Thursday, May 25, 2017

Some Introspective Per ACM-ICPC World 2017 Finals.

Some people abroad sometimes ask: how come that Russia whose population is hovering slightly above 146 million mark still remains in a race in many truly hi-tech fields globally. Well, there is no secret here. Admiral Hyman Rickover knew it all along with his "Russian educational menace" as early as 1960.   
Obviously, many things go into the competitiveness, but one of the pillars of this competitiveness remains national educational level in STEM--Science, Technology, Engineering And Math. Mind you, not in journalism, music or political science. One of subdivisions of this STEM is the field of programming languages and software engineering. So, yesterday, the results of World Finals in International Collegiate Programming Contest 2017 have been published. Here is a screenshot of first 10 places.



Out of 10 first places, 4, that is 40%, are taken by Russia's colleges. Out of first 20, 7, that is 35%, are taken by Russians. This is what is called a preponderance. This absolutely doesn't mean that while traveling somewhere in Irkutsk (a lovely city, very sophisticated) or in Magadan (former capital of GULAG) and seeing Russian gopniks,    
This is a basic Russian model
 
These are Czech gopniks at their convention in Prague
you would expect them discussing peculiarities of formal logic going into program languages or methods of OOP (Object Oriented Programming). Not at all. But you may expect a very tough STEM curriculum in any Russian institution of higher learning in appropriate field and, also, in many public schools, including those in Magadan. Russians simply know how to prepare own elite. It is really very simple, basic statistics. As Clausewitz' dictum goes: the more nation is involved in war, the more numerous are the instances of military genius. The same applies pretty much to any field and it just happened so that it is STEM--always was, is and will remain so--that happens to be the most important of them. Humanities follow, in the end--the best philosophers are very often produced in the field of precise sciences. Be it Rene Descartes or one of the fathers of Russian Cosmism (and the father, one of, of spaceflight) Constantin Tsiolkovsky. So, technical nerds do have this knack for serious generalizations which transcend the world of pure numbers. Many of them wax philosophical and do it very often better than some Ph.Ds in philosophy. Indeed, who knows them other then some pretentious nerds, yet Doctor Michio Kaku is known globally and the whole world (yours truly included) reads his books and find them compelling not only in scientific but in a larger philosophical sense. 

So, there you go--some of the "secret" to Russians still being around in military, science, technology, economy, high art, what have you--teach them well, they will later pay it back by becoming excellent engineers, scientists, teachers, designers of technology....you name it. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

And... As Was Expected.

I wrote about this earlier this year.
  


Well, evidently there is, sort of, and too late. But as beaten to death cliche goes--better late than never. 


The main question, however, remains--what is this "support", what goes into it, how does this "support" manifest itself? What does "some level" stand for, what is definition of this level? Russians lecturing Taliban on Theory Of Operational Research and getting those Afghan dudes into the neck of the woods of Osipov-Lanchester Differential Equations or Salvo Model? Or maybe consulting them on Net Centric Warfare? Providing "intelligence", maybe? Considering what passes for "intelligence" today in US, one may assume that giving local civilians a weather forecast for a week may be considered an "intelligence". Who knows what is the semantics of this newspeak and, boy, are we entering this territory fast, the next stop--a thought-crime. But at least it is good that someone of some standing admitted that they've not "seen any physical evidence", for Orwellian reality it will suffice. 

 

Manchester.

The horror continues and the tragedy in Manchester is, sadly, just another one in a vicious circle of terrorism unleashed on Europe.  My heart goes out to the victims of this barbarity and to people of Manchester. But the question remains--is Europe ready to do something about this? Will it even put up a fight before dying? Terrorist acts are becoming, sadly, an almost everyday occurrence and yet, both US and UK are deeply involved with main sponsors of ISIS--KSA and Qatar. It defies common sense.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Russian-Chinese Wide Body Aircraft.

