Monthly Archives: February 2012

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russian Air Force probes Bulgarian airspace via Black Sea incursion, Warsaw Pact-turned-NATO member Bulgaria fails to repel intrusion, Turkish Air Force responds instead; Sofia imports 95% of natural gas from Gazprom

In recent weeks, the Russian Air Force has dispatched its Tu-22M bombers to probe NATO air defences over both the Baltic and Black Seas. Known in the West as the Backfire, the Soviet-built Tu-22M (pictured here), along with the Tu-95 Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack, is one of three types of strategic bomber in Moscow’s inventory.

The Tupolev Design Bureau is presently developing Russia’s first stealth bomber, but no such combat-ready aircraft is expected to fly until as late as 2025, although Russia’s first stealth fighter prototype took to the skies two years ago. In the meanwhile, the Russian Air Force is upgrading the electronics and weapons systems aboard selected Blackjack and Backfire aircraft. With the exception of the US Air Force’s B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, the long-range bombers flown by both countries are based on aviation technology that is anywhere from 30 to 50 years old.

Earlier this month, NATO fighter jets based in Lithuania intercepted a Tu-22M cruising through “neutral” airspace over the Baltic Sea. According to officials in the neighboring republic of Latvia, the Russian military was conducting exercises in the Kaliningrad exclave. Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks said his country had not been officially notified of the exercises, which, in any case, is “not technically required.” The former Soviet republics of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia joined NATO in 2004.

This past Wednesday, reports the Sofia News Agency, five more Tu-22M bombers were detected 40 kilometers from Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, on the fringes of that country’s airspace. The information has been confirmed by sources in the Bulgarian Defence Ministry. Sofia, however, insisted that the Russian aircraft never actually entered its airspace. Somewhat troublingly, the Bulgarian air force did not dispatch its fighter aircraft, which are based heavily on Soviet/Russian technology, to intercept the intruders. Instead, the Turkish Air Force reportedly sent two F-16 fighters to escort the Russian bombers away from the region.

When challenged as to why no Bulgarian pilots were scrambled to intercept the Russian aircraft, the Bulgarian Defence Ministry protested: “It is up to NATO’s southern command to decide whose fighter jets would be sent in the air in similar situations.”

We have long suspected that the “former” Soviet Bloc states, where many communist-era officials still hold important posts, are “Trojan horses” in the Western Alliance. Turkey, of course, is a long-time NATO member, but Bulgaria, along with other “ex”-communist states like Romania, only joined the Western Alliance in 2004. Between 2002 and January 2012, the president of Bulgaria was “ex”-communist Georgi Parvanov. Although the country’s prime minister Boyko Borisov and new president Rosen Plevneliev do not appear to have been communists, or at least high-ranking communists, their professional careers began under the old communist regime in Sofia.

This also applies to Bulgaria’s defense minister, Anyu Angelov, who began his military career during the “People’s Republic of Bulgaria.” The Bulgarian media offers the following bio of Angelov:

Angelov started his career as Commander of an autonomous platoon, and was later appointed Department Deputy Chief at the Land Forces Air Defense Command, Chief of Staff and Brigade Commander. From 1987 to 1990 he was Land Forces Air Defense Chief of Staff, and from 1990 to 1992 he served as Land Forces Air Defense Commander in Chief. Until 1994 Angelov was Deputy Commander in Chief of the Bulgarian Land Forces, and from December 1994 to September 1997 he was Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Bulgarian Armed Forces.

The same source notes Angelov’s congenial relationship with Moscow: “Angelov has completed a postgraduate specialization course at the General Staff Academy of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Moscow and has taken a special course for officers at the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy.” However, Angelov is also an “honorable member” of NATO Defense College Alumni Association, demonstrating the extent to which the West is blind to the Soviet deception plan. On May 5 2011, reports the Bulgarian media, Angelov declared that the Balkan country “will not be hosting elements of the US and NATO missile defense system in Europe, at least for the time being.”

The Bulgarian media speculated that this week’s provocation by the Russian Air Force was connected to cooperative international naval drills involving Russia, or possibly Russia’s support for Iran and the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In early January, in a show of strength for Assad, a flotilla of Russian warships arrived at the Syrian port of Tartus, followed by two Iranian warships last week. Syria and Iran are locked into a mutual defence pact.

