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Russia: There Might Even Be Tears
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July 22, 2007:Anonymous attackers are shutting down the web sites of opposition political parties. This is being done with the same kind of hacker attacks (DDOS) used against Estonian sites earlier this year. This is seen as another government effort to cripple political parties that do not agree with government policies.

July 21, 2007:South Korea will invest up to $2 billion to rebuild housing in Chechnya. The South Koreans will supervise the construction, in an attempt to prevent corrupt practices from crippling the effort. This will be interesting, because no one does anything in Chechnya without paying protection money to the local warlord. In this case, the strongest local warlord controls the provincial government.

July 20, 2007: In an unusual surge of activity, there were three groups of long range Tu-95 or Tu-160 aircraft in the air off the north Russian coast this weel. It was only last year that the air force resumed long range flights over the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans. About a hundred of these flights were carried out last year, mainly by Tu-95MS and Tu-160 heavy bombers. Russia has also increased the number of heavy bomber crews it is training, with 42 new crews entering service in 2006. Russia has about 50 operational Tu-95s and about sixteen Tu-160s. Both bombers can, with in-flight refueling, reach any place on the planet. The Norwegian air force keeps two armed F-16 fighters on constant alert to go escort Russian aircraft that fly just outside Norwegian airspace. Britain also keeps fighters on alert to meet the Russian aircraft when they near British air space.

July 19, 2007: Russia and Ukraine have agreed that Soviet era radar facilities would no longer be part of a Russian ballistic missile warning system. Russia is refurbishing its missile warning system, which has decayed from lack of funding since the end of the Cold War 16 years ago. Ukraine has, in that time, become increasingly pro-Europe, largely to avoid being reabsorbed into Russia.

July 14, 2007: In retaliation for U.S. efforts to build an anti-missile system in Eastern Europe, the government suspended participation in the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. This treaty was a Cold War effort, hammered out after years of negotiations in the 1980s, that limited the size and composition of Russian armed forces in western Russia (and thus able to threaten Western Russia.) The Treaty became moot about a year after it was signed, and is a largely useless relic of the Cold War.

July 7, 2007: The government said that, if Ukraine and Georgia join NATO, Russia will be unhappy and uncooperative. There might even be tears.

July 6, 2007: About twenty Islamic terrorists attacked an army base in Ingushetia with assault rifles and mortars. The army says there were no casualties, the rebels claim inflicting over three dozen. This is the first large scale terrorist attack since 2004. The rebels are believed to be composed largely of Chechens, who have fled the more dangerous counter-terror situation in neighboring Chechnya.

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