The title is not misleading and I am not being a Russian nationalist when putting Russia in this project in the first place. Today, Russia and China finalized the agreement for production of Russo-Chinese wide body commercial jet known as COMAC C929 which basically underscores some issues with Chinese aerospace. Yes, China recently conducted a maiden flight of her indigenous COMAC C919. It is an undeniably huge achievement for Chinese commercial aviation but, COMAC C919 is not an "answer" to Boeing, Airbus, nor it is an answer to MC-21, whose maiden flight is planned for early June this year. To start with, COMAC C919 has two major problems:

1. A very heavy wing;
2. Absence of indigenous engine. 

This makes C919 only good for China's internal  market. C929, however, is a totally different game. It gets into the B787 and A330 NEO markets directly both in China and, eventually, internationally. It will be doing this with traditionally superb Russian air-frame and PD-35 jet-engine, a larger, more powerful version of PD-14.  So, the stage is set for a big play in the most "hot" commercial market. Of course, others didn't sit idly:

Boy, talk about big money. C929, judging by a model, is a beautiful jet and it was Andrei Tupolev's dictum that: "Only beautiful planes fly beautifully".  
    



   

Saudis Did It.

An excellent note from Colonel Lang on US-Saudi relations after Trump's visit to Riyadh.  

In the Middle East the village headman is usually referred to as the Mukhtar, the chosen one, chosen by the ruling force in the country, selected to administer the district with the backing of the government's money. I watched the show in the reception palace in Riyadh with eyes that may have seen the proceedings differently than many other people. What I saw was a carefully staged spectacle in which the Saudis brought together most of the political leaders in the Islamic World to witness President Trump's acceptance of Saudi leadership in the Middle East. In the Arab World when someone submits to you and accepts your money as a follower and tool, the culturally authentic thing to do is to make the experience as painless as possible. The Saudis will now expect that the US will understand that their $110 billion in defense purchases and $40 billion in contributions from the Saudi state's sovereign wealth fund will buy power in Washington and that their carefully and politely stated demands will be greeted with great receptivity in the future.


Considering a mammoth size of the contract signed between US and well known terrorist state of KSA, one has to now observe Russian-Iranian dance. As B of Moon Of Alabama noted:
I, frankly, can not see any possibility of Saudis producing anything, let alone hi-end weapon systems, for a simple reason of this barbaric culture being good only at avoiding any productive labor by all means. The picture of some Saudi operating a 5-axis CNC, or some complex assembly line--sorry, folks, doesn't compute. If any Saudi atrocity (supported by US) in Yemen is any indication, Saudis and hi tech weapons simply do not mix. All this disaster in Yemen, mind you, being committed by the country whose military budget in 2015 was larger than that of Russia.  And, yet--look at Yemen "operation". 

It is, of course, too early to pass a sound judgement on what has transpired in Riyadh, but I am sure Tehran is getting closer to calling Moscow by now and it may be totally justified. As Colonel Lang observed, Saudi Arabia just bought herself a tool and its anti-Iranian nature is obvious. Iran knows that Moscow will not allow Iran to fall, so the game about to begin. But here is a catch for Saudis, unlike them, Iranians do manufacture things and seeing Iranian running 5-axis CNC is nothing special. I know for a fact, that 10-15 years ago Iran had excess of engineers and physics majors, some of whom, and you may have guessed it already, were taught in Russia.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pavlov's Dog.

I remember early 1977 and us staying in the front of turntable in some flat in the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky listening to Pavlov's Dog album Pampered Menial and being floored by David Surcamp's amazing voice and band's stunning musicianship. We thought it was a British band. Of course, David was rated as the #3 vocalist behind Ian Gillan and (IIRC) David Coverdale then. Boy, we were wrong--an American band from St.Lois, Missouri, created a Gothic music of unimaginable beauty and depth. This was the progressive rock at its best. 

     
I have it all, in LP, CD and MP3. We thought (and they were at some moment of time) they were the greatest band in the world. ABC signed them at half-a-million dollar contract--the largest ever in recording history then.  

Each time I hear this I long for those times, when the music was good.... no, it was outstanding, so much so to take it with you to the island and be lost. 

    
Ah, yes, those melotrons and that crazy At The Sound Of The Bell.



I want to be buried to this. 

       

Friday, May 19, 2017

Real Friday's Akulas.

And I mean the way they were and are known, not some Typhoon (after the missile complex) moniker. Project 941 Strategic Missile Submarines, Akula. I post here some photos which convey better than anything I ever saw the mammoth size of those beasts. First is pretty much generic view of those subs near pier.
   


