TBR News April 8, 2018

Apr 08 2018

The Voice of the White House 

Washington, D.C. April 8, 2018: “Karl Marx once said that the basis for all wars was economic.

The present highly negative attitudes being expressed by official Washington about Russia are based solely on economic issues.

When state communism collapsed in Russia, Washington saw the opportunity of getting their hands on Russian natural resources for their own economic ends.

They tried to accomplish this by financially backing a group of Russian Jewish street hoodlums in their efforts to purchase newly-privatized oil and gas fields.

This project failed because the newly appointed Russian leader, Putin, put a quick stop to it.

This rejection was costly to American business interests and this displeasure spread to the point of feeble attempts on the part of Washington to turn Russia into an enemy that the American public would see as worthy of harassment.

But Putin, well-informed thanks to Russian readings of the Internet and its supposedly-secure communications systems, was always two steps ahead of Washington.

When the CIA got control of the Ukrainian government, Putin, quite legally, got back control of a former part of Russia, the valuable Crimea, and caused so much dissent in the valuable Donetz industrial area of eastern Ukraine, that the CIA saw all its disruptive efforts failing.

This, and nothing else, resulted in sanctions, public screaming in the controlled media and the launching of a badly-scripted and almost childish press war on Russia.

And in support of this campaign we have seen the shooting down of a commercial aircraft over eastern Ukraine and now the farcical screaming about ‘nerve gas attacks’ in England. The purpose of the latter was to prevent the former Russian intelligence agent from having to be deposed by American investigators relating to President Trump’s extensive business and political deals with Russian officials. Now we see the reports that the  purportedly poisoned Russian is on the mend but has severe memory lapses, which, of course, means that he cannot be questioned by anyone and Trump’s dismal secrets would remain out of reach to his enemies in American law enforcement.”


In Taking Crimea, Putin Gains a Sea of Fuel Reserves

May 17, 2014

by William J. Broad

New York Times

When Russia seized Crimea in March, it acquired not just the Crimean landmass but also a maritime zone more than three times its size with the rights to underwater resources potentially worth trillions of dollars.

Russia portrayed the takeover as reclamation of its rightful territory, drawing no attention to the oil and gas rush that had recently been heating up in the Black Sea. But the move also extended Russia’s maritime boundaries, quietly giving Russia dominion over vast oil and gas reserves while dealing a crippling blow to Ukraine’s hopes for energy independence.

Russia did so under an international accord that gives nations sovereignty over areas up to 230 miles from their shorelines. It had tried, unsuccessfully, to gain access to energy resources in the same territory in a pact with Ukraine less than two years earlier.

“It’s a big deal,” said Carol R. Saivetz, a Eurasian expert in the Security Studies Program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It deprives Ukraine of the possibility of developing these resources and gives them to Russia. It makes Ukraine more vulnerable to Russian pressure.”

Gilles Lericolais, the director of European and international affairs at France’s state oceanographic group, called Russia’s annexation of Crimea “so obvious” as a play for offshore riches.

In Moscow, a spokesman for President Vladimir V. Putin said there was “no connection” between the annexation and energy resources, adding that Russia did not even care about the oil and gas. “Compared to all the potential Russia has got, there was no interest there,” the spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Saturday.

Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and other major oil companies have already explored the Black Sea, and some petroleum analysts say its potential may rival that of the North Sea. That rush, which began in the 1970s, lifted the economies of Britain, Norway and other European countries.

William B. F. Ryan, a marine geologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, said Russia’s Black Sea acquisition gave it what are potentially “the best” of that body’s deep oil reserves.

Oil analysts said that mounting economic sanctions could slow Russia’s exploitation of its Black and Azov Sea annexations by reducing access to Western financing and technology. But they noted that Russia had already taken over the Crimean arm of Ukraine’s national gas company, instantly giving Russia exploratory gear on the Black Sea.

“Russia’s in a mood to behave aggressively,” said Vladimir Socor, a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a research group in Washington that follows Eurasian affairs. “It’s already seized two drilling rigs.”

The global hunt for fossil fuels has increasingly gone offshore, to places like the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico and the South China Sea. Hundreds of oil rigs dot the Caspian, a few hundred miles east of the Black Sea.

Nations divide up the world’s potentially lucrative waters according to guidelines set forth by the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty. The agreement lets coastal nations claim what are known as exclusive economic zones that can extend up to 200 nautical miles (or 230 statute miles) from their shores. Inside these zones, countries can explore, exploit, conserve and manage deep natural resources, living and nonliving.

