Streetwise Professor

September 26, 2010

Well, At Least This Time It Didn’t Blow Up

Filed under: Military,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 2:09 pm

There has apparently been another failure of the Russian Bulava SLBM–or, perhaps more accurately, a scrub before another failure.  The Russian SSBN Dmitri Donskoi returned from the Russian missile test firing range without having fired a Bulava:

On September 10, Aleksandr Emelianenkov reported that the Dmitri Donskoi, a Typhoon-class SSBN adapted for test launching the Bulava, had sailed from Severodvinsk to the missile launch area where the Russian navy tests its ballistic missiles in the White Sea and then had returned to port without executing the anticipated 13th test launch of an RSM-56 Bulava SLBM. The SSBN returned to base with no explanation and so the anticipated test of Bulava on September 9-11 was postponed without setting a new launch date. Serdyukov on his return to Moscow from Paris, and before his departure to Washington for talks with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, only commented that the no launch was imminent and said: “Most likely, this will happen in September and definitely not at the beginning of the month.” Emelianenkov, noting the series of failures that has plagued the Bulava, stated that insiders within the Russian military-industrial complex had asserted that everything was ready for the test launch and there were high hopes of success.

Who knows?  Maybe they tried to launch, but it fizzled in the tube.  Or maybe, the pre-launch diagnostics identified a problem.  But it sure didn’t go right.

Rolling heads lend credence to the theory that this was yet another episode in a litany of failures:

Shortly afterwards the Russian press reported a major shake-up in the leadership of Bulava development. Its long-time leader, Yuri Solomonov, the chief engineer in charge of the development of the solid-fueled Topol M upon which the Bulava was based, was removed from the Bulava project but left in charge of land-based Topol M development. By order of Anatoliy Perminov, head of Roskosmos, (Federal Space Agency) Aleksandr Sukhodolsky, the former design director at the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, will assume direction of the Bulava project. Solomonov sold the defense ministry and navy on the idea that the adaptation of the Topol M to sea-based launching would be a relatively simple technical problem. However, in the last six years out of twelve test firings only five were officially listed as successes. Unnamed sources close to the project say that actually only one test led to a warhead impact in the test area.

Contrast this serial charlie foxtrot with the truly delusional announcements regarding Russian military spending plans for the next decade:

Deputy Prime Minister, Sergei Ivanov, told journalists that a new 10-year government rearmament program will allocate some 22 trillion rubles ($710 billion) to produce and develop new weapons. According to Ivanov, the defense ministry will receive 19 trillion rubles ($613 billion) while the other Russian military services will receive 3 trillion rubles ($97 billion); 20 percent of the total being spent on research and development and the rest on the procurement of weapons (RIA Novosti, September 22).

To put these numbers in perspective.  Total German defense spending is about $41 billion/year.  French: about $64 billion.  UK: $58 billion.  China (officially–i.e., not to be believed): $100 billion.  Current Russian expenditure: about $60 billion, or 3.5 percent of GDP.

So, Russia is supposedly planning a delta in spending approximately equal to current spending, and bigger than total French, UK, and German spending.  Since procurement currently accounts for about a quarter of the Russian defense budget, this translates into a four-fold increase in procurement spend.

Why do I say delusional?  Let me count the ways.

First, as the Bulava fiasco shows, the quality of the Russian defense manufacturing is somewhere between dodgy and awful.  They can’t produce stuff now.  So they’re supposed to design and produce four times as much stuff in the next ten years?

Second, even Medvedev recognizes that the defense industrial base is a disaster:

This week President Dmitry Medvedev chaired a special session of the Commission of Modernization and Technological Development of the Russian Economy, attended by ministers, administration officials, defense industry chiefs and several prominent Russian billionaire oligarchs.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the state of arms production and call for radical improvements. The proceedings at a military electronics and avionics factory near Moscow were secret, but in his public opening remarks, Medvedev scolded the defense industry for its backwardness, its inability to “innovate” and produce modern equipment to rearm the Russian military. “The situation is quite bad, quite heavy,” announced Medvedev, “In many instances the Russian defense industry is unable to significantly increase production of high-tech equipment despite greater financing.” According to Medvedev, “we lag behind industrial developed nations” while continuing to develop slightly modernized versions of Soviet-era weaponry instead of making something new.

To translate: our defense manufacturing sucks.  So let’s quadruple spending!

Makes sense to me!

Third, Russia’s biggest military problem, believe it or not, isn’t hardware, it’s software–the people.  The experiment to professionalize the army was a colossal flop, and has been shelved.  The conscription system is broken, and will get only more so as the consequences of the demographic catastrophe of the 1990s and early-2000s for the size of the recruit pool begin to be felt.

But fixing the software problem is probably impossible.  It’s a heck of a lot easier to spend money on hardware–and a lot more lucrative for the spenders, if you know what I mean.

To summarize: no industrial base to build all these new weapons; no trained manpower to use them. I’m sure everything will work out just swell.

