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Old 05-12-2006   #1
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Default The Russian Military: Declining or Better?

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This thread includes a smaller, more politically themed thread on Russia saying it will become more assertive - before Putin's return as President. There is a separate thread 'Russian Fleet Movements' (ends).


12 May Washington Times - Russian Military Seen in Decline by Bill Gertz.

Quote:
Russia's military forces have steadily deteriorated since the early 1990s and Moscow is trying to compensate by building up its nuclear forces and commando troops, according to military specialists.

Moscow's military and policy leaders are focused on countering what they view as the threat from the United States and NATO, but they are missing the dangers posed by Islamist extremism and the rise of China, the specialists say.

"The Russian military all these years has learned nothing and forgotten nothing," said Heritage Foundation specialist Ariel Cohen. "They're still in the Soviet mode of preparing for a global war."

Russia's emphasis on amphibious forces, interoperability with Chinese forces, building more submarines and test firing ballistic missiles has very little to do with its stated military goal of countering terrorism, Mr. Cohen said.

"For them, it is about deterring the main adversary, the United States," he said...

Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-20-2014 at 05:30 PM. Reason: Add Mod's note
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Old 05-13-2006   #2
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11 Jan 06 Wall Street Journal, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov:
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...We have seen a steady trend pointing at a broader scope of use of military force recently, not least because more challenges to national security have emerged. Chief among them is interference in Russia's internal affairs by foreign states -- either directly or through structures that they support -- and the attempts of some countries, coalitions and extremist terrorist organizations to develop or gain access to weapons of mass destruction. We must also be prepared for the possibility of a violent assault on the constitutional order of some post-Soviet states and the border instability that might ensue from that. Arms and drugs trafficking and other kinds of cross-border criminal activity must be closely watched...

...The Military Development Plan for 2006-2010 is being devised right now, but the top priorities are already clear.

- The first is to maintain and develop a strategic deterrent capability minimally sufficient for guaranteed repulsion of contemporary and future military threats. At the end of last year, we deployed another strategic missile regiment armed with silo-based Topol-M (SS-27) systems; more road mobile Topol-Ms (SSX-27), currently unmatched by world rivals, this year; and the Project 955 Borei Yury Dolgoruky strategic nuclear-powered submarine armed with the Bulava-30 (SS-NX-30) sea-launched ballistic missiles within several years. And this is just the top of the list. Needless to say, these are not aimed at any particular target. We have always honored our commitments and will do so in the future, including those made in line with treaties and agreements made with the U.S. on reductions and limitations of strategic offensive weapons, which stipulate a reduction of our nuclear capability to 1,700-2,200 warheads. At the same time, Russia does not intend to give up its nuclear capability as it is still a key deterrent and a crucial instrument in protecting our national interests and achieving certain political objectives.

- The second priority is the development of conventional forces -- high-alert units in the army, air force, navy and airborne force, manned only by professional soldiers, that will form the backbone of deployable task forces. These are being upgraded with airlift capabilities. All this explains the need for rearmament, new military acquisitions, support for R&D projects, and the optimization of the national defense industry to find a balance between a commitment to arm the Russian military and an opportunity to export arms to countries not subject to U.N. sanctions.

- The third priority is the development of combat training. In the Russian armed forces, the number and level of large-scale exercises has grown to more than 50 this year. The most significant were tactical and theater-level exercises in the Russian Far East, Central Asia, China and India that enabled our military to network with foreign counterparts in simulating counterterrorist and other peacetime operations. We will continue to hold joint exercises with countries interested in global stability, including partners from the Atlantic Alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. We are also ready to run peacekeeping operations mandated by the UN or CIS...
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Old 05-18-2007   #3
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CSRC, 17 May 07: Military Service in Russia: No New Model Army
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Key Points

* Pay and conditions for Russian servicemen, especially those on contract service, have seen substantial recent improvements.

