Russia’s Crisis in Naval Construction

When the United States is putting together its strategic threat assessment, what counts is not just what makes up the enemy’s order of battle but also what is onstream from the military defence sector of the economy; how efficiently and how rapidly armaments can be produced. Within Russia power is held together by the siloviki, a blend of industrial oligarchs, intelligence men and the military. It remains to be seen how well this alliance of interests continues to hold. It is not hard to detect that Russia is not coping well at the moment. It is seriously overstretched. The cock-ups in the intelligence sector at home and abroad raise serious questions about quality control in operational planning, recruitment and training. The captains of industry are on the front line facing ever growing American financial sanctions. And the Russian armed forces under President Putin can now no longer count on their pride of place in the ordering of state priorities for expenditure.

The latest crisis is in the production of nuclear-powered submarines. The hardline Vzglyad ru points out – evidently after briefings from the navy – that the problems are multiple; not only in planning but also in construction. They add up to an acute organizational shortfall that is then compounded by lack of money. And given the complexity and the dangers involved in this sphere, delays are inevitable. The Americans can count themselves lucky. Had Russia embarked upon a serious process of market reform in 1999, it would not find itself with such invidious choices at a time of extreme economic strain between guns and butter, of which the crisis in naval construction is but one example.

See Vzglyad ru:

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