April 25, 2015
Russian Blogosphere Survey for April 25
This is a almost-daily (as time permits) Fort Russ feature. To view earlier editions, click on the Daily Brief tab above the title
Fitzmorgen argues that Russia allowed France a face-saving way out of the situation, and moreover came out ahead from the deal, since several major components of the ships were actually built in Russian shipyards (the photo below shows”half” of a Mistral under construction in St. Petersburg, before it was shipped to France for assembly with the other half) which received French technology transfers in order to complete the construction. The minuses are that arguably the most important technology, the ships’ command and control system (these vessels were designed also as task force HQ, capable of coordinating land, sea, and ground operations) will likely remain in French hands. Unless there is some kind of a “behind the scenes” deal on that. Something akin to the Israeli “kidnapping” of fast attack boats from Cherbourg in the 1960s, after they were embargoed by the French government.
Igor Korotchenko, who is one of the most reliable reporters/bloggers on defense and security issues, writes that the contract to supply 36 fighters is separate from the still ongoing negotiations to establish Rafale manufacture in India. There is no indication that India is planning to procure Su-30 fighters in lieu of the Rafales, nor does it appear that the Mistral affair had a major impact on France’s credibility with India.
The relevant agreements and documents were signed by the two countries’ presidents, foreign ministers, and defense ministers, which indicates the scope of the planned partnership. Moreover, the two countries concluded contracts totaling several billion dollars. Areas of cooperation listed in the article include tourism, trade, energy (including nuclear), space exploration, agriculture, and commercial fishing. No details on the military cooperation agreement signed by Shoygu and Rossi were provided.
It’s clear that the junta views the Kharkov and Odessa regions as most likely to separate from Ukraine, given half a chance. Therefore that’s where the level of repression will be at its highest. The Kharkov Region, being adjacent to the Russian Federation, is a particular worry to Kiev, and the construction of “the wall” separating the two countries is supposed to suppress separatist sentiment in that part of Ukraine. But it might well have the opposite effect.
These might be some of the “facts on the ground” that Putin referred to when answering a question concerning the official recognition of DPR/LPR.
A monument to Metropolite Sheptytsky under construction in Ivano-Frankovsk
Aside from giving his official blessing to OUN-UPA, Sheptytsky also wrote a letter to Adolf Hitler in late 1941, praising him as “the invincible leader of the incomparable and glorious Wehrmacht,” was an active sponsor of the 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division “Galizien”, and even advised the Ukrainian youth that forced labor in Germany would be good for them.
Yatsenyuk reassured (threatened?) that he has no plans to step down voluntarily, and that he will continue the course of reforms that he embarked upon 15 months earlier. The “legs first” reference in the headline refers to the dead being traditionally carried feet first, though at the moment it would seem that Poroshenko has enough “dirt” on Yatsenyuk to ensure his obedience.
Looks like Kiev is having yet another go at trying to convince the world the Russian Army is running roughshod over the UAF on the Donbass by presenting pieces and bits of Kornet laser-guided ATGMs, allegedly fired at the Aidar Battalion. However, as andrei-bt (who, incidentally, is a Ukrainian blogger) points out, placing an engine part of a 9M113 Fagot wire-guided ATGM (on the left of the top photo) next to an unexploded warhead from a 9M133 Kornet missile suggests that maybe they should try harder. Besides, considering that the Kornet is a widely exported and used weapon (users include Syria, Iraq, Hezbollah, and some have been captured by Syrian “moderate rebels”), it would not take much effort for a “friendly” Western intelligence service to provide Kiev with a few chunks of the missile. But it would have been more professional to actually supply enough pieces to make it more convincing!
Crimea’s water reservoirs, which earlier were dependent on supplies from Ukraine, are now filled to capacity with water from sources found on the peninsula itself.
There has been a spate of several such incidents (all photographically documented at the link above), and the Hungarian civic organizations have lodged a formal complaint with the police, but to no avail. Nobody has been arrested or even identified so far.
GSS stands for “Sukhoi Civilian Aircraft”, and the year 2014 was the first in which the company turned a profit since the production of the Sukhoi Superjet began.
TMK begins the delivery of pipe for the Power of Siberia
TMK, or the Pipe Metallurgical Company, will supply 28 thousand tons of large-diameter pipe in April 2015 to Gazprom for use in the Power of Siberia pipeline which will carry Russia’s natural gas to China.
Only those who have participated in the putting out of the reactor fire will be allowed to retain their benefits. All others will either lose them, or will have them severely curtailed.
The “something new” noted by the perceptive blogger is the new design collimating/holographic gunsight fitted to the AK-74M in the photo above.
The inevitable and obligatory daily dose of Armata, because not a day passes without a blog or two posting something new about the vehicle. The vehicle has its detractors, to be sure. They cite its cost (twice that of a T-90, though only slightly more than half of an M1A2 or Leopard 2A6) and the hull placement of the crew which allegedly makes it more vulnerable to attacks from the side and the top. On the other hand, every AFV design is a compromise, and every gain implies a sacrifice. In this instance, I doubt that the choice was not made without a careful study, especially since you already have to have someone in the hull (the driver), and it is simply impossible to provide a tank turret with all-round heavy protection. The big slab-sided turrets of Western MBTs are their major vulnerability, even from the frontal aspect, because as soon as the turret is facing to the side, the thin sides are uncovered (T-90AMs wedge-sided turret is an attempt to reduce that vulnerability). The text accompanying the photo above suggests the crew hatches have built-in reactive armor, to defend against top-attack munitions.
And also the T-15:
Shvabe is one of Russia’s premier optronic designers and manufacturers. Still, it’s not the same “something new” as seen on the AK-74M in the story above.
A squadron of these machines has been assigned to the 39th Helicopter Regiment based in Crimea.
Most of the weapons are 85mm ones, though others are the old, short-range, and relatively heavy D-20 152mm howitzers. The fact these weapons are being taken out of storage and sent to line units indicates Ukraine’s arms industry can’t deal with the problem of gun barrel wear from extensive use.
The aircraft include the DB-3 (also known as the Il-4) long-range bomber, the first Soviet aircraft type to have bombed Berlin, which it did in late 1941.
“Good morning, agents of Putin! Wake up, time to spread Kremlin propaganda!”
Wannabe Cossack/Actual Rada Deputy/not the sharpest knife in the drawer Gavrilyuk plays chess. Notice, by the way, that while the kid has something of an opening strategy going, Gavrilyuk, being a Cossack wannabe and all, apparently only knows how to move his knight! Which is now being threatened by the kid’s pawn, while the vexed Gavrilyuk looks on. What do you think is going through his (largely empty) head right now???
And the winner of yesterday’s Caption Contest is AXS512:
“That’s one they won’t throw at me”.