The countries with shores along the Black Sea have long seen its floor as a potential energy source, mainly because of modest oil successes in shallow waters.

Just over two years ago, the prospects for huge payoffs soared when a giant ship drilling through deep bedrock off Romania found a large gas field in waters more than half a mile deep.

Russia moved fast.

In April 2012, Mr. Putin, then Russia’s prime minister, presided over the signing of an accord with Eni, the Italian energy giant, to explore Russia’s economic zone in the northeastern Black Sea. Dr. Ryan of Columbia estimated that the size of the zone before the Crimean annexation was roughly 26,000 square miles, about the size of Lithuania.

“I want to assure you that the Russian government will do everything to support projects of this kind,” Mr. Putin said at the signing, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.

A month later, oil exploration specialists at a European petroleum conference made a lengthy presentation, the title of which asked: “Is the Black Sea the Next North Sea?” The paper cited geological studies that judged the waters off Ukraine as having “tremendous exploration potential” but saw the Russian zone as less attractive.

In August 2012, Ukraine announced an accord with an Exxon-led group to extract oil and gas from the depths of Ukraine’s Black Sea waters. The Exxon team had outbid Lukoil, a Russian company. Ukraine’s state geology bureau said development of the field would cost up to $12 billion.

“The Black Sea Hots Up,” read a 2013 headline in GEO ExPro, an industry magazine published in Britain. “Elevated levels of activity have become apparent throughout the Black Sea region,” the article said, “particularly in deepwater.”

When Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine on March 18, it issued a treaty of annexation between the newly declared Republic of Crimea and the Russian Federation. Buried in the document — in Article 4, Section 3 — a single bland sentence said international law would govern the drawing of boundaries through the adjacent Black and Azov Seas.

Dr. Ryan estimates that the newly claimed maritime zone around Crimea added about 36,000 square miles to Russia’s existing holdings. The addition is more than three times the size of the Crimean landmass, and about the size of Maine.

At the time, few observers noted Russia’s annexation of Crimea in those terms. An exception was Romania, whose Black Sea zone had been adjacent to Ukraine’s before Russia stepped in.

“Romania and Russia will be neighbors,” Romania Libera, a newspaper in Bucharest, observed on March 24. The article’s headline said the new maritime border could become a “potential source of conflict.”

Many nations have challenged Russia’s seizing of Crimea and thus the legality of its Black and Azov Sea claims. But the Romanian newspaper quoted analysts as judging that the other countries bordering the Black Sea — Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania — would tacitly recognize the annexation “in order to avoid an open conflict.”

Most immediately, analysts say, Russia’s seizing may alter the route along which the South Stream pipeline would be built, saving Russia money, time and engineering challenges. The planned pipeline, meant to run through the deepest parts of the Black Sea, is to pump Russian gas to Europe.

Originally, to avoid Ukraine’s maritime zone, Russia drew the route for the costly pipeline in a circuitous jog southward through Turkey’s waters. But now it can take a far more direct path through its newly acquired Black Sea territory, if the project moves forward. The Ukraine crisis has thrown its future into doubt.

As for oil extraction in the newly claimed maritime zones, companies say their old deals with Ukraine are in limbo, and analysts say new contracts are unlikely to be signed anytime soon, given the continuing turmoil in the region and the United States’ efforts to ratchet up pressure on Russia.

“There are huge issues at stake,” noted Dr. Saivetz of M.I.T. “I can’t see them jumping into new deals right now.”

The United States is using its wherewithal to block Russian moves in the maritime zones. Last month, it imposed trade restrictions on Chernomorneftegaz, the breakaway Crimean arm of Ukraine’s national gas company.

Eric L. Hirschhorn, the United States under secretary of commerce for industry and security, said sanctions against the Crimean business would send “a strong message” of condemnation for Russia’s “incursion into Ukraine and expropriation of Ukrainian assets.”

Alexandra Odynova contributed reporting from Moscow.

Table of Contents

  • Deutsche Bank VP Christian Sewing set to take over as CEO
  • Can it Happen Here? review: urgent studies in rise of authoritarian America
  • Coup D’Etat:The Technique Of Revolution
  • The strengths and weaknesses of Russia’s military
  • Полное Внесение в список Всех Единиц Флота российской Республики    “The Entire Russian Fleet”


Deutsche Bank VP Christian Sewing set to take over as CEO

Deutsche Bank (DB) is expected to oust British CEO John Cryan and replace him with the German head of the private and commercial banking division. Germany’s biggest lender has experienced three years of losses.

