Archive for the ‘Ivanov’ Category

Russia’s Defense Industry Hit by Credit Crunch, Ivanov Says

November 11, 2008

Russia’s defense industry is facing difficulties in meeting orders from the state because of the global credit crunch, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said.

Sergei Ivanov
Sergei Ivanov

Many companies are suffering from cash-flow problems, Ivanov said in remarks carried on state television. The financial crisis is “hitting some defense companies quite hard,” and the situation could prove “troublesome” for the industry, he said.

This video grab from Russian NTV channel shows the Russian nuclear ... 
AFP/Ntv
Above: This Russian submarine had an on board non nuclear accident that killed 20 this week.  She was on sea trials and scheduled to be tranferred to India.  She is now emblematic of Russia’s failing defense industry.


By Sebastian Alison, Bloomberg

Banks in which the state holds a large stake, including OAO Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank, VTB Group, the second largest, and state development bank Vnesheconombank, should consider lending to defense contractors, he said.

Ivanov was speaking today at a meeting in Moscow of a government commission on strategic enterprises and the defense industry.

“We’re talking about an industry with a lot of expenses and not too much revenue,” said Masha Lipman, an analyst at the Moscow Carnegie Center. She noted that Russia has recently made major arms sales to countries like Venezuela on credit with no repayments due for years.

Lipman said Russia’s Defense Ministry has been sending out mixed signals, for example by announcing cuts in military staffing numbers. This will produce tens of thousands of unemployed officers and the cost of retraining them for civilian jobs will be high, she said.

“Probably we will see that no such cuts will be made, because if you cut expenses in one place, you create them in another place,” she said.

Georgia War

Russia approved 344 billion rubles ($13 billion) in new defense spending last month following its five-day war with Georgia in August, Ivanov said on Oct. 16.

“Additional funds will be spent on purchases of modern weaponry, especially aircraft,” Ivanov, a former defense minister, said during a meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev.

At the same time, Russian state revenue may slump as the price of oil, its biggest export, plunges and capital flight accelerates on concern the global economy is entering a recession.

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/new
s?pid=20601095&sid=adH6D0VFaSVY

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Re-election Strategy or New Cold War?

October 25, 2007

By James Hackett
For Peace and Freedom
October 25, 2007

The question in Washington and European capitals this fall is whether Moscow’s aggressive behavior is the onset of a new Cold War or just a gambit to win votes in upcoming elections. The central issue is the future of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s hard-earned democracy is rapidly morphing back into an authoritarian state under President Putin, who is eager to stay in power. He probably could scrap the constitution and become president for life, but has said he will not do that. More likely, he plans to put a puppet in the presidency and rule from behind the scenes or as prime minister, and then run for president again in 2012.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
Владимир Владимирович Путин
Vladimir Putin

The Russian constitution adopted in 1993 states in Chapter 4, Article 81, “No one person shall hold the office of president for more than two terms in succession.” Mr. Putin was elected in 2000 and won reelection with a 71 percent landslide in 2004. He will complete two terms in 2008, so is ineligible under the constitution to run next year, but could run in 2012 or later.

Elections to the Duma will be held on December 2, after which the political parties will nominate their candidates for president. That election will be March 2, with the new president taking office May 7. Less than six months before the election Vladimir Putin stands astride Russian politics like a colossus, with polls showing an approval rate as high as 80 percent.

Videos have been released showing Mr. Putin in campaign mode, a vigorous 55, horseback riding and fishing. For months he has been taking step after step to appeal to the majority of Russians who yearn for a return to the great power status their country lost when the Soviet Union collapsed. He is taking advantage of the booming global market for energy, renationalizing the oil and gas industry and using the proceeds to rebuild Russia’s military.

For years, Russia has been developing the Topol-M mobile ballistic missile, the Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile, a new multiple-warhead missile, a new evading warhead, the S-400 missile interceptor, fifth-generation fighter planes and four new missile-firing submarines. Progress was slow and funds scarce, but the recent surge in oil and gas wealth has made it possible to expand and accelerate these programs.

Now Mr. Putin is using his improving military to throw his weight around, confronting countries from Georgia to Norway. He has resumed long-range nuclear bomber flights, opposes missile defenses in Europe, claims the North Pole for Russia and suspends cooperation under the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty. He also sells air defense missiles to Syria and nuclear technology to Iran, suspends gas and oil shipments to pressure other countries, and threatens both to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear forces (INF) treaty and to target NATO countries by basing missiles in Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave.

Instead of joining Europe and America against the threat of militant Islam, Mr. Putin has joined with China, Iran and other authoritarian regimes against the West. All this appears to be fine with most Russians. A poll by the Yuri-Levada Institute found that 68 percent of Russians said their top priority was security. Democracy was hardly mentioned. Other results showed that 75 percent consider Russia a Eurasian state, while only 10 percent see themselves part of the West.

Mr. Putin could decide to emulate his friend, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, and make himself president for life. Amending the Russian constitution requires large majorities in both the Federation Council and Duma, which he probably could get from those rubber-stamp bodies, but it would require compomises he may not want to make. Instead, he probably will handpick a temporary successor.

