Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 16:13 | SYDNEY
Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 16:13 | SYDNEY

Lights on in Norway, off in Russia


Sam Roggeveen


11 December 2009 07:51


A colleague sent me a photo similar to this one yesterday, of the strange light show over Norway. When analysts initially speculated it was a result of a failed missile launch, I was sceptical, thinking the light pattern was a bit too symmetrical. But this morning that interpretation seems to have been confirmed, with news of a failed launch of Russia's Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile.

It's the sixth failure out of 11 test launches for this system*, and according to Alexander Kramchikhin, a researcher at Moscow's Institute for Political and Military Analysis, the Bulava program is sinking Russia's entire navy:

[The Bulava's] effectiveness has turned out to be simply amazing. The missile has not entered serial production, and never will, but it has already destroyed the Russian Navy. Almost all the money allocated to the Navy’s development have been spent on this mindless dead-end program.

Any person who can see the real situation well understands that in a few years the Russian Navy as a whole, as well as all four of its component fleets, will cease to exist. This is already absolutely inevitable — the situation will not be changed even by mass purchases of ships from abroad.

Make a generous allowance for hyperbole here, but there's no doubt that military reform remains a huge problem in Russia.

* Or maybe the seventh from twelve.

Photo by Flickr user Victor Svennson, used under a Creative Commons license.