post reform. Russia has to build 70% of this equipment over the next 10 years while still maintaining an export balance that is overbooked by $35 billion. Russian MIC is stretched well past its limits and the 15 years of stagnation are starting to show with constant delays. Russia isn't immune to the rising costs of procurement the West is facing, theirs is actually higher. One hidden little factoid the Russian press doesn't reveal when they spout annual delievery numbers is that most of it is just modernised Soviet equipment. The actual number of new machines vs modernised runs only about 25%. Russia considers renovated armour and aircraft as 'new'. The simple fact is that by 2025, the vast majority of Russia's 'new' equipment will be facing retirement yet again.
In conclusion, Russia isn't really rising anywhere. They are fighting to maintain what they have right now and losing the battle.
The problem with Russia right now is the after effects of the disastrous policies of Boris Yeltsin. The other problem is it's declining birth rates. Even the current population is aging. Maybe Russia needs some lessons from the Country which is the Super Power of making babies. lol It's just a matter of time till we surpass china as the most populous country, and that's not a good thing.
Anyway, Russia can Rise again provided they fix those 2 strategic problems. I mean, making babies is not rocket science- lol, and economy is and will recover because of a lot of talent and resources in that country. Also more younger population means more money in economy, naturally. Russians problems are curable, unlike the chronic disadvantage the natural-resources-less countries have. In any case, I'd love to have the Soviet Union back. It may be a Ruthless Martial country, but it's not something we should be worried about. The best way to describe Soviet union is, it is exactly like a Fire. If you are close to it(share borders), it will burn you to a crisp. But if used at arms length intelligently, that same fire can bring you great benefits. India doesn't share borders(which I'm extremely glad of) with it and is very far away... and can be a valuable partner like it was before, while the poor Europeans, Chinese and Japanese will feel the real heat from the Fire. The U.S as always, staying safely in another continent, will use Europe & Japan as it's own playground to play the deadly game of who blinks first in the nuclear showdown with the Soviets.
Victory to the Soviet Union!!! Cool Vid From the Strategy G Red Alert 2-
U.S. recognition of Armenian genocide in Turkey may strengthen ties between Ankara and Moscow / Ukrainian president to maneuver between Europe and Russia - analysts / Russian president orders renewal of 10% of army arsenals in 2010 / Nabucco's future depends on Turkmenistan /
Kommersant U.S. recognition of Armenian genocide in Turkey may strengthen ties between Ankara and Moscow
After the U.S. Congress' Foreign Affairs Committee passed last week a draft resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide carried out by Turkish authorities early in the 20th century, Ankara recalled its ambassador from Washington for consultations and announced it could find another energy partner: Russia.
The U.S. Congress had already considered similar resolutions in 1974 and 1985, but did not adopt them. In 2007, the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved the draft resolution. At that time, as now, Ankara lodged a strong protest and recalled its ambassador. President George W. Bush had a difficult time persuading the Congressmen not to vote. This time matters are complicated by the fact that during his election campaign Barack Obama promised to recognize the Armenian genocide and many now expect him to be a man of his word.
The United States historically has a strong Armenian lobby. Its only rival is the Jewish lobby, but following a cooling of relations between Israel and Turkey, their active support for Ankara declined. Washington is also concerned that Turkey's policies are too independent and that it has strengthened its relations with Iran. When, in February of this year, the U.S. proposed that it deploy an anti-missile radar system on Turkish soil, Ankara diplomatically declined, saying it first needed to secure support of the other NATO countries. Nor are the Turks in a hurry to ratify the protocol on the normalization of relations with Armenia, although the U.S. has long urged them to do so.
Meanwhile, Ankara has hinted that it could easily find another energy partner, such as Russia, for example. Sources in the Turkish government say that Turkey "is prepared to open its doors to renewed cooperation with Russia on this issue" if the U.S. persists on the genocide issue.
However, Congress is unlikely to pass a resolution on the Armenian genocide: there is too much at stake. Turkey supports U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Washington is not only interested in the continuation of this cooperation, but also in strengthening it. Equally important is the U.S. base in Incirlik, which is essential for many U.S. air force operations. In addition, Turkey is strategically placed on oil and gas routes from the Middle East and the Caspian region to Western countries.
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Izvestia Ukrainian president to maneuver between Europe and Russia - analysts
The new Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych visited Moscow late last week but his future policy remains a mystery. During his meeting with top Russian leaders Yanukovych mentioned a "new page" in bilateral relations. But the page remains blank.
Alexander Rahr, Director of the Russia and CIS Programs at the German Council on Foreign Policy, says Russia had expected Ukraine to renounce its plans for NATO membership. There was also hope that energy giant Gazprom would be invited to join a new gas consortium and that Kiev would agree to extend the stay of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol after 2017.
"There is still hope that Ukraine will join the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space in the mid-term," Rahr believes.
"Russia expected Kiev to confirm all gas agreements signed with Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. They stipulate that Ukraine is to buy gas at market prices, which is profitable for Russia," the analyst writes.
Ukraine hoped to receive cheap gas and trade preferences. Although Ukraine is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Kiev is unable to sell many of its products on European markets.