Pro-Russian sentiment in Bulgaria remains strong, as evidenced by the formerly ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party, which is nothing other than the repackaged Bulgarian Communist Party, and a new party modelled on United Russia. In 2008, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Bulgaria in support of Moscow’s involvement in the building of Bulgaria’s much-delayed Belene nuclear power plant. Bulgaria imports 95 percent of its natural gas from the Kremlin’s Gazprom, while its only operational oil refinery, which provides more than 70 percent of the gasoline in the country, is fully owned by Russia’s Lukoil.

In view of Bulgaria’s energy dependence on Russia and the prevalence of communist-era officials in high posts, there is some doubt as to whether Sofia can offer a robust opposition to Moscow’s geopolitical moves.

USSR2 File: Ex-Reagan official: Obama Admin dislikes Putin, plans to back restored communist regime under “Comrade” Zyuganov, revive “Red menace”; CPRF boss demands major constitutional reform: Deprive Putin of legal immunity, combine posts of PM and president, transfer executive’s “vast” powers to State Duma

– Russian Opposition Pins Hope on Putin Defeat by Forcing Prime Minister into Run-Off Vote against Communist Party Boss

– Zyuganov and Alleged “Ex”-KGB Officer Zhirinovsky Hold Joint Media Conference to Denounce Putinist Regime

– Flashback: Zyuganov Heaped Praises on US President’s Economic Policies during Obama’s 2009 Visit to Russia, Meeting with Opposition Figures

Over the last 20 years, since the fake collapse of the Soviet Union, the communist strategists in Moscow have remained rock-steady in their drive toward global domination, the demolition of NATO, the demotion of the USA as the world’s sole superpower, and the restoration of the USSR in a “new and improved” form. Ahead of the March 4 presidential election in the Russian Federation, the Communist Party (CPRF) is very frank about its intentions of restoring official socialism to the birthplace of Bolshevism.

First, party boss Gennady Zyuganov wants to strip the Russian presidential office of immunity, ostensibly to put “ex”-communist Vladimir Putin on trial for the alleged rape of Russia by the Capitalist West. This entails abolishing Article 91 of the Russian Constitution, which states, succinctly: “The President of the Russian Federation shall possess immunity.” Yury Boldyrev, an expert from the magazine Geopolitika who is authorized to speak on Zyuganov’s behalf, huffed at a recent media conference: “The disgraceful law, which stipulates that the president is not subject to criminal liability, should be cancelled and should never be adopted again. This is the top official who must the responsible for their actions.”

In addition, Boldyrev proposed holding nationwide referenda prior to the Kremlin making any major political decisions, including Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization. “Citizens must be given an opportunity to express their attitude towards the initiative,” he told journalists.

Second, last week Zyuganov declared that, as Russia’s chief executive, he would combine the presidential and prime ministerial posts. “The president-prime minister combination is necessitated by the severe economic crisis,” he said, referring to the global debt crisis, assuring his listeners that the political merger “would be temporary.”

Third, he would transfer the president’s “vast” powers to the State Duma.

Speaking about his staff composition in case of victory, Zyuganov promised to give whistleblower and blogger Alexei Navalny, who co-headed this winter’s anti-government rallies, a job at the Audit Chamber.

This past Tuesday, in a joint media conference in which they accused the Kremlin media of pro-Putin bias, Zyuganov and neo-fascist Vladimir Zhirinovsky demanded:

We prepared a statement…to voice our protest against elections which are illegitimate from the very beginning and show disrespect towards our citizens [who rallied in support of a fair vote]. As of today, there are no fair elections. We will demand that the guarantor of the Constitution guaranties normal elections, normal dialogue and debates [between the competitors].

The leaders of the CPRF and Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) complained that opposition parties can barely secure 10 percent of airtime on Russian television, while Prime Minister Putin refuses to engage in televised political debates. Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky agreed that their parties and Sergei Mironov’s Just (or Fair) Russia, “must unite in an effort to provide a legitimate presidential vote on March 4.” However, says state-run Russia Today, “they do not plan to merge into a single political group.”

The bombastic Zhirinovsky, who downplays his party’s shady origin in 1989 as a political project of the Soviet KGB, did not hesitate, however, to label Mironov as “a man from Putin’s team,” while independent candidate billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov came under criticism for being a Kremlin “lackey.”

