Forces: January 9, 2003

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The Russian navy is facing the inevitable and will turn at least 60 of it's 321 warships (one carrier, 56 subs, 34 cruisers, 17 destroyers, 10 frigates, 108 coastal patrol ships, 71 mine warfare, 24 amphibious) into scrap. The navy's budget was cut after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and cut even more so in 1996 as the government budget shrank because of uncollected taxes and economic decline. The government is in better shape now, after three years of growth, but the navy has been told that its budget will not be increased sufficiently to support the number of ships it has in commission. Even with the budget crunch, the navy has been buying new ships. This has been done largely to keep the naval shipyards from going out of business. That would have forced Russia to buy its warships abroad, something the Russians consider unthinkable. The navy tried to keep up appearances, but stories (true in some cases) of starving sailors, electricity cut off because of unpaid bills and over a hundred ships basically rusting at pier side was a growing reality. A lot of cruisers are likely to get the chop, as well as some of the older nuclear subs. Many nuclear subs have already been decommissioned, and Russia is soliciting funds from foreign nations to pay for the expensive dismantling process. European nations are particularly to see those old nuclear subs safely taken apart, rather than have their reactors dumped into the Barents sea, as the Russians admitted they have done in the past. 

 


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