Kiev hopes that Russia will not diversify gas transits in circumvention of Ukraine. Yanukovych realizes that he can no longer delay construction of the Nordic Stream gas pipeline, which is to link Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea, and is going to try to delay the South Stream project, a proposed gas pipeline to transport Russian natural gas to Bulgaria via the Black Sea and further to Italy and Austria. His efforts will be directed at making sure that the biggest share of gas being transported to Europe goes via Ukraine.
Ukraine had extremely pragmatic expectations with regard to Russia, which hoped to resume political reintegration processes with Kiev. Notably, the Ukrainian president visited Brussels before coming to Moscow. The entire Western world welcomed him in Brussels because Ukraine remains an important country which it cannot afford to lose, the analyst writes.
One should expect Yanukovych to implement a policy that would be most beneficial for Ukraine: He is most likely to maneuver between Europe and Russia. Neither Europe, nor Russia has anything to offer Ukraine at the moment to make it contemplate unbalanced cooperation with either party. Yanukovych will try to maintain good relations with everyone, the analyst writes in conclusion.
RBC Daily, Gazeta Russian president orders renewal of 10% of army arsenals in 2010
New weapons must account for 70% of Russia's military equipment by 2020, meaning that 9%-11% of armaments is to be renewed each year, President Dmitry Medvedev said at a Defense Ministry meeting.
Analysts say this goal is unrealistic.
"Only 10% of Russia's weapons are new and the rest no longer meet the requirements of modern warfare," said Igor Korotchenko, a member of the Defense Ministry's Public Council. Practice shows that not a single rearmament program in Russia has been implemented in full or on time.
"You can't have a new army without new weapons," the analyst said. "But we have to be realistic about this. It would be good if new weapons accounted for up to 50%."
"The country's defense industry was seriously weakened after both exports and supplies to the armed forces collapsed, and coordination across the sector deteriorated in the 1990s," said Leonid Ivashov, president of the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems.
"Unfortunately, modern military equipment is not reaching the armed forces," he said. "Take the 4+ generation MiG-29 SMT, the Su-37 fighter plane with a forward-swept wing, or the world famous helicopters Ka-50 Black Shark and Ka-52 Alligator. None have been supplied to the armed forces, and I'm afraid the same fate will befall the Sukhoi PAK FA fifth generation fighter aircraft."
However, analysts say officials have their own way of boosting the proportion of modern weapons in the armed forces.
"For example, there were some 23,000 tanks and apart from a few hundred, all were obsolete models dating back to the Soviet period," Ivashov said. "The decision was made to cut their number to 2,000, which dramatically increased the proportion of new tanks. The Air Force used the same method. The General Staff call this 'demilitarization'."
Kommersant Nabucco's future depends on Turkmenistan
The European Commission has approved a 2.3-billion euro economic stimulus program with the largest-ever package of grants for energy infrastructure, including 200 million euros for the Nabucco pipeline project to bring gas from the Caspian Sea to the European Union.
The 2,000-mile pipeline, with an estimated total cost of 8 billion euros ($10.8 billion), should help reduce the EU's reliance on natural gas from Russia. However, allocations have been suspended until the final investment decision is taken on the project.
Nabucco's future now depends on Turkmenistan. If it fails to come to an agreement with the EU within six months, the EU will spend the money on other energy projects.
In spring 2008, Turkmenistan signed a memorandum on the annual delivery of 100 billion cubic meters (3.53 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas to Europe. The European Parliament made unprecedented political concessions by ratifying a trade agreement with Turkmenistan despite the country's deplorable record in human rights. However, that effort has not moved the Nabucco project forward.
The absence of any agreement on the Caspian Sea delimitation between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan hinders the Trans-Caspian pipeline project, which would supply Turkmen gas to Nabucco. Turkmenistan's Caspian coast is only 200 km (124 miles) away from Azerbaijan's gas transportation system, which is connected to Turkey by the South Caucasus pipeline. But Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan remain unable to solve their territorial dispute.
Turkmenistan is ready to deliver gas to Europe via Iran or Russia bypassing Azerbaijan, according to a government source. One possible route is a new pipeline from the Dovletabad field to Iran with a throughput capacity of 12 billion tons per year (241.64 million bpd). But the United States is unlikely to support this idea; its desire to isolate Iran has in fact deprived Nabucco of much needed gas resources.
The Nabucco project is also suffering from internal problems. For example, Azerbaijan, unable to come to an agreement with Turkey on gas supply and transit terms, has declared its willingness to export its gas to Russia and Iran.
Azerbaijani officials are openly skeptical about Nabucco, and Bulgarian politicians support their view. The project organizers' hope of getting gas from Azerbaijan or Iraq has so far not been formalized. In short, Nabucco still has no resource base.
Last Thursday, the Turkish parliament approved a bill on the construction of the Nabucco pipeline, but the same day the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee passed a nonbinding resolution calling the World War I-era killing of Armenians genocide.
In yet another bid to strengthen cooperation with the â€śnear abroad,â€ť Moscow has hosted informal summit meetings of the major post-Soviet groupings. However, the gatherings also served to highlight continued disagreements between some member states.