Russia’s open communists have pinned their hope on a victory in the presidential poll by forcing Putin into a run-off vote with Zyuganov. “Putin should be interested in a run-off if he wants to remain a legitimate ruler,” Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of the Yabloko party, said in a February 10 phone interview with Bloomberg. “But he’s afraid of that and it looks like they will force through a first round win. This is a big mistake on his part.”

Oppositionists warn that a first-round victory in the March 4 vote would “trigger a wave of larger rallies.” A second round three weeks later, by contrast, may hand Putin a fair win and deflate the demonstrations. Public opinion polls reveal that Zyuganov, the most popular challenger, trails Putin between 29 and 43 percentage points. “Putin is afraid of two things: observers and elections,” said Grigory Yavlinsky, Yabloko’s presidential candidate, adding that his party plans to deploy “tens of thousands” of election monitors.

The last Russian presidential election that resorted to a run-off vote took place in 1996, when “ex”-communist Boris Yeltsin, who died in 2006, barely defeated Zyuganov.

Meanwhile, Anthony Salvia, former Deputy Assistant US Secretary of State in the Reagan administration, published an opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post in which he asserts that the Obama White House is anxious to remove Putin, even if the political fallout entails the restoration of a communist regime in Russia:

There is little doubt Washington would prefer that anyone but Vladimir Putin win the election in Russia, even if that meant a Communist restoration under Gennady Zyuganov. Which sounds odd on the face of it.

Nevertheless, Washington is intent on de-legitimizing the current Russian government – even if that were to result in Communist rule. Although this appears unlikely one must deal with the relevancy of the second most powerful political group in Russia nowadays, the Communist party, which achieved almost 20 percent of the votes in the 2011 parliament elections for the Duma.

In the (unlikely) event Zyuganov were to win in March, Washington could rally support among the America public and its European allies for these and other strategic moves against Russian interests by pointing to a revived Red menace.

Not surprisingly, with some gloating communist organ Pravda picked up Salvia’s remarks to bolster its claims that Washington regularly meddles in Russia’s internal affairs. To this end, Pravda solicited the opinion of Alexander Dugin, who co-wrote the CPRF constitution in 1993 and later founded Russia’s Eurasianist movement. Dugin offers the following assessment of Russia’s political climate and the extent to which Western forces are allegedly backing Zyuganov:

There is consensus in the Western elites that Putin’s focus on the strengthening of Russia’s sovereignty is unacceptable in politics on a global scale, since it limits the construction of the West-centric global world governed from the center of Western civilization. This is why the Americans consider any alternative to Putin, and will support in one way or another, directly or indirectly, actively or inertly all that is opposed to Putin, both within and outside of Russia.

The global system signed a death warrant for Putin. The American analysts have reached a serious discussion about support for Zyuganov, whose ideology is more anti-Western than Putin’s, which means that the Americans are not looking at the words but the deeds. Putin has slowed down the collapse of Russia and returned patriotic agenda. He is holding back the pro-American agents of influence and does not make concessions, does not give up. Therefore, his dismantling is a major challenge for the United States and the entire Western world. All means are good for this, even Zyuganov.

Zyuganov, of course, is a failed and obedient politician, and therefore is not a real alternative to Putin. But the West and its systemic orientation are ready to focus on dismantling of Putin under any scenario.

We can only speculate on the seriousness and volume of support to the leader of the Communist Party from overseas.

In 2009, on the sidelines of his official visit to Russia, US President Barack Hussein Obama met with various opposition leaders, including Zyuganov. Russia’s Communist Party boss eagerly related his favourable impression of Obama and his economic policies:

My general impression from the meeting is very good. It is certainly positive. The U.S. president listened attentively to everything the participants in the meeting, including me, had to tell him. In fact, he offered answers to all of my questions in his closing speech.

I said that I had thoroughly studied the U.S. president’s anti-crisis program, that I liked it, as well as that it is socially oriented and primarily aimed at supporting poor people and enhancing the state’s role. I said all this to President Obama.

But as far as foreign policy is concerned, they almost see eye to eye. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation is categorically opposed to NATO enlargement and the deployment of an American missile defense shield in countries of Eastern Europe. The White House should take all this into consideration.

In light of this arranged encounter between Obama and Zyuganov, Salvia’s contentions have some credibility.

