Night Watch: NOVO-OGARYOVO – Russia’s President Putin presided over a meeting with the two admirals, the one that was fired and his replacement, no specific reason was given but Russia’s navy has shown its lack of prepardness in the past several years.
Last month a mini-submarine had to be rescued by a British robot vessel but even worse was the Kursk disaster five years ago with the loss of 118 crew members. At the time a Russian publication admitted the Kursk may have been testing a new torpedo for export to Iran. Russia has long earned, and still earns enormous amounts of hard currency exporting weaponry and technology to any nation that can afford it.
The new navy head is Adm. Vladimir Masorin, replacing Adm. Vladimir Kuroyedov. Also present at the meeting was Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. Putin acknowledged to Kuroyedov that the Navy he took over in 1997 was in poor shape and that it had showed signs of improvement. Putin was quoted by AP as adding, “At the same time, there were difficult events, tragedies. But I would like to underline once again that with all these problems, all these tragedies, the main thing is that the Navy is udergoing a revival.”
He continued, “We have seen the level of training of navy pilots and sailors, which has grown. Many naval ships have been repaired and others were launched and some of them already commissioned. We would not be able to solve all these problems even with the state’s economic potential growing if we do not strenghten discipline and order and solve tasks of social protection of seamen.”
In July, last year, Putin dismissed four senior military and security officers. One of them was the chief of Russia’s general staff, Gen. Anatoly Kvashnin, who led Russia into its defeat in the first Chechen War in 1994-96. A Russian publication admitted, early in 2000, after the second Chechen war began in 1999, that Grozny was not important but the area around Grozny is. Kvashnin was obsessed with controlling the Chechen capital even though the enemy was never concentrated there. Kvashnin had also been conducting bureaucratic warfare with Sergei Ivanov.
In 1997 a Russian official admitted that if Russia’s military continues to deteriorate then Moscow could lose control of the area from the Urals to the far east.
Putin admitted to Masorin that he was confronting a difficult mission, in spite of progress. These moves will no doubt please Moscow’s main source of hard currency, Berlin, and may have been done at Berlin’s insistence.
Nothing would please Tehran more than to see Russia’s military continue to weaken and become more unprofessional. That would make the Jihad’s war effort in Central Asia a lot easier.
Night Watch Information Service
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