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Dedicated Russian thread

Heard today that Russian propaganda is being "seeded" in the West which suggests that users of the Oxford vaccine will turn in to monkeys. As ridiculous as it sounds, the idea is to sow the seeds of doubt. Russia has huge hopes that their own vaccine will be a significant money earner. How much of it is their own research is a matter of debate. There were attempts to hack Western CV19 research projects.
Times investigation I heard on Sky News:


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Huff Post if the Times link doesn’t work:
 
Times investigation I heard on Sky News:


View attachment 512737



Huff Post if the Times link doesn’t work:
The second of three vaccines has been announced by Putin, who warned of a second wave. The third Russian vaccine is expected in December. Russia Approves 2nd Coronavirus Vaccine – Putin - The Moscow Times

Interesting: "Russia has cleared two antiviral drugs called remdesivir for coronavirus treatment after doctors used the drugs to treat U.S. President Donald Trump, the Health Ministry announced Wednesday." https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/10/15/russia-approves-remdesivir-coronavirus-drugs-used-in-trumps-treatment-a71758

Dogs are being recruited to sniff out Covid 19 in anticipation of a second wave in Russia. The same breed has been used to sniff out cancer. Russia Recruits Rare Dogs to Sniff Out Coronavirus as Second Wave Tightens Grip - The Moscow Times
 
The second of three vaccines has been announced by Putin, who warned of a second wave. The third Russian vaccine is expected in December. Russia Approves 2nd Coronavirus Vaccine – Putin - The Moscow Times

Interesting: "Russia has cleared two antiviral drugs called remdesivir for coronavirus treatment after doctors used the drugs to treat U.S. President Donald Trump, the Health Ministry announced Wednesday." https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/10/15/russia-approves-remdesivir-coronavirus-drugs-used-in-trumps-treatment-a71758

Dogs are being recruited to sniff out Covid 19 in anticipation of a second wave in Russia. The same breed has been used to sniff out cancer. Russia Recruits Rare Dogs to Sniff Out Coronavirus as Second Wave Tightens Grip - The Moscow Times
I think the British trials have been ongoing for a while now. Helsinki airport apparently already use them:
 

Zhopa

War Hero
Thanks for that. Trenin’s assessment and views fit neatly alongside the “Muscovite Mindset” which I expand on and the “Moscow Rules” as outlined in Kier Giles’ excellent book on Russia.

Dmitri Trenin is nowadays a reliable barometer of leadership views. He used to be quite independent of thought (the more intellectual kind of well-travelled former GRU officer) but starting in about 2010-12, like many others, he either was had a word with or saw for himself which way the wind was blowing and wound his neck in, radically changing his publicly stated views on life, the universe and everything.

Which is only really a problem when he is presented, as often happens, as an "independent" analyst in Moscow because he's wearing a Carnegie badge.
 
Doing the Motherland proud!

'ASTONISHING footage shows the moment ‘drunk’ Russian soldiers smashed a high-speed tank through an airport perimeter wall.

'Corporal Alexander Zherebtsov, 29, shocked locals by driving his BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle at 55mph on a busy street in the town of Gumrak, south west Russia.

'He narrowly missed a house and crashed through a pile of chopped firewood before making a sharp turn across waste ground towards Volgograd International Airport.

'With him in the armoured vehicle was a conscript, private Dmitry Nirozneskov. Both soldiers were detained following the incident.

'One onlooker, a railway worker, said: “We raised our heads and saw a BMP-3 which was literally flying.”

'Another said: “I thought from the noise a plane was falling out of the sky, but when I turned around, I saw an armoured vehicle flying past the back of my yard.”


 
Not a bad, if somewhat lengthy, read on the state of Russia's military capability.

NATO will need to step up.

