Author Archives: Jānis

Don’t Look Up

A disturbing dissection of the current state of the Western society. Why is it so difficult for people to face reality? How did politics become what it is today? The movie doesn’t give answers but stimulates thinking in a fun way. Only if you like and are able to understand satire.


Director: Adam McKay
Cast: Cate Blanchet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Jonah Hill

101 minutes

My rating:

 

 

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The New Russian Security Concept and the ZAPAD-2021 Exercises

This week the Annual Conference of the International Society for Military Sciences is taking place. I’ll present a paper I’m still working called ” The New Russian Security Concept and the ZAPAD-2021 Exercises.” Click here to see the presentation. The abstract is:

Since Crimea’s annexation by Russia in 2014, the West has been trying to understand better Russia’s military strategy at both the micro and the macro, or grand strategic, levels. This is often done by framing Russian statements, documents, and actions within Western theories and concepts, including popular concepts in the West such as Hybrid Warfare, Greyzone Warfare, A2AD, to cite a few. Another issue is the prevalent idea, especially among non-academics, that the Russian security and defense documents are merely empty rhetoric for internal consumption. Anecdotally, it results in the “they know” axiom, implying that the Russian political and military elite are aware that NATO and, especially the United States, have no intention of attacking Russia and manipulating internal and external audiences to get political leverage.

This results in some grave methodological problems. First, the Russian strategic documents have a different hierarchy than the Western equivalent. For example, the Russian military doctrine deals with issues at the macro level, i.e., politics and grand strategy. In contrast, the operational level is discussed within what the Russians call Military Science. In other words, it is not possible to evaluate what is and what is not considered operational. The same applies to the question of other security and defense documents being empty rhetoric.

One way to solve this issue is to compare these documents, including the military, scientific debates, with reality on the ground, i.e., operations and exercises. This allows verifying the extent of the security and defense document’s narratives being reflected in actual actions. Another issue is the revealed preoccupations of the Russian security and defense elite is a hypothetical “hybrid” attack by NATO. Thus, it is necessary to evaluate Russia’s internal idiosyncratic fragilities that would give ground for real concerns of a hypothetical hybrid (in the West understanding of the term) attack’s feasibility and possible success.

To do that, this paper relies on qualitative and quantitative analysis. First, the texts of the Russian 2000, 2010, and 2014 Military Doctrine and the 2000, 2009, 2015, 2021 National Security Concept were tokenized using R. The tokenized lists were cleaned of common stopwords and some expressions with high frequency but without explicative meanings. Word clouds were made to compare the change of narratives within years giving a robust visualization of the main issues forming narratives. It followed a textual qualitative analysis of the most recent documents to find other specific points forming a narrative. The next step was to identify Russia’s internal fragilities. Since there is a lack of aggregate data about social issues from Russian sources, the European Social Study was used. In Russia’s case, it provides data for five rounds: 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2016. Russia did not take part in the most recent round (2018). Data was tested, aggregated, and plotted using R. Finally, a qualitative analysis of the ZAPAD exercises was done to determine its scenario. The final step was to compare narratives, internal fragilities, and the exercise’s features.

The results showed that the ZAPAD-2021 exercises reflected the narratives present in the primary security and defense documents. They also showed a non-quantitative correlation with Russia’s internal fragilities. A first conclusion is that the Russian security and defense elite is aware of the country’s internal fragilities being a possible conduit to destabilization operations in Russian territory that might escalate into open military conflict. This led to the second conclusion that national grassroots movements might be considered a foreign attack, and military escalation follows. Third, conventional military capabilities are core to Russian defense strategy and include conventional and unconventional means in a whole of society approach.

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The Nagorno Karabakh Conflict: Roots and Prospects

The current conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh began in the second half of the 1980s, but its roots are deeper, reaching back at least to the first quarter of the 20th century. In this lecture, Dr. Tomáš Hoch places these problematic aspects of mutual Armenian-Azerbaijani relations in their historical context and links them with the current conflict and the future.

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Wormhole Escalation in the New Nuclear Age

Increasingly capable and intrusive digital information technologies, advanced dual-use military capabilities, and diffused global power structures will reshape future crises and conflicts between nuclear-armed adversaries and challenge traditional ways of thinking about escalation and stability. This emerging security environment will require new concepts and tools to manage the risk of unintended escalation and reduce nuclear dangers.