Now to how people look in comparison:

#1
 and 
             
#2

The question is, even considering the fact that those are very expensive ships to maintain, and plans exist to scrap two out of remaining three, what is going to happen, if somebody among the powers that be decides that it is too early to scrap those beasts? Yes, I am aware that they are not as silent as their younger heirs but Dmitry Donskoi, which underwent a refit as a Bulava SLBM test platform, is still around and doing well. And there were calls from some quarters (in Russian) to retain remaining boats Archangelsk and Severstal' for, and you may have guessed it already, not SLBMs but as Kalibr (and possibly Zircon) carriers. After modernization, of course. You know what is approximate number of cruise (land-attack, anti-shipping and anti-submarine) missiles such a boat can carry? In accordance to Alexandr Mozgovoy, one of the most competent observers of Russian Navy, the number is 396, yes, you are not mistaken three hundred ninety six cruise missiles. This is a devastating fire power and, yes, let's face it, a submerged and very Russified version of a US Navy's good ol' idea of Arsenal Ships.  

Of course, one may (justifiably, I may say) raise the issue of first four Ohio-class SSBNs converted to SSGNs but the similarity between the two will be very superficial. To start with, the idea of Arsenal ship hasn't been born in a vacuum, Soviet Navy's Project 1144 (Kirov-class) nuclear battle cruiser can easily claim the fatherhood of arsenal ships concept since were conceived as...well, arsenal ships, albeit for a Sea Denial mission. But much more is important, when comparing 154 Tomahawks, carried by Ohio-class SSGNs and any Russian Navy's concept or actual sub is the fact that all modern Russian subs carry or will carry large quantities of extremely capable anti-shipping missiles--this is full blown Sea Denial mission, which in layman's lingo means sinking enemy's ships and subs. If sinking is done by current 660 kilometer (350 nautical miles) range P-800 or 3M54 or whatever comes soon in the shape of 3M22, Sea Denial and A2/AD implications become more than just operational or strategic, they become political. Potentially, even a single Akula in Cruise Missile configuration (allegedly Project 941 KU) becomes, after proper modernization, a massive factor without even leaving relatively comfortable confines of the Russia's fleet and ASW patrol aviation zones. 

Are these fantasies or a viable operational (and technological) concepts? Difficult to say, but Russia employed unorthodox technologies not for once, be it on land, in the air or in the sea. Will such a hypothetical modernization of remaining Akulas be expensive? Hell, yes. But so is modernization of Peter The Great, not to mention Admiral Nakhimov. I think those underwater mastodons didn't say their last word yet and considering financial restraints for building a whole new fleet of yet another SSGNs, apart from actively building Yasen-class (Project 885) SSGNs, using of the good ole' Red Oct....forgive me, Akulas doesn't seem to be such a far fetched idea after all. In the end, a decision (a correct one) to modernize a fleet of Project 1155 Large ASW ships is being implemented. You all know a very old principle--If Ain't Broke Don't Fix It. One may add--use it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

He Used A Different Word.

Vladimir Putin used a different word when he addressed a "classified info leakage to Russians" by President Trump--a completely false BS invented in deep recesses of WaPo sewer. 
"They either do not understand that they are harming their own country, which means they are just short-sighted, or they understand everything, and that means that they are dangerous and unscrupulous people,"

More:
http://tass.com/politics/946300
No, Vladimir Putin didn't use the word unscrupulous, he used the word нечистоплотные, that is unclean, dirty and that is precisely what modern US so called "establishment", from its media-industrial complex to a political pornography show, aka US Congress, are. Those people simply have no grasp what they are doing since most of who the US political class attracts are people who must be kept away from political power since their loyalties are to themselves (and their contributors) only. They really do not understand what they are doing since they can not grasp results, yes they are that dumb. IQ alone, and I am pretty sure a bunch of US legislators do have high IQs, is not a good metric for overall assessment of results which require much more than agility of a mind, but real intellect and some rudimentary moral principles--that is the capacity to become and stay at least somewhat clean.  

Are those people dangerous? Hell yes they are, apart from being self-serving political operatives, they are dumb and that is where the danger lies. But that brings us to a much larger issue--what does it mean then to have an intellect. The answer is simple--there is no real intellect without a strong core of morality, that is a clear understanding of the difference between good and evil, and without clear understanding of this intellect's limitations. Current American political class, with some important and high profile exceptions, doesn't have it. Marco Rubios, John McCains, Lyndsey Grahams and other sappy sentimental pathetic Chuck Schumers of the American political panopticon contributed greatly to the state of the affairs in the world today and it is a very bad state of the affairs. It is this very class which is now finishing off the American Republic and, with it, what's left of the American Dream. 