April 8, 2018


The German weekly magazine publication Der Spiegel and business newspaper Handelsblatt said that 47-year-old Christian Sewing would be taking over in May from John Cryan, who has been at the helm since 2015. Sewing is currently a deputy CEO and head of the private and commercial banking division.

The decision is expected to be taken on Sunday evening during a supervisory board meeting called at DB’s Frankfurt headquarters.

Cryan’s five-year contract technically runs until 2020, but media reports suggest that there is a rift over strategy between him and supervisory board chairman Paul Achleitner, who called Sunday’s meeting.

DB declined to comment on the reports but said the Sunday meeting was intended “to discuss the chairmanship and to take a decision the same day.”

The choice of Sewing over investment banking chief Marcus Schenck, who had been tapped as a possible successor to Cryan, indicates a strategic shift toward retail banking in DB’s home market of Germany. Rumors of a change in leadership had been floating for a while.

Sewing began his career at DB as a trainee bank officer before studying at Germany’s banking academies and rising through management. He has been a member of the executive since 2015. In March last year Sewing was appointed deputy CEO alongside Schenck. He has also been working with the head of Germany’s Postbank to integrate the Bonn-based subsidiary into DB’s private and commercial division.

Cryan failed to heal ‘chronic patient’

Cryan’s remit at DB was to restructure and change its pre-2008-financial-crisis image, which saw the German financial powerhouse competing with global investment banking giants. Under Cryan, DB paid billions in fines and compensation to deal with some of the legal threats the bank had been facing.

John Cryan acknowledged in a letter to employees last month while fighting to keep his position that “the financial results have so far not been what all of us would want them to be.” He was referring to an unexpected €751 million ($904 million) loss reported for 2017 as well as a massive fallin the value of its shares.

Regardless of who fills the leadership position, Handelsblatt wrote last month that DB remained “what it was when Cryan took the helm: a chronic patient”.


Can it Happen Here? review: urgent studies in rise of authoritarian America

Cass Sunstein’s collection of essays shows Republican-led decay of US democracy predates Trump – and may be irreversible after him

April 8, 2018

by Charles Kaiser

The Guardian

The 17 thinkers who have contributed to this new collection of essays come down firmly on all sides of its central question: is the United States destined to become an authoritarian state? Multiple points of view are expressed by the book’s editor, Cass Sunstein, alone.

In his introduction, Sunstein writes: “My own summary of this book: Absolutely. It has happened before. It will happen again. To many Americans something like it is happening now.”

And yet 56 pages later, speaking only for himself, he says the opposite: “In my view, it really can’t.”

In another collection, such a contradiction might be a problem. Here, it isn’t. The medley of viewpoints expressed suggests something much closer to intellectual honesty than scholarly sloppiness. The truth is, no one can be certain. But whether you are an optimist, a pessimist or an idealist without illusions (John F Kennedy’s self-reverential description), this book bombards you with all the reasons that anyone who treasures democracy needs to be terrified by the current state of our republic.

It is, of course, the presence of Donald Trump in the White House that gives so many a sense of emergency. But like many other recent books, this one argues that the Trump catastrophe is really just the culmination of 50 years of constitutional decay, rather than some sudden, unpredictable event.

The Yale law professor Jack Balkin calls Trump a demagogue out of central casting, “unruly, uncouth, mendacious, dishonest and cunning”, his presidency a “symptom of constitutional rot and … dysfunction”. Balkin argues that the rise of American oligarchy is central to the steady decline of democracy.

He attributes the growth of oligarchy to changes in how political campaigns are financed (allowing gigantic amounts of dark money), basic changes in the structure of mass media which have “encouraged political distrust”, and the merger of “politics with entertainment”.

“The central goal of the Republican agenda,” Balkin writes, “… is to deliver benefits to the donor class”. Republicans have “no scruples about acting in an entirely shameless manner, as long as the interests of its masters are well served”. Trump’s populism is just a shameless “Potemkin village”.

Whether or not fascism is coming to America, it is undeniable that the internet has put more in place to make it possible than there has ever been before. Its infrastructure has enabled an almost complete (and barely protested) disappearance of privacy, and the near-disappearance of the very concept of truth.

In a particularly well-focused essay about how Russia is contributing to the rise of fascism, the former ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power – Sunstein’s wife – says the current “media environment” gives “propaganda and falsehoods” unprecedented power.

Power provides extremely useful history on Russian efforts to interfere with US elections, which go back at least to 1984, when the KGB secretly campaigned against Ronald Reagan’s re-election. Just as they did during the 2016 election, the Russians spread all kinds of false stories, including the idea the CIA was plotting to give nuclear weapons to apartheid South Africa.