In his increasingly lame fashion, Medvedev is attempting to sell the military modernization as an integral part of his drive to modernize the Russian economy, with huge technology spillovers from the military to the civilian sectors:

Medvedev promised more defense spending and announced that defense industry innovation will not only modernize the armed forces, but also promote “the development of the entire economy.” Medvedev recalled the Soviet experience during the Cold War when the “innovative defense complex” determined the development of the material base of the Russian economy. The defense industry must become “a generator of innovation” and modernization. Medvedev proposed forming a Russian equivalent of the US  Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), first established in 1958 as a response to the Soviet launching of Sputnik in 1957 (, September 22).

After the meeting, Defense Minister, Anatoliy Serdyukov, told journalists some “75 percent of military technologies may be used in the civilian economy.” According to Serdyukov, technologies developed to produce new fighter jets, bombers, ballistic missiles and rockets may be used “in the civilian sector,” but the drain of ideas and specialists abroad is hampering development (Interfax, September 22).

This is utterly fantastical.  The vaunted spillovers have seldom been realized in western economies, and are less likely to be realized in Russia given the security establishment’s Gollum-like obsessive possessiveness when it comes to information and technology.

[Bonus laugh: look at the picture of Medvedev in uniform in the EDM piece.  He makes Dukakis in a tank look like Sergeant Stryker. And he has a penchant for getting photographed in uniform, and holding weapons in ways that make him look far more dangerous to himself than anyone downrange.  I bet Putin encourages Medvedev to make a fool of himself in this way.]

Russia has indicated that it will, for the first time, make large arms purchases overseas–including in the US–to meet its ambitious (i.e., insane) rearmament goals.  There are several things striking about this.

First, it is a pretty stunning admission of the implosion and obsolescence of Russia’s indigenous capacity.

Second, the kinds of equipment it is looking for reveals its self-identified weaknesses, most notably UAVs and communications gear.

Third, the Obama administration is probably just dumb enough to sell, all to preserve the reset fantasy.  But it should ask: against whom would Russia want to use these weapons? Is it in the American interest to enhance the combat power of Russia?  The question answers itself.

Moreover, beware the Russian negotiating tactics, as revealed by the ongoing Mistral saga with France.  They do a deal, in which France says that it will just sell a hull and the rights to build additional hulls in Russia, but no technology transfer.  Then Russia says it expects to get the technology too, and puts pressure on the French by opening a tender for bids for helo carriers; South Korea’s Daewoo has expressed interest in bidding.   The French are now between a rock and a hard place.

This is just an application of the tried-and-true divide-and-conquer/disaggregation strategy so often employed in energy.  Russia will play this game again and again in the weapons arena too.

Given that the Russians are quite open that their intention is to do to the West what the Chinese have done to them for years: buy weapons and then duplicate, not to say steal, the technology, this is a mug’s game.  Which is to say, anticipate the Russian’s putting this plan into overdrive while Obama is in office.

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  1. “russia is never as week or as strogn as she looks” — ?

    ask napolean, hitler

    Comment by jack — September 26, 2010 @ 2:47 pm

  2. Given that the Russians are quite open that their intention is to do to the West what the Chinese have done to them for years: buy weapons and then duplicate, not to say steal, the technology, this is a mug’s game. Which is to say, anticipate the Russian’s putting this plan into overdrive while Obama is in office.

    But it works. No mug’s game. China benefits. The Western companies benefit, in the medium-term, due to their access to the Chinese market at a time of low demand in their home countries. There is now an analogous situation with Western MIC’s, because of the coming budget-induced defense spending cuts across the developed world. They’ll be looking hard for foreign markets on almost any conditions (and of course coordinating their activities across the US, a dozen European countries, and Japan/S. Korea is nigh impossible).

    The only nations whose security will truly decrease will be those like Georgia, with aggressive megalomaniacs at the helm.

    Moreover, beware the Russian negotiating tactics, as revealed by the ongoing Mistral saga with France. They do a deal, in which France says that it will just sell a hull and the rights to build additional hulls in Russia, but no technology transfer. Then Russia says it expects to get the technology too, and puts pressure on the French by opening a tender for bids for helo carriers; South Korea’s Daewoo has expressed interest in bidding. The French are now between a rock and a hard place.

    What’s *wrong* with that? Russia can build hulls itself. The electronics are the whole point.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — September 26, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

  3. BTW. I suspect there might have been an informal deal between the US and Russia for non-sale of S-300 to Iran for US sales to Russia.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — September 26, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

  4. If Obama’s government doesn’t permit the sale of these weapons, then Russia will just turn to European countries for tech. Russia will still get the technology, and those nice American corporations won’t get any money. Seems pointless to resist.

    Why is buying from whoever will sell the best characterized as “divide-and-conquer”? Who is Russia conquering? Who is being divided? Are American and European corporations a single entity?

    Comment by Andrew #2 — September 26, 2010 @ 7:58 pm

  5. Well “Andrew #2”, even the French are not keen to sell actual tech to the Russians, see the Mistral for details.

    You are even less likely to get tech from the UK or Sweden.

    Germany maybe, but then again they don’t actually produce much high tech military equipment aside from tanks, look at the Eurofighter, most of its systems are from the UK, as are the engines.

    Comment by Andrew — September 27, 2010 @ 12:10 am

  6. S.O., good point: we all remember how that aggressive Georgia invaded Russia. Right after brave Russian militia thwarted the planned invasion from the Estonian Empire. Poor little Russia is being attacked from all sides, it is imperative that the US provide it with weapons to defend itself all the way to la Manche.

