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Russian Decay And Decline
by James Dunnigan
November 26, 2010

The current government has made progress in fixing the economy and reducing the atmosphere of lawlessness. But corruption is still rampant, and the newly centralized government is seen as a return to autocratic rule of the past. The problem with autocratic strongmen is that they tend to stay in power long past the point where they are effective. The czars and communists both suffered from this, and it is feared that new "democratic dictatorship" will do the same.

Despite quality control and delivery problems, Russia continues to provide 60 percent of Indian arms imports over the last seven years. But because of those problems, Russia is only providing 45 percent of Indian arms exports over the next three years. Western suppliers are moving in, and Russia is having a hard time competing.

A new mayor in Moscow (the old one had been in power for over a decade, but had gone against the national leadership and was dismissed) has said he will clean up police corruption and inefficiency. As part of that effort, 12 percent of Moscow police (11,900) will be fired. Cops taking bribes is only part of the problem here. A larger issue was police jobs becoming political patronage, with a proliferation of different police forces (like one for ecological crime), many full of friends of some politician, and not doing much of anything on the job.

October 29, 2010: For the second time in a row, the new Bulava SLBM (submarine launched ballistic missile) had a successful test launch. There will be one more test before the end of the year, and if that one is good, the missile will enter service next year. The Bulava has failed half its test launches so far, and recently failed three in a row. The government was not happy with this, and management of the Bulava program was replaced last year. On the same day, two older Sineva liquid fuel SLBMs were successfully tested. Sinevas are Russia's current SLBM, serving on Delta IV class subs. In addition to new SLBMs, and subs to carry them, the navy also announced that it would also receive five of the new 4,500 ton 22350 class frigates over the next five years.

Police revealed that they had foiled a terrorist plot to launch a major attack in the southern city of Pyatigorsk on the 26th.

October 28, 2010: Making good on its promise to provide excellent intelligence on the location of drug operations in Afghanistan, four Russian agents accompanied over 80 U.S. troops and nine helicopters as they raided a major drug operation near the Pakistani border. Nearly a ton of heroin was seized, along with equipment and chemicals used to convert opium into heroin. Afghanistan produces about a ton of heroin a day. Russia has been pressuring the U.S. to be more aggressive against the Afghan drug gangs, whose heroin and opium exports to Russia has created over two million addicts, and huge social and economic problems.

Russia wants to negotiate a treaty with NATO limiting the number of foreign (as in American) troops who could be stationed in new NATO member countries that border Russia, or countries that do border Russia. Fear of foreign invasion is an ancient attitude in Russia, and the United States is seen as a potential offender. It makes no sense, but does make for great political theater inside Russia.

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