Then Power pinpoints why the Russians were so much less effective back then: “During the Cold War the vast majority of Americans received their news … via mediated platforms.” This meant that what they read or saw on television “had to get by professional gatekeepers”.

As far as the dissemination of news is concerned, that is the crucial difference between the pre and post-internet worlds: the gatekeepers have disappeared.

Add to that the fact that bots accounted for 3.8m tweets in the final weeks of the 2016 election and that 38m false stories were shared on Facebook in the last three months of the campaign, and you get some idea of the damage the internet has inflicted on American democracy.

Fox News routinely “amplified falsehoods” that discredited Hillary Clinton. All in all it’s no surprise, as Power points out, that “large numbers of Americans now view as opinion what were once seen as verifiable facts” – everything from global warming to the utility of vaccinating children.

Several contributors focus on the potentially catastrophic reaction Trump could orchestrate in the wake of a large-scale terrorist attack. The Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman argues that the prospect of a “draconian response” by Trump “should jolt serious Democrats and Republicans” into passing a new statutory framework that would explicitly reject the claim made by Jay Bybee and John Yoo for the Bush administration “that the commander in chief has the unilateral power to make never-ending war on the home front”. Unfortunately, with spineless Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, there is zero chance of such an initiative now.

In the category of “it has happened here” already, the Harvard law school dean Martha Minow recalls the internment of 120,000 Japanese, including 70,000 American citizens, during the Second World War. Despite intense “contemporaneous dissents” and “scholarly criticism”, the Supreme Court has never overturned the decision that made that horrendous episode possible. A Trump spokesperson even cited it as a worthy precedent for his proposed registry of immigrants from Muslim countries.

The Chicago University law professor David Strauss highlights another instance when “it did happen in the US”. For roughly 80 years beginning at the end of the 19th century, “parts of the United States were ruled by an undemocratic, illiberal, racist regime” and “African Americans were denied the right to vote and were violently repressed … with the tacit approval of the government”.

Right now there are really only two things that can restore our faith in the rule of law and beat back lethal tendencies toward fascism. The first is a successful conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the alleged misdeeds of Trump and his dubious minions. The other is a new wave of energy from the progressive majority in the November elections, which could replace Trump’s Republican supplicants with Democrats who would actually impose serious limits on this White House.

As the New York University law professor Stephen Holmes puts it towards the end of the book, even if our system doesn’t “guarantee good governance”, a change in the team in power can still produce “a sense of buoyant expectancy” and “social energy throughout the community”.

The main reason for optimism about such new energy did not exist when this book was printed: the teenaged Americans now fighting to bring sanity to the nation’s gun laws. These magnificent young people must become the vanguard of a mass movement to rescue America from the Republican donor class – and to return it, finally, to its senses.


Coup D’Etat:The Technique Of Revolution

by Curzio Malaparte


In 1931, Italian journalist and political writer, Curzio Malaparte, published a book in Italy entitled TECHNIQUE DU COUP D’ÊTAT. This work was based on his own personal observation of the activities in Russia at the time of the Revolution, Poland at the time of the Bolshevik invasion of 1920 and Berlin during the Kapp putsch. Malaparte was an early supporter of Mussolini and had first-hand knowledge of the means by which Il Duce had come to power in 1922.

His observations into the means by which power is acquired are acute and accurate but it is interesting to note that in 1931, he dismisses Adolf Hitler as a “fat Austrian” and little more than a second-hand imitator of Benito Mussolini.

Malaparte’s work studied the successful, and unsuccessful, coups d’Etat or seizure of power and his work was both seminal and topical for a European audience of the 1930s. However, when this book was translated into English and released in America in 1932, it appeared at the most serious time of the world-wide depression when millions of angry Americans had been thrown out of work; seen their life savings vanish, reduced to humiliating poverty and unable to provide for their families. Herbert Hoover was president and he had made no visible public efforts to address the growing and bitter frustrations in the United States.

Malaparte’s book, showing the relative ease with which a modern nation could be conquered by a handful of determined men, was not well received in the corridors of power in America and the book was soon viewed as dangerous and in essence, banned. In a democracy, books are never banned; only officially ignored which amounts to the same thing.

This is a very important work that should prove to be of interest to any student of both politics and history.

What is past is prologue to the future.


