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Russia in the 21st Century [Superthread]

I've recently come across a Strategic Multilayer Assessment White Paper published in 2019 responding to several questions raised by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command titled "Russian Strategic Intentions". That analysis, contributed to by 23 experts in the field, is to provide a:

wide-ranging assessments of Russia’s global interests and objectives, as well as the activities—gray or otherwise—that it conducts to achieve them

It's lengthy, some 171 pages, but very informative. I'll throw out one quote from one article that is fundamental to understanding Russia in the 21st Century:

One cannot understand how the Russian leadership thinks strategic issues without appreciating the fact that the Kremlin sees itself as being at war with the West. To use a common US military term, it is always phase zero. As viewed from Moscow, the war is not total but it is fundamental. Since Russia is at war, for the Kremlin there is no separate gray zone, nor are there unacceptable forms of deterrence, compellence, or coercion.


"Since Russia is at war, for the Kremlin there is no separate gray zone, nor are there unacceptable forms of deterrence, compellence, or coercion."

Very Schelling-esque.  So much so, I would think he wrote that himself.
CloudCover said:
"Since Russia is at war, for the Kremlin there is no separate gray zone, nor are there unacceptable forms of deterrence, compellence, or coercion."

Very Schelling-esque.  So much so, I would think he wrote that himself.

Dr. Daniel Goure. p. 32

This was in the 20th century but the video is quite something, as is the physical size of the hydrogen bomb (thermonuclear) dropped in the Arctic from a Tu-95; the explosion takes place 22 minutes in:

Rosatom releases previously classified documentary video of Tsar Bomba nuke test
Photos and short video clips have previously been available, but this unseen 40 minutes declassified footage of the Soviet Union’s monster nuclear bomb give a whole new insight into what happened on Novaya Zemlya on October 30, 1961.

The documentary film was released and posted on August 20 on the YouTube channel of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation in connection with the celebration of 75 years of nuclear industry.

The film, edited in classic Soviet-style propaganda, shows all preparation procedures. First the transportation of the giant bomb by rail to the Olenya airbase near Olenogorsk on the Kola Peninsula. The Tu-95 aircraft take-off and flight across the Barents Sea to the detonation site near the Matochkin Strait at Novaya Zemlya. Then the release of the bomb attached to a parachute to slow the fall so the plane could get in safer distance from the blast. Videos from several directions and distances show the apocalypse looking detonation and following mushroom cloud.

The bomb, officially named RDS-220 and later nick-named Tsar Bomba, was the largest nuclear weapon ever constructed.

With a yield of 50 megatons (50 million tons), equal to around 3,800 Hiroshima bombs, the weapon was set off over Novaya Zemlya on October 30, 1961.

It was Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev who in July 1961 ordered the development of the doomsday-size bomb at a time amid rising political tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Khrushchev wanted a 100 megaton weapon and to achieve such size, the engineers added a third stage on the thermonuclear warhead. Normal hydrogen bombs comprise two stages. Understanding the extreme radiation releases, the engineers, and among them Andrei Sakharov, decided to reduce the actual yield of 100 megatons to around half.

The film shows how the modified Tu-95 bomber plane was coated with a special white reflective paint to protect it from the heat caused by thermal radiation from the explosion. Measurement equipment was attached all over and a second plane flew beside, filming and monitoring radiation samples.

To slow the drift down after release, the bomb was deployed to a giant parachute, itself weighing nearly a ton.

The bomb was detonated 4,000 meters above the ground. As seen in the film, the fireball flash lasted far longer than seen on any other nuclear weapon test videos. The flash dome itself reached 20 km, while the ring of absolute destruction had a radius of 35 kilometers

After 40 seconds, the dome of the fire reached 30 km and thereafter developed into a mushroom cloud which soared to a height of 60-65 kilometers with a diameter of 90 km. In the military town Severny, center for the nuclear weapons test around the Matochkin Strait, most buildings were destroyed. The town was 55 kilometers from ground zero.


A few seconds after the explosion, the diameter of the dust column was about 10 km. Screenshot from the film

Although being detonated four kilometers above the ground, the seismic shock wave equivalent to an earthquake of over 5.0 on the Richter scale was measured around the world.

The Tu-95 plane carrying the bomb was far away at the time of detonation. However, the explosion’s shock wave caused the aircraft to instantly lose 1,000 meters of altitude, but it later landed safely.

In Norway, military border guards on the Jarfjord Mountain near Kirkenes could see the flash. In the film, it is said the light from the flash could be seen at a distance of 1,000 kilometers.


Radiation fallout was measured all over Scandinavia, and international condemnation followed.

Domestic protests were also voiced inside the USSR, among them from Andrei Sakharov who began speaking out against nuclear weapons. In his book, Memoirs, Sakharov wrote in detail against the Soviet leadership’s policies. In 1975, Sakharov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but Moscow denied him permission to go to Oslo for the ceremony.

