Dedicated Russian thread

Some quite significant messaging from the Kremlin with a shift in policy and identification of potential new threats which could cause the 'first use' of nukes.

'President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday endorsed Russia’s nuclear deterrent policy, which allows him to use atomic weapons in response to a conventional strike targeting the nation’s critical government and military infrastructure.

'By including a non-nuclear attack as a possible trigger for Russian nuclear retaliation, the document appears to send a warning signal to the U.S. The new expanded wording reflects Russian concerns about the development of prospective weapons that could give Washington the capability to knock out key military assets and government facilities without resorting to atomic weapons.

'In line with Russian military doctrine, the new document reaffirms that the country could use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack or an aggression involving conventional weapons that “threatens the very existence of the state.”

'But the policy document now also offers a detailed description of situations that could trigger the use of nuclear weapons. They include the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction against Russia or its allies and an enemy attack with conventional weapons that threatens the country's existence.

'In addition to that, the document now states that Russia could use its nuclear arsenals if it gets “reliable information” about the launch of ballistic missiles targeting its territory or its allies and also in the case of ”enemy impact on critically important government or military facilities of the Russian Federation, the incapacitation of which could result in the failure of retaliatory action of nuclear forces."



'President Vladimir Putin approved a strategic document on Tuesday naming the creation and deployment of anti-missile and strike weapons in space as one of the main military threats to Russia, the RIA news agency reported.

'The document outlining Russia’s policy on its nuclear deterrent was published online amid arms control tensions between Russia and the United States over the future of New START, the last major pact regulating their nuclear arsenals.'

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Some quite significant messaging from the Kremlin with a shift in policy and identification of potential new threats which could cause the 'first use' of nukes.

'President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday endorsed Russia’s nuclear deterrent policy, which allows him to use atomic weapons in response to a conventional strike targeting the nation’s critical government and military infrastructure.

'By including a non-nuclear attack as a possible trigger for Russian nuclear retaliation, the document appears to send a warning signal to the U.S. The new expanded wording reflects Russian concerns about the development of prospective weapons that could give Washington the capability to knock out key military assets and government facilities without resorting to atomic weapons.

'In line with Russian military doctrine, the new document reaffirms that the country could use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack or an aggression involving conventional weapons that “threatens the very existence of the state.”

'But the policy document now also offers a detailed description of situations that could trigger the use of nuclear weapons. They include the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction against Russia or its allies and an enemy attack with conventional weapons that threatens the country's existence.

'In addition to that, the document now states that Russia could use its nuclear arsenals if it gets “reliable information” about the launch of ballistic missiles targeting its territory or its allies and also in the case of ”enemy impact on critically important government or military facilities of the Russian Federation, the incapacitation of which could result in the failure of retaliatory action of nuclear forces."



'President Vladimir Putin approved a strategic document on Tuesday naming the creation and deployment of anti-missile and strike weapons in space as one of the main military threats to Russia, the RIA news agency reported.

'The document outlining Russia’s policy on its nuclear deterrent was published online amid arms control tensions between Russia and the United States over the future of New START, the last major pact regulating their nuclear arsenals.'

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So it's not so much a real change in policy, but rather a more detailed explanation of long standing existing policy.
 
My thoughts were initially," Interesting timing, Russia must be feeling vulnerable".

In 2017, Foreign Policy (FP) published an excerpt from a book by Benn Steil, The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War. This helps set the context of subsequent developments and how things stand today. It also helps to give some insights in to the Soviet and post Soviet Russian thinking. Massive land mass, few operable ports, hard to defend without physical borders like seas and mountain ranges. This may also explain the apparent enthusiasm for ICBMs. It seems that much of the paranoia is based on what happened in history. We need to understand this to realise where the insecurity comes from and possibly how those fears might be addressed. History also teaches us that there can also be risks in making too many concessions. I haven't read this book but the excerpt was worth a read.

