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Russia: Morale Is Pretty Bad
   Next Article → COUNTER-TERRORISM: American Mysteries Revealed
March 10, 2009: Last year, the government prosecuted nearly 4,000 officials for corruption. This included hundreds of senior provincial and city officials. There's still a lot of corruption, but each year there's a little less. However, economic problems have overshadowed corruption. The global recession has cut Russian exports 40 percent, and the GDP is poised to shrink by more than ten percent this year. Rising unemployment means more unrest in the streets. One bright spot in all this is the revival of agriculture. Russian exported 14 million tons of grain in the last year. Until the communists took over in the 1920s, Russia had long been a major exporter of grain. But the communist command economy screwed that up, and it took a decade after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, for agriculture to find its entrepreneurial feet again.

The Russian defense industry, which lost over 80 percent of its business when the Cold War ended in 1991, managed to survive, for over a decade, on export orders. Only about a third of the Soviet era defense manufacturers are still in business, and now about half of them are faced with bankruptcy because of a shortage of orders and increased competition from China. This is complicated by the fact that the Chinese competition is mainly in the form of cheaper copies of Russian weapons and equipment. Russia thought it had signed a deal to halt this plagiarism and technology theft, but the Chinese continue to sell copies of Russian stuff on the international market. The Chinese know that Russia will not go to war over this, and otherwise can do nothing. So the Chinese either ignore Russian complaints, or issue empty apologies, and continue stealing Russian secrets and reselling them.

In an effort to aid the defense industry, Russia is negotiating a new arms reduction treaty with the United States. This will mainly reduce nuclear weapons, which are very expensive to maintain and guard. Russia would rather spend its defense dollars on new tanks and radios to replace Cold War era stuff. The Russian military is still the same old post-Cold War mess. Reforms have had a hard time taking hold. Meanwhile, training levels and readiness are low. Ships rarely go to sea, pilots get a few dozen hours a year in the air, armored units rarely go out and train as they would fight. Troops rarely fire their weapons. Except in a few parachute or commando units, morale is pretty bad. Things were looking up for the past five years, as high oil prices pumped up the economy. But that's gone now, and so is the glow.

The violence continues in the Caucasus. The pro-Russian government in Chechnya has gotten religion, backing traditionalists who want to respect ancient customs (like murdering women suspected of sexual misbehavior). This undercuts support of Islamic terrorists. In neighboring Dagestan, several Islamic radical groups are setting off bombs and shooting at police. In South Ossetia, corruption has stalled reconstruction in the wake of last Augusts war with Georgia.  

Next Article → COUNTER-TERRORISM: American Mysteries Revealed
  
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Gerry       3/10/2009 8:49:51 PM
The Russian military and defense industrial complex are slowly collapsing. The Russian military is living on Cold war relics. Every year sees more and more how they are becoming a weak ineffective force of less and less importance.
 
Rising on the horizon are Israel,  China, and India who are developing their own military industrial complex with the Israelis in the lead for high quality. Give the world another 15 years and the Russians will be no longer a military equipment exporting nation, if not sooner.
 
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Photon       3/10/2009 11:16:51 PM

The Russian military and defense industrial complex are slowly collapsing. The Russian military is living on Cold war relics. Every year sees more and more how they are becoming a weak ineffective force of less and less importance.

 

Rising on the horizon are Israel,  China, and India who are developing their own military industrial complex with the Israelis in the lead for high quality. Give the world another 15 years and the Russians will be no longer a military equipment exporting nation, if not sooner.

Unfortunately, the Russians are still in the process of paying the hefty price for their 'glorious' Cold War arms race days.
 
Whenever this topic pops up, I keep thinking about the Khrushchev era.  He supported ballistic and surface-to-air missile programs wholeheartedly, as a means to cut the bloated Soviet Army.  But he ended up pissing off the rest of the elite who had too much interests tied to military-industrial-complex.  The fact that the Soviet civilian economy was pitiful did not help; even if he had managed to put the military into a crash diet program, there was no civilian economy around to absorb former officers.  Yeah ... 'damned if do, damned if not' situation!  Anyway, once good ol' Nikita got ousted, Brezhnev & Co. went to the other extreme:  Getting entangled with the arms race with the US at full-throttle, and nevermind the much smaller Soviet economic base.

For the Russians to have a chance overcoming the hangovers from the Cold War stupor, they may require a wholesale generation change in the leadership.  As long as their leadership consist of folks who equate Russia with the 'greatness' of the Soviet Union and related props, they will keep on shooting themselves.
 
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razputin    to Gerry   3/11/2009 6:21:44 PM
You wish all that was true) Where do you get your information? i gues if your source is strategypage then it is no wonder you are so misinformed)) 
 
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razputin    to Gerry   3/11/2009 6:28:54 PM
our current leadership is better than ever.. not too bloodthirsty yet strong effective and unapologetic) no longer we have to deal with overfed dumb stooges from politburo who got us into afghanistan mess and lost the soviet empire. you stick with your democracy over there and let us see where Obama gets you with his health care plan and defense budget cuts)) best of luck!
 
p.s. I think Cold War was fun. Look how much progress you have made in the last century. Without us you will be stuck with 80% of your military chasing pashtuns in the non-state that is afghanistan. And Chinese lack our experience and are nowhere near our intelligence capability. 
 
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razputin    to Gerry   3/11/2009 6:36:40 PM
last reply was meant to Photon
 
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afrc       3/14/2009 12:52:34 AM

our current leadership is better than ever.. not too bloodthirsty yet strong effective and unapologetic) no longer we have to deal with overfed dumb stooges from politburo who got us into afghanistan mess and lost the soviet empire. you stick with your democracy over there and let us see where Obama gets you with his health care plan and defense budget cuts)) best of luck!

p.s. I think Cold War was fun. Look how much progress you have made in the last century. Without us you will be stuck with 80% of your military chasing pashtuns in the non-state that is afghanistan. And Chinese lack our experience and are nowhere near our intelligence capability. 

I think that both countries are in trouble. US has mounting debt and Russia has very little revenue due to falling oil prices and Chinese competition on weapons markets - not enough to have new government stooges running effectively and reform the military that still uses Cold War era weapons (according to pictures from Georgian War). So far Russia scared foreign investments and scared Russian businesses with the threat of nationalization. From what I can tell from Russian forums, Putin lost the past glory. Many people don't take him seriously any more. Yes, he is still popular, but only because people don't see the alternative. I am sorry, but your view of Russia is way too optimistic and unrealistic.
And Obama came to power only because Bush screwed up. He will take country deeper into trouble (I have no doubt) because he wants bigger government and income redistribution. It's possible that US will be worse in the future... but Russia is worse now. I don't see reasons for optimism on both sides.http://www.strategypage.com/CuteSoft_Client/CuteEditor/Images/emsad.gif" align="absmiddle" border="0" alt="" />
 
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