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On the Fundaments of the Russian Federation’s State Policy in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence

Many Western Russian specialists wrote about this document, including myself. This piece is of special importance, since it was written by Major General Sterlin, the head of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces and Colonel A.L. Khryapin, the chief researcher at the Center for Military-Strategic Studies of the Military Academy of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces for an internal audience, mostly to the Russian Armed Forces troops. This means it is the official position of the Armed Forces and any analysis must take it into the consideration. My comments are in green.

The highest priority of the state policy of the Russian Federation in the field of national security is to ensure nuclear deterrence as the basis for strategic deterrence

Major General Sterlin A.E., Head of the Directorate of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Honored Military Specialist of the Russian Federation

Colonel Khryapin A.L. – Chief Researcher at the Center for Military-Strategic Studies of the Military Academy of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces, Doctor of Military Sciences

Krasnaya zvezda, August 7, 2020, p. 3

The growing negative trends in the world, accompanying the process of the formation of a new system of global and regional security, contributes to the creation of prerequisites for the activation of current (as well as emergence of new) threats to the military security of the Russian Federation, which may develop into military conflicts of various scales and intensity.
The most important postulate of ensuring the military security of our state is the guaranteed deterrence of any potential enemy, as well as part of a coalition, from unleashing military aggression against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies. It is based on the combat capabilities of the domestic Armed Forces (primarily nuclear forces) to inflict “unacceptable damage” on the aggressor in any, even the most critical conditions of the situation (retaliation strike).

That is why the top priority of the state policy of the Russian Federation in the field of military and national security in general is to ensure nuclear deterrence as the basis for strategic deterrence.

The official views of the Russian Federation on nuclear deterrence in modern conditions were publicly declared on June 2, 2020 in the “Fundaments of the state policy of the Russian Federation in the field of nuclear deterrence” (hereinafter – the Fundaments). It should be emphasized that the appearance of the document of this level in public space occurred for the first time in the entire history of the Soviet Union – and the Russian Federation as its legal successor.

There isn’t anything really new in this document. It is an amalgamation of other documents. The Military Doctrine is still a better document reflecting the views on nuclear deterrence.

Being the document of strategic planning in the field of military security, the Fundaments define the dangers and threats, in order to neutralize which nuclear deterrence is carried out, the basic principles and subjects of deterrence and, most importantly, the conditions for a possible transition to the use of nuclear weapons.

The publication of the Fundamentals caused a wide response in foreign and domestic media and came as a surprise to most experts in the field of nuclear weapons, whose opinions diverged on a number of key provisions of this document.

For example, the media of the United States and its NATO allies emphasize the “aggressiveness” of Russia’s policy, its desire to “justify the creation of its new strategic weapons,” “lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons,” and split the bloc’s ranks. In order to intimidate its NATO allies, especially on the eastern flank, the United States credits Russia with a non-existent concept of “escalation for escalation.”

The concept exists and was discussed in many Russian publications. Two good examples are: V.V. Kruglov and M.E. Sosnovskiy, “On the role of nonstrategic nuclear means in nuclear deterrence,” Military Thought, no. 6 (1997); V.I. Levshin, A.V. Nedelin, and M.E. Sosnovskiy, “On the employment of nuclear weapons for the de-escalation of military actions,” Military Thought, no. 3 (1999). A fair question is if is it doctrine or not.

More balanced publications by “neutral” specialists speak of Russia’s desire to give international legitimacy to Russian initiatives in the field of nuclear deterrence amid aggressive American steps to build up strike weapons and break the system of international arms control treaties.
At the same time, a number of Western experts and most domestic experts note the timeliness of the document’s appearance and Russia’s desire to curb the arms race unleashed by the United States, the militarization of space, the modernization of the American missile defense and the demolition of the international security system. They view the declaration of conditions for a possible transition to the use of nuclear weapons as a warning about the futility of “force pressure” on Russia and its readiness for armed defense of its national interests.

For an objective assessment of Russia’s approach to nuclear deterrence, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the military-political conditions under which our state took a truly unprecedented step and for the first time in the history of possession of nuclear weapons published its vision of its role and place in the overall national security system.
The 2018 US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) identifies the following key provisions that have a significant impact on nuclear deterrence:

– for the first time since the end of the Cold War, Russia has been declared an adversary of the United States with all the ensuing consequences;

– the possibility of the preventive use of nuclear weapons has been declared;

– it is planned to radically re-equip the nuclear forces, including the creation of new modern sea-based cruise missiles and ultra-low-power nuclear weapons.