* Continuing high-profile reporting of rights abuses and violence masks initiatives taken to improve rights and welfare.

* The move to one-year conscript service will disrupt the system of dedovshchina; but it is unlikely to uproot this kind of bullying altogether as it is not a purely military phenomenon in Russia.

* The Russian Armed Forces are not adapting fast enough to the challenges of recruiting professional servicemen.
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Old 05-21-2007   #4
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Default Putin's Powerful Youth Guard

Russia's military may be in decline, but Putin's youth guard are being financed and trained.

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With parliamentary and presidential elections coming up, Nashi and its sibling movements have an obvious target—anyone who presumes to challenge Putin and his ruling clique for power. Who might they be? Nashi recently issued a leaflet identifying them. This "Gallery of Traitors," appearing in print and online, featured twisted portraits of such opposition leaders as former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov and radical writer Eduard Limonov. They were declared enemies of the people, scheming to subvert their nation and turn it over to foreign spies and conspirators. Among them, too, are exiled Yeltsin-era oligarch Boris Berezovsky and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former billionaire brought down after he began funding opposition to Putin in 2004.
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Last month Nashi staged its boldest and most organized mass rally yet. Some 15,000 volunteers donned red jackets, with putin's communicators emblazoned on the back, and spread out across Moscow distributing brochures and 10,000 specially made SIM cards for mobile phones. The cards allowed users to send text messages to the Kremlin—to be answered promptly by Nashi volunteers. Recipients were also instructed to use the cards to report any signs of an incipient Orange revolution. In that event, the cards would instantly relay text-message instructions on what to do and where to rally. "We explained to Muscovites that we should all be prepared for the pro-Western revolution, funded by America," says Nashi activist Tatyana Matiash, 22. "People must know what to do to save their motherland in case their radio and TV stop working."
"Learning a Skill: Participants in Nashi learn how to use weapons, means of chemical protection and take physical exercises at a children’s camp outside Moscow"

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Old 05-21-2007   #5
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The attitude that somehow The Soviet Union was a wonderful place, and only CIA-funded and executed betrayal by Gorbachev and Yeltsin was successful in "ending it all" has traction, and is aped by a "lot" of the Russians/Ukrainians that inhabit the various military forums I inhabit.

It's almost comical when combined with the "T-72 was superior to the M-1 Abrams in every way" attitude these revisionists have concocted. However, when used as a basis to seize power on behalf of a leader who looks more and more like Stalin or Hitler every day, it is just downright scary.

Someday I'll tell you the one I heard about Soviet Cars being superior to Japanese/German/American cars, if you are up for a real laugh
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Old 05-21-2007   #6
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Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
The attitude that somehow The Soviet Union was a wonderful place, and only CIA-funded and executed betrayal by Gorbachev and Yeltsin was successful in "ending it all" has traction, and is aped by a "lot" of the Russians/Ukrainians that inhabit the various military forums I inhabit.

It's almost comical when combined with the "T-72 was superior to the M-1 Abrams in every way" attitude these revisionists have concocted. However, when used as a basis to seize power on behalf of a leader who looks more and more like Stalin or Hitler every day, it is just downright scary.

Someday I'll tell you the one I heard about Soviet Cars being superior to Japanese/German/American cars, if you are up for a real laugh
Hi Drew !
I'm ready for the Russian car jokes. Those that we have here are already sufficient for joke material, but the owners get a bit PO'd, so you have to be careful regarding the company you're in when telling these jokes

It reminds me of the USAs first Humanitarian Demining visit with Navy and Army EOD techs. They brought in Forrester and Vallon detectors (5 to 17 grand a piece) and demonstrated their use and capabilities. Then out comes this Russian detector that goes silent (if and) when it detects metal. The long handle housed 10 D cell batteries

After an hour of constant beeping and walking around with 7 or 8 kilos, you not only lost all hope (of finding anything), but you couldn't bear to carry it anymore.

