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
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.