Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Kazan, Russia’s most dangerous nuclear attack submarine – an annotated infographic

April 19, 2017

Russia has floated its newest nuclear-powered multi-purpose attack submarine. The launch of Kazan, considered a counterpart to U.S. Seawolf and Virginia-class, comes as Moscow claims its submarine fleet has increased combat patrols to levels last seen during the Cold War.

The Kazan is the first upgraded Project 885M Yasen-class attack submarine.

Equipped with eight vertical missile launchers, it can deliver Kalibr or Oniks anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles – significant after Russian ships and submarines fired long-range missiles from the Caspian and the Black Sea into Syria in 2016.

For the first time in Russian shipbuilding, the torpedo tubes are located not in the bow but just forward of the sail or fin, making room for a large Irtysh-Amfora spherical sonar system in the bow.

The Yasen subs also have six 650mm and two 533mm torpedo tubes that can also deploy mines and launch underwater drones.

Russia plans to build a total of seven Project 885M submarines. Goody, goody gumdrops.


Book Review: Fardwor, Russia! A Fantastical Tale of Life under Putin – Oleg Kashin

January 22, 2016

By Jade Fell

“I predict we will abolish suffering throughout the living world. Our descendants will be animated by gradients of genetically pre-programmed well-being that are orders of magnitude richer than today’s peak experiences.” ― David Pearce


Translated by Will Evans, Restless Books, 12 January 2016, 224 pp, ISBN 978-1-632060-39-6, £9.99 paperback

Oleg Kashin is a rather notorious Russian journalist whose open criticism of the Putin government may or may not have motivated unknown assailants to beat him to within an inch of his life back 2010. You’d think such an event would put the dampeners on a guy, but apparently Kashin was undeterred and returned full force to publish his first work of fiction, Fardwor, Russia! A Fantastical Tale of Life Under Putin, in Moscow, just two months later. Now, in a new edition translated by Will Evans, Fardwor, Russia! has been made available for international audiences with a taste for controversial political satire. The ridiculous sci-fi dystopia nestled within the garish pink cover bares more than a slight similarity to Russia under Putin and, with new stories of corruption in the Kremlin making the front page of international news sites each month, it has never been more topical.

The main protagonist of Fardwor, Russia! is Karpov, an enthusiastic young scientist who, with the help of his deceased grandfather, invents a revolutionary new growth serum that actually works. In an old wooden shack, which serves as a makeshift laboratory, Karpov spends his days experimenting on common sewer rats and creating unspeakable monstrosities, while his long-suffering wife, Marina, sits mournfully in their dusty apartment lamenting a life left behind in Moscow.

Delighted with his results, Karpov begins offering the serum to local farmers, promising fully grown livestock in exchange for new-born piglets and calves, before tracking down a circus midget. Unfortunately for poor, deluded Karpov he is wholly unequipped to deal with the full force of his discovery, and before he can reap any rewards all hell breaks loose. The meat industry is furious with the prospect of cheap meat resulting from an abundance of livestock; a dwarf oil oligarch makes use of the serum before running away with Karpov’s wife; and a giant cat goes on a rampage and eats a man’s face and heart. But it is not until the professional scientists get hold of the serum that things get really ugly.

Fardwor, Russia! is wonderfully strange and fantastically frightening, a gruesome yet hilarious tale of genetic engineering gone awry, combined with a grim political parable of the danger of power in the wrong hands. A ludicrous satire with a serious twist – Fardwor, Russia! is a must read those with an interest in Russian politics, or fans of science fiction that borders on the ridiculous.


Malaysia Airlines #FlightMH17 shot down by Russian-made Buk missile – an annotated infographic

October 14, 2015

The Dutch Safety Board has released its final report into the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over war-torn Ukraine, which has concluded that a Russian-built Buk missile took down the plane.

The question of who fired the missile and thus who is to blame for the tragedy remains unresolved. Dutch prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation to find the perpetrators.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Buk to the future

Buk to the future

NATO shows off new steerable nuclear bomb – Russia not happy about it – an annotated infographic

October 9, 2015

The United States plans to deploy 180 precision-guided thermonuclear bombs to five European countries between 2020-24. The B61-12 has a “dial-a-yield” feature and is able to strike within 30 metres of its target.

Russia has threatened to take countermeasures over reports that the U.S. is to upgrade nuclear weapons in Europe.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said plans for the U.S. to station up to 180 modified B61–12 guided nuclear bombs in five NATO countries “would lead to a violation of the strategic balance in Europe.”

Under a $10.4 billion “Life Extension Programme” (LEP) the new munitions will be converted from existing B61 free-fall bombs into precision-guided “smart” bombs. Under the LEP the bombs will receive a state of the art guided tail kit assembly and new spin rocket motor, which, through a system of satellite and laser guidance, can glide the bomb to within 30 metres of its target.