Although it is my plan to demonstrate how a modern State is captured and defended, which was, more or less, the subject treated by Machiavelli, this book is in no sense an imitation of The Prince-not even a modern imitation, which would be something necessarily remote from Machiavelli. In the age from which Machiavelli drew his arguments, his examples and the matter for his reflections, public and private liberties, civic dignity, and the self-respect of men had fallen so low, that I should fear to be insulting my readers in applying any of the teachings of the famous book to the urgent problems of modern Europe.

At first sight the whole political history of the last ten years may seem to he the tale of the operation of the Treaty of Versailles, of the economic consequences of the war, and of the attempts of Governments to ensure the peace of Europe. The true explanation is, however, different, and is to be found in the struggle between the defenders of liberty and democracy, and of the parliamentary State, against the adversaries of those principles. The attitudes of the various parties are political aspects of this struggle. To understand many events of recent years, and to foresee the future of politics within various European States the behavior of political parties must be considered from this point of view and this alone. In nearly every country there are on the one hand parties out to defend the parliamentary State and to apply the Liberal and democratic method of preserving an internal balance of power. Among these I count every kind of Conservative, from Right Wing Liberals to Left Wing Socialists. And on the other hand there are the parties whose view of the State is revolutionary, parties of the extreme Left and the Extreme Right, Fascists and Communists, modern Catilines. The Catilines of the Right are concerned with the preservation of order. They accuse the Governments of weakness, incapacity and irresponsibility. They proclaim the necessity of a strongly organized State, with a severe control of political, social, economic life. They are the worshippers of the State, the advocates of an absolute State. They see the only guarantee of order and liberty against the peril of Communism in a State which shall take control from the center, and shall be authoritative, anti- liberal, and anti- democratic. Mussolini’s doctrine is “Everything within the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.” The Catilines of the Left seek to capture the State to install dictatorship of the workers and the peasants. “Where there is liberty there is no State” is Lenin’s doctrine.

The examples of Mussolini and Lenin are of great importance in the development of the struggle between the Catilines of the Right and the Left and the defenders of the Liberal and Democratic State.

Of course Fascist tactics are one thing and Communist tactics another. As yet, however, neither the Catilines nor the defenders of the State appear to have recognized what those tactics are, or to define them in such a way as to show up their differences or their similarities, if any. The tactics of Bela Kun are utterly unlike those of Bolsheviks. The attempts of Kapp, Primo dc Rivera and Pilsudski seemed to have been planned in accordance with rules quite different from those of Fascist tactics. Perhaps Bela Kun displayed the most modern tactics, and, being more expert than the other three at the job, was a more dangerous person.

Yet he too in setting out to capture the State proved his ignorance not only of modern tactics of insurrection but also of a modern method of capturing the State.

Bela Kun fancied he was imitating Trotsky. He did not notice that he had got no further than the rules laid down by Karl Marx as a result of the Commune in Paris. Kapp planned to finish off the Parliament of Weimar on the lines of the eighteenth Brumaire. Primo de Rivera and Pilsudski supposed that to overcome the modern State you have only to depose constitutional government with a show of violence.

Neither the Governments nor the Catilines – this much is clear – have ever seriously studied whether there is a modern science of coup d’ Etat or what its general rules are. While the Catilines pursue their revolutionary tactics, the Governments continue to oppose them by defensive police measures, Thus showing their absolute ignorance of the elementary principles of conquering and defending the modern State. Such ignorance is dangerous, as I intend to show by reciting events of which I have been a witness, in which indeed I have played a certain part myself, the events of the revolutionary season which began in February 1917 in Russia and seems not yet to have ended in Europe.

The Author

Chapter One


While the strategy of the Bolshevik revolution was due to Lenin, the tactician of the October coup d’Etat in 1917 was Trotsky.

When I was in Russia early in 1929, I had the opportunity of talking to a large number of people, from every walk of life, about the part played by Trotsky in the Revolution. There is an official theory on the subject which is held by Stalin. But everywhere, and especially in Moscow and Leningrad where Trotsky’s party was stronger than elsewhere, I heard judgments passed on Trotsky which differed altogether from those enunciated by Stalin. The only refusal to answer my questions came from Lunacharski, and Madame Kamenev alone, gave me an objective justification of Stalin’s theory, which ought not to be surprising, considering that Madame Kamenev is Trotsky’s sister.

We cannot enter here into the Stalin – Lenin controversy on the subject of the “permanent revolution” and of the part played by Trotsky in the coup d’Etat of October 1917. Stalin denies that Trotsky organized it: he claims that merit for the Commission on which Sverdlov, Stalin, Boubrov, Ouritzki, and Dzerjinski sat. The Commission, to which neither Lenin nor Trotsky belonged, was an integral part of the Revolutionary Military Committee presided over by Trotsky. But Stalin’s controversy with the upholder of the theory of the “permanent revolution” cannot alter the history of the October insurrection, which, according to Lenin’s statement, was organized and directed by Trotsky. Lenin was the “strategus,” idealist, inspirer, the deus ex machina of the revolution, but the man who invented the technique of the Bolshevik coup d‘Etat was Trotsky.

