April 14, 2015
Russian Blogosphere Survey for April 14, 2015
This is a daily Fort Russ feature. To access earlier editions, click on the Daily Brief tab above the title.
There are reports that Sparta Battalion subunits had to withdraw from the outskirts of Peski after heavy fighting–no word on casualties. At the same time, most of Peski was already under junta control since February, so the withdrawal was likely only of a forward outpost. A UAF soldier was reported taken prisoner near the Donetsk Airport. LPR likewise reported a number of exchanges of fire, several armored vehicles were damaged, but otherwise losses are light. Part of Motorola’s battalion was sighted near Shirokino, which suggests a preparation for a Novorossia counter-push.
Not only did OSCE report heavy fighting using “forbidden weapons” (i.e., heavy artillery that was supposed to have been withdrawn) and counted over 1,000 shots from mortars and artillery pieces, it also pointed the finger at the Right Sector as the responsible party for initiating these fights. DPR units are suspending their training maneuvers and are assembling in preparation for the worst–the possibility of the resumption of full-scale fighting.
According to the war correspondent Dmitriy Kotenok, the missile was launched from the vicinity of Kramatorsk, but failed to reach Donetsk as it was shot down above the city by an unspecified air defense system. The warhead’s explosion was responsible for the extremely loud bang heard in Donetsk during the Easter night.
Why the Donbass got rid of Strelkov
The author argues that Igor Strelkov [Girkin] never managed to secure the loyalty and support of the people of Donbass, largely because of his political ideas which harken back to the 19th century. In the words of the author, Aleksandr Chalenko, he is an old-school monarchist who views the October Revolution as something that destroyed the Russia that he still loves–a traditional, monarchist, tsarist, conservative one. But that outlook is severely at odds with the Donbass ethos, which is one of Soviet-era industrialization, “storming”, Stakhanovites, and Five-Year Plans, where the nostalgia for the Tsarist era is simply non-existent. I would also argue there is an additional political dimension to Strelkov’s ouster and de-facto exile–he is Novorossia’s “world revolution” Trotsky, as compared to the more cautious (and more competent) Zakharchenko, who has a more Stalinist leadership style and outlook.
Ukrainians are withdrawing their bank deposits at an accelerating pace, for two reasons. One, they need to live! And somehow pay the rapidly growing utility bills. Secondly, the runaway inflation means no form of deposit is profitable any more. Far better to put the money into something durable. It’s not clear how much longer the situation will persist, and who will reach the end of their tether first, the population which exhausts their means to live, or the banks which finally run out of liquidity altogether.
Obama: AAAA!!! Killer bees! Help!
Putin: Those are flies…
Hello everyone. My name is Aleksandr Zakharchenko, and today we will continue to shrink Ukraine’s territory.
Aleksandr Zakharchenko issued a statement on April 13, in response to the intensification of fighting around Donetsk, saying that the Kiev junta even a year into its “counter-terrorist operation” still does not realize that the war will only hasten the demise of its ideology, as Ukraine is liberated from the banderite ideology and fascist plague by its own people, fed up with the mad politicians who are holding the country hostage.
Estonia’s president Tomas Ilves wants NATO to adopt extensive measures to defend his country against the “Russian threat.” Ilves is worried that NATO is just too slow–it would take it days, even weeks, to deploy a sizable military force, whereas the Russian Army across the border can be raised on alert within hours. Moreover, Ilves estimates the Russian Army’s advance to the Baltic would take only about 90 minutes–that’s about how long a Russian march column would need to traverse that distance. I suspect what Ilves is really concerned about domestic unrest and protests, and his own citizens’ unwillingness to fight for the EUtopia his country had joined. Moreover, with the economy a mess and no prospects for improvement in sight, why not try for a little “rally around the flag” effect?
President Putin lifted the ban on the sale of the S-300 air defense system to Iran, which was imposed as a result of a UNSC resolution prohibiting the sale of weapons to that country. The lifting of the ban was motivated by the framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. However, blogger bmpd argues that it’s unlikely Russia will supply these weapons any time soon. Rather, it’s a gesture aimed at deterring the US from supplying weapons to Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Saxon saga continues. Some of these vehicles are being fitted with local weapons, but at the same time a Ukrainian firm, the VT Group, is putting some of them up for sale. This is not a new add–this blog reported the offer some time ago already. So far there are no explanations why some of these vehicles are being advertised, even as Poroshenko is advertising them as proof of the West’s support for Ukraine. However, if you are not interested in an unstable, top-heavy peace of junk incapable of negotiating difficult terrain, how about some other offerings the VT Group has in stock? Where all this stuff is coming from is a mystery to me. These are foreign vehicles. One would need foreign currency to procure them. Did the UAF buy all this stuff, only for some enterprising officer to put them up for sale?
The Russian Federation Accounting Chamber totaled up both the expenditures and profits associated with the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The total cost of the olympics reached 325 billion rubles, and the earnings about 85 billion rubles, or twice the original estimate.
Not only does Rosatom’s current order portfolio stand at $100 billion, it increased by $30 billion over the course of 2014. Rosatom is enjoying particular success in Asia, with Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia all interested in developing their nuclear energy industry.
The Meteor-3M is a weather satellite also capable of ecological monitoring.
Only three of these destroyers are on active service, two additional ones are in reserve. The once large class of ships (17 ships total were built for the Soviet Navy) was quickly run down due to the difficulty of maintaining its steam turbines and boilers. Still, when it comes to maintaining Russian naval presence on the world ocean, it is the Sovremennyy and Udaloy-class ships that still bear most of that burden, and will continue to do so until they are replaced by the new classes of frigates currently under construction.
Lots and lots of really cool photos from the Russian space program.
What if the Ukrainian media are lying that the Russian media are lying?
Ukraine’s “nationally conscious” journalists are concerned that more and more Ukrainians are turning against the “Dignity Revolution” and everything else that Maidan hath wrought, but instead of attributing that shift to the failed policies of Ukraine’s leaders, they prefer to blame the Russian media which, in their view, should be shut down by military force. Which would presumably mean the bombardment of Russian cities by who-knows-which air force…
Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff declared her country would stop collaboration with Ukraine on the Tsiklon-4 space launch vehicle. According to Rousseff, the project had little chance of ever reaching completion stage, and even then it would be a major money loser.