Well, because the Russian have been doing this too, especially following the concept of 6th Generation Warfare. General Gerasimov openly stated this is a clear objective of the Russian Armed Forces in some speeches.

At the same time, nuclear weapons with the creation of such ammunition, in fact, become “weapons of the battlefield”, which, of course, will lead to a decrease in the threshold for their use.

Some people argue that, during the Cold War, Russian commanders considered nuclear weapons just another weapon. I really don’t remember the source, but remember this discussion. It might not be true.

Almost simultaneously with the adoption of the new nuclear doctrine in the United States, the concept of missile defense development with a number of new provisions was adopted:

– the main focus of the global missile defense system is to neutralize missile threats of all types, primarily from Russia and China, therefore, deployed components, including the European missile defense system, are initially directed against Russian strategic missiles;

– the creation of strike weapons of the missile defense space echelon is declared, that is, there is a return to the 40-year-old Strategic Defense Initiative program, within which the widest range of such means was considered: kinetic miniature interceptors, space lasers, space platforms with weapons based on new physical principles;

– it is planned to recreate airborne laser weapon systems, including those based on a heavy-class unmanned aerial vehicle;

– a new line of interception of ballistic missiles is introduced, the so-called “zero” echelon of missile defense, when the impact on ballistic missiles is carried out not in flight, but at launch positions, that is, a strike is performed at launchers in the positional areas of missile divisions, at aircraft at home airfields and missile carriers in naval bases.

It should be emphasized that the introduction of the zero echelon of missile defense erases the line between offensive (strike) and defensive weapons.

The destabilizing factors should include the creation of space forces in the United States in 2019 and their readiness to deploy strike weapons in space, since in accordance with the Defense Space Strategy of the US Department of Defense, announced in June 2020, space has been declared a theatre for conducting military operations.

In our opinion, all these steps by the American leadership are aimed at implementing the Global Strike concept with the use of promising strike weapons, including hypersonic ones, but with only one proviso – that all these weapons can also be nuclear.

Russia too. The question is to develop the technology.

It all came together – all the steps taken by the United States in the field of strategic weapons over the past two decades are links in one chain and are aimed at achieving military-technical superiority of the United States in order to maintain its global leadership in the world and ensure, as it seems to them, victory in possible future wars over any country in the world, primarily over Russia, including due to its economic weakening by being drawn into another arms race.

We must not forget about the US allies in the NATO bloc either. Taken together, NATO has a significant advantage over Russia in systems of strategic non-nuclear weapons and general-purpose forces, which in the context of the bloc’s expansion and its approach directly to the borders of Russia forces our state to respond to existing military threats and threats to its security.

In order to bring the Russian position on nuclear deterrence to the attention of the global community and the military-political leadership of the states – potential adversaries, there were declared a number of conceptual provisions set out in the Fundaments.

1. Once again, it has been doctrinally confirmed that the “nuclear policy” of the Russian Federation is purely defensive in nature.

This is not a mere declaration, but the cornerstone of the general policy of our state, on which strategic deterrence has been and is being built. Russia is not going to attack anyone, but will take all steps to neutralize any aggression against our country. This approach reflects a strategy of active deterrence and can be described as “active defense”. At the same time, Russia is making and will make all the necessary efforts to reduce the nuclear threat.

2. Nuclear deterrence is aimed at ensuring that the potential adversary, including the coalition, understands the inevitability of retaliation in the event of aggression against Russia and its allies – inflicting unacceptable damage on it in a retaliatory strike.

In its essence, nuclear deterrence is a specific form of the reflexive policy of our state, carried out by influencing mainly the military-political leadership of a potential adversary through the conviction of the inevitability of negative consequences for him as a result of the guaranteed use by the Russian Federation of forces and means of nuclear deterrence.

3. The core of nuclear deterrence is the combat capabilities of nuclear forces of various basing, therefore, maintaining the nuclear potential at a level sufficient to ensure deterrence is one of the priority tasks of our state.

At the same time, the minimum sufficiency of combat-ready forces and means is stated, capable, due to the rationality of their structure and composition, methods of use, as well as high combat readiness, to ensure the infliction of unacceptable damage to any potential enemy in any development of the military-political and strategic situation.

This means that Russia will not be drawn into a grueling nuclear arms race; priority is given not to quantitative, but to their qualitative composition.

4. It was emphasized that the main military threats, to neutralize which nuclear deterrence is being carried out, emanate from the collective West and are associated with the build-up of general-purpose groupings near the borders of the Russian Federation. These groupings, among other things, are armed with means of delivering nuclear weapons, with the deployment of systems and means Missile defense, strike weapons for various purposes and basing, including space.