The Communist peril against which governments in modern Europe have to defend themselves lies, not in Lenin’s strategy, but in Trotsky’s tactics. It would be difficult to conceive of Lenin’s strategy apart from the general situation in Russia in 1917. Trotsky’s tactics, on the contrary, were independent of the general condition of the country; their practical application was not conditioned by any of the circumstances which were indispensable to Lenin’s strategy. In Trotsky’s tactics is to be found the explanation why a Communist coup d‘Etat always will be a danger in any European country. In other words, Lenin’s strategy cannot find its application in any Western European country unless the ground is favorably prepared and the circumstances identical with those of Russia in 1917. In his Infantile Disease of Communism, Lenin himself noted that the novelty in the Russian political situation in 1917 “lay in four specific circumstances, which do not at present obtain in Western Europe, and doubtless never will develop either on exactly the same, or even analogous, lines.” An explanation of these four conditions would be irrelevant here. Everyone knows what constituted the novelty of the Russian political situation in 1917. Lenin’s strategy does not, therefore, present an immediate danger to the Governments of Europe. The menace for them, now and always, is from Trotsky’s tactics.

In his remarks on The October Revolution and the Tactics of Russian Communists, Stalin wrote that whoever wished to form an estimate of what happened in Germany in the Autumn of 1923, must not forget the peculiar situation in Russia in 1917. He added: “Comrade Trotsky ought to remember it, since he finds a complete analogy between the October Revolution and the German Revolution and chastises the German Communist party for its real or supposed blunders.” For Stalin, the failure of the German attempt at revolution during the Autumn of 1923 was due to the absence of those specific circumstances which are indispensable to the practical application of Lenin’s strategy. He was astonished to find Trotsky blaming the German Communists. But for Trotsky the success of an attempt at revolution does not depend on circumstances analogous to those obtaining in Russia in 1917. The reason why the German revolution in the Autumn of 1923 failed was not because it was impossible at that time to put Lenin’s strategy into operation. The unpardonable mistake on the part of the German Communists lay in their neglect of the insurrectional tactics of Bolshevism. The absence of favorable circumstances and the general condition of the country do not affect the practical application of Trotsky’s tactics. In fact, there is no justification of the German Communists’ failure to reach their goal.

Since the death of Lenin, Trotsky’s great heresy has threatened the doctrinal unity of Leninism. Trotsky is a Reformer who has the odds against him. He is now a Luther in exile, and those of his adherents who were not so rash as to repent too late, have hastened to repent- officially-too early. Nevertheless, one still frequently meets with heretics in Russia who have not lost the taste for criticism and who go on drawing the most unexpected conclusions from Stalin’s argument. This argument leads to the conclusion that without Kerenski there could be no Lenin, since Kerenski formed one of the chief elements in the peculiar condition of Russia in 1917. But Trotsky does not recognize that there is any need for Kerenski; any more than for Stresemann, Poincaré, Lloyd George, Giolitti, or MacDonald, whose presence, like that of Kerenski, has no influence, favorable or unfavorable, on the practical application of Trotsky’s tactics. Put Poincaré  in the place of Kerenski and the Bolshevik coup d’Etat of 1917 would prove to be equally successful. In Moscow, as in Leningrad, I have sometimes come across adherents of the heretical theory of the “permanent revolution” who virtually held that Trotsky could do without Lenin, that Trotsky could exist without Lenin; which is equivalent to saying that Trotsky might have risen to power in October 1917 if Lenin had stayed in Switzerland and taken no part whatever in the Russian revolution.