    Comment by Ivan — September 27, 2010 @ 1:04 am

  7. Well said Ivan.

    Comment by Andrew — September 27, 2010 @ 4:08 am

  8. The french may not be too keen on selling the tech, but not only might that end up happening, but the electronics can probably be reverse-engineered even if they’re constructed in France and shipped over.

    So if it’s been proven that Russia can get what it wants from France and Israel anyway, why wouldn’t the United States want that nice wad of cash?

    Comment by Andrew #2 — September 27, 2010 @ 8:53 am

  9. I’ve always speculated that the extremely complicated modern military kit which gets flogged around the world has embedded in it a little chip which shuts the whole thing down when activated by the company which provided it. :) I’m sure the telecoms kit which Marconi used to flog to foreign governments contained something which allowed the Brits to eavesdrop.

    Comment by Tim Newman — September 27, 2010 @ 10:53 am

  10. S.O., good point: we all remember how that aggressive Georgia invaded Russia.

    See, Ivan, discussing anything is impossible. You live in a parallel universe where it was the Russians who bombarded UN-sanctioned Georgian peace-keepers in a territory wishing to have nothing to do with Russia. I.e., the exact opposite of reality.

    @Andrew #2 (the normal one),

    The financial element is unlikely to be important here, IMO. The US MIC has $100bn+ on the order books just from Saudi Arabia, UAE & Iraq in the coming years. If the US sells it will likely be to elicit Russian cooperation on Iran.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — September 27, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

  11. Actually, in the Universe I happen to live in, the entity called Russian Federation has officially indicted a man for treason because he allegedly disclosed to Georgians the locations and movements of Russian troops and FSB personnel on Georgian territory starting 2004: . Which means that Russian Federation has been illegally occupying Georgian territory at least since 2004.

    Comment by Ivan — September 27, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

  12. That’s a funny definition of ‘occupation’.

    SO, yeah, that’s probably an even better incentive. I was pointing out, though, that the “dumb enough to sell” portion is inaccurate, because there really isn’t a downside to selling at all.

    Comment by Andrew #2 — September 27, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

  13. @Andrew #2–re if we don’t sell it the french will, etc. (a) That’s exactly my divide-and-conquer/disaggregation point, and (b) that can be stymied by cooperation among the parties that Russia would hope to divide. The US can put the arm on some countries, notably Israel. We got the Israelis to back off selling some technology–to India, if memory serves, but maybe China. The French would be more difficult, but we haven’t really tried that hard, either.

    @S/O re S-300 deal. That’s exactly what I am afraid of. The Russians have used the threat of S-300 sales to Iran in their typically opportunistic and cynical way. I wonder what we gave up in order to get them to back off. They certainly do it out of the kindness of their hearts.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — September 27, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

  14. I just dislike how you say that trying to buy something in a market is ‘dividing-and-conquering’. I don’t see any conquering going on, and America/France/Israel are already ‘divided’. At least America and France.

    Were there always viagra ads here? Never noticed before…

    Comment by Andrew #2 — September 27, 2010 @ 7:59 pm

  15. Russia’s main problem is not design, it’s the obsolete manufacturing base. In the past this could be somewhat mitigated by skilled intensive labour. Labour is now expensive, and the skilled are mostly retired. For example, the US had machinery for production of sandwiched honeycomb panels, the Soviets had to make them by hand, which took 100 times longer. Thus the superior mass ratio of much of American aerospace gear. Conventional aircraft can get away with very ordinary fit and finish, but if one aspires to make stealth planes, the finish must be perfect. Up close, Sukhoi jets made in the 80s look like they were hammered into shape. The ones they’ve recently sold to Malaysia look far better. Thanks to German and Japanese machinery.

    Comment by So? — September 27, 2010 @ 10:53 pm

  16. @ Sublime stupidity

    The Russian forces in South Ossetia were not UN sanctioned, they were imposed upon the Georgians as a result of Georgia joining the CIS in 1993.

    Due to the illegal activities of the Russian state in violation of the CIS agreement, such as suppling weapons and training to South Ossetian and Abkhazian militia (in violation of UN and CIS resolutions and agreements), providing economic and political support (in violation of UN resolutions and CIS agreements), and conducting a campaign of ruthless and racist aggression against Georgians living in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Shida Kartli, the Georgians had repeatedly tried to internationalise the peacekeeping effort by bringing in actual UN peacekeepers to monitor and keep the ceasefire between separatists and government forces in South Ossetia, this was repeatedly vetoed by Russia.

    The only UN mandated force in either breakaway region was UNOMIG which was mostly protecting Georgians in Gali from racist attacks by Abkhaz separatists and their Russian masters, which has been forced to leave due to a Russian veto on the extension of its mandate.

    As for “bombing and shelling” of Russian “piece keepers”, well interestingly the IFFC report found absolutely no evidence that the Georgians targeted Russian “piece keepers”, and that despite repeated requests for the Russian government to provide evidence, none was forthcoming.

    So as usual the Russians were lying, just as they lied about “2000 dead civilians” and they lied about having troops in Gori, and they lied about the fact that they were bulldozing Georgian villages claiming it was not happening while Memorial busted them by filming the ethnic cleansing and destruction of Georgian villages being carried out under the direction of Russian officers.