5. Two groups of states are identified as subjects of nuclear deterrence:

– individual states possessing nuclear and (or) other types of weapons of mass destruction or significant combat potential of general-purpose forces that consider the Russian Federation as a potential adversary, as well as military coalitions (blocs, alliances) with the participation of these states;

– states that provide their national territory for the deployment of strategic offensive weapons (cruise and ballistic missiles, hypersonic aircrafts, attack unmanned aerial vehicles), strategic anti-missile defense systems, radar stations of the nuclear missile strike warning system, nuclear weapons and (or) others types of weapons of mass destruction of other states that can be used against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies.

The point here is, in clear words, Poland and the Baltic States.

The first group of states does not raise questions, while the highlighting of the second group is a warning to the leadership of these states that they have to think very well before giving permission to deploy strategic offensive weapons of other states on their territory.

6. The above principles of nuclear deterrence are well known and determine the main directions of our state’s policy to ensure deterrence. This also applies to the centralization of control, the constant readiness of forces and means, and the rationality of their structure and composition.

Compliance with international obligations in the field of arms control is a priority for Russia. Our state has always respected and will abide by all the international obligations it has assumed.
The continuity of measures to ensure deterrence means that all measures of a military and non-military nature are carried out in a comprehensive manner within the framework of the nuclear deterrence mechanism in peacetime, during the period of an imminent threat of aggression and in wartime at all stages of the emergence and development of a military conflict, up to the beginning of the massive use of nuclear weapons.

The adaptability of deterrence to military threats presupposes the choice of certain deterrent measures (actions) depending on the existing and emerging military threats to Russia’s security, which are determined on the basis of a comprehensive analysis of the military-political and strategic situation in the world and military dangers for Russia in the short, medium-term and long-term perspective.

7. For the first time in a public space, conditions have been declared that determine the possibility of Russia’s use of nuclear weapons.

The first condition is related to the receipt of reliable information about the launch of ballistic missiles attacking the territory of Russia and (or) its allies. The very fact of a ballistic missile launch will be recorded by a missile attack warning system.

At the same time, there will be no possibility to determine the type of its equipment (nuclear or non-nuclear). Therefore, any attacking missile will be positioned as a nuclear-armed missile. Information about the launch of the missile in automatic mode will be communicated to the military-political leadership of Russia, which, depending on the prevailing situation, will determine the scale of the response actions of the nuclear forces.

Conditions on the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction by the enemy, on the impact on critical targets of Russia, on aggression with the use of conventional weapons should not raise questions from experts.

If the question is posed about target setting of aggression against Russia, which has a significant nuclear potential, one can give a concrete answer – the destruction of Russia as a state.

Thus, in the Fundamentals, Russia has outlined “red lines”, which we do not advise anyone to cross. If a potential adversary decides to do this, then the answer will no doubt be overwhelming.

At the same time, the specification of response actions (where, when, how much) will be determined by the military-political leadership of Russia, depending on the situation.

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33 Wagner Contractors Arrested in Belarus

Last night, the forces of group “A” of the KGB with the support of the OMON GUVD of the Minsk city executive committee detained 32 militants of the foreign private military company Wagner. In addition, one more person was found and detained in the south of the country.

According to sources from the Belarussian law enforcement agencies, there was information about the arrival of more than 200 militants in Belarus to engage in destabilization operations during the Presidential election campaign. Each man had small hand luggage and three large heavy suitcases.

Upon arrival in the capital on the night of July 24-25, the group checked into one of the hotels in Minsk and was supposed to check out on July 25. They left the hotel on July 27 and moved to one of the sanatoriums in the Minsk region.

According to the sanatorium’s administration, the visitors drew attention to their uncharacteristic behavior for Russian tourists and uniform military-style clothing. They did not use alcohol, did not visit entertainment establishments, kept themselves apart, and tried to not attract attention. They carefully studied the territory and surroundings of the sanatorium in small groups. 