Until a few weeks ago, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, a former KGB officer and recent defense minister, was considered the most likely choice. But he could be a strong leader and Mr. Putin may prefer to name a more subservient caretaker for one term. That could explain why he recently chose Viktor Zubkov, a loyal 66-year old nonentity, to be prime minister. Mr. Zubkov may also be Mr. Putin’s choice to keep the president’s seat warm until he can legally return to that office in 2012.

The bluster from Moscow could be just a run-up to the elections, to show voters President Putin takes a hard line toward foreign powers he claims are encroaching on Russia’s borders. This xenophobic anti-West foreign policy seems very popular in Russia. It may also reflect a resurgence of Cold War thinking by Mr. Putin and his ex-KGB colleagues, who spent decades confronting the West.

Whether we are in for a brief pre-election spell of Russian aggressiveness or a long-term struggle with a new anti-Western axis led by Moscow and Beijing remains to be seen. We will have a better idea next spring, when Russia chooses its next president.

James Hackett is a former national security official who now lives and writes in Carlsbad, Calif.  He is a frequent contributor to the Washington Times and other national journals and newspapers.

Related:

The Problem of Putin

Putin Digs In

Cold War Redux?

Permanent President Putin?

September 5, 2007

James T. Hackett
The Washington Times
September 4, 2007

Russia may be a democracy, but it is rapidly morphing back into an authoritarian state. President Vladimir Putin looks very much like a man running for re-election. The question is whether he plans to scrap the constitution and become president for life or rule from behind the scenes and return to office later.

The constitution adopted in 1993 by the new Russia states in Chapter 4, Article 81, “No one person shall hold the office of president for more than two terms in succession.” Mr. Putin was elected in 2000 and won re-election by a landslide 71 percent in 2004. He will complete two terms next year, so is ineligible under the constitution to stand for re-election.

Elections to the Duma will be held Dec. 2, after which the political parties will nominate their candidates for the presidency. That election will take place March 2, with the new president taking office May 7. Barely six months before the election, Vladimir Putin dominates Russian politics like a colossus, with polls showing an approval rate as high as 80 percent.

Videos have been released showing Mr. Putin in campaign mode, a vigorous 55, horseback riding and fishing, stripped to the waist. For months he has taken step after step to appeal to the majority of Russians who yearn for a return to the great-power status their country lost when the Soviet Union collapsed. He has been taking advantage of the booming global market for energy, renationalizing the oil and gas industry and using the proceeds to rebuild the Russian military.

For years Russia has been developing the Topol-M mobile ballistic missile, the Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile, the S-400 missile interceptor, a new evading warhead, fifth-generation fighter planes and missile-launching submarines. Progress was slow and funds were scarce, but the surge in oil and gas wealth made it possible to overcome problems and accelerate these programs.

Now Mr. Putin is using his improving military to throw his weight around, confronting countries from Georgia to Norway. He has resumed long-range nuclear bomber flights, refuses to cooperate with Britain on a KGB murder, claims the North Pole for Russia, sells air defense missiles to Syria and threatens to target NATO countries by basing missiles in Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave.

Instead of joining Europe and America to oppose the threat of militant Islam, Mr. Putin has turned to China, Iran and other authoritarian regimes against the West. He is recreating the Warsaw Pact in Central Asia — the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Known as a “dictator’s club,” it is led by China and Russia and includes four former Soviet republics but expected to grow with Iran and other countries seeking to join.

All this is fine with most Russians, who have the strong leader they wanted. A poll by the Yuri-Levada Institute published in February found 68 percent of Russians said their top priority was “security.” Democracy was hardly mentioned. Other findings were that 75 percent consider Russia a Eurasian state, while only 10 percent think they are part of the West.

Mr. Putin has said he will honor the constitution.  Nevertheless, he could decide to emulate his friend, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, and make himself president for life. Amending the Russian constitution requires large majorities of both the Federation Council and Duma, which he undoubtedly could get from these rubber-stamp bodies, but it would require payoffs or concessions he may not want to make.

So he appears to be grooming First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov as his successor. Since the constitution bars him from running more than twice “in succession,” but leaves open the possibility of a later return, he may plan to have Mr. Ivanov run next year for one term and then replace him. Meanwhile, he would expect to control the country as a “gray eminence” from behind the scenes.

But that is easier said than done. Mr. Ivanov is a highly capable former KGB officer and defense minister. If he wins the vast powers of the Russian presidency, it may not be easy for a former president to control him. Once out of power, Mr. Putin may find it hard to get back in. Of course, he could anoint a more pliable candidate to serve as caretaker president.

Russian democracy is at risk. For the future of his country, Mr. Putin should honor the constitution and retire permanently next year.

James T. Hackett is a contributing writer to The Washington Times based in Carlsbad, Calif.

The essay above was used with permission.