    Comment by Andrew — September 28, 2010 @ 1:13 am

  17. So I thought. Just an innocent funny military occupation, like Russian occupation always is. Ask the Baltic peoples. Oh wait, those were not occupied, just stampeded by travel agents offering free all-inclusive tours of Siberia (mostly one-way).

    Comment by Ivan — September 28, 2010 @ 1:25 am

  18. Ask the Baltic peoples.
    Who cares?

    Comment by So? — September 28, 2010 @ 3:05 am

  19. This is all hilarious, in one sense, because the Professor can’t acknowledge that some elements in the American MIC might WANT to get into an arms race in effect with themselves, only this time we won’t need the Israelis or Indians as cut outs anymore. Just sell the stuff then turn around and use the ‘threat’ of the technologies we sold to justify not cutting back on those new subs or carrier battle groups while Uncle Sam is desperately trying to inflate away his debt. What’s the expression, billions for defense and not a penny for 99 week unemployment benefits for those lazy bastards who don’t want to go back to work for minimum wage?

    It’s the MIC answer to Goldman selling all those credit default swaps then shorting the hell out of em’.

    But alas, the Professor can only see MIC dastardly-ness and banksterism in other countries, not in his own. I mean, AK documented how all those F-15s even with a generous heaping of spare parts and contractors in Saudi Arabia and UAE couldn’t possibly cost $60 bil. In other words kickbacks. But those only exist in Russia, they don’t line Frank Gaffney’s pockets.

    Comment by Mr. X — September 28, 2010 @ 4:18 am

  20. and furthermore, to borrow a line from Lord of War when the Nicholas Cage character Yury Orlov asked his rival why he armed both Iran and Iraq in the 80s(and yes Professor, I’ve met guys who ran guns to both the Iraqis and Iranians at the same time, so that part was based on real life) — what makes you think they DON’T want the Russians or Israelis to turn around and sell their American-taxpayer derived tech to China? It was the Chinese the neocons had the hots for Cold War II if not World War IV-V with anyway. Game set match. We’re having Depression 2.0 so what’s the solution? World War II 2.0?

    Comment by Mr. X — September 28, 2010 @ 4:21 am

  21. I’ve met guys who ran guns to both the Iraqis and Iranians at the same time…

    Was he called the Soviet Union?

    Comment by Tim Newman — September 28, 2010 @ 9:22 am

  22. Nope, he was American as apple pie. But the Soviets did it too. And Andrew (if ‘he’ does indeed have a Y chromosome, but I suspect not) is what I call a bitter ender. And what’s the IFFC? Another Soros coutout outfit, like who pays ‘Andrews’ salary?

    Comment by Mr. X — September 28, 2010 @ 10:00 am

  23. AFAIK, the Soviet Union sold very little to Iran, and only in exchange for some of Uncle Sam’s gear that the Shah had splurged on. For the most part it supported Iraq (as did everybody else).

    Comment by So? — September 29, 2010 @ 12:19 am

  24. Wrong as usual Mr X,

    The IFFC was the “Independent Fact Finding Commission” of the Council of Europe who wrote the report on the August war, and called all of the Russian actions illegal.

    If you don’t know even that you are a complete idiot.

    BTW Mr X, I actually work for a living, Engineering don’t you know.

    As for the Y chromosome, well you will have to ask my wife and daughter whether I have one or not 😉


    The USSR actually sold a reasonable amount of equipment to Iran after Gorbachev came to power, particularly C3 Command systems, air defence systems, and air to air missiles.

    That being said the majority of their support went to Iraq and the Stalinist style Baath party.

    Comment by Andrew — September 29, 2010 @ 1:18 am

  25. After 1988 – yes. Before – highly unlikely.

    Comment by So? — September 29, 2010 @ 4:02 am

  26. Sorry Andrew, I had you confused with a certain New York-based Second Life character who bears a strong resemblance to La Russophobe, and who ‘works for a living’ on Soros dime.

    Don’t worry, you still have the forthcoming Renny Harlin flick to support your version of reality. And clearly Der Spiegel didn’t agree with your interpretation of the same report. Maybe you and SWP would claim that this is because those Germans don’t want their gas cut off in winter. Anything but that the pro-Georgian western media reports during the initial weeks lied through their teeth about an American ally shelling a sleeping city with GRAD rockets and expecting Washington to bail them out after they beat a hasty retreat.

    As for exagerrating the body count in Tskinval, on 9/11 I recall some estimates of 10,000 dead in lower Manhattan after the towers fell.

    Comment by Mr. X — September 29, 2010 @ 4:21 am

  27. #

    “Ask the Baltic peoples.
    Who cares?”
    (Comment by So? — September 28, 2010 @ 3:05 am)

    Well, at least, I do. Besides, persons characterized by an abnormal lack of empathy for other people’s sufferings are frequently called psychopaths. Or in his book “Psychological research on antisemitism” the author Walter Bergmann refers to an Australian researcher John J. Ray calling this kind of behaviour a “fascist personality” type. So, by now you (and all the readers too) should know also who doesn’t care…

    Comment by Dixi — September 29, 2010 @ 5:20 am

  28. So the litmus test for not being a psycopath is whether you’re a Balt lover or not. Brilliant.

    FYI, my rough care hierarchy:
    Russians, Russian Jews
    Ashkenazi Jews
    other Jews, other white people, not including Balts
    Asians, Indians

    You see, the relish with which the Baltic adjutants served their masters and exterminated Jews, yet now have the gall to play victim, does not really endear them to me.

