Russia: Spies, Export Sales and Tropical Satellites

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February 21, 2006: In Chechnya, Russian soldiers arrested some terrorists outside the capital. Among the weapons captured was 4.5 pounds of mercury, which was meant to be used to poison the city water supply.

February 20, 2006: A deal was made with Indonesia to build a satellite launch facility near the equator. This makes it easier to launch rockets with heavier loads.

February 19, 2006: The air force issued a statement about how they would shoot down any terrorist controlled aircraft in the air over a city or important target. This announcement may have been in response to a recent German court decision forbidding the German air force from shooting down terrorist controlled aircraft (the rights of the innocent passengers being more important than those of people on the ground).

February 15, 2006: In Sweden, a Russian scientist was arrested and charged with spying. This led to another round of accusations that Russia is returning to a Cold War level of espionage, mainly for the purpose of stealing commercial and technical secrets.

February 14, 2006: Russian weapons exports are expected to reach $7 billion in 2007. In 2003, sales were $4.4 billion. Last year they were $4.7, but this year are expected to be $6.1 billion. Iran is a major new customer. Arms sales are considered a national priority, because they allow Russian defense manufacturers to recover from years of post-Cold War drought. Arms exports enable weapons to be made in larger quantities, and thus more cheaply for exports, and the Russian armed forces alike. The export sales are also making more research and development possible.

 

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