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Russia: We'd Rather Not Talk About It
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July 21, 2010: Russian military commanders admit that, over the last decade, most of their Cold War era military equipment has slipped into obsolescence and fallen far behind more recent Western equipment. But the generals and admirals insist that, during the next decade, large quantities of new Russian gear will be purchased and put in service. The new Russian designs are being produced, but largely for export customers. It's up to the government to provide the cash to make these purchases, something the government has not been able to do since the early 1990s. But future military spending will be made at the expense of popular non-military programs (infrastructure, pensions, medical care). Despite the growing authoritarian style of the government, the popular will still has more power than it did during the Soviet period.

Opinion polls show the majority of Russians oppose nuclear disarmament. This is part of a trend. In the early 1990s, a lot more Russians were in favor of getting rid of a lot of nuclear weapons. In 1991, 48 percent of Russians favored nuclear disarmament (and 48 percent opposed it), now it's 19 percent (with 60 percent opposing it). The Russian people are aware of their much diminished armed forces (compared to 1991), and believe that only nukes keep potential invaders out.

The Moscow government will build 5,000 additional bomb shelters over the next two years, so that nearly all civilians will have access to a shelter. Currently, Cold War era bomb shelters can only hold about half the city's population. In the last two decades, many Cold War era shelters were dismantled so that new buildings could be put up. While Russians are normally paranoid about foreign attack, the government is playing on these fears, to distract people from the growing authoritarian nature of the government. The federal (or "secret") police (the FSB, which replaced the KGB), in particular, are getting back a lot of their Soviet era powers.

The economy is recovering from the global recession. For the first six months of the year, the economy grew 4.2 percent, compared to the economy contracting eight percent last year. Over the last two decades, the Russian economy has been catching up with the West. During the Soviet period, Russian firms were not able to get the most modern technology, nor sufficient money to keep facilities or infrastructure (roads, power plants) up to date. The building boom has made Russian industry more competitive, and led to the greatest period of economy growth in over half a century. But Russia is still hobbled by widespread corruption, especially at the senior-most levels of government. Foreign investors are reluctant to do business in Russia, because of the risk of some senior politician arbitrarily changing the rules down the road.

At dawn, terrorists attacked a power plant in the Caucasus (Kabardino-Balkaria, north of Georgia, west of Ingushetia). Two guards were killed and some damage done to the plant.  This is the second terror attack in Kabardino-Balkaria during the last week. This is an area that has rarely seen terrorist violence in the last decade. Apparently a terrorist cell has moved in, taking advantage of the lower level of alertness among the security personnel.

Despite allowing currently enacted UN economic sanctions against Iran to come into force (Russia has a veto over UN actions), officials for Russian nuclear energy and weapons manufacturing firms talk like the sanctions don't apply to them. While these firms have not actually broken the sanctions yet, their open discussions of doing so are disturbing.

July 19, 2010: Russia has delivered fifty wheeled armored vehicles to Jordan, where they will eventually be delivered to the Palestinian government in the West Bank. Israel has agreed to allow these vehicles into the West Bank, but that has not happened yet.

July 16, 2010: A roadside bomb went off in the Caucasus (Kabardino-Balkaria), wounding five people.

July 15, 2010: In Dagestan, police cornered and killed two wanted Islamic terrorists.

July 11, 2010:  In Dagestan, a bomb went off in the capital, wounding two policemen.

July 10, 2010: In Dagestan, a judge was shot dead. This was believed to be an effort by criminals to intimidate the judicial system.

July 9, 2010:  American and Russian officials conducted a spy swap in Vienna, Austria. This was the largest such swap since the Cold War. Russia pardoned and freed four Russians, including two former intel officers who revealed the identities of numerous Russian agents in the West. These two were never debriefed by their American handlers, and are believed to have more information and insights of value. The U.S. released ten Russians who had, for the last decade, been trying to pass themselves off as Americans, and operate as "illegals" (spies without diplomatic cover and protection). As part of the deal, the ten Russians had to admit their guilt. The FBI caught on to this bunch early on, and have been watching them for years, trying to obtain more information on how Russian espionage operate in the United States. The FBI finally arrested these ten when it became apparent that the Russians had detected that they were being watched.

