Nowhere near 300,000 soldiers took part in the exercise, but it was still interesting. Not least for its focus on a free-play scenario instead of the usual rehearsal of predefined maneuvers.
Russia seems genuinely tired of Israel’s behavior when it comes to deconfliction during air strikes. They have presented evidence that Israel uses the established deconfliction channels very little and too late. Surprisingly, they praise the Americans for being very professional about safety.
Russia’s most modern diesel-electric submarine is the Lada-class, and now the second ship in the series has been launched into the water. Barring further delays, it will be handed to the navy in 2020. It still doesn’t have air-independent propulsion, though.
Russia has presented evidence that Ukraine owned the BUK missile that shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. But their credibility record is really poor when it comes to explanations about MH17. This tops a week with several stories that make the Russian government look silly.
Russia seems determined to build new large universal landing ships for the Navy. It is obvious that they really wanted the Mistral-class ships that France in 2015 decided not to deliver.
Army major Deniss Metsavas was a role model for successful integration of Russians in Estonia. He appeared on TV several times posing as a patriotic Estonian. But now he has been exposed as a GRU spy, and suspicion against the Russian minority has soared.
Rosgvardiya general Viktor Zolotov challenges Alexei Navalny to a fist fight in a disastrous public video address. It is discomforting that this guy is in charge of the internal security forces in Russia. Zolotov is also Putin’s old-time friend and former bodyguard.
Russia is reintroducing political officers – zampolits – that bring back memories of political commissars from the USSR. The goal is to ensure patriotism and political unity behind president Putin’s line.
Long work hours are a problem in the Russian military. But now initiatives are implemented to reduce the burden and make life more bearable for the Russian officers and their families.
The submarine Alrosa will soon join the Baltic Fleet. It has a special pumpjet propulsion system, which makes it even more quiet that other Kilo class submarines. At the same time, Russia is retiring an old submarine from service in the Baltic Sea.