Russia’s military is not what it should be if Putin wants to project an image of global power. Mr. Putin is worried that Russia is weak, and getting weaker.
The picture that emerges is that Russia’s armed forces are not as capable or modern as its annual Red Square military parades suggest and that its ability to project conventional force is more limited too.
“You need to always distinguish between reality and the shop window,” said Andrei Frolov, editor-in-chief of Russian magazine Arms Exports.
“Red Square is a shop window. It’s like in restaurants in Japan where there are models of the food. What we see on Red Square are models of food, not the food itself.”
Western diplomats and military experts say Putin has long projected an image of military might to strengthen his and Moscow’s image at home and abroad, but that Russia is overhauling its military far more slowly than China. __ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-military-insight/despite-putins-swagger-russia-struggles-to-modernize-its-navy-idUSKCN1QA0U7
In the west, we are familiar with the term “vapour ware,” signifying a wonderful new technological product which only exists in someone’s mind and “on the cloud.” It isn’t real, it’s just a fancy description or an impressive image.
When Russia lost access to Ukrainian turbine engines for ships, planes, helicopters, and tanks — and other advanced Ukrainian technology — the Russian military was thrown into a “world of hurt.” And that makes Mr. Putin very worried, since Russia is still finding it hard, after 5 years, to pull out of the funk.
In case after case, Russia can’t produce the military goods it would like to because many of the components it needs it can no longer obtain because of Western sanctions over Ukraine. __ WOE2
Why Can’t Russia Build Quality Gas Turbines of Large Size?
The Russian economy is struggling to provide all the machines and materials the Kremlin demands, while also providing enough consumer goods and services to keep the people on the street happy. This essential strain — on top of Russia’s demographic worries — make it tough for Russia to innovate technologically on an industrial scale.
Aleksey Mordashov, who owns the St. Petersburg-based Silovye Machiny says, “Russia needs to develop its own gas turbine technology.” At the same time, he is demanding government funding for this development…
… Russian turbine power plant technology exists – although it is not the newest, largest or most efficient: “The question is whether Russia can build on that technology or if new, large-scale gas turbines will have to be developed from scratch.”
… The global market for large-scale turbines is currently in the hands of four major producers: The American company General Electric (GE), Germany’s Siemens, the Japanese company, Mitsubishi Hitachi and Italy’s Ansaldo Energia, which took over part of the French company Alstom’s turbine production.
“Every[new] attempt to enter the market over the last twenty years has failed. __ https://www.dw.com/en/can-russia-build-turbines-as-well-as-germanys-siemens/a-43555501
The article excerpted above discusses the problems Russia is having with large power-plant scale gas turbines. But Russia is having desperate difficulties producing smaller gas turbines for its advanced military machines as well.
Russia’s Economy is Also Hobbled
Great empires must develop strong economic and demographic forces to sustain the imperial drive. Without sustained drive from a growing and vital population plus a vigorous economy, the empire will struggle to sustain military credibility.
Even during the relative boom years of 2000-2007, the size of the country’s economy never matched its geopolitical ambitions; since 2014, the combination of low oil prices and the Western economic sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine have further hobbled Russia’s ability to project power via economic means. __ https://www.power3point0.org/2018/01/31/russias-kleptocratic-projection-of-power/
The Divorce of Russia and Ukraine Was Badly Thought Out
Since the lack of Ukrainian technology is a large part of Putin’s military worries, it is worthwhile to look at the bloody divorce between Russia and Ukraine more closely:
Putin’s bloody invasions of Crimea and east Ukraine created a deep psychological schism in the minds of Ukrainians, who no longer consider themselves to be part of the Russian empire. The Russian people, on the other side of that divide, are struggling with the new reality.
Today’s Ukraine, he writes, “is a poor but viable state, which over the past five years has shown its ability to live without Russia.” Personal ties have weakened, economic dependency has as well, and now Russia is viewed there as another country, hostile rather than part of some larger entity as Russians still continue to view Ukraine.
Ukraine’s economy has “grown for the fourth year in a row, quite slowly but all the same faster” than Russia’s. Its people are no longer going to Russia to find work but rather to Europe. “And the Ukrainian army is not super-strong but is sufficiently capable, and there is not the slightest sign that it will throw down its arms and go home.”
In short, Shelin says, “Ukrainians have left and are living their own life.” They don’t accept the idea anymore that they are anybody’s including Russia’s “younger brother” or “junior partner.”
Unfortunately, Russians from top to bottom have not adjusted to this new reality. The Kremlin and the popular masses view Ukrainians as ungrateful traitors; and as it well known, traitors are hated more than enemies of other kinds. At the very least, it is harder to forgive them and move on. __ WOE2
And So Putin Must Turn to Frenemy China
After Putin stabbed Ukraine in the back in 2014, China quickly moved in to extract as much military technology from Ukrainian industrial plants as possible. To some degree, China was quite successful, since Ukraine was desperate for foreign exchange. And now Russia must turn to China, on bended knee, requesting help with the rebuilding of Russia’s decrepit Soviet-era military.
What a difference 30 years makes!
According to Felgengauer, “in the 1990s, a comparatively poor and backward China had to buy in Russia what it couldn’t get in the West,” although Moscow was not willing to sell everything Beijing wanted. Nonetheless, “much than came from Russia into China.” But today, Russia because of the sanctions imposed on it can’t provide as many high-tech items.
… Russia is now buying military equipment from China that it cannot now produce on the basis of its own resources. “China still needs Russia,” Felgengauer concludes, but talk about equality in their relations is “ever less” true, as the balance shifts away from Moscow. __ WOE2
China’s industrial productivity has been massively boosted by “dual-use” technology transfers from western and East Asian manufacturers. Now it is Russia that must go to China with hat in hand. And Putin worries that one day his bargaining position will be untenable.