Russia’s Clash With the West Is About Geography, Not Ideology
The Marshall Plan recognized the limits of U.S. power in Europe. To be successful, so must diplomacy with Moscow today.
Russia’s Clash With the West Is About Geography, Not Ideology
 
There has been a major oil spill into the Ambarnaya river at an electric generating plant at Norilsk in northern Russia. Norilsk is a major mining town in Russia, producing nickel and other metals.
Arctic river will take decades to recover from fuel spill: Russian official
The leak is of 20,000 tonnes of oil, and is being described as an "ecological catastrophe".
Russia's state fishing agency said on Tuesday an Arctic river would need decades to recover after 20,000 tonnes of oil products spilled out of a power station in the industrial city of Norilsk last week.

A fuel tank at the power station lost pressure on May 29 and leaked out fuel and lubricants, causing a fire and spreading across an area of 350 square metres, the Investigative Committee, a law enforcement agency, said.

The spill leaked into the river Ambarnaya, something that Dmitry Klokov, a spokesman for the Rosrybolovstvo state fishing agency, described as an ecological catastrophe.
 
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Oops.

Cause is interesting.
Climate change is melting the permafrost.
Which means the foundations of vast amounts of Russian industry will quite literally sink into the muck.
 
Oops.

Cause is interesting.
Climate change is melting the permafrost.
Which means the foundations of vast amounts of Russian industry will quite literally sink into the muck.
There were warnings that this sort of thing was likely to happen. Preventing it presumably would have meant halting production. They haven't much choice now for that plant at least. There must be others still operating.
 
There were warnings that this sort of thing was likely to happen. Preventing it presumably would have meant halting production. They haven't much choice now for that plant at least. There are many others still operating.
Russian oil industry is largely built on top of permafrost terrain.
Their problem is that if they shut down production, their economy tanks, but a lot of the hardware freezes solid and has to be replaced.
Expensive.
 
Oops.

Cause is interesting.
Climate change is melting the permafrost.
Which means the foundations of vast amounts of Russian industry will quite literally sink into the muck.
Permafrost melt is a big headache across northern Canada as well. Mines, roads, ports, and entire towns and villages are being affected. Historically this was a process that was measured in centimetres per year, but now several metres can suddenly slump within days. It's happening so rapidly in places that scientists are losing the equipment they put there to study it.
"The ground thaws and swallows it," said Merritt Turetsky, a University of Guelph biologist whose new research warns the rapid thaw could dramatically increase the amounts of greenhouse gases released from ancient plants and animals frozen within the tundra.

"We've put cameras in the ground, we've put temperature equipment in the ground, and it gets flooded. It often happens so fast we can't get out there and rescue it.

"We've lost dozens of field sites. We were collecting data on a forest and all of a sudden it's a lake."
Permafrost is thawing in the Arctic so fast that scientists are losing their equipment

Here's a well known case in Canada. The ground was rapidly thawing out and slumping near a lake, which was expected to cause a flash flood when the remaining soil gave way. I think it has actually collapsed since this report, but I can't find a more recent new story on it.
N.W.T. scientists predict 'catastrophic lake drainage' due to thawing permafrost



The port of Tuktoyaktuk in the NWT is disappearing into the sea, as the permafrost melts and destabilises the shoreline. Tuktoyaktuk is an important port for supply for other Arctic towns as well as Beaufort Sea oil and gas exploration.

This is a big issue all across the Arctic. What is more, as the permafrost collapses it releases large amounts of stored carbon into the atmosphere, which contributes to more climate change in a self-reinforcing cycle. The denialists of course are insisting that none of this is happening, Fake News, etc.!
 
Permafrost melt is a big headache across northern Canada as well. Mines, roads, ports, and entire towns and villages are being affected. Historically this was a process that was measured in centimetres per year, but now several metres can suddenly slump within days. It's happening so rapidly in places that scientists are losing the equipment they put there to study it.