After the Tsar Bomba and other thermonuclear tests on Novaya Zemlya and by the United States in the Pacific, the two superpowers realized the craziness of conducting atmospheric tests with huge radioactive fallouts. In 1963, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty banning tests in the atmosphere, outer space and underwater.

Consequently, nuclear weapons tests were conducted underground. The last two such tests took place at Novaya Zemlya on October 24, 1990.

In 1996, the UN adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, prohibiting any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosions.

Informative article about the nasty Russians trying to pick fights with private American citizens and US forces abroad. Stemmed in part by the US attack on their mercenaries last year.  Some interesting videos as well: https://www.polygraph.info/a/fact-check-russian-military-alaska-syria/30827884.html

At this point I would put the question to Russia plain and simple Either is someone in the Russian government is responsible for this or have they lost control of their chemical weapons stockpiles? Cause this is either one or the other. I would be very entertained to watch Russia spin to answer without loosing face.
CBH99 said:
Interesting is true, indeed.

Personally, I doubt it's true.  Interesting nonetheless. 

**Not insulting you or your source, to clarify.  I just have my doubts**

IMHO, almost certainly true in a nuanced way for both sides. But unfortunately turned into political spin by the Democrats for their obvious intent of demonizing Trump.

The question on the Dems' accusations being valid and rightfully so? That's just politics.
Sorry about disrupting the conversation with my previous post. Just ignore it if that's applicable.

It's very difficult to say with Navalny. US freedom of information act has revealed many, many false flag maneuvers that have been released after 50 years.

Could it be that this is a part of the fight between the Dems and the Repubs. (Trump's buddying up to Putin?) I would suggest that this runs deeper in America than just D/R politics. The FBI/CIA/DHS/etc. must be very troubled with the relationsihip between Trump and Putin.
Not sure this is the correct thread, but it might be...
I just want to share an interesting article on Russian Arctic and Sino-Russian relationship. Hope you enjoy it.

This article found in the Strategist link too


What does this imply for US strategy? Clearly, it won’t be achievable if Donald Trump is re-elected, but that would make a ‘deterrence and détente’ approach equally implausible. To work effectively, a deny–disrupt–dilute strategy will require Washington to engage more closely with its allies, recommit firmly to NATO and recognise that not all its partners will always feel similarly threatened. It will also have to reach beyond its alliance networks to others with interests in checking Russian ambitions.

Another clue to how America's allies feel about Trump's dealings with Russia/Putin.

The question to ask is not whether it is so about Trump, it's to ask 'why' it is so.

One reason I will suggest is that the hookers in the hotel room with Trump story is being held by Putin for a rainy day. Known as the Christopher Steele dossier if anybody doesn't know that yet. It never did really get put down completely as a Democratic party ploy to damage Trump.

And of course many other theories on why Trump buddies up to Putin. This story from the Strategist just makes it obvious again that he does.
Most people do know about the Steele dossier, and most people also know it's bullsh!t. 
Brad Sallows said:
Most people do know about the Steele dossier, and most people also know it's bullsh!t.

Most people do know about the Steele dossier and most people believe it's bullsh-t.

But Comey knows about it and Steele much more completely than do 'most' people and he knows it's the factual truth. Even though Comey is the 'good' cop and the 'good' patriot and can't bring himself to say that Trump has been compromised by Russia on the pissing hookers episode.

Just a little bit of the inside story for you there Brad. Promise to keep it to yourself?
Russian and Turkish forces conduct joint patrols, interesting mods on the Turkish trucks, shades of the British on the NWF interwar period, patrol starts at 2:20
Some video of subs breaking through the ice, I note they didn't surface enough to clear their missile hatches. Also Russian snowmobiles and Manpads
That's a pretty impressive show of strength in the Arctic - being able to surface 3 nuclear subs at the same time, along with a variety of supporting assets. As far as operations in the Arctic go, the Russians are just as capable as anyone else with just the assets described in this article alone.

We really should stop sanctioning Russia, and doing everything we can to pigeon hole them into being more of an adversary than they need to be. With China on the horizon as an extremely real and capable threat (not just militarily, but in literally everything) - and somehow claiming to be a near arction nation - having Russia 'not be our enemy' might be a lot more valuable than we realize right now.

Although I fear that ship sailed a long time ago...


Possiden is real according to western intelligence and its concept scares the crap out of me for sure.
It being the Christmas season and all I guess Vladimir is going all out with the Nutcracker Suite as a theme

It being the Christmas season and all I guess Vladimir is going all out with the Nutcracker Suite as a theme

You know I'd rather he stay as Dictator for Life I mean President as he's somewhat predictable. As for China's dictator for life - well my solution for him can't be published.

At least Vlad has a sense of humour.