Like a financial capital, which leeches off the industrial, productive capital and eventually kills it, the same is with this despicable lying, conniving, amoral professional prostitute political class, which leeches off Republic and eventually kills it. It almost did already. I wrote not for once, I will repeat it again--today, the United States is reminiscent of a convulsing dying patient with internal parasites ready to come out:

  
The only barrier to this violent death is Donald Trump and he will need all support he can get, even from those who do not like him, since what is at stake is more than just whatever people put into this American Democracy meme, the United States as a nation and, with it, fates of the world are. I am not being melodramatic, unlike some "intelligence" supposedly professionals like Comey, Clapper or whoever else, I lived and survived the collapse of one "empire" and know damn well what it is first hand. Most of US political class has no clue what may come, isolated in their bubble they think that they can control the chaos they are sowing. They can't, especially being that feeble-minded and... dirty.   


More:
http://tass.com/politics/946300

Monday, May 15, 2017

Vzglyad Poll.

Today, a very famous Russian media resource Vzglyad posted the results of a poll on what kind of relations would Russians prefer with the United States. After more than 9000 people answered what emerged is rather peculiar in a sense that Russians simply want to be left alone. 
        

Russians long ago stopped viewing the United States as possible ally and after West's committing a cultural suicide in Russia with West's inspired coup in Kiev, the only thing Russians do want is for West to just go away. That is what this neutrality means.

Friday, May 12, 2017

"Real" Economy?

I write about it all the time--the virtual world of Wall Street "Economy" and of bizarre and detached from reality world of indexes. Well, it turned out that this year the number of the so called "indices" surpassed the number of... stocks themselves. Talk about living in a parallel universe. 

Here is Bloomberg's graph, LOL:
    


But don't worry, Wall Street "analysts" will find a completely rational explanation to this absurdity. Do you smell fraud? I do.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

What Interests?

I am often critical and sometimes outright dismissive of US foreign policy and a "doctrine" which is in the foundation of a disaster which US foreign policy is. I still remain on this position and I can justify it; it is not very difficult to do. Having said all that, when looking at the sorry state of today's world and understanding that it is undergoing profound changes, there are constants one must consider when analyzing those changes. Among those constants are legitimate national interests of the United States of America. The United States does have national interests which she absolutely must protect and her livelihood depends on protection of those interests. But what are those interests? What is "legitimate" in this case, what is worth for the US to draw real red lines and fight for? This is not an easy question to answer. Once pathos-ridden globalist rhetoric, which permeates most of American geopolitical documents, is discounted, one has to recognize that far from being self-proclaimed guarantor of "world order", the United States not only contributed greatly to its destabilization but ran out of resources to even barely maintain this order, let alone take on what US considers her main geopolitical rivals: Russia and China. 

As Bronislaw Malinowski wrote in his An Anthropological Analysis Of War in 1941:  
Another interesting point in the study of aggression is that, like charity, it begins at home. 
In 1951 Daniel J. Levinson in his Authoritarian Personality And Foreign Policy went further: 

America has only recently come of age internationally; the understanding of international relations requires an ability and a readiness to think in terms of institutional abstractions to which Americans are only just getting accustomed; our newspapers and other communications media tend to perpetuate the existing confusion and ideological immaturity...  The American nation as a symbol is glorified and idealized; it is regarded as superior to other nations in all important respects. Great emphasis is placed on such concepts as national honor and national sovereignty. Other nations are seen as inferior, envious, and threatening. At the worst they are likely to attack us; at best they seek alliances only to pursue their own selfish aims and to "play us for a sucker".

This was written 66 years ago. Most of it applies today easily to current America and it is precisely a set of the US' recurring attitudes which prevents her from both formulating her vital national interests and defending them. I could go deep into American Founding Fathers ideas and wax historical here but those points of view and ideas are so well known that it simply makes no sense to repeat them again. Maybe with the exception of John Quincy Adams' reminder to US Congress in 1821 that America:

But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.
Adams was prescient. But the problem of modern day America turning into "empire" is the fact that US fails miserably as an empire to start with and, for all intents and purposes, is not very good at fighting those "imperial" wars. Not to speak of Adams' warning which came true completely--"enlisting under other banners", those banners being, of course, first of all banners of Israel and of Arabian Peninsula medieval satrapies. A catastrophe in the Middle East was not in American national interest, not to speak of the millions upon millions killed, maimed, displaced innocent Arabs, Christians, Alawites etc. But then again, how US can define her real national interest when she fights constantly for someone else' interests, many of which far from being merely economic ones, are very often genocidal, such as the case of Saudi Arabia's (with US support) behavior in Yemen or Israel being more interested in the existence of Al Qaeda and ISIS than of secular Syrian government. 