That however is an equipment issue. Russia's financed youth movement demonstrated a real threat when they disabled Estonian government websites, internet and two large banks, all while organizing a looting spree.

Regards, Stan
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Old 07-10-2007   #7
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Default Contract Soldiers' Crimes to Raise Russia's Army Budget

Kommersant, Russia's Daily Online reports "Chief Military Prosecutor Sergey Fridinsky has made it clear that the army has faced serious problems switching to contract soldiers."

Quote:
Crime in the Russian Army is on decline but the share of crimes committed by contract soldiers is soaring, Russia’s chief military prosecutor told reporters Monday. Now the military will have a good reason to ask for more money when the Defense Ministry is debating a program on the transfer to a contract-based army.

The number of crimes in the army fell 20 percent this year, Chief Military Prosecutor Sergey Fridinsky said. The offences include grave crimes, arms and armaments misappropriation as well as hazing where crime dropped 30 percent. The military prosecutor added that the number of offences among contract soldiers more than doubled in 2006 to 4,000 and doubled further this year.

Prosecutor Fridinsky mentioned poor conditions of life in some divisions and unprincipled commanders who go an extra mile to overfulfill a quota on contract soldiers.
More at the link
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Old 07-10-2007   #8
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Russia gives Gazprom right to form armed units


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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's parliament handed gas giant Gazprom the right to form its own armed units on Wednesday with a law one legislator said opened a "Pandora's box" that could lead to the creation of a private army.

A law backed by 341 lawmakers in the 450-seat State Duma lower house of parliament gave Gazprom, and oil pipeline monopoly Transneft, special exemption from strict limits on private businesses wielding arms.


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The two state-controlled companies will for the first time be allowed to employ their own armed operatives instead of contracting an outside security firm. Their armed units will also have access to more weapons and more freedom to use them than private security companies
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Old 11-24-2007   #9
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Default Ivan Embraces Transformation

http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblog...matio.asp#more

This squares with what little I know about the Red Army (primarily from Andrew Cockburn's The Threat) but I'd love to hear what more knowledgeable SWJ members (Stan?) think.
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Old 11-24-2007   #10
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Excellent link, Granite State. Yes, the Russians are not about low-level leadership, unit cohesion, training, tactics, or anything else along those lines in particular. Never have been, and I doubt ever will be in anything like the foreseeable future.

The Russians are above all about the operational level of war. There are few Armies that have ever matched, let alone surpassed the Russians' record of operational successes. The Russians were the first true masters of the Operational Art as they first developed it between the two World Wars. Even the Germans as a whole never really quite mastered Operational Art (although von Manstein himself was perhaps the ablest practitioner of the Operational Art of WWII).

I very much doubt that any attempt by the Russian Army as a whole to "Transform" along more Western-lines (with vaster greater focus upon the tactical-level) would be likely to succeed. Russian society and culture strongly militate against it.
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Old 01-17-2008   #11
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Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post

The Russians are above all about the operational level of war. There are few Armies that have ever matched, let alone surpassed the Russians' record of operational successes. The Russians were the first true masters of the Operational Art as they first developed it between the two World Wars. Even the Germans as a whole never really quite mastered Operational Art (although von Manstein himself was perhaps the ablest practitioner of the Operational Art of WWII).
...and they lost vast numbers of men doing it. The Russians may understand the Operational level, but they can only apply it at great cost. - millions of lives to defeat the Nazis.

Unless they have numbers the Russians are, like the Chinese, and North Koreans, mostly sub-capable. Numbers is the only think on their side.

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Old 01-17-2008   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
Numbers is the only think on their side.
And nuclear weapons.
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Old 01-17-2008   #13
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Default So? Not that big a deal...