On May 8, informal summits of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) were held in Moscow to mark the 65th anniversary of defeating Nazi Germany. President, Dmitry Medvedev, told the summit meeting at his Gorki residence outside Moscow, that the CIS remained what he termed as an â€śappropriate platformâ€ť for economic coordination and joint modernization efforts (Interfax, ITAR-TASS, RIA Novosti, May 8).
The CIS leaders refrained from any political statements, only adopting an address on the 65th anniversary of the victory in World War II. Yet, they welcomed Ukraineâ€™s President, Viktor Yanukovych, hoping that the country will rejoin the regular meetings of the grouping. The summit meetings in Moscow were attended by the heads of state of almost all the ex-Soviet Republics, except Islam Karimov, who sent the Uzbek Prime Minister, Shavkat Mirziyev, to represent the country. However, Belarusian President, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, and Ukraineâ€™s Yanukovych left early to attend celebrations in their capitals. The Georgian leadership was not invited.
President Medvedev told visiting heads of state that nations should work together in the face of modern threats. In a symbolic non-confrontational gesture, NATO troops marched in the annual Victory Day parade through Red Square on May 9. Ahead of the symbolic parade, the CSTO hailed the recent nuclear arms reduction agreements between Russia and the US, and advocated continued global efforts to pursue nuclear disarmament. Ironically, Russiaâ€™s new military doctrine stipulates the defense of the countryâ€™s allies by all means, including nuclear weapons. According to CSTOâ€™s mandate, if there is a threat of aggression against one country, other member states can provide help, including military aid.
The CSTO heads of state also advocated what they described as a â€śpeaceful returnâ€ť to normal political life, prevention of violence and restoration of law and order in Kyrgyzstan. The grouping also pledged â€śhumanitarian and other assistanceâ€ť to Kyrgyzstan, but voiced concern about the â€śnon-constitutionalâ€ť regime change there in April (Interfax, ITAR-TASS, RIA Novosti, May 8).
The sudden collapse of the Bakiyev regime in Kyrgyzstan also benefitted the Kremlin. Subsequently, Roza Otunbayeva, the head of the Kyrgyz provisional government was allowed to attend the celebrations in Moscow on May 8-9. The Russian-led CSTO has indicated that its Collective Operational Reaction Forces (CORF) would not intervene in any internal unrest in Kyrgyzstan because it was not designed to interfere in such domestic conflicts. The CSTO, which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, currently has the collective rapid deployment forces (KSBR), due to be replaced by the Russian-led CORF.
In June 2009, CSTO leaders signed an agreement to form the CORF, although some member states abstained. A CSTO summit meeting in Moscow on June 14, 2009 agreed to form the Russian-based CORF to respond to regional security challenges, but Belarus and Uzbekistan declined to sign the agreement. Furthermore, Minsk also refused to assume the CSTO rotating presidency and refrained from the CORF deal due to economic disagreements with Moscow. Subsequently, Russia was forced to assume the CSTO â€śtemporary presidency.â€ť
In yet another affront to Moscow, Lukashenka granted asylum to Bakiyev and made it clear that any extradition requests would be declined. On April 25, Lukashenka argued that the CSTO â€śhad no prospectsâ€ť in its current form, and accused the grouping of turning a blind eye to the Kyrgyz coup (Interfax, April 25).
Last year, Russia's relations with its once closest ally, Belarus, reached a new low following a bitter dispute about Moscowâ€™s restrictions on Belarus food exports into Russia. In May 2009, Lukashenka told his government to end â€śweeping, bowing and beggingâ€ť to Russia, and urged them â€śto seek happiness in another part of the planet.â€ť
Subsequently, Belarus is now planning to receive up to 10 million tons per year in oil supplies from Venezuela, via Ukraine and Lithuania. Possible oil transit issues were discussed during talks between Lukashenka and Yanukovych in Minsk, and Prime Ministers, Andrius Kubilius, and, Sergei Sidorsky, in Vilnius (Interfax, April 29-30). Therefore, economic disagreements between Russia and Belarus continue despite pledges by both nations to form a â€śunion state,â€ť and a Customs Union along with Kazakhstan.
In contrast, following Yanukovychâ€™s accession to power, the Kremlin has pushed to rapidly develop ties with Ukraine. These moves include bilateral agreements on gas supplies and the Black Sea Fleet, Moscowâ€™s initiatives to merge Russia's Gazprom and Ukraineâ€™s Naftogaz, and Russian pledges to grant Ukraine preferential loans. Yet, despite the continued disagreements with Belarus, the Kremlin also moved to forge close ties between the three major Slav nations. On May 9, heads of the presidential administrations in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine (Vladimir Makei, Sergei Naryshkin and Sergei Levochkin) met in Sevastopol to discuss an upcoming trilateral summit meeting to be held in the area where the borders of the three nations meet.
Therefore, Russian policies in the â€śnear abroadâ€ť apparently continue to revolve around the nexus of post-Soviet groupings and related ideas of closer economic integration. However, it is far from certain whether these policies might serve to solve persistent disagreements between the former Soviet Republics.