Permafrost is thawing in the Arctic so fast that scientists are losing their equipment

Here's a well known case in Canada. The ground was rapidly thawing out and slumping near a lake, which was expected to cause a flash flood when the remaining soil gave way. I think it has actually collapsed since this report, but I can't find a more recent new story on it.
N.W.T. scientists predict 'catastrophic lake drainage' due to thawing permafrost



The port of Tuktoyaktuk in the NWT is disappearing into the sea, as the permafrost melts and destabilises the shoreline. Tuktoyaktuk is an important port for supply for other Arctic towns as well as Beaufort Sea oil and gas exploration.

This is a big issue all across the Arctic. What is more, as the permafrost collapses it releases large amounts of stored carbon into the atmosphere, which contributes to more climate change in a self-reinforcing cycle. The denialists of course are insisting that none of this is happening, Fake News, etc.!
Methane is a big worry in Siberia as there is nothing in place to capture it when the permafrost is no longer permanent.
 
Here's a time lapse video of the lake collapse in Canada that I mentioned above. It caused a large mud flow. The same will undoubtedly be happening in various places in Russia.

 
Oops.

Cause is interesting.
Climate change is melting the permafrost.
Which means the foundations of vast amounts of Russian industry will quite literally sink into the muck.
More 'oops' in the Arctic.

'Vast swathes of the Arctic are suffering from raging wildfires after unseasonably high temperatures and dry weather have resurrected ‘zombie’ blazes.

'Pierre Markuse, a satellite photography expert, posted images online taken from Sentinel-2 satellite data, a European remote sensing satellite. They show the spread of flames and thick black smoke across a huge swathe of land in the Sakha Republic in Siberia, beginning on May 19 up until June 3.

'The wildfires are being sparked by unprecedented temperatures across the Arctic Circle and scientists say they face wreaking ecological destruction on a colossal scale. Wildfires are common in the summer months but rising temperatures and melting ice caps are seeing the fires beginning far earlier in the year. Satellite images of the fires in the Russian Arctic and remote areas of Siberia are believed to be so-called ‘zombie fires’ that have reignited from blazes that spewed soot and smoke across an area larger than the European Union last summer.'


 
More 'oops' in the Arctic.

'Vast swathes of the Arctic are suffering from raging wildfires after unseasonably high temperatures and dry weather have resurrected ‘zombie’ blazes.

'Pierre Markuse, a satellite photography expert, posted images online taken from Sentinel-2 satellite data, a European remote sensing satellite. They show the spread of flames and thick black smoke across a huge swathe of land in the Sakha Republic in Siberia, beginning on May 19 up until June 3.

'The wildfires are being sparked by unprecedented temperatures across the Arctic Circle and scientists say they face wreaking ecological destruction on a colossal scale. Wildfires are common in the summer months but rising temperatures and melting ice caps are seeing the fires beginning far earlier in the year. Satellite images of the fires in the Russian Arctic and remote areas of Siberia are believed to be so-called ‘zombie fires’ that have reignited from blazes that spewed soot and smoke across an area larger than the European Union last summer.'


Longer term much of the forest south of the tundra around the Arctic may disappear. As the climate gets warmer, it gets drier, and this allows fires to propagate more.

Fire is a natural part of the ecosystem, indeed some trees will not reproduce naturally without fire. However, once fire become prevalent enough, forests will no longer be able to sustain themselves and the area will change from sub-arctic forest to grassland. The area around Lake Baikal is already believed to be teetering on the edge.

And of course once the forests disappear, we all know what that means - toilet paper shortages.
 
Longer term much of the forest south of the tundra around the Arctic may disappear. As the climate gets warmer, it gets drier, and this allows fires to propagate more.

Fire is a natural part of the ecosystem, indeed some trees will not reproduce naturally without fire. However, once fire become prevalent enough, forests will no longer be able to sustain themselves and the area will change from sub-arctic forest to grassland. The area around Lake Baikal is already believed to be teetering on the edge.