One may wax anti-colonial and anti-imperialist whatever one wants--yes, Belgian behavior in Kongo was inhumane--but British imperialism didn't leave just negative marks on its colonies. It left after itself often whole government institutions which worked, it also left skilled administrative, technical and intellectual local elite, it also provided a developmental impetus in places where such a development was greatly retarded. It is not a secret that many in current political and military elite in India went through Oxford and Sandhurst. Friedrich Engels, hardly a Russophile, defined Russian imperial expansion as:
Despite her Slavic dirt and baseness, Russia provides civilizing influence on her Asiatic subjects.      
But this is not what US does with her "empire". Whole Middle East is on fire, Western Europe which was liberated by Allies in WW II is in a cultural death spiral and economic troubles, US involvement in Indo-China in 1960s resulted in utter destruction of the region, with millions of people dead. Building "democracy" in Afghanistan or even Iraq--places which never had a culture even remotely compatible with "democracy"--is an unmitigated disaster. In the end, the so called "liberal democracy" practiced in US resulted in cultural and political trends which completely torn the nation apart and threaten to bury it completely under the rubble of cultural, racial, economic, ideological and political warfare. How can one possibly formulate sensible national interests when the subject which must generate these interests is in a state which is hardly conducive for calm and productive discussion on what real American national interests ARE? 

Are American national interests "large" in economic sense? Absolutely they are--US is still second economy in the world and has a huge internal market and it shouldn't have surrendered her industry to China to start with. What are REAL military threats to the US? Is North Korean missile program a threat to the US? Potentially, yes but how serious a threat? The Fat Thing in Pyongyang is not suicidal. Is Russia a threat? Militarily--only within US globalist world view, since will keep US from global military "dominance" (greatly overrated and talked up), once globalist (and treasonous) US "elite" is discounted, Russia becomes a natural ally, but what about China? Is US maritime dominance under challenge? Only in littorals of the nations US wants to attack, Russia included. US ocean dominance is not under threat and nobody really cares to challenge it there--overwhelming majority of nations are for safe navigation and movement of the goods. Is Latin America a US' "backyard"? Objectively it is but what is US' game plan there? Is globalism a national security threat to US herself? Absolutely--it is poison which kills US slowly but surely. Those questions are numerous and they must be first stated and then answered before one can even start formulating real national interests of the United States. Donald Trump started doing this during his campaign but we all can chip in.  Will we? 

UPDATE: what a coincidence, Pat Buchanan, whom I respect deeply, despite not always agreeing with  his point of view, published today (a day after my post) a piece with telling title: 

             What Is America's Goal In The World. 

There Pat discusses a lot of issues which I posted about yesterday. As I said, I do not always agree with Pat but he is always worthy of listening to.   

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Victory Day "Wrap Up".

One photo (among few below) which struck me this Victory Day was not from Moscow, which recorded 850 000 people, biggest ever,  marching in Immortal Regiment, nor even St.Petersburg (Leningrad, of course) with its mammoth 700 000 march. It was expected from Volgograd (Stalingrad), Sevastopol. But it was Vladivostok which really did it for me. 

   

  
You are not Russian if you don't know your Kalashnikov
Each year, more and more youngsters join this and each year, one can sense how, despite all efforts, all those "rukopozhatnye" (hand-shaking capable--meaning uber-liberal so called "intelligentsia") cringe and squeal as a devil at the sight of a cross, you can hear how Solzhenitsyn rotates in his grave, how all those who denigrated Russian history of the 20th Century are going apoplectic. Arctic Fox beautifully put it in one of the Sal's Blog threads about new mythology being born in Russia. I do, however, have a slight correction--it was always there, it is just that it was buried in 1990s under the layer of lie, propaganda, hatred and outright russophobia by the so called  new Russian "elites". If there is a sign of a complete break from 1990s it is this Immortal Regiment. Does Putin understand what he had started? I think he does, hopefully this understanding will manifest itself in what overwhelming majority of Russians wait from him, and it is better be soon.
 
   

Grand Bargain?