The assertion is a risky one but only those who magnify the importance of strategy in a revolution will deem it arbitrary. What matters most are insurrectional tactics, the technique of the coup d’Etat. In a Communist revolution Lenin’s strategy is not an indispensable preparation for the use of insurrectional tactics. It cannot, of itself, lead to the capture of the State. In Italy, in 1919 and 1920, Lenin’s strategy had been put into complete operation and Italy at that time was, indeed, of all European countries, the ripest for a Communist revolution. Everything was ready for a coup d‘Etat. But Italian Communists believed that the revolutionary state of the country, the fever of sedition among the proletarian masses, the epidemic of general strikes, the paralyzed state of economic and political life, the occupation of factories by the workers, and of lands by the peasants, the disorganization of the army, the police and the civil service, the feebleness of the magistrature, the submission of the middle classes, and the impotence of the government were conditions sufficient to allow for a transference of authority to the workers. Parliament was under the control of the parties of the Left and was actually backing the revolutionary activities of the trade unions. There was no lack of determination to seize power, only of knowledge of the tactics of insurrection. The revolution wore itself out in strategy. This strategy was the preparation for a decisive attack, but no one knew how to lead the attack. The Monarchy (which used then to be called a Socialist Monarchy) was actually talked of as a serious obstacle to an insurrectional attack. The parliamentary majority of the Left was very much concerned with the activities of the trade unions, which gave it reason to fear a bid for power out- side the sphere of Parliament and even directed against it. The trade unions suspected Parliament of trying to convert the proletarian revolution into a change of ministry for the benefit of the lower middle classes. How could the coup d‘Etat be organized? Such was the problem during the whole of 1919 and 1920; and not only in Italy, but in almost every Western European country. Trotsky said that the Communists did not know how to benefit by the lesson of October 1917, which was not a lesson in revolutionary strategy but in the tactics of an insurrection.

This remark of Trotsky’s is very important for an understanding of the tactics used in the coup d‘Etat of October 1917, that is, of the technique of the Communist coup d’Etat.

It might be maintained that the tactics of insurrection are a part of revolutionary strategy, and indeed its aim and object. Trotsky’s ideas on this point are very definite. We have already seen that he considers the tactics of insurrection as independent of the general condition of the country or of a revolutionary state of affairs favorable to insurrection. The Russia of Kerenski offers no more of a problem than Holland or Switzerland for the practical application of the October tactics of 1917. The four specific circumstances as defined by Lenin in The Infantile Disease of Communism (i.e., the possibility of combining the Bolshevik revolution with the conclusion of an imperialist war; the chance of benefiting for a short while, by a war between two groups of nations who, except for that war, would have united to fight the Bolshevik revolution; the ability to sustain a civil war in Russia lasting long enough in relation to the immense size of the country and its poor means of communications; the presence of a democratic middle-class revolutionary movement among the peasant masses) are characteristic of the Russian situation in 1917, but they are not indispensable to the successful outcome of a Communist coup d‘Etat. If the tactics of a Bolshevik revolution were dependent upon the same circumstances as Lenin’s strategy, there would not be a Communist peril just now in all the states of Europe.

Lenin, in his strategic idea, lacked a sense of reality; he lacked precision and proportion. He thought of strategy in terms of Clausewitz, more as a philosophy than as an art or science. After his death, among his bedside books, a copy of Clausewitz’s Concerning War was found, annotated in his own writing; and his marginal notes to Marx’s Civil War in France show how well- founded was Trotsky’s challenge of his rival’s strategic genius, It is difficult to see why such importance is officially given to Lenin’s revolutionary strategy in Russia unless it is for the purpose of belittling Trotsky. The historical part played by Lenin in the Revolution makes it unnecessary for him to be considered as a great strategist.

On the eve of the October insurrection Lenin was hopeful and impatient. Trotsky’s election to the Presidency of the Petrograd Soviet and to the Revolutionary Military Committee, and the winning over of the Moscow Soviet majority, had finally set his mind at rest about the question of a majority in the Soviets, which had been his constant thought since July. All the same, he was still anxious about the second Soviet Congress which was due in the last days of October. “We need not get a majority,” Trotsky said, “it will not be the majority that will have to get into power.” And Trotsky was not mistaken. “It would be simply childish,” Lenin agreed, “to wait for a definite majority.” He would have liked to rouse the masses against Kerenski’s government; he wanted to bury Russia under the proletariat; to give the signal for insurrection to the entire Russian People; to appear at the Soviet Congress and override Dan and Skobelov, the two leaders of the Menshevik minority; and to proclaim the fall of Kerenski’s government and the advent of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Insurrectional tactics did not enter into his mind, he thought only in terms of revolutionary strategy. “All right,” said Trotsky, “but first of all, you must take possession of the town, seize the strategic positions and turn out the Government. In order to do that, an insurrection must be organized and storming parties trained. Few people are wanted; the masses are of no use; a small company is sufficient.”