    Comment by So? — September 29, 2010 @ 6:28 am

  29. “So the litmus test for not being a psycopath is whether you’re a Balt lover or not.”

    No, I haven’t said that and… you know it too. You do not need to “love” Balts to avoid being a psycho. But, if your reply to all the sufferings the tens of thousands of Balts DID experience whithin the USSR Gulag system is to merely say “who cares” then you certainly are. By the way, who did Russians serve “with the relish” when persecuting Jews in all those POGROMS the world so well remembers? Did Stalin, later on, sent ANY of these Russian persecutors to the Gulag for having persecuted Jews? Not to mention many of the Aushwitch prisoners (including many Jews) who testified the collapse of the Nazi Germany only to being sent to the Gulag by “Stalin’s willing servants”…

    Comment by Dixi — September 29, 2010 @ 6:56 am

  30. At Mr X.

    You really are too lazy to read the report aren’t you.

    FYI the report stated that the Georgians had a right to retaliate against numerous armed attacks by the separatists, but they used “too much force”, thereby overstepping what the IFFC decided was acceptable, this is fair enough.

    However, the IFFC then tore into Russia, labeling every single one of its actions as illegal, including the operations in South Ossetia (due to the fact that there was no evidence of any deliberate attack by the Georgians on the CIS peacekeepers), the invasion of Georgia proper, the invasion of west Georgia from Abkhazia, the deliberate ethnic cleansing of Georgians from Khodori, the deliberate ethnic cleansing of Georgians from South Ossetia (and these are people whose ancestors have lived in what is now called South Ossetia for thousands of years longer than the Ossetians, who arrived in the 16th-17th century and did not become a majority until the 1890’s in the country and in Tskhinvali until the 1960’s), the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent was declared illegal, Russian action prior to the war were declared illegal.

    I strenuously suggest you actually read the report before claiming to know what was in it.

    By the way, it is Tskhinvali, a Georgian word meaning “place of the hornbeam”.

    As for “shelling a sleeping city”, grow up X, there had been increasing fighting for several weeks before the Georgians finally reacted to the series of shellings of Georgian villages, roadside bombings against the Georgian police and civilians, the attempted assasination of the head of the administration of Georgian villages Dimitry Sanakoyev (an Ossetian BTW) and so on.
    I guess you forgot the part where the Ossetian separatists shipped the overwhelming majority of their kids to north Ossetia for “summer holidays”

    I suggest you also watch “Russian Lessons” by Russian director Andrei Nekrasov

    Andrei Nekrasov, with directing partner Olga Konskaya, returns to Sundance with a formidable documentary that energetically delves into the violent and bewildering conflicts in the Caucasus, with Russia pitted against the former Soviet state of Georgia, and involving Georgia’s troubled regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Boldly visiting conflict zones rarely filmed, the codirectors uncover damning evidence of Russian violence, incidents whose few recorded images are often reprocessed in mass-media reports as evidence of other people’s crimes (often, supposedly, residents of Georgia).

    Parsing the complex history of the region, as well as oversimplified cultural assumptions about internecine ethnic conflicts, Nekrasov and Konskaya construct a portrait of a cynical Russia willing to engage in secret wars and manufacture conflicts and media reports simply to consolidate power. With immediacy and passion, but also with a commanding mastery of film form, their documentary dignifies the struggles of powerless people and holds a sobering mirror up to a superpower and its media.

    Comment by Andrew — September 29, 2010 @ 6:58 am

  31. I’ll let the person who left a comment on that ‘documentary film’ site speak for itself. But simply ignoring why a major and respected European journal doesn’t agree with your take on the IFFC report is lazy.

    “I have witnessed what miserable people could live in this world. I am talking about people who made this movie. On the way of pursuing their goals they stop at nothing. The methods in turning history upside down which prevail in this movie exhausts patience with those who made this film. This disgusting comparison of dirty toilets, walking pigs, donkey sex and destroyed houses on Ossetian and Russian territories with prosperity of Georgian one made me laughing during the movie. And those people are trying to talk about human rights, democracy etc. How I am as a Russian should feel while watching this wicked calumny? How thought about my rights? How primitive people who made this movie should be to show this? Unbelievable! Complete degradation of any moral principles! After all, I regret that there is no censorship for that sort of “arthouse films”. If things proceed along this path, soon we will see porno at the Sundance film festival. What is the reason to believe to what is shown? I do not see any reason to believe to interviews, “facts” what are shown in this movie. I have seen similar lie many times on Russian TV channels, BBC, CNN, etc. What I only see is uncovered cynicism with what authors interpret the story of this conflict in their own way. With all respect to all people how died in this conflict on any side, you – the authors of this movie, you disgrace their memory! I have nothing to say more that you are simple fascists!”