And of course once the forests disappear, we all know what that means - toilet paper shortages.
Siberian forests yield high quality timber which is favoured for building material. The cold climate leads to the trees growing more slowly and with tighter rings, so the seasoned wood is stronger than the same species from a warmer climate. The faster the climate warms up the sooner the quality will reduce. At least that's my understanding.
 
Siberian forests yield high quality timber which is favoured for building material. The cold climate leads to the trees growing more slowly and with tighter rings, so the seasoned wood is stronger than the same species from a warmer climate. The faster the climate warms up the sooner the quality will reduce. At least that's my understanding.
The same is true of forests in Canada, which are very similar. Softwood lumber is used extensively in construction. The boreal forest, known as taiga in Russia, consists mainly of spruce, along with varying amounts of fir, larch (commonly known as tamarack in Canada), birch, poplar, cedar, and pine.

Warm climate coniferous forests, especially man made plantations, tend to be mainly pine. The fibres are shorter and less tightly bound together. As a result they tend to splinter more readily and are less strong. As a result the wood tends to be of lower grade and is used for less valuable purposes.

The same is true for for pulpwood. Different wood fibres are used for different purposes. The trees growing in colder climates tend to produce longer and more valuable fibres producing a stronger and better grade of paper, while the ones from warmer climates tend to produce a weaker, lower grade paper.

I was being facetious about toilet paper. Toilet paper is produced from weak, low grade fibres, and so fibres from warm climates and recycled paper (the fibres tend to get broken up during recycling) are probably just fine, and can be mixed with longer fibres from higher grade pulp if necessary.

Here's a map of global distribution. Take the coloured areas with a grain of salt. The landscape doesn't suddenly go from commercially viable forest to tundra. Rather, the trees gradually get smaller and further apart, so the northern portions of what is shown as "forest" here are usually not commercially viable. They're still habitat for wildlife though, such as caribou who migrate in huge herds between the tundra and the forest.

Most of BC is shown as not being boreal forest in this map because although most of it is forested, it's technically a different type of forest, with a lot of douglas fir, lodgepole pine, and similar trees. Douglas fir in particular produces a premium grade of lumber.



Despite having large forests however, Russia isn't that big of an exporter of forest products. The following are 2013 figures, but I don't think it's changed that much since other than China' share of net imports having increased significantly. I suspect the major thing holding back Russian forest product exports is the relative remoteness of much of their forests, which increases the costs of transportation and energy.


 
The same is true of forests in Canada, which are very similar. Softwood lumber is used extensively in construction. The boreal forest, known as taiga in Russia, consists mainly of spruce, along with varying amounts of fir, larch (commonly known as tamarack in Canada), birch, poplar, cedar, and pine.

Warm climate coniferous forests, especially man made plantations, tend to be mainly pine. The fibres are shorter and less tightly bound together. As a result they tend to splinter more readily and are less strong. As a result the wood tends to be of lower grade and is used for less valuable purposes.

The same is true for for pulpwood. Different wood fibres are used for different purposes. The trees growing in colder climates tend to produce longer and more valuable fibres producing a stronger and better grade of paper, while the ones from warmer climates tend to produce a weaker, lower grade paper.

I was being facetious about toilet paper. Toilet paper is produced from weak, low grade fibres, and so fibres from warm climates and recycled paper (the fibres tend to get broken up during recycling) are probably just fine, and can be mixed with longer fibres from higher grade pulp if necessary.

Here's a map of global distribution. Take the coloured areas with a grain of salt. The landscape doesn't suddenly go from commercially viable forest to tundra. Rather, the trees gradually get smaller and further apart, so the northern portions of what is shown as "forest" here are usually not commercially viable. They're still habitat for wildlife though, such as caribou who migrate in huge herds between the tundra and the forest.