'After the Soviet Union’s collapse, Russia’s once-mighty armed forces were laid low. Moscow bus drivers out-earned fighter pilots. Hungry soldiers were sent to forage for berries and mushrooms. Corruption was rife—one general was charged with renting out a MiG-29 for illicit drag racing between cars and jets on a German airfield. “No army in the world is in as wretched a state as ours,” lamented a defence minister in 1994. Yet few armies have bounced back as dramatically. In 2008 Russian forces bungled a war with Georgia. In response, they were transformed from top to bottom.

'That began with large sums of money. Russian military expenditure approximately doubled between 2005 and 2018, when measured in exchange rates adjusted for purchasing power. Though much of the budget is secret, Russia’s annual military spending probably stands somewhere between $150bn and $180bn, says Michael Kofman of the Centre for Naval Analyses, a think-tank. That is around three times as much as Britain and close to 4% of GDP.

'Much of that money has been spent on kit. In the past decade, Russia added around 600 new planes, 840 helicopters and 2,300 drones, estimates Julian Cooper of the University of Birmingham. Whereas 99% of Russian armour in 2007 was classified as “legacy”—ie, introduced into service more than three decades ago—today fully 27% is modern, according to a study published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a think-tank in London, on September 29th. Russia’s warplanes have gone from being 97% legacy to being 71% modern in that time.

'The most important investments were in precision missiles like the land-based Iskander, sea-launched Kalibr and air-launched Kh-101, putting in range targets across Europe. A decade ago the idea that the Russian navy could accurately strike targets in Syria from warships in the Caspian Sea would have been science fiction, notes Dmitry Stefanovich of IMEMO, a research institute in Moscow. “Now it’s a reality.” In a European war, the idea would be to use such missiles to threaten civilian and military infrastructure deep behind the front lines on the ground, ensuring that a conflict over, say, Tallinn would stretch far to the west of the Rhine.

'Russia’s ultimate aim is to create a “reconnaissance-strike complex”—originally a Soviet idea—in which data from vehicles on the ground, drones in the air, satellites in space and radio signals emitted by enemy units are collected, processed and fed to the weapons in real time. Any “sensor” (for instance, a drone) can feed a target to any “shooter” (like a faraway ship), with targets prioritised centrally and struck, ideally, within minutes. Though Russia is behind America and probably China in this ambitious endeavour, it has made “huge leaps”, says Dima Adamsky of IDC Herzliya, a university in Israel.

'Russian forces are not just better armed, but also more fleet-footed. Thanks to improvements in readiness, Russia could probably get 100,000 troops, complete with heavy armour, to a European hotspot within 30 days. NATO might struggle to muster half the number, of lighter forces, in that time. Around 5,000 of Russia’s airborne troops are said to be on two hours’ notice. Soldiers are kept on their toes with huge exercises. The latest, Kavkaz (Caucacus) 2020, involved 80,000 personnel and concluded on September 26th. “Russia has traded mass for tempo,” concludes Lt-General Jim Hockenhull, Britain’s chief of defence intelligence.

'Russia’s armed forces enjoy the additional advantage of being blooded in battle. Though Russia and China may have comparable weapons, the quality of the forces, in training and combat experience, is “night and day”, says Mr Kofman. In Ukraine, for instance, Russia has practised armoured warfare and artillery duels, experimenting with the use of cyber-attacks and drones to feed targeting information to its guns. Syria, where over 63,000 Russian personnel have served, has been a testbed for precision strikes, air defence against rebel drone swarms and the use of unmanned vehicles.

'Russian officers in Syria have even shown signs of shedding the Soviet legacy of rigid, top-down command and acting with more autonomy and creativity, a practice known as “mission command”, observes Mr Adamsky. That, he says, would be “a major departure from the Russian military tradition”. And in both countries, Russia has honed its skills in electronic warfare by jamming radios, radars and drones. Russia’s fake GPS signals in Syria were even strong enough to bamboozle civilian airliners in Israel.