    Did Soros pay for this and Renny Harlin’s film too? For sure Saakashvili doesn’t have enough money from the BKC pipeline or whatnot to pay for all this propaganda or high-powered lobbyists in D.C. Which means the money has to come from outside Georgia, which means it really is a proxy state for larger players — people who don’t give two craps about America or placing American troops in harms way, who in fact may be pursuing the same playbook for America that they did for Russia in the 90s – ally with oligarchs, massively inflate the currency, and buy up all the assets on the cheap while some of the population starves. SWP is not capable of seeing such a scenario, and the Soros rabbit hole is one he really doesn’t want to look down, but there it is.

    Soros is a transnationalist par excellence, the devil’s gift to all the anti-Semites. The silence among people like SWP who normally don’t trust him in American politics but think he is some sort of saint in the FSU is deafening. The Weekly Standard, National Review, The Washington Post – they all know not to go there, except to praise Soros, never to investigate how he tried to buy two post-Soviet countries and perhaps many more and how his NGOs have worked with the U.S. and British governments. Only in the UK really do you see some reminders that he was the man who tried to break the Bank of England, no doubt with some insider information that someone may have given him in exchange for services rendered in Eastern Europe/FSU.

    Wake up, Russia is not the enemy of the American people, Russia and the Ossetians were victimized by a puppet controlled by enemies of the American Constitution.

    Comment by Mr. X — September 29, 2010 @ 7:36 am

  32. @ Mr X

    Really you are pathetic.

    That is just another typical Russian ultra nationalist comment you have posted there. I suggest you actually watch the film, as you might learn something.
    Just the sort of thing one would expect from a Russian unfortunately, the same sort of idiots that think that they “liberated” eastern europe.

    The film has received excellent reviews at every film festival it has been shown at.

    By the way, Der Spiegel is well known for its pro Russian bias, and was known during the 70’s and 80’s as the Red Spiegel.

    Here are some real reviews of the film:

    Screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival
    Greater Union (111 minutes),
    July 24, 4.45pm; ACMI, August 4, 2.30pm.

    GRIPPING, utterly engrossing documentary that is a combination of rigorous investigation, personal testimony, sharp media analysis and passionate risktaking.

    The filmmakers, Andrei Nekrasov and Olga Konskaya, travel to the frontlines of the Russian-Georgian war of 2008. Looking beyond official accounts and various media reports, they journey separately to the scene of events, asking people to tell them what happened, and start to uncover a story very different from the one the Russian government and the Western media both seemed to agree on. The filming is simple and eloquent, the testimonies harrowing, yet matter-of-fact; but the story is complex and grim, and involves political machinations at the highest level.
    Source: The Age

    BBC:Russian government collusion or sloppy journalism?

    Courageous Russian filmmaking where truth in journalism is rare, except for the most iron-willed. This film begins with 2008 “war” in Georgia, (Russian massacre a more accurate description). Questioning the reports in Russian media with this “Russian scheduled war”, film makers document first hand, the actual events and the true provocateur aggressors, the Russian government. The film continues to reveal the same strategy used in the Beslan school massacre and in other areas. This film reveals the calculated effort by the Russian government to incubate ethnic hatred in Ossentian youth toward Georgians, thereby, securing Russia’s green light for generations “justified” brutal military action. BBC sloppy and inaccurate coverage is exposed,1159939.html

    “Russian Lessons”

    Thats’s what the Brussels EU-bubble needs: good input for discussion and decision by different means. The latest film “Russian Lessons” of Andrei Nekrasov (photo) should be seen in many Brussels offices dealing with east-west-relations.

    The 2-hours-documentary on the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008 was today presented in Brussels in a private screening by Film director Andrei Nekrasov.

    Thank you for invitation, Mr. Nekrasov. Thanks also to co-director Olga Konskaya. A pity, that only few spectators followed the Brussels presentation and the discussion afterwards. I learnt more about russia than about the ongoing conflicts in the caucasian area. There is also enough to tell on that powder keg full of incompetent and worse politicians and buzinessmen.

    And Nekrasov destroyed the illusion, the West could in any way influence or even guide the ‘russian bear’. The West obviously even doesn’t dare.
    And Russia: the country, especially the so called elite is more interested in the money of the west, not the values, the west is so proud on.

    There seem to bee a dangerous mixture of (political etc.) weaknesses and (economic) strength – one important source of nationalism. There are already speculations, that the next russian war will be in the Ukraine.

    But where is th EU? The brussels bubble sleeps, has no courage to comment with self-confidence the developments. Andrei Nekrasov shows in his film for instance a reporter of german first TV-channel ARD as a “pupil” in front of teacher-like Putin.

    The same attiutute for actice and passive german politicians, who give Russia to much credit. Some of them improve there little pensions. Poor Germany.

    How is this seen in Russa, Mr. Nekrasov? Russians think, the West and western media are simply naive.
    The West: blind – The East: cynic. And what does Brussels do? Quarreling on powerless EU-posts. Even the long awaited EU-report on the war in Georgia is not yet ready. I fear, that the writers and politicians behind are not interested in the truth. ”Russian Lessons” offers a lot of interesting interviews.