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia “hits afterburner” on stealth tech: PAK FA fighter to enter combat duty in 2015, PAK DA strategic bomber projected to enter service by 2025; modernizes Soviet-era inventory, upgrades for Blackjack and Backfire-C bomber fleets by 2020

– Japan Air Self-Defense Force Scrambles Fighters to Repel Bear Bombers, Russian Sortie Includes Reconnais- sance and AWACS Aircraft (source)

– Russia’s Tactical Missile Weapons Corporation Develops New Long-Range Air-to-Air and Anti-Ship Missiles

While the Kremlin-run United Aircraft Corporation, which amalgamates all of Russia’s most famous aviation design bureaus, feverishly develops Moscow’s first stealth bomber, the Russian Air Force is busily upgrading its current inventory, which is based entirely on Soviet technology from the 1970s and 1980s. According to spokesman Colonel Vladimir Drik, Russia will modernize 10 of the air force’s 16 Tu-160 Blackjack bombers (pictured above) and 30 of the air force’s 141 Tu-22M3 Backfire-C bombers, installing new weaponry and improved electronics and avionics by 2020.

Both the Tu-160 and Tu-22M3 are supersonic variable-geometry strategic bombers that can be armed with nuclear and conventional bombs and cruise missiles. The massive Tu-160, relates Novosti, “is designed to strike strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theaters of operation,” while the smaller Tu-22M3 mainly patrols the skies over Russia’s southern borders, Central Asia, and the Black Sea region. The refitted Tu-22M3s will be dubbed Tu-22M3M.

All of the upgraded combat aircraft will remain in service until the Tupolev Design Bureau develops Russia’s fifth-generation, stealth-based strategic bomber, PAK-DA, with the expectation that the first will enter combat duty in 2025.

Under the snappy title, “Russia hits afterburners on stealth tech,” Shane McGlaun and Trent Nouveau write: “It comes as little surprise that Russia has significantly accelerated development of its stealth program in recent years, and remains on track to debut an operational Sukhoi PAK FA twin-engine stealth jet fighter sometime in 2015.”

The PAK-FA fighter, also known as the T50, flew in prototype form in January 2010. Sukhoi director Mikhail Pogosyan says he foresees a market for 1,000 “fifth-gen” T-50 aircraft over the next 40 years, which will be produced in a joint venture with India: 200 each for Russia and India and 600 for other (as yet unnamed) countries.

Referring to the F-22 Raptor, the US Air Force’s stealth fighter, Israeli military analyst Arie Egoz confirms that “The Russians have managed to close the gap, and in a big way.” Egoz explains: “A stealth aircraft boasts a unique geometric design that prevents radar waves from returning to the antenna of a transmitting station, thus preventing its detection. The body of the aircraft is typically painted with special radar absorbing materials, which also helps to prevent radar stations from detecting the plane.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s Tactical Missile Weapons Corporation (TRV) has developed a new air-to-air missile that will soon be in service with the Russian Air Force. The RVV-BD long-range air-to-air guided missile can be carried on the MiG-31BM fighter-interceptor, but is also designed to be carried on the T-50.

TRV director-general Boris Obnosov boasts that the RVV-BD will “contribute significantly” to the potential of the Russian Air Force. He elaborates: “The RVV-BD missile will replace the R-33E long-range air-to-air guided missile which is the basic weapon of the MiG-31 interceptor. As for the new missile, it will also be carried by the PAK FA fifth-generation fighter jet. The all-weather RVV-BD is designed to destroy fighters, attack aircraft, bombers and cruise missiles.” State-run Voice of Russia praises the RVV-BD:

High aerodynamic characteristics of the 510-kg missile and the use of dual-mode solid fuel permit the launch range of up to 200 kilometers. Equipped with an active warning and radar system, the missile has high maneuverability and optical jamming immunity. It is capable of effectively eliminating enemy targets from all aspects and against all ground and water surfaces.

Additionally, the missile is equipped with a multichannel launch system based on the launch-and-forget principle. No wonder, therefore, Russian pilots can’t wait to see the completion of RVV-BD tests as soon as possible.