'Not everything has been fixed, of course. Viktor Murakhovsky, a former officer who now edits a military journal, is positive about the reforms. But he says that shipbuilding is painfully slow and that the country lags behind its rivals in long-range drones. The new T-14 Armata tank, the next-generation Su-57 warplane and new submarines have all been delayed. Though Russia is adept at blowing things up in space, its ageing fleet of reconnaissance satellites has shrunk over the years, with modernisation complicated by Western sanctions. Until five years ago, their film had to be physically sent back to Earth in capsules, notes Bart Hendrickx, an analyst of Russia’s space programme. The biggest problem of all, says Mr Kofman, is the limited capacity of Russia’s defence industry, including shortages of skilled personnel, machine tools and components.

'The trade-off between hardware and humans is also apparent. Though troops no longer go hungry, their pay is not great. Mr Murakhovsky points out that a skilled tank commander in his 20s can expect little more than 43,000 rubles ($532) a month in peacetime, lower than the national average. “In my opinion, it’s not enough.” Morale among conscripts, who still make up 55% of the force, remains low, and the short duration of their service limits their usefulness in combat. And though the days of renting out warplanes may be over, last year Russian military prosecutors announced that 2,800 military officials had been charged with corruption, with the amount stolen totalling around $90m.

'Nor has military renaissance bought peace of mind. In a war with NATO, Russia “would have conventional superiority for a limited period”, concludes the IISS, but would be outgunned if the conflict dragged on. In recent years, Mr Putin has therefore worked to ensure that a conflict would not drag on. To that end, he has invested heavily in nuclear forces, unveiling a host of lurid weapons such as hypersonic gliders, radioactive torpedos designed to pollute coastal areas and nuclear-powered cruise missiles capable of circling the Earth indefinitely. Missiles like the Iskander, Kalibr and Kh-101 can also carry both conventional and nuclear warheads (NATO officials point out that they would have no way of knowing which until they landed). For Russian generals, the hope is that their revived strength means that the nukes are never needed.

'For its part, NATO has largely focused on Russian threats to the Baltic states, and the challenges of reinforcing Europe over weeks and months. It has under-estimated how Russia’s new firepower might be used in a shorter, sharper and more expansive war that would stretch far beyond the Baltics. Its planners, and the national politicians that set military budgets and priorities, need to adjust their strategies and spending in the light of these new threats.'


 
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Zhopa

War Hero
I'm struck by the difference between this repeated argument by Dima -

'Russian officers in Syria have even shown signs of shedding the Soviet legacy of rigid, top-down command and acting with more autonomy and creativity, a practice known as “mission command”, observes Mr Adamsky. That, he says, would be “a major departure from the Russian military tradition”.

and the assessment in this -


that nothing has changed:

"probably the most striking difference between NATO and Russian methodologies is that the Russian commanders, especially at the lower end of the tactical spectrum, have little or no concept of ‘commander’s intent.’ The higher-level commander explicitly states the conditions of success for the completion of a combat order to subordinate commanders. This is fundamentally different from the NATO concept of Auftragstaktik or mission command, which is not a system of command and control, but more of a philosophy that explicitly encourages subordinate leaders to take initiative within the commander’s intent when the situation has changed and/or communications are denied."

The second report was co-authored by Roger McDermott, which is usually a sign to treat with extreme scepticism, but I can't imagine Chuck Bartles would have let anything stay in that he seriously disagreed with. I wonder who's right.
 
The second report was co-authored by Roger McDermott, which is usually a sign to treat with extreme scepticism, but I can't imagine Chuck Bartles would have let anything stay in that he seriously disagreed with. I wonder who's right.

Hopefully, we'll never need to find out!

However, I'd note that:
a/ the first article is predominantly about equipment programmes while the second is more about leadership,
b/ the second article was published in Germany, which has been very reluctant to see a resurgent Russia as an existential military threat, and
c/ winter is coming, and it would be quite chilly in Germany without Russian-supplied energy.
 