    Andrei Nekrasov is Auteur of « Rebellion: the Litvinenko Case » which received its world premiere at 2007 Cannes Festival. The copy of the film “Russian Lessons”, we saw today in Brussels, was obviously made for a Film-Festival, a one-hour-film would be helpful to show it on TV. Good Luck, truth.

    Comment by Andrew — September 30, 2010 @ 12:16 am

  33. In addition, I suggest you watch this excerpt from the film, and compare it with the idiot Russians comments.

    Comment by Andrew — September 30, 2010 @ 12:17 am

  34. By the way “Mr X”, have you ever actually been to Georgia?

    There are far more Ossetians living in Tbilisi than in Tskhinvali, and they are quite happy being part of Georgia, they can send their kids to study in Ossetian language schools, their sons serve in the police and military, hold government positions, run businesses, they have full franchise to vote, they are full citizens of Georgia.

    Compare this to South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    In South Ossetia (and North Ossetia for that matter) the Ossetian language is not taught in schools or used in government except as an option, the official language is Russian. Georgian is banned in both South Ossetia, Georgians (if they are lucky enough to not be killed or expelled) have no right to vote, no right to attain citizenship, and basically no rights at all.

    Comment by Andrew — September 30, 2010 @ 12:35 am

  35. Hey Andrew, presumably the Russians also made up that footage from 08/08/08 The Art of Betrayal of the hooting, cheering Georgian soldiers firing grenades into a Lada load of civilians trying to flee the fighting (most likely Ossetian)? You know, the ones who were uniformed and armed at the expense of the American taxpayer?

    Comment by Mr. X — September 30, 2010 @ 2:40 am

  36. Well, the Russians did indeed fake quite a bit of film, including a scene where “Georgian” troops were supposedly driving around Tshkinvali firing grenades into windows.

    Unfortunately for that particular Russian effort, they had forgotten to re set the date on the camera, which showed a date of August 23rd, and all the soldiers were yelling and jeering in Russian.

    After all, the film I linked to shows exactly how the Russians fabricated film of the fighting in both South Ossetia itself, and also used film of Georgians killed and wounded by Russian bombing of civilians in Gori to try and claim indiscriminate killing of Ossetians in Tskhinvali, something that the Russians also did in the early 90’s in Abkhazia.

    Then there is the small matter of Russian troops wearing captured Georgian uniforms during the war, a violation of the laws of war one might add.

    The “Act of Betrayal” films accusations were widely debunked by HRW and Memorial, both of which found no evidence of the claimed atrocities that the Russians were accusing the Georgians of.

    In addition the film claims that “thousands of mercenaries” were serving in the Georgian military, and used the example of the US passport “found on a dead body”, which later turned out to have been stolen on a flight from New York to Moscow in 2005.

    This video also uses the debunked claim of 1,600 Ossetian civilians dead, which has also been widely debunked by HRW, Memorial, the OSCE and so on. This claim was used by the Russians to incite racial hatred and to try and distract from their proven (by Memorial, HRW, the OSCE etc) ethnic cleansing against Georgians.

    In other words “Mr X”, you are full of BS, as usual

    Comment by Andrew — September 30, 2010 @ 3:56 am

  37. Oh and here is another one of Russian troops in Georgian uniforms

    Comment by Andrew — September 30, 2010 @ 3:59 am

  38. In any civilized country, the response of even the most ardent nationalist would be: “Wow, we are failing big time. If we keep this up, we’ll collapse for sure. We need reform, starting at the top.”

    But from Russians, all you get is denial, lies and changing the subject. That’s why, of course, Russia has collapsed several times in the last century alone.

    So sad. So pathetic.

    Comment by La Russophobe — September 30, 2010 @ 6:26 am

  39. “HRW” is a Soros sock puppet, I don’t have any use for them. I notice you don’t like to talk about George Soros being a cutout for various interests, are you on his payroll too, like seemingly half the Western NGOer do goodniks in Georgia?

    And the footage of Georgians (I know the difference between Georgian and Russian language) firing the grenades at civilians was quite real, Andrew, just tell yourself it was made up to feel better. Look Andrew, I have no idea if you’re an American or not…you sound like one of those smarmy Brits that the Professor ordinarily can’t stand when they don’t agree with him.

    I object as an American taxpayer to my money being used to defend an ‘ally’ that asked us to bail them out after their President started writing checks his soldiers wouldn’t cash with their lives. And why should they, when a quarter of their countrymen choose to live on the territory of the supposed Russian oppressor, and probably nearly half of that tally in Moscow, the belly of the Bear? Why should they have died for Saakashvili’s mistake?

    There was zero American interests at stake in Georgia. But a globalist proxy state in a Bzerzinskite Oceania war against Eurasia/Russia? Yes, that was at stake. And the globalists lost, and lost again when their puppet Yuschenko was tossed out. You and the anonymous Google bombing smear hag Phobie who spends her days on Second Life keep presuming that America’s interest is Georgia’s interest and vice versa. Sorry I don’t accept your claim. Crawl back to the Jamestown Foundation where you tell yourselves that scum like Zakayev are freedom fighters rather than jihad funding bastards.