But, according to Lenin, the Bolshevik insurrection must never be accused of being a speculation. “The insurrection,” he said, “must not rest on a plot nor on a party, but on the advanced section of the community.” That was the first point. The insurrection must be sustained by the revolutionary impulse of the whole people. That was the second point. The insurrection must break out on the high-water mark of the revolutionary tide: and that was the third point. These three points marked the distinction between Marxism and mere speculation. ‘‘Very well,” said Trotsky, “but the whole populace is too cumbersome for an insurrection. There need only be a small company, cold- blooded and violent, well-trained in the tactics of insurrection.”

Lenin admitted: “We must hurl all our units into the factories and barracks. There they must stand firm, for there is the crucial spot, the anchor of the Revolution. It is there that OK program must be explained and developed in fiery, ardent speech, with the challenge: Complete acceptance of this program, or insurrection !”

“Very good,” said Trotsky, “but when our program has been accepted by the masses, the insurrection still remains to be organized. We must draw on the factories and barracks for reliable and intrepid adherents. What we need is not the bulk of workers, deserters and fugitives, but shock troops.”

“If we want to carry out the revolution as Marxists, that is to say as an art,” Lenin agreed, “we must also, and without a moment’s delay, organize the General Staff of the insurrectional troops, distribute our forces, launch our loyal regiments against the most salient positions, surround the Alexandra theatre, occupy the Fortress of Peter and Paul, arrest the General Staff and the members of the Government, attack the Cadets and Cossacks with detachments ready to die to the last man, rather than allow the enemy to penetrate into the center of the town, We must mobilize the armed workers, call them to the supreme encounter, take over the telephone and telegraph exchanges at the same time, quarter our insurrectional General Staff in the telephone exchange and connect it up by telephone with all the factories, regiments, and points at which the armed struggle is being waged.”

“Very good,” Trotsky said, “but . . .”

“All that is only approximate,” Lenin recognized, “but I am anxious to prove that at this stage we could not remain loyal to Marx with- out considering revolution as an art. You know the chief rules of this art as Marx laid them down. When applied to the present situation in Russia, these rules imply: as swift and sudden a general offensive on Petrograd as possible; at- tacking both from inside and out, from the workers’ districts in Finland, from Reval and from Kronstadt; an offensive with the whole fleet; the concentration of troops greatly superior to the Government’s forces which will he 20,000 strong (Cadets and Cossacks). We must rally our three chief forces, the fleet, the workers, and the military units to take over the telephone and telegraph offices, the stations and the bridges and to hold them at any cost. We must recruit the most tenacious among our storming parties for detachments whose duty it will be to occupy all the important bridges and to take part in every decisive engagement. We must also form gangs of workers armed with rifles and hand grenades who will march on enemy positions, on the officers’ training schools and on the telephone and telegraph exchanges, and surround them. , The triumph of both the Russian and the world- revolution depends on a two or three days’ struggle.”

“That is all quite reasonable,” said Trotsky, “but it is too complicated. The plan is too vast and it is a strategy which includes too much territory and too many people. It is not an insurrection any longer, it is a war. In order to take possession of Petrograd it is needless to take the train in Finland. Those who start from too great a distance often have to stop halfway. An offensive of 20,000 men from Reval or Kronstadt for the purpose of seizing the Alexandra theatre is rather more than is required; it is more than an assault. As far as strategy is concerned, Marx himself could be outdone by Kornilov. One must concentrate on tactics, move in a small space with few men, concentrate all efforts on principal objectives, strike hard and straight. I don’t think it is so complicated. Dangerous things are always extremely simple. In order to be successful, one must not challenge an unfavorable circumstance nor trust to a favorable one. Hit your adversary in the stomach and the blow, will be noiseless. Insurrection is a piece of noiseless machinery. Your strategy demands too many favorable circumstances. Insurrection needs nothing. It is self-sufficient.”

“Your tactics are extremely simple,” said Lenin: “There is only one rule: succeed, You prefer Napoleon to Kerenski, don’t you?”

The words which I attribute to Lenin are not invented. They are to be found, word for word, in the letters he wrote to the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party in October 1917.

Those who are acquainted with all Lenin’s writings, and especially with his notes on the insurrectional technique of the December Days in Moscow during the Revolution of 1905, must be rather surprised to find how ingenuous his ideas about the tactics and technique of an insurrection are on the eve of October 1917. And yet it must not be forgotten that he and Trotsky alone, after the failure of the July attempt, did not lose sight of the chief aim of revolutionary strategy, which was the coup d‘Etat. After some vacillation (in July the Bolshevik Party had only one aim and it was of a parliamentary nature: to gain the majority in the Soviets), the idea of insurrection, as Lunacharski said, had become the driving power of all Lenin’s activities. But during his stay in Finland where he