At the same time, the Tactical Missile Corporation is designing the X-55 cruise missile, a high-precision medium- and long-range weapon that will add to Russia’s strategic non-nuclear deterrence, as well as an anti-ship missile. With respect to tests of the latter, Obnosov relates: “Our systems Mosquito-E and Uran-E are already well known, and we are rather successfully moving forward here. Recently, we showcased the X-35UE new generation anti-ship missile which was significantly updated in terms of its range and radar immunity.”

Red Terror File: Kremlin-owned NTV: Belarusian KGB recruited Norway’s neo-fascist mass murderer, Breivik’s “girlfriend” held rank of captain in Lukashenko’s secret police; “Natasha” lived in killer’s Oslo apartment, later moved to USA, married American

As we suspected since last summer’s terrorist attacks in Norway, Russia’s NTV, which is owned by state-run Gazprom Media, reports that the Belarusian KGB recruited Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian neo-fascist and self-confessed mass killer, via his Belarusian “girlfriend.” Breivik met “Natasha,” or Marina as she is also known, during a March 2005 trip to Minsk. Belarusian opposition website Charter 97 carried the NTV story on February 6.

Pictured above: Breivik, after his arrest by Norwegian authorities on July 22, 2011.

According to NTV, quoting Belarusian oppositionist Mikhail Rashetnikau, Breivik’s love interest, who lived for a time in the terrorist’s Oslo apartment, held the rank of captain in the KGB. Within a week of the July 22 atrocities—which included the bombing of an Oslo government building where the prime minister’s office is located and the merciless gunning down of scores of teenagers at a ruling party camp—the Russian media was already admitting that Breivik had visited Belarus several times. In early 2011, Novosti reported, he returned to Belarus where he received paramilitary training under the direction of an “ex”-KGB officer. At or possibly before this time, the Belarusian KGB dubbed Breivik with the codename “Viking.”

Predictably, the Belarusian KGB denies any links to Breivik. Like the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), it was once part of the Soviet KGB, but retained its old name after the deceptive dismantling of the Soviet Union in December 1991.

In an interesting twist, Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper interviewed Breivik’s 30-year-old ex-girlfriend Natasha, who now lives somewhere in the USA, married to a church organ player (!) and selling real estate.

“I was charmed by the tall, strong Norwegian. He was well-dressed and lives in a good district of Oslo,” Natasha told Dagbladet. “We got in touch on the web, and it was interesting for me to meet him. Now it is unpleasant for me to think we had relationship with him,” she lamented. According to Natasha, Breivik was disinterested in Norwegian women since they are “ardent supporters of gender equality,” and, instead, hoped to find a “good housewife” from Eastern Europe. Her view of the Norwegian man later soured. “He was a chauvinist. I felt that he was not taking me seriously,” Natasha said.

Dagbladet did not apparently question “Natasha” on her alleged service with the Belarusian KGB. If Rashetnikau’s allegation concerning her rank of captain is true, however, then this agent of a regime hostile to Washington is presently operating in the USA. All of this begs the question: Why would the Belarusian KGB recruit a neo-fascist from Norway?

Last year, one article suggested that Belarus was striking back at Norway on behalf of Muammar al-Qaddafi, who was then putting down a domestic insurgency backed by NATO air strikes in which Norway was taking part. The personal friendship between Lukashenko and Qaddafi, who perished in one such air strike in October, is well known. This explanation, though, is not especially credible. Why would Lukashenko, who fears a NATO invasion, and Qaddafi single out Norway? Would they not, rather, strike out against the USA or United Kingdom, as Qaddafi did during the 1980s?

Is it possible, instead, that the Belarusian KGB’s reported recruitment of Breivik is somehow tied into the long-range Soviet strategic deception plan, perhaps with the intent of destabilizing NATO countries prior to open hostilities with the Communist Bloc? This is the scenario depicted by former GRU officer Viktor Suvorov (pen name of Vladimir Bogdanovich Rezun) in Spetnaz: The Story behind the Soviet SAS (1987). After all, over the past two years, Russian spy rings–more abundant than even during the Cold War–have been busted in the USA, Canada, and UK. Is it possible, too, that the Kremlin-run media has been anxious to play up Breivik’s links to Belarus while playing down his personal connections to Russian neo-Nazis (SVR agents?) living in Norway.

If, in the upcoming months, more “patriots” terrorize the European Union–just at Timothy McVeigh made his political statement in Oklahoma City 17 years ago–then the answers to both questions could be “yes.”