Postcards to the President
Messages from citizens around the world
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
You Witness News
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
Russia's ageing navy still packs a deadly punch
Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:36pm EST
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
By Dmitry Solovyov
ABOARD THE MOSKVA MISSILE CRUISER (Reuters) - This Russian warship left the shipyard 25 years ago and it shows: the electronics consoles look like museum exhibits and its hull carries a thick crust of paint from years of running repairs.
Its shortcomings reflect the Russian navy's many problems, highlighted again this month by an accident on a nuclear submarine that killed 20 people.
But looks can deceive. Hidden beneath the decks of the Moskva cruiser are 16 "Bazalt" guided missiles, which travel faster than the speed of sound and can strike an enemy aircraft carrier group 500 km (310 miles) away.
The Moskva, flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, symbolizes Russia's navy: all too easy to dismiss as an aging rust-bucket, it can still pack a formidable punch.
The navy's capability matters now more than at any time since the Cold War because the Kremlin is using it to project Russia's new-found confidence far beyond its coastal waters, bringing it face-to-face with NATO warships.
"I believe we are treated with respect," captain of the Moskva Igor Smolyak told a group of visiting journalists when asked what foreign navies made of his vessel. He was standing in front of a 130-mm cannon at the bow of his ship.
"They treat with respect the flag, the ship and -- accordingly -- our nation," he said during the visit in late September.
BUTT OF JOKES
When Russia this year sent its nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great to Venezuela -- the first such maneuvers off the U.S. coast since the Cold War -- Washington poked fun.
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack quipped that it was "very interesting that they found some ships that could actually make it that far down to Venezuela."
The jokes are not entirely baseless. For years after the Soviet Union ceased to exist, funding for the navy all but dried up. Building new vessels was put on hold and the existing fleet had to languish in port because of a lack of fuel.
The only time the world remembered Russia's navy was when, as with the sinking of the Kursk submarine in 2000 with the loss of all 118 on board, something went terribly wrong.
Memories of the Kursk disaster were revived on November 8 when 20 people died from gas asphyxiation on board a nuclear submarine undergoing sea trials in the Pacific Ocean.
"We have lost 15 years," Captain Igor Dygalo, aide to the commander of Russia's navy said at the Moskva's mooring in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol, home port of the Black Sea Fleet.
"Warships are not tanks. They are far more sophisticated and need proper care." Continued...
View article on single page
Poor security hampers Afghan relief effort
Also on Reuters
Shopping amid bombings in Baghdad's vibrant souks
Galapagos bachelor turtle struggles to be a dad
Cell phone shopping makes wallets redundant in Japan
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Slideshow
Entertainment: Clue to Beatles enigma for sale
International: Chinese students try democracy
Lifestyle: Laura Bush's tips for Michelle Obama
Most Popular on Reuters
Palin says not interested in running for Senate | Video
Obama daughters asked to appear on "Hannah Montana" | Video
Obama urges action as Asian, European data gloomy | Video
Laura Bush shares White House tips with Michelle Obama
Britney Spears son released from hospital: report | Video
Obama tries being regular guy for a while longer
Obama seeks new approach in Afghanistan: report | Video
Obama aides play down tensions with Bush | Video
AIG gets $150 billion government bailout; posts huge loss
Ferrari boss smashed TV after F1 finale
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
World's longest legs
Obama's historic White House visit
Michelle Obama as First Lady
Unseen WW1 pictures released
Obama, Bush meet at White House
Kayaking to work
Volcano rumbles in Ecuador.
Talk of the Town: Spears' son
Obama, Bush discuss transition
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
The Great Debate
Criticism or blasphemy?
Where is the dividing line between acceptable and unacceptable criticism of religion? How should the media cover issues that offend certain believers? Blog
The global destination for corporate leaders, deal-makers and innovators
Knowledge to Act
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Interactive TV |
Reuters in Second Life |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.