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I'm struck by the difference between this repeated argument by Dima -



and the assessment in this -


that nothing has changed:

"probably the most striking difference between NATO and Russian methodologies is that the Russian commanders, especially at the lower end of the tactical spectrum, have little or no concept of ‘commander’s intent.’ The higher-level commander explicitly states the conditions of success for the completion of a combat order to subordinate commanders. This is fundamentally different from the NATO concept of Auftragstaktik or mission command, which is not a system of command and control, but more of a philosophy that explicitly encourages subordinate leaders to take initiative within the commander’s intent when the situation has changed and/or communications are denied."

The second report was co-authored by Roger McDermott, which is usually a sign to treat with extreme scepticism, but I can't imagine Chuck Bartles would have let anything stay in that he seriously disagreed with. I wonder who's right.
From what I have read some parts of the Russian Army have undergone a complete overhaul from top to bottom, while other parts are still run more or less the same way as at the height of the Cold War.

It seems to be connected to the gradual change from conscript to professional army. The professional parts of the army are supposedly expected to be able to display more initiative and flexiblity than the conscripts who are given more limited training and not expected to do a lot of thinking for themselves.
 

Zhopa

War Hero
Yet another episode where we now hear pundits declaiming confidently that "this is a huge success for Moscow" while others explain that "this is an enormous setback for Russia". Which way they fall is generally consistent - you can usually tell who will say what.
 
Russian influence poised to expand in the Red Sea area?
 
Putin gives the go ahead for Sudan naval base:
 
Moscow up to the same maritime tricks as Beijingin the Far East . Unilaterally designate an expanse of international waters as belonging to itself. Then try to use force to maintain that claim:

The news story as reported by the BBC:

And as reported by the US Navy:

Russian "news" agencies reported it in their usual way, but I try not to provide links to obvious Muscovite propaganda.
 

Moscow Plans Expanded Social Credit-Style Tracking System – Open Media​


Moscow plans to track its residents’ “loyalty” with detailed digital profiles akin to China's social credit system, the Open Media news website reported Tuesday, citing public documents.

Moscow City Hall has since 2017 been collecting the gender, age, income level and relationship to other people signed up to its mos.ru website as part of the internet activity monitoring system called IS STATS.

Open Media reported that Moscow City Hall placed a 280 million ruble ($3.7 million) tender last week to expand the system’s capabilities.


Moscow Plans Expanded Social Credit-Style ‘Loyalty’ Tracking System – Open Media
 

Moscow Plans Expanded Social Credit-Style Tracking System – Open Media​


Moscow plans to track its residents’ “loyalty” with detailed digital profiles akin to China's social credit system, the Open Media news website reported Tuesday, citing public documents.

Moscow City Hall has since 2017 been collecting the gender, age, income level and relationship to other people signed up to its mos.ru website as part of the internet activity monitoring system called IS STATS.

Open Media reported that Moscow City Hall placed a 280 million ruble ($3.7 million) tender last week to expand the system’s capabilities.


Moscow Plans Expanded Social Credit-Style ‘Loyalty’ Tracking System – Open Media
Veliki Brat is watching you.
 

Moscow Plans Expanded Social Credit-Style Tracking System – Open Media​


Moscow plans to track its residents’ “loyalty” with detailed digital profiles akin to China's social credit system, the Open Media news website reported Tuesday, citing public documents.

Moscow City Hall has since 2017 been collecting the gender, age, income level and relationship to other people signed up to its mos.ru website as part of the internet activity monitoring system called IS STATS.

Open Media reported that Moscow City Hall placed a 280 million ruble ($3.7 million) tender last week to expand the system’s capabilities.


Moscow Plans Expanded Social Credit-Style ‘Loyalty’ Tracking System – Open Media
There's nothing in that story describing anything like the Chinese "social credit" (Chinese version of an ASBO) system. It's just about the government collecting data on their citizens (something that many countries do) into a central database. There's no feed back into behaviour modification efforts mentioned. Either somebody is looking for a headline, or they don't understand the Chinese "social credit" system.
 

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