Russia: Paranoid, and Loving It


July 2, 2007: Russia will veto a Kosovo independence vote in the UN, fearing that the dismemberment of Serbia will encourage separatists in Russia and some of its neighbors (Georgia, Armenia and Moldova). Russia also fears that an independent Kosovo will become a refuge for Islamic terrorists, as it believes Bosnia has.

July 1, 2007: The government has passed laws that make it more difficult for new political parties to be formed, and to operate. In addition, existing parties are complaining of many hacker attacks on their web sites and network access. This is seen as a government Cyber War capability, which the government denies, but which keeps showing up when the government needs it.

June 30, 2007: There are still terrorist incidents in Chechnya, but they occur about once a week, about as frequently as new arrests of terrorists are made. Most of the surviving Chechen terrorists have moved to neighboring areas, or farther abroad. The Chechen government, now run by Chechens, wants to end the amnesty program, because those who were serious about using it have, and those who haven't just use the amnesty program to catch a break between bouts of terrorist activity.

June 28, 2007: After several failures, there was a successful test of the new ballistic missile, the Bulava. This is a naval version of the Topol-M ICBM, which has finally entered mass production. Topol-M uses solid fuel, and is similar to the American Minuteman.

June 26, 2007: Russia does not believe Iran would be stupid enough to fire missiles at Europe. Therefore, the Russians cannot believe the American anti-missile system being installed in Eastern Europe can be anything but a sneaky way to begin construction of a missile defense against Russian rockets. After all, Russia knows it is hated and feared in Eastern Europe, which is why those nations offered to host parts of the anti-missile system. Russians love a good conspiracy, and this missile defense situation fits the bill.

June 24, 2007: Russia is pouring billions of dollars into research, reviving the vast research organization that existed throughout the Soviet period. Most of the Soviet research institutes were inefficient, and only 3,500 of them, containing about 600,000 researchers, survive. But many of these are operations that adapted, and found work in a market economy. Modeling their government research efforts on programs used successfully in Western nations, Russia sees the possibility of finally taking the lead in many key areas, like nanotechnology. Any technology edge can be translated into a military edge, because Russia has managed to keep key defense industries intact. New weapons are being produced, and future ones developed.




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