In addition, a “dial-a-yield” will enable the detonation to be varied between 300 tons and 50 kilotons of TNT — four times the explosive power of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

Hans M. Kristensen of the  Washington-based Federation of American Scientists described the B61–12 as an “all-in-one nuclear bomb on steroids.” In September, Kristensen described NATO’s practice of “nuclear sharing” to German television programme Frontal 21: “In case of war, the nuclear weapons stationed in Germany would be used at the orders of the U.S. president. The U.S. forces would then hand over the nuclear weapons to German pilots and these German pilots would then attack the target with nuclear weapons.”

The stationing is “a hidden American weapons build-up,” he said. The new bombs allow “themselves to be steered to the target.” This is “a new weapon” because the U.S. previously had “no steerable nuclear bombs.”

The first development test flight of an inert B61-12 bomb took place at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada in July.

There are an estimated 480 U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, deployed at bases in Belgium (20), Germany (150), Italy (90), the Netherlands (20), Turkey (90) and the United Kingdom (110).

The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is trying to placate its critics, saying that with the help of the B61–12, America’s total stockpile of airborne nuclear bombs could be reduced by around half its current amount.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.



New Pyrenees pipeline to help cut dependence on Russian gas – an annotated infographic

March 4, 2015

The leaders of Spain, France and Portugal are expected to strike an accord in Madrid to build a new pipeline through the Pyrenees that would allow Spain to pump almost 15 billion cubic metres of gas a year northwards – approximately 10 per cent of the supply currently coming from Russia.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

It's a gas gas gas

It’s a gas gas gas

Malaysia Airlines #MH17 – airlines ban flights over trouble hot spots – an annotated infographic

July 23, 2014

Airlines around the world are addressing global trouble spots by cancelling or rerouting flights to avoid them. A new sense of urgency is being displayed in dealing with global trouble spots, following the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine. U.S. and European airlines have already cancelled flights to Israel’s Tel Aviv airport due to the ongoing conflict there.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Air traffic: global hot spots to avoid

Air traffic: global hot spots to avoid

Malaysia Airlines #MH17 – clues to the plane’s final moments – an annotated infographic

July 22, 2014

Aviation and defence experts say that chemical residue on wreckage could confirm the type of weapon that brought down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The location of debris could yield information on how the attack unfolded and evidence of shrapnel in aircraft panels could confirm that the plane was hit by a SA-11 Buk missile.

The black boxes could offer vital clues as well, with the explosion captured by the cockpit voice recorder, and the data recorders, which register altitude and position, would be able to tie that information to the timing of any known missile launch in the area detected by U.S. National Reconnaissance Office satellites.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Flight MH17: final moments

Flight MH17: final moments

Malaysia Airlines #MH17 – facts, rumours, accusations and threats – FOUR annotated infographics

July 21, 2014

With investigations in to precisely what happened and who was responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 moving considerably faster than the investigations in to precisely what happened and who was responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, here we offer four infographics.

These range from the first news of the incident (bottom), when only the bare facts of the plane’s crash were known, up to the most recent direct accusation of Russian complicity in the attack, as voiced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (top).

For the latest facts, revelations, nation accusations and on-the-spot photo reportage, search Twitter for the hashtag #MH17. It does not make for reassuring reading. This could all end very badly indeed.

Click on any of the graphics for an expanded view.

Flight MH17: US accuses Russia

Flight MH17: US accuses Russia


Flight MH17: BUK missile attack

Flight MH17: BUK missile attack


Flight MH17: Russian military links

Flight MH17: Russian military links


Flight MH17 crash

Flight MH17 crash

Huge #Gazprom deal pipes gas from Russia to China – an annotated infographic

May 22, 2014

China and Russia have signed a long awaited contract for Gazprom to supply natural gas to China.

The contract, worth £237bn, will see Russia’s energy giant Gazprom delivering natural gas to China’s National Petroleum Corporation, enabling the east-Asian superpower to facilitate the shift away from coal towards greener energy resources in a bid to address intensifying environmental issues.

The deal, vital for Russia seeking diversification of its customer base as the European Union has pledged to decrease its dependence on Russian resources in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine, includes construction of a new pipeline linking Siberian gas fields to China’s main consumption centres near its coast. Russia will begin delivering from 2018, building up to the annual target of 38 billion cubic metres.

Read the Gazprom gas deal story in full on the E&T news website.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

It's a gas, gas, gas

It’s a gas, gas, gas


#Ukraine gas supply gets expensive, as Russia raises prices across Europe – an annotated infographic

April 3, 2014

Given the ongoing unrest in the Ukraine, the announcement by Russia’s energy giant Gazprom that it will be increasing the price of gas delivered to Ukraine by 40 per cent will do little to pour oil on the troubled waters.

This price increase effectively cancels the discount agreed in December 2013 as part of a package designed to lure the Ukraine away from the EU and reinforce its ties to Russia.

Russia is Europe’s biggest supplier of natural gas, so it has a considerable degree of power and influence in the continent’s energy market.

Times like these – and the price-hike tactics practiced by Big Energy companies – sure do fly the flag for the wider adoption of renewable energy options as an alternative to the Earth’s dwindling and expensive fossil fuels. They’re called fossil fuels for a reason, man! This is prehistoric energy!

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.


Russia: it's a gas

Russia: it’s a gas