Leadership: June 3, 2004

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The leadership of the Russian navy is facing a major house cleaning. The navy has been hit with numerous leadership scandals during the last decade, and the admirals have kept saying they were going to straighten things out. Apparently there has been more cover-up than correction in the last few years. Matters have come to a boil as the admirals accuse each other of being responsible for the poor performance of ballistic missiles during a very public exercise last February. Two of the submarine launched ICBMs failed, in full view of the media. The investigation has not finished yet, but it has been revealed that money was not made available to maintain the ICBMs used in the 27,000 ton Typhoon class subs (the largest of their type). Other officers have long suspected that the money was there, but it was stolen. The logic of that theft  appeared to be that a nuclear war was unlikely, and the missiles would eventually be retired at the end of their useful life, so why waste money on keeping the ICBMs operational when you can just steal the cash? Similar scams involved assigning a disproportionate amount of repair and construction work to the shipyards on the northern coast of Russia. Work done up there was more expensive, because of the remote location and nasty weather. Bribes were suspected to be involved. Other scams in the northern shipyards involved fairly modern warships sent up there for repairs, only to have the ships suddenly decommissioned and valuable components disappeared, to later show up in new warships being built for export to China. 

Russian president Vladimir Putin has made eliminating corruption one of his main goals in his new term of office. So the admirals appear to have picked a bad time to try and fire poorly maintained ICBMs while the boss was watching. Putin has given the navy more money in the past few years, and he wants to see it show up in the fleet, not secret Swiss bank accounts. The way things are shaping up, some admirals are going to show up in prison shortly. 

 


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