    Comment by Mr. X — October 1, 2010 @ 2:41 am

  40. P.S. Andrew I checked out your link to the supposed Russian soldiers in Georgian uniform. Well the script is Georgian but the camo pattern is completely Russian, it’s not U.S.-taxpayer funded Marine-style BDUs like the Georgians had.

    More military ignorance. But then again, none of ya’ll seem to know any actual American military who you so casually commit to defend everyone and everywhere while you collect the MIC kickbacks through front groups like Jamestown.

    The Professor needs to pay more attention to ‘the natural state’ at home.

    Comment by Mr. X — October 1, 2010 @ 2:49 am

  41. Ivan wrote: “S.O., good point: we all remember how that aggressive Georgia invaded Russia.

    Georgia didn’t invade Russia. Russia is too large and powerful for that. Instead, Georgia invaded tiny South Ossetia. And that’s when Russian troops came and kicked the aggressors back to Georgia. Let that be a good lesson.

    Comment by Ostap Bender — October 3, 2010 @ 3:33 am

  42. Ivan wrote: “Actually, in the Universe I happen to live in, the entity called Russian Federation has officially indicted a man for treason because he allegedly disclosed to Georgians the locations and movements of Russian troops and FSB personnel on Georgian territory starting 2004: . Which means that Russian Federation has been illegally occupying Georgian territory at least since 2004.

    You are an idiot, Ivan. Russian troops have been in Georgia not since 2004 but since the 18th century. In particular, in 2004 there were several official Russian military bases in Georgia:

    Georgia: The Evacuation of the Russian Military Base at Akhalkalaki Comes to a Close
    By Nicolas Landru in Tbilissi

    The Russian military base at Akhalkalaki, in Javakheti, must close its doors in the autumn of 2008. These are the terms of the Russo-Georgian agreement of March 31, 2005, between Salome Zourabishvili, then the Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Sergey Lavrov, her Russian counterpart…. Akhalkalaki is the penultimate of four Russian bases in Georgia to officially close its doors.

    Comment by Ostap Bender — October 3, 2010 @ 3:40 am

  43. Moreover, Ivan,this man is accused of spying on Russian troops not in Georgia, but in South Ossetia. There are many Russian peacekeeping troops in S. Ossetia, as specified by the agreement between Georgia, S. Ossetia and Russia.

    Moreover, S. Ossetia is no more part of Georgia than Kosovo is part of Serbia. And if an American man spied on the American troops in Kosovo, he would be accused of treason. Ditto for Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Comment by Ostap Bender — October 3, 2010 @ 3:49 am

  44. Hey, La Russophobe, I apologize for my earlier jeering at you for devoting your entire miserable life to a hate-filled xenophobic blog that “barely makes it into the top 1 million blogs”.

    This is no longer the case. Now your blog is barely in the top 2 million:

    Time Range Traffic Rank
    3 Months 741 819
    1 Months 1 050 327
    7 Days 1 780 428

    Please share the secret of how you managed to go from 741 819th to 1 780 428th in just a few weeks.

    Your fan,


    Comment by Ostap Bender — October 3, 2010 @ 3:56 am

  45. Ostap:

    > Moreover, S. Ossetia is no more part of Georgia than Kosovo is part of Serbia.

    Exactly my point. Totally different Universes. In the Universe I inhabit, even Russia used to recognize the Tskhinvali district to be part of Georgia until 2008, yet somehow there was movement of Russian troops on that Georgian territory starting 2004 that had to be kept secret from Georgia. Or was it the location of the “peace-keeper” base that had to be kept secret? Is 2+2 still 4 in your Universe by any chance?

    Comment by Ivan — October 3, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

  46. Geeze Mr X, the majority of Georgian reservists had ex Soviet period battledress, and so did most of the regulars for that matter, you really are a moron.

    If you had bothered to look at the link, you would have seen a Kazakh soldier in the Russian army wearing Georgian uniform (note the Georgian name in Georgian script on the breast pocket area) but the camo was Russian period)

    See here for details.

    Comment by Andrew — October 4, 2010 @ 6:44 am

  47. And some more pics of RuSSians in Georgian uniform,r:3,s:0,r:15,s:0,r:7,s:29

    And some Georgians with a couple in old soviet/Russian camo,r:0,s:90

    Comment by Andrew — October 4, 2010 @ 7:07 am

  48. Oh and BTW Mr X, I have a lot of friends in the US military, Iraq war vets, Afghan vets, members of the USMC & US Army training teams in Georgia.

    I sincerely doubt an idiot like you has any US servicemen or women as friends, they would not like an idiot like you too much. They are far too intelligent to put up with your BS for long.

    Comment by Andrew — October 4, 2010 @ 7:28 am

  49. Testing…

    Comment by Ostap Bender — October 6, 2010 @ 8:50 pm

  50. And here are a few pictures of Georgians in Russian uniform:
    Gold medal winners Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze in action in the pairs free program

    Comment by Ostap Bender — October 6, 2010 @ 8:50 pm

  51. Some more:

    Comment by Ostap Bender — October 6, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

  52. And some pictures of Georgians enjoying Russian “hospitality” and “Brotherliness” courtesy of the Russian government.,r:1,s:0,r:9,s:64,r:3,s:159,r:20,s:30

    Comment by Andrew — October 7, 2010 @ 1:57 am

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