Related:

Cold War Redux?
(Our own commentary on Mr. Putin and Russia)

Obstacles ahead for missile defense

July 8, 2007

By Peter Grier
The Christian Science Monitor
July 9, 2007

Washington — You’d think deployment of US missile defenses in Europe was imminent, given the way Presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin sparred over the subject at last week’s “Lobster Summit” in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Despite the goodwill generated by speedboat rides and swordfish dinners, Mr. Putin vehemently objected during the two-day meeting to US plans to push forward with antimissile sites in the Czech Republic and Poland.

In fact, US missile defense faces a long and winding European road – and Russian opposition is far from its only hurdle. The US still must strike basing deals with the Czech and Polish governments. And in Washington the Democratic-controlled Congress appears reluctant to fund the move, scrambling its near-term prospects.

“I can see money trickling to the system to keep it on life support,” says Wade Boese, director of research at the Arms Control Association. “I don’t think you’re going to see something that is full-bore ahead.”

At issue are a radar facility in the Czech Republic and a battery of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland that the Bush administration says are needed to guard against a developing missile threat from Iran.

Russian officials have long complained ….

Read the rest at:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0709/p02s01-usfp.html

Russia’s Ivanov: Global Missile Defense System Could be Created by 2020

July 8, 2007

Welcome to Peace and Freedom II.  We are now in our second year of bringing the best articles on Human Rights, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan, Iran, Missile Defense and other topics to YOU! 

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PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY (Far East), July 8 (RIA Novosti) – A global missile defense system proposed by Russia could be created by 2020, a Russian first deputy prime minister said Sunday.

“We are proposing to create a single missile defense system for all participants with equal access to the system’s control,” Sergei Ivanov said in a televised interview with the Vesti Nedeli program on Rossiya television channel.

Print version

Ivanov said the proposal applied both to the United States and European countries, including neutral states like Austria, Finland and Sweden.

According to Ivanov, the proposal involved efforts to create missile defense data exchange centers in Moscow and Brussels where the headquarters of NATO and the European Union are located.

Ivanov also mentioned the recent initiative by President Vladimir Putin that Russia and the United States could use the early warning facility in Gabala in Azerbaijan, if the U.S. gave up its plans to deploy elements of its European missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

“In addition, Russia is ready in the future to offer its new radar being built in the Krasnodar Territory [in southern Russia] for a joint data system,” Ivanov said.

U.S. plans to place elements of its missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic have become one of the main issues of contention in relations between Russia and the United States, bringing them recently to their lowest point since the Cold War.

In an initial response to the U.S. move, Moscow threatened to point Russian warheads at Europe and pull out of a conventional arms reduction treaty, the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE), but seemingly softened its stance when Putin proposed at a Group of Eight leading industrialized nations summit in Germany to jointly use the Gabala radar in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan.

The Gabala radar, located near the town of Minchegaur, 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the capital Baku, was leased to Russia for 10 years in 2002.

The radar has been operational since early 1985. With a range of 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles), it is the most powerful in the region and can detect any missile launches in Asia, the Middle East and parts of Africa.

During his informal talks with George W. Bush Monday, the Russian president proposed that the United States jointly use a radar being built in southern Russia, in addition to the missile early warning facility in Gabala.

Provided to Peace and Freedom by RIA Novosti.

July 6, 2007

July 6, 2007

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Today’s best reads:Intense clashes at Pakistani siege mosque
 
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Islamist students holed up in an Islamabad mosque fought gunbattles with Pakistani security forces on Friday after the militants’ leader said he and hundreds of his followers would rather die than surrender.Earlier, gunmen fired at President Pervez Musharraf‘s plane as it took off from Islamabad’s military airport, a security officer said. The government said there appeared to be no link between the shooting and Musharraf’s flight to inspect flood damage in the south.
Read the rest at:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070706/ts_nm/
pakistan_mosque_dc;_ylt=Amcbc4AllZXjA4zr
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US Says Ivanov’s Remarks On Missile Defense “Unfortunate” ….
Said Russia could target Poland and Czech Republic if US builds missile defenses there…
http://www.nasdaq.com/aspxcontent/NewsStory.aspx?cpath=20070706%5cACQRTT200707060305RTTRADERUSEQUITY_0076.htm&

Al-Qaeda linked to operations from Iran 
 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/9cc4d5f4-2be3-
11dc-b498-000b5df10621.html

Pakistan president’s plane fired on: intelligence official
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070706/
wl_sthasia_afp/pakistanunrestmusharrafair_
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Photo
President General Musharraf of Pakistan.

Pakistan cleric makes defiant vow ….from the BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6276428.stm

Bill Gertz, “Inside the Ring” from The Washington Times. Includes a photo of China’s latest sub.
http://washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070706/NATION04/107060076/1008

Japan says North Korea, China security concerns….Japan echos worries of Australia concerning China….
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070706/wl_nm/
japan_defence_dc_2

Japan seeks greater military role abroad
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070706/
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Granny fights Vietnam’s culture of bribery
http://www.suntimes.com/news/world/456578,CST-NWS-viet05.article

Thailand unveils constitution to curb premier’s power
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070706/ts_afp/
thailandpoliticsconstitution_070706124549