I didn't have the chance to really listen to Sergei Lavrov's press-conference (disposition and the tone do matter here) but one phrase which caught attention of many in Russia after Lavrov's meeting with Secretary Of the State Tillerson and President Trump was this: 
As I stated many times before, my main expectation from Trump's presidency is not some kind of Russian-American "friendship", my expectations are on several orders of magnitude less optimistic:

D.C. establishment, whose mental faculties are fading, only now begins to grasp the scale of limitations of American resources, which have been dramatically reduced by US insane foreign policy based on mythology and delusion. I think Trump does understand this, in the end, being that damn convincing during his cmpaign could have been a result of only two, mutually exclusive, things:

1) Trump being a cynical con-man and an actor of a Sir Lawrence Olivier caliber or...

2) Trump being, however peculiar, a true American patriot who struggles with internal pressures. 

At this stage pp.2 is becoming more likely, especially when one begins to consider FBI Director Comey's firing and, however required to be taken with a huge grain of salt, Bloomberg's piece on the situation with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. I readily admit--I was fooled initially by McMaster's alleged "scholarship", him being a maverick and his Ph.D. All of it turned out to be a mythology which was dispelled quite fast and squarely placed McMaster in the corner of globalists and war-mongers, the same type of people who presided or, rather, created current American situation which in geopolitical terms can only be described as a disaster. But in the end, US is being forced by the circumstances to deal with reality (the other option is to unleash the global war) and reality is such that, objectively, grand bargain is inevitable in one form or another. Lavrov's words seem to underscore Trump Administration's understanding of that. As long as understanding of impossibility of resolution of American conundrum through military conflict exists, the rest becomes the matter of "next step" and meeting of Presidents of Russia and United States in July has been confirmed

The roll call of both Russia's and USA's real (not ideological) national interests must take place before US and Russia will move forward with a number of issues they, indeed, can solve together but for that Trump needs to tame D.C.--a task akin to Heracles 5th Labor, but can US and the world afford things the way they are going now (and in the last 25 years)? I don't think so.  It seems that there is such understanding in the White House. Under today's circumstances this is worth a lot. Small steps...
 

More:
http://tass.com/politics/945302
"At present, our dialogue is not as politicized as it used to be during Obama’s presidency. The Trump administration, including the president himself and the secretary of state, are people of action who are willing to negotiate,"

More:
http://tass.com/politics/945302

Finally!

One of the most important, nay, existential national question of Russia has been addressed by Moscow's lawmakers--they prepared a legislature which may forbid Russians to keep bears in their flats in Russia's capital (in Russian). It is a well known fact that Moscow's bears (and not only Moscow's, there are many issues with bears in St. Petersburg and Vladivostok too), when bored tend to sneak out to Russian cities' streets and begin to take away vodka from Russian children. Bears' alcoholism is a wide-spread national problem in Russia and alcoholic bear in a family, well...you know--a trouble. Nor do bears limit themselves to denying Russian children vodka, they steal bicycles! Some, actually, steal motorcycles. Can you imagine what they do on the highways, especially if drunk? This can not stand! 

So, I think Moscow's legislators are correct--enough with bears arrogantly, self-assertively (and freeloadingly) living in apartments and using all privileges of regular Muscovites without paying taxes and utilities. Bears must leave Moscow's apartments and, at least, try to get a job, in Auchan as check out clerks or in IKEA superstores. Obviously, there are no job openings in Moscow's circuses.  I wouldn't also trust bears as taxi-cab drivers (considering Moscow's nightmarish traffic), nor do bears do well as CNC operators in manufacturing sector, least of all as Aeroflot pilots. They do, however, make excellent babysitters, when properly educated. But now, with new legislation, Russia may start to finally address bear problem and all Russians waited for this glorious day since the times of ancient Rus;) 
   

     

Monday, May 8, 2017

On France.

Since everybody already expressed opinion on French elections, I can only add here the title of Srdja Trifcovic's piece Adieu, France

Here is the quote: 

Macron is an evil idiot, so he will naturally occupy the Élysée Palace after a grotesque predecessor.  Marine Le Pen’s predictable defeat shows that the political process in the Western world is a charade with preordained outcomes.  The refusal of the Parisian elite class to protect France from Islam reflects a global problem that is a synthesis of all others, and goes beyond “Culture Wars.”  It is the looming end of culture itself.

Difficult to disagree. Western elites in general are degenerate.