Most of BC is shown as not being boreal forest in this map because although most of it is forested, it's technically a different type of forest, with a lot of douglas fir, lodgepole pine, and similar trees. Douglas fir in particular produces a premium grade of lumber.



Despite having large forests however, Russia isn't that big of an exporter of forest products. The following are 2013 figures, but I don't think it's changed that much since other than China' share of net imports having increased significantly. I suspect the major thing holding back Russian forest product exports is the relative remoteness of much of their forests, which increases the costs of transportation and energy.


Thanks for that excellent and informative response.
 
First of all, it should be said that Norilsk Nickel is a huge company - about 4% of Russian GDP.
It was built in the Soviet times but in 90's was 'privatised' (almost for nothing) by some high ranked officials and crooked 'businessmen'



OwnerVladimir Potanin (32.9%)
Rusal (27.8%)
Roman Abramovich (4.95%)

1591534934455.png


Vladimir Potanin (right) is a former vice PM and the main shareholder.
Oligarch Oleg Deripaska (center) is an owner of Rusal (main Russian aluminium producer).
Another oligarch Roman Abramovich (left) Chelsea FC owner is only a minor shareholder.

In theory privately owned companies are better managed than state run ones. But it is only in theory.
The main objective is profit - big money just now because political changes in Russia could lead to nationalisation especially such a golden cow as Norilsk Nickel.

So such an ecological disaster is something that has to happen later or sooner. Though its scale is apparently inflated by Putin's agitprop. Cause? To present pres.Putin as a wise ruler whom Russia 'terribly needs'.
Territory where the fuel was spilt is not so huge (by Siberian scales) only 0.18 sq.km.
It is not the first and alas likey not the last such an ecological catastrophe in this area.
Just now a representative of local nomad tribes tells on Business FM Radio about his expectations to receive compensations from the company. Of course they will be paid. He will get his 30 silver coins.

1591536096654.png


She is Svetlana Radionova - a head of RosPrirodNadzor - the main ecological watchdog in Russia.
A few years ago her old parents pensioners bought a flat in France (near Nice) for $500,000. It is her official salary for many years. Madame Radionova used to spend weekends in France. So she is true Russian patriot as many other corrupted Russian officials..
If you ask me why ecological catastrophes in Russa are common then I would answer that nobody in the government cares about them.
 
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Recently left Russian politician, the leader of movement "For the new socialism" Nikolai Platoshkin was detained and put under home arrest for 2 months.
He is an historian, university professor and a former diplomat, served as an attache in Berlin.
Remarkably Western MSM keep silence about the arrest. @scalieback has Reuters reported about this event?

1591549655338.png


... in his speeches that sounded, as a rule, in his video blog on the Telegram channel or on YouTube, Platoshkin sometimes quite sharply criticized the position of the Communist Party and its leader Gennady Zyuganov. According to some experts, just one of these critical speeches was the reason for both the detention and the criminal case, under which Platoshkin is charged with actions falling under part 1.1 of Art. 212 and Art. 207.1 of the Criminal Code. Accordingly, “the incitement to engage in riots or involvement in them” and “the public dissemination of knowingly false information about circumstances that constitute a threat to the life and safety of citizens”.
This is an open letter published by Platoshkin on May 24 to the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, G. A. Zyuganov. The calls in it calling for the dissolution of the Russian government and the “creation of a government of popular confidence”, early elections, the disruption of the vote on amendments to the Constitution of the country, as well as statements about the “threatening crisis that hit Russia” may well be interpreted as calls and incitement mentioned in the Criminal Code. And the ironic announcement of the “so-called” coronavirus epidemic, if desired, can be equated with false information that is dangerous to the lives of citizens.
For me it is clear that the charges are purely political ones. It is typical for Putin's regime violation of freedom of speech principle. But he is a left politician. So for Western MSM he is not interesting. And political persecutions in this context are not too important to be mentioned at all.
 

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