The list of detained citizens of the Russian Federation is:

1. Milaev Arem Viktorovich, born 02/01/1981;

2. Bakhtigaraev Takhir Minigayanovich, born on April 18, 1980;

3. Altukhov Alexander Viktorovich, born on April 18, 1980;

4. Lee Vladimir Alexandrovich, born on July 26, 1989;

5. Kozhevnikov Andrey Yurievich, born January 16, 1980;

6. Sapronov Alexey Vladimirovich, born on 08.07.1978;

7. Shcherbakov Sergey Vladimirovich, born on July 21, 1981;

8. Volgin Alexey Vladimirovich, born June 21, 1975;

9. Driga Oleg Igorevich, born 03.06.1986;

10. Pavlenko Sergey Grigorievich, born June 25, 1976;

11. Rudenko Alexander Svyatoslavovich, born on 26.12.1984;

12. Kharitonov Denis Yurievich, born on March 16, 1980;

13. Sidorov Sergey Alexandrovich, born 01.01.1972;

14. Koshman Maxim Yaroslavovich, born on 06.09.1981,

15. Bubnov Sergey Gennadievich, born on 08.01.1971;

16. Nizhnik Pavel Alexandrovich, born June 24, 1987;

17. Selikhov Vladimir Ivanovich, born on 04.10.1986;

18. Fetisov Gennady Evgenievich, born on October 22, 1986;

19. Fomin Mikhail Nikolaevich, born 03/07/1973,

20. Ekimov Vladimir Sergeevich, born on October 19, 1973;

21. Karimov Rinat, born on August 15, 1984;

22. Shubin Alexander, born January 15, 1996;

23. Shelomentsev Igor, born on August 18, 1975;

24. Maslov Sergey Alekseevich, born September 29, 1988;

25. Zaydulen Rustem, born 06.10.1974;

26. Tokarenko Andrey Viktorovich, born on January 24, 1965;

27. Serdyukov Andrey Viktorovich, born on August 16, 1975;

28. Sergeev Fedor Mikhailovich, born 05.17.1987;

29. Tanov Rafik Kabulovich, born on April 30, 1975;

30. Zyablitsev Evgeniy Sergeevich, 23.11.1992;

31. Samarin Pavel Lvovich, 11.11.1981 year of birth;

32. Bakunovich Andrey Petrovich, born on 30.12.1977;

33. Shatskiy Artem, born July 30, 1982.

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Russian Malign Influence in The UK

Last week the British Parliament published a report about Russian malign influence in the UK. A considerable debate followed, ignoring Russia’s motivations and strategic objectives in the United Kingdom and in the West. Russia’s ambitions were described as “Russia’s substantive aims, however, are relatively limited: it wishes to be seen as a resurgent ‘great power’ – in particular, dominating the countries of the former USSR – and to ensure that the privileged position of its leadership clique is not damaged.” It’s much more than that. This view is too simplistic and obscures the understanding of their objectives. The discussions have been concentrating on “Putin and his cronies”, “the mafia state”, etc. This obfuscates the debate about our own problems, which they use against us. Besides, it doesn’t help much to understand their way of thinking and gives the false feeling to know what they’re after.

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The Russian Military Import Substitution Program: Still Struggling

The independence of the Russian defense industry on foreign components has been on the table for years. There have been many talks about import substitution, vast sums of money were spent, but the situation hasn’t considerably changed. Since Crimea’s annexation, this issue became even more relevant. First, because of the economic sanctions. Second, because of the interdependence between the Russian and the Ukrainian military-industrial complexes.

Another problem has been the relationship between the Armed Forces and the Russian Military-Industrial Complex, which is still problematic, although it was even worse until 2014. On the one hand, the military often complain that the industrial sector is unable to fulfill the procurement demands and that the Armed Forces’ needs aren’t matched. Quality is considerably low. On the other hand, the industrial sector complains that the Armed Forces don’t know what to procure, including the technical specifications and requirements. In other words, the industrial sector complains that the Armed Forces don’t know what they want. There’s poor planning.

Nevertheless, from 2008 the result was that the industrial lobby was able to impose its specifications and norms on the Armed Forces. In 2012, the then Minister of Defense Anatoly Serdyukov even blackmailed the Military-Industrial Complex saying that “if you don’t provide us with what we want, we’ll buy foreign on-the-shelf full-scale systems. This was one of the most critical factors for Serdyukov being substituted by Shoigu, who has been less confrontational. It didn’t work as expected, because of MoD officials lobbying the interests of the industrial sector.

The relationship deteriorated on such a scale that in December 2014, Putin decided to renew the Military-Industrial Commission (in Russian “VPK” like the newspaper). Its role has been to be a coordination platform between the MoD and the industry to promoting consensus and compromising. And since 2016 to promote import substitution and stimulate technological development.