Victory Day

It has been 72 years but for Russians those events remain as close as ever. A generation who missed its grandfathers (and grandmothers) due to Great Patriotic War is still around. Yours truly is from this generation. Those granddads (somebody's fathers) and grand-moms (somebody's moms) died in millions on the fronts of the bloodiest war in human history, they were also herded and shipped to Nazi Germany--many to concentration camps, others as slaves to the superior race, which wanted to keep about 14 million of Slavic untermensch alive, as slaves, raise to the ground Moscow and Leningrad and annihilate of move beyond Urals other 100 millions. Russians, and other nations of Soviet Union, rejected this fate. 

Barbarossa was not just Nazi Germany's quest for the thousand year Reich, it was, yet again, West's crusade on historic Russia, that time known as Soviet Union. As with 1814, with Russian Army marching into Paris, in 1945 the Red Army took Berlin and the new world, we all still live in, was born. But those who control the past control the future and West's propaganda machine was working overtime for this
        

Speaks volumes, while tomorrow millions of Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Kazakhs, Tatars, Bashkirs, you name them, will march in Immortal Regiment columns wearing portraits and memorabilia of those who fought at the gates of Moscow, at Stalingrad, at Kursk, fought for Leningrad, those who took Berlin and who demolished Wehrmacht and SS. 

Those who care and who know, I wish you a happy Victory Day, including Soviet Union's valiant Allies who fought bravely. They are remembered always. I hope to see them at Red Square in the stands during parade and in Immortal Regiment march. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Gladiator........

I was bred on immortal Spartacus by Stanley Kubrick, Kirk Douglas and Jean Simmons and immortal novel by Giovagnoli. By 2000 it seemed that metrosexuals and gays completely occupied cultural spaces. But then, Russel Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, late Oliver Reed and, oh ever great, Ridley Scott, again, came to the rescue, producing a masterpiece the likes I didn't believe I would ever see again. But there it was--a magic, both cinematographically and musically, by incomparable Hanz Zimmer and Lisa Gerard. 


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Post Of US Economic Nationalism.

I wanted to write about it long ago and now it is as good time as any. It was one of those cases that I was insulted almost personally. This all goes back to this:

Trump tells Germany to buy American automobiles, Germany to Trump: 'Build better cars'

I remember hearing this earlier this year and my blood almost boiled. Make no mistake, I am a Subaru guy but in my life I had many cars, among them 1994 VW Passat and Porsche 928S. The only redeeming quality in this pair was a huge fun in driving a 928S and that was it. Passat turned out to be a complete lemon which wouldn't start, wouldn't drive without creating a bizarre noise and, after huge sums of money thrown at it trying to fix the ever increasing number of problems, was returned back to dealership which....agreed that the car was a complete unmitigated disaster. That is how we got to Subarus, since were offered a superb deal on the brand new 1996 Legacy. Make no mistake, I drove pretty much most of top of the line German cars, from Audis to BMWs.

There are many things to be admired about Germany and Germans, many. But for some reason, German automotive products as of lately do not create anymore this feel of something truly extraordinary, unless one speaks of an extraordinary overpricing and scandalous over-engineering. I owned  Ford Taurus, actually two of them (one station wagon), and I still recall those cars with warmth--they took me and my family all over the country and never failed us in the most adverse weather conditions. Today, Germany suggesting US to build "better cars" seems truly arrogant. The issue here is not with Germany not buying American-made cars, lefty brainwashed Germany simply has no space nor use for something like this, which, BTW beats any German vehicle in this class to start with: 
   

This thing can kick any Mercedes' or BMW's ass without even straining itself, but it also will annihilate those pretentious overpriced unreliable (have you repaired your Audi lately?) show pieces in several other important respects: you can buy 3 (Three!) such amazing utility, yet extremely comfortable, vehicles for the price of this:
         

Sure, for Europeans, where the gallon of gas goes for $5.66 and environment-conscious greens push for eventual abolishing of personal transportation the whole notion of driving a good truck or SUV stuffed with guns (just to shoot for fun) or fishing gear somewhere 400 miles away sounds like anathema. But consider this, what is the use of latest BMW or Audi sedan (for $100 000+) in transporting a piece of furniture or going to pick up friends from some God-forsaken locality in the middle of Rockies? Very little. Two different cultures. Once one gets to the vast North American spaces, once gets spellbound by their ruggedness, beauty and mystery and the thought about BMWs or Audis simply evaporates. The legends and the spirits of the Wild West come alive and having this:
   

Or that: 
     
