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Russia's loud statements of its military might are nothing but fabrication

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Zintis Znotiņš

They say that having force means having power. Many people want to become physically powerful just so others would be afraid of them. Some do it to protect themselves and others, while some are simply interested in the health benefits. It's similar with some countries wanting to arm themselves. All this is very understandable, but what if being so-called "powerful" is essentially a delusion?

Russia is trying very hard to present itself as a powerful country - it's using its media to inform the international community that Russia has a lot of modern armaments. Additionally, Russia is constantly developing and testing new weapons. Let's look at some of the Kremlin's statements.

" The Western Military District will see the establishment of 20 new army formations armed with 2,000 pieces of combat equipment. It is not specified whether these will be tanks, armored vehicles or cannons." 1

" Tuesday, Russia successfully tested the S-500 SAM system at the Kapustin Yar range in Astrakhan Oblast by hitting a fast ballistic target, the Ministry of Defense informed." Russia has stated that the radius of the S-500 system is 600 kilometers and that it is the most modern missile defense system in the world able to counter attacks even from space. However, the development of the system has been delayed and is far behind schedule. It was previously assumed that the first S-500 systems will be received by the army already in 2020. 2

" Russia has tested the Cirkon cruise missile. The missile, fired from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov in the Baltic Sea, hit a ground target on the coast of the Barents Sea over 350 kilometers away. 3

Russia's plans for procuring armaments in 2021 are grandiose - anyone who wishes can read them. 4

Wishes are one thing, but intellectual potential, money and the availability of materials are an entirely different story. It's the availability of materials that's stopping Russia from fulfilling its ambitions, and it doesn't look that the situation will change any time soon, as the international sanctions have taken their toll. In addition, fluctuating oil prices and Covid-19 have significantly affected Russia's financial situation.

This means that currently - and in the near future - Russia flexing its military muscles is more of a demonstration that a real representation of its possibilities to engage in long-term military confrontations. Why such conclusions? Let's begin by looking at personnel.

Russia does have professional units consisting of well-prepared soldiers, but the majority of the contingent is made up of conscripts. The next aspect is something left behind from the Soviet Union - the tendency to steal everything that's not nailed down. Everyone steals in the Russian Armed Forces - from foot soldiers to the commander-in-chief - and this leads to chaos. And an army gripped by chaos cannot be very capable on the battlefield.

Therefore, there are no doubts about Russia's ability to develop prototypes with the help of Western technology. However, the commissioning of these prototypes is usually heavily delayed. And even when a piece of equipment gets commissioned, it doesn't automatically mean that the Armed Forces will be able to purchase it, or that the producers will be able to produce it in the required amount.

That's why Russia's glorified announcements about new weapons make me smile.

Some might argue that I'm wrong. Let's assume I am, but how would you explain the fact that the Russian minister of defense is talking about the modernization of T-72 tanks (the production of which began in 1973), when Russia has successfully developed and commissioned the widely advertised and praised Armata tank?

The Kremlin can brag all it wants, but the reality is simple - the Russian Armed Forces haven't developed that much since the Soviet era.

[1] Pie Latvijas robe... as veidojas militÄ rs sabiezÄ"jums - NeatkarÄ gÄ (nra.lv)

[2] Krievija veikusi zenÄ traÄ e... u sistÄ"mas S-500 izmÄ"Ä inÄ jumu - PasaulÄ" - nra.lv

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On a daily basis I am working as freelance independent investigative journalist. I am happy to be the Latvian patriot, born in Riga. I Have studied politics and journalism at the Latvian University. Currently, on a voluntary basis, I am helping (more...)

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