In 2016 it was disclosed that some 800 weapons systems’ production depends on foreign components from NATO and EU countries, and the Security Council returned to the discussions about import substitution. Although it has been happening for decades, it never really happened despite the luges amounts of money invested. This time, the VPK asked the domestic industry to replace 127 items. One year later, in 2017, they managed seven. There isn’t more recent information.

The volume of civilian dual-use systems is supposed to increase by 30% in 2025 and by 50% in 2030. The logic is to follow the same model as the United States since the 1950s, the one of the military-industrial complex and military Keynesianism. There’s a good story about this. A real one. When the Americans had to go to space, they faced a problem. How to write with a fountain pen without gravity? They developed a pen for that, which gave the technical base for the modern pens we use today. And the Soviet Union? They used a pencil.

And this is the biggest problem. Most of the technology Russia has is still from Soviet times. There is no serious financing for Research and Development Programs. The Russians are also convinced that the best is to exploit possible spillovers with the oil and gas sector, but the industry lacks economic complexity. Although such spillovers might be good at the sectoral level, they won’t promote economic development. Nor reduce the dependence on Western technologies.

Another serious problem for the Russian military industry has been the war with Ukraine. Before Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, some sixty Ukrainian companies produced ship engines, and aircrafts and their components for the Russian military. It included nuclear weapons’ key components like the R-36M missile system and the Voyevoda RS-20 missile (which in NATO is known as the SS-18 Satan). It was developed in the 1980s in the Dnepropetrovsk Design Bureau “Yuzhny” and produced in the same place by “Yuzhmash.”

The Russian MoD has announced plans to dispose it, but at the same time, there is information that their service life is being extended. The obvious conclusion is that the Russians still don’t have a replacement for these systems yet. The deployment of the Sarmat (Satan 2) missiles is expected for no sooner than 2021. Another example is the TOPOL-M, which was developed in the Kyiv Arsenal Plant. There are rumors they will be completely withdrawn from service in 2021 to be replaced with Russian-made Yars and Yars-M missile systems.

The production plans of ships also had to be adjusted because there are no modern Russian ships engines. At the beginning of the modernization program, the MoD counted on the Ukrainian Zorya-Mashproekt’s gas turbine engines. Some ships were designed to use these engines, including the Project 11356 “Patrol Guards,” the Project 22350 “Frigates” and Project 21956 “Multi-Purpose Destroyers.” In September of 2019, the Russian government announced that the United Engine Corporation, the NPO Saturn (Rybinsk, Yaroslavl region), and the OJSC Klimov from Saint Petersburg would replace the Ukrainian engines. There isn’t a precise timing for the commissioning of the new ships.

Some import substitution has been happening in helicopters engines. The Kazan Helicopters and the JSC Kamov, which produce the Mi and the KA series, have been using engines produced by the Zaporizhzhya Motor Sich company from Ukraine. Now they are receiving the Rostech VK-2500 engine, which is more expensive and still needs a complete foreign base. Unmanned aerial vehicles are advancing more. The Forpost-R system was being produced under an Israeli license. Russian companies were able to replace all components. Another drone, the S-70 “Okhotnik” for reconnaissance and strike, was fully developed in Russia and is allegedly able to interact with the 5th generation Su-57 fighter.

Finally, the GLONASS satellites. Until 2014, the share of foreign components was 70%, mostly from the United States. Today it is approximately 40%. The Glonass-K2 satellite, with only domestic components, was expected to be ready by 2021, but there is no recent information about the program.

Import substitution was very effective in promoting South Korea’s economic development. It could work in Russia, but there is a significant barrier posed by the lack of new technologies. Before, it was possible to develop independently. The technology was free. Today, there are patents and intellectual property. One component might use multiple technologies of different owners. It is not possible to develop new technologies isolated from the rest of the world, especially when R&D is underfinanced, and the last significant technological developments were in the 1980s. One alternative is a partnership with China, which has been developing Western level technologies in some spheres, but many times ignored the international rules of property rights.

Can Russia do it? Probably not. Development based on natural resources isn’t sustainable, as discussed by the great Adam Smith already in 1786. Norway might be the exception, but it has a very complex economy. Russia’s development is to be characterized by a situation of the development of underdevelopment. In technological terms, it’ll always be catching up, unless huge, but really huge sums of money are invested in R&D, and new brains are attracted to the country. A herculean task, that, probably, won’t happen. As warfare is increasingly dependent on new technologies, with time, Russia’s operational capabilities will become outdated, forcing the Armed Forces to rely on the nuclear arsenal for deterrence and asymmetric methods for combat.

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