     
 Instead of this (also overpriced and unsafe) shit:
          


become the only things which fit properly to the mind boggling, grandiose scale of this:


But, I am waxing poetic here. It has been a long time, since German automakers could lecture anyone on the quality of automobiles. This time is gone forever--Japanese-made cars are on the order of magnitude more reliable, cheaper in service and, actually, less expensive. Nor US automakers anymore that bad. Number of American-designed and made cars can easily hold their own against German counter-parts, not to speak about affordable and extremely well-designed American sports cars. What Germany has left mostly today are brand recognition--a fodder for urbanites who need their ego massaged constantly. But there is another problem, many American-made (and excellent economically and reliability-wise) cars will not sell in Europe not because they need to be "better built" but because they will not fit a completely emasculated, brainwashed by liberal ideology mind of a European man. Indeed, why would this man need this:
  


It is too masculine and too un-PC. Many American-made cars today are made extremely well, in fact, world-class quality--the problem is different, it is cultural and has nothing to do with Germans not willing to buy American because of quality. And it is not Germany's problem only--Western Europe is just a brand now. Granted, once popular--now overrated and overpriced. .  
   

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Admiral Makarov On Trials.

A very interesting video from TV Zvezda on Admiral Makarov's sea trials, before being assigned to the Black Sea Fleet. Operations of AD Complex (ZRK) Shtil' are especially interesting. Per earlier post today, this system may be installed on Project 22160 patrol ships.  

    

Is Project 22160 Russian Navy's LCS?

I will not lie, I accepted the US Navy's Littoral Combat Ships program from the get go--the concept seemed sound and technological approaches seemed reasonable. Knowing late Admiral Cebrowski's views on real naval combat, hence Street Fighter Program, from which LCS evolved, and purely out of aesthetic reasons, I thought that LCS were great ships. That is until the whole program turned into the unmitigated disaster. The warning signs for "littorals" were already in place from the inception and the major of them was the fact that for a ship, however handsome, which reached 3500 tons of displacement LCS carried only 57-mm gun and some 3 (yes, three) mile-range anti-whatever missile. Of course, the real kick of LCS was its modular design which was supposed to provide different mission modules but for a ship with a price tag around $ 400 million the whole notion of going into the enemy's littoral and not being armed properly seemed rather suicidal. 
   
Yes, LCS-1 are handsome and fast boats.

It also seemed very outdated and very... American. Only in 2014, after several public scandals, US Navy decided to review a possibility of installing anti-shipping cruise missiles on these ships. Is it the case of "better late than never" or is it the case of trying to revive a lifeless body, I don't know. There was, however, one thing about LCS which greatly attracted Russian Navy--it was modularity of what Russians define as general purpose patrol ships. This is how Patrol Ship of Project 22160 evolved in what it is today. With the fourth hull of 22160 being laid down in 2016, the actual mission "packages", or armament, of these ships remain somewhat of a mystery. 

For starters, while not as intense as LCS discussions in the US, 22160s are not without controversy in Russia. The main point of contention being their mission (or lack thereof, depending on POV), the secondary point being Russian Navy going, as in Soviet times, for multi-type menagerie of combat ship, especially at the (perceived) expense of large combatants. I will express my personal point of view--I think both points are not valid at all. 

1. If to believe what goes around in open media, these 1,500 ton displacing ships will be able to carry either containers or have UKSK VLS. There is also the talk that these ships could be fitted with Shtil Air-Defense system. Of course, recent naval trials of Tor-M1 system and upcoming navalized Pantsir do create a range of options for 22160s. If that is the case, then 22160s, apart from general patrol duties, including anti-piracy operations, will pack a serious SuWA punch and that is how Russians like their ships--with long-range anti-shipping and land attack cruise missiles. Here is a Distributed Lethality 101. 

2. The issue of finding a mission is not an issue at all. From Somali anti-piracy operations, to providing escorts, to aiding Russia's Coast Guard in guarding littoral, and, finally, providing for additional weight of anti-shipping missile salvo--there are many roles which 6 (planned) of those ships can play. They are littoral combat ships which can defend themselves both in domestic and adversarial littorals.

First 22160 at Zelenodolsk Shipyard
22160 Model

So, will these ships become Russia's "LCS" or will they turn out to be useful general purpose combatants capable of bringing a gun to a knife fight? I don't know yet, but, yet again, I like the concept and Russians certainly have a history of creating real "street fighters" in their navy.    
                   
Serpukhov