The FBI was puzzled by how little useful information these ten were able to obtain. As far as the FBI could tell, these ten spies never obtained anything important. But the Russians were eager to get them back, and avoid a trial in the United States.  Russian state media said very little about the spy swap. The spy exchange was organized in less than a month, with the U.S. eager to get four valuable people back, and Russia equally intent on getting its ten embarrassing spies out of the news.

It's unclear why Russia undertook such an inept operation. There are indications that many other Russian espionage operations are similarly sloppy (and will be revealed when arrested are made). This is in sharp contrast to the Cold War when, after it was over, it was revealed that the Russians were much better at the spy game than their Western opponents. But those super spies appear to have moved on to more lucrative work in the civilian sector, or the government. In any event, the past masters are no longer running the show. It's amateur hour now, and the Russians would rather not talk about it.


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shaneconnor       7/26/2010 12:10:51 PM
One statement in July 21, 2010 article "We'd Rather Not Talk About It", I'd like to see
if any can point me to any other additional news sources of it...

"The Moscow government will build 5,000 additional bomb shelters over the next two years"

I'm the author of a couple civil defense articles and guides and would like to incorporate
this important fact if I can get any additional verification or other sources I can point to.

Example of my work can be seen here...

Thank you, appreciate any help.

Best Regards,
Shane Connor
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tigertony    Shane   7/26/2010 7:10:03 PM
    Maybe this link above will help you Shane?
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shaneconnor       7/27/2010 2:11:11 AM

 Maybe this link above will help you Shane?

Thanks for the link,  tigertony, but still no luck.
- Shane
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Nocturne       7/27/2010 4:39:15 PM
"The Moscow government will build 5,000 additional bomb shelters over the next two years" doesn't really matter how many new shelters they will build. It would be enough just to keep some of existing ones in a working order.
My mother was civil defence defence officer in one factory during Chernobyl disaster. I well recall her stories..nothing was working: somebody turned one shelter into warehouse, gas mask filters were long expired, radiation dosimeters were dead, shelter had a ventilation only in theory.
While many yeas have passded i dont believe much have changed. In the venet of disaster half+ of the shelts would be inoperable anyway.
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Photon       7/29/2010 5:03:43 PM
Russian civil defense shelters:  An example of Russian 'pork barrel spending'?  It seems that the two Cold War giants have one trait in common and still have that in common:  pork barrel spending!" alt="" />
I think the limiting factor behind civiil defense shelter is that, just like any other infrastructures, it has to be maintained and up to date.  In other words, the maintenance cost associated with the lifetime of the shelters is likely to exceed their initial construction cost.  In addition, they are not going to be too useful unless civil defense staff (emergency workers and medical staff in particular, plus local police and military units expected to pitch in) are put through periodic drills plus some civil defense education provided to the public, which also adds to the cost.
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WarNerd       7/30/2010 8:14:45 PM
I ask myself: "Why do they think they need to shelter the entire population of Moscow?"
The only answer that makes sense is that they are expecting only a limited attack.
Which leads to the question: "What do they know about China/India/Pakistan that we do not?"
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Nocturne       8/1/2010 4:08:36 AM
we know it. China-Siberia. New little cold war
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WarNerd       8/1/2010 5:21:42 PM

we know it. China-Siberia. New little cold war

Then their behavior is foolish.  They should be trying to make friends and allies with NATO, and Europe in general so that they can concentrate more of their conventional forces in the East.

I guess they feel the perception that they are still a 'Great Power' in the world is more important than the reality that their enemies understand.
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Griffin       8/2/2010 2:15:41 AM
You can add this to your list. There has been an increase in such incursions over the last number of years.
Two CF-18A Fighters were scrambled from CFB Bagotville, QC on July 28th. after NORAD detected two TU-95 long-range bombers flying approximately 463 kilometres east of Goose Bay, Newfoundland.
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Lance Blade       8/2/2010 9:21:48 AM
I was under the impression that Moscow's bomb shelters was their underground system. Is this not the case?
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