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And nuclear weapons.
They just make a bigger bang, no more. Yes, there is radiation -- but there is also high cholestrerol; everybody's gonna die from something...
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Old 08-15-2012   #14
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A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles operated undetected in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks and its travel in strategic U.S. waters was only confirmed after it left the region, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

It is only the second time since 2009 that a Russian attack submarine has patrolled so close to U.S. shores.
http://freebeacon.com/silent-running/
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Old 01-17-2008   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
...and they lost vast numbers of men doing it. The Russians may understand the Operational level, but they can only apply it at great cost. - millions of lives to defeat the Nazis.

Unless they have numbers the Russians are, like the Chinese, and North Koreans, mostly sub-capable. Numbers is the only think on their side.

"Talks Star Wars, Act Cave man"
Too true Wilf, and your ending quote pretty much sums up the essence of Russian Military Theory and Practice.
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Old 11-25-2007   #16
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Default Here's what little I know !

Hey Granite State !

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Originally Posted by Granite_State View Post
http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblog...matio.asp#more

This squares with what little I know about the Red Army (primarily from Andrew Cockburn's The Threat) but I'd love to hear what more knowledgeable SWJ members (Stan?) think.
I missed my calling, but was otherwise engaged with 'honey do's'

Indeed corrupt and distrust just sort of comes with the territory. Even now, there’s little sign of formal discipline in any training, and no sense of responsibility among the officers and NCOs (more like no-fault insurance). Combine an all-conscript army with barely sub-standard living conditions and low wages; no wonder there’s an overall lack of will or incentive.

As the Estonian soldiers say, distrust is ‘that’ thin line drawn between Russian officers and enlisted…who gets the booty first, wins! The other favorite saying includes “eternally expendable Russian soldier“. Some of the ‘special’ troops are either loaned or assigned to assist and/or manipulate organized crime and sovereign countries. Typically an NCO can achieve our equivalent of E-9 in 5 years. During those arduous years, one has barely commanded a wheeled vehicle, yet alone troops.

IMO, Russia’s current political masters lack both the cultural understanding and political will to seek victory at home or abroad. They are rather content with increasing enemy body counts and civilian casualties (as in Chechnya). If I recall correctly, in early 2005 the Russian Defense Minister declared Russia having it’s first ‘all professional motor company’ (division) stationed in the Chechen Theater.

One would hope there’s more than just one

There are literally thousands of post-Soviet military here ‘turned entrepreneurs’ with no desire in returning ‘home’.

But for all their faults, they still manage (out of perhaps fear) to go where the Kremlin dictates.

This November article leads me to conclude that even Russia’s Flag Officers need a dictator and not a leader.

Just a smigin from the article, but indeed my favorite

Quote:
Baluevsky was getting a little nervous waiting for the supreme commander. The tasks he had to fulfill were about to be given to him.

Putin did what Baluevsky needed. He set tasks.
Quote:
The usually tight-lipped Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov read a lengthy report. Rumor has it that Serdyukov is popular in his ministry, and I understood why as I listened to his nicely delivered half-hour report devoted to the new structure of Army financing and the problems of clothing and housing its soldiers and providing them with medical treatment. Only of the main tasks for 2008, he said, is “introducing a new standard of rations. And then every soldier will see the steps forward that have been taken in feeding them.” How could they not like him?

Serdyukov said nothing about military tasks ahead and mentioned only a few exercises as the accomplishments of 2007. In last year's report, defense minister at the time Sergey Ivanov was much more ambitious and spent a large part of his address on the challenges and successes of opposing the United States. Sources tell me that, in the text of his speech, there was written that “at present, the U.S. Army is undertaking a reconfiguration of its forced,” which cannot but cause the Russian military command serious concern. But he did not read that passage.
And finally, the Pres slams one home

Quote:
After the minister had taken his seat and Baluevsky looked as though he would announce a break, the president asked about the construction of the military hospital at Vilyuchinsk. No one was expecting the question.

“The hospital was supposed to be partially operational before your visit in September,” Serdyukov began hesitantly.

“And we didn't go there because what was supposed to be ready wasn't ready!” the president said, stumbling a little over his words. “So why?”

There was complete silence, for lack of volunteers for the suicide mission of answering the question. Officers never take those missions.

“Is our so-called chief doctor here?” the president asked.

It took a long time for Vladimir Shappo, the head of the military medicine division to reach the podium. He explained that “The medical service of the armed forces has made every effort to make the hospital operational.”

“If every effort had been made, Bykov wouldn't have been fired,” Putin replied, referring to the last chief doctor. “Since he was fired, it must not have been every effort. When will it be operational?”

“The hospital is practically ready now and will begin operating on November 30.”

“Why wasn't it done on time?” the president asked implacably. “You're new. Maybe you have a fresh view on things. I just want to know what prevented it from being done on schedule.”

Putin asked another general about the “stinking huts” he was building to house his soldiers and demanded that building standards be raised.
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Old 11-27-2007   #17
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Default Disquiet in the Ranks

A True Father to His Troops, By Alexander Golts, Moscow Times Opinion Columnist

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At first glance, it would seem that the Nov. 20 gathering of the military's top brass was filled with positive news only.

Putin emphasized the growing threat that the country is facing: "In violation of previous agreements, military resources of NATO members are being built up next to our borders. Of course, we cannot allow ourselves to remain indifferent to this obvious muscle-flexing."

We can only guess what he meant in referring to NATO's "muscle-flexing" on Russia's borders. Perhaps he meant the four jets that patrol the airspace of the Baltic states?
Quote:
Moreover, Putin decided to play the role of the caring "father to his troops."

According to script, the image of the caring father of the troops should be combined with a certain sternness that is suitable for the commander in chief. In this capacity, Putin fired the military's chief of construction, blaming him for the fact that officers are still living in "stinking slums."

Putin also staged a public dressing-down of a senior general over this same housing issue, despite the fact that the general was responsible for health care in the military and had no connection whatsoever with housing.

This is one example of how the commander in chief is increasingly alienated from the real state of affairs in the military.
Quote:
As we can see, there is nothing heroic here. Serdyukov is trying to put the army in at least some kind of order and to improve the way the armed forces are managed.

...Putin doesn't need the armed forces for the purposes of defending the country. He needs the military for public relations and propaganda purposes.
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Old 01-17-2008   #18
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Default The Professional Army's Dead Souls

By Alexander Golts, Moscow Times Commentary

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Jan. 1 was supposed to have been a defining moment for the armed forces. By this date, a federal program to switch a portion of the conscripted armed forces to professional contract duty was supposed to have been completed. The plan, which was initiated in 2003, emerged as a compromise between the Kremlin and the military's top brass.

If what the military officials claim is true about the success of the new professional units, it might be possible to congratulate the armed forces on even the most modest steps taken toward building a new and improved army.

Initial plans called for 144,000 sergeants and soldiers to switch to contract duty. Now the top brass are reporting only 100,000 soldiers on contract duty. At the same time, Colonel General Vasily Smirnov has said 20 percent of all sergeant and soldier positions needed for the new professional units remain "vacant."

The larger problem, however, is not so much the inadequate number of professional contract soldiers, but the terribly low quality of their services. ...Colonel General Alexei Maslov, commander of the Ground Forces, acknowledged: "In some aspects, they are no better prepared than corresponding units of conscripts."

...many servicemen were forced into signing contracts through the use of deceit, fraud, psychological pressure and physical violence.

In private conversations, high-ranking military officials admit that during the past year they have managed to recruit only enough new soldiers to replace those who have deserted.
More at the link
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Old 09-20-2009   #19
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Default The New Russia

Russia's new president, Dmitry Medvedev, is making the rounds to explain Russia's role and expectations in the 21st century. Appearing today on Fareed Zakaria's 360, he spoke in depth on democracy, capitalism, Israel, Iran, and Afghanistan.

In his words...

Go Russia!

Quote:
Achieving leadership by relying on oil and gas markets is impossible. We must understand and appreciate the complexity of our problems. We must frankly discuss them in order to act. In the end, commodity exchanges must not determine Russia’s fate; our own ideas about ourselves, our history and future must do so. Our intellect, honest self-assessment, strength, dignity and enterprise must be the decisive factors.

My starting point while setting out five priorities for technological development, offering specific measures for the modernisation of the political system, as well as measures to strengthen the judiciary and fight corruption, is my views on Russia’s future. And for the sake of our future it is necessary to liberate our country from persistent social ills that inhibit its creative energy and restrict our common progress. These ills include:

1. Centuries of economic backwardness and the habit of relying on the export of raw materials, actually exchanging them for finished products. Peter the Great, the last tsars and the Bolsheviks all created – and not unsuccessfully -- elements of an innovative system. But the price of their successes was too high. As a rule, it was done by making extreme efforts, by using all the levers of a totalitarian state machine.

2. Centuries of corruption have debilitated Russia from time immemorial. Until today this corrosion has been due to the excessive government presence in many significant aspects of economic and other social activities. But it is not limited to governmental excess -- business is also not without fault. Many entrepreneurs are not worried about finding talented inventors, introducing unique technologies, creating and marketing new products, but rather with bribing officials for the sake of ‘controlling the flows’ of property redistribution.

3. Paternalistic attitudes are widespread in our society, such as the conviction that all problems should be resolved by the government. Or by someone else, but never by the person who is actually there. The desire to make a career from scratch, to achieve personal success step by step is not one of our national habits. This is reflected in a lack of initiative, lack of new ideas, outstanding unresolved issues, the poor quality of public debate, including criticism. Public acceptance and support is usually expressed in silence. Objections are very often emotional, scathing, but superficial and irresponsible. Well, this is not the first century that Russia has had to confront these phenomena.

People tell us that we cannot completely cure chronic social diseases. Those traditions are steadfast, and history tends to repeat itself. But at one point serfdom and rampant illiteracy seemed insurmountable. However, we overcame them all the same.

Of course traditions have a considerable influence. But they nevertheless fit in with each new era and undergo changes. Some simply disappear, and not all of them are useful. For me, only unquestionable values which must be preserved may be regarded as traditions. They include interethnic and interfaith peace, military valour, faithfulness to one’s duty, hospitality and the kindness inherent in our people. Bribery, theft, intellectual and spiritual laziness, and drunkenness, on the other hand, are vices that offend our traditions. We should get rid of them by using the strongest terms.

Of course today’s Russia will not repeat its past. Our time is truly new. And not just because it is moving forward, as time does, but also because it opens up before our country and each one of us tremendous opportunities. Opportunities of which there was no trace twenty, thirty, or much less a hundred or three hundred years ago.

The impressive legacy of the two greatest modernisations in our country’s history – that of Peter the Great (imperial) and the Soviet one -- unleashed ruin, humiliation and resulted in the deaths of millions of our countrymen. It is not for us to judge our predecessors. But we must recognize that the preservation of human life was not, euphemistically speaking, a government priority in those years. Unfortunately, this is a fact. Today is the first time in our history that we have a chance to prove to ourselves and the world that Russia can develop in a democratic way. That a transition to the next, higher stage of civilization is possible. And this will be accomplished through non-violent methods. Not by coercion, but by persuasion. Not through suppression, but rather the development of the creative potential of every individual. Not through intimidation, but through interest. Not through confrontation, but by harmonising the interests of the individual, society and government.

We really live in a unique time. We have a chance to build a new, free, prosperous and strong Russia. As President I am obliged to do everything in my power to make sure that we fully take advantage of this opportunity.
v/r

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Old 09-20-2009   #20
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Default What the President says and

What does the Prime Minister, Mr Putin, say?

That is the key question as most reports I've seen and bothered to read on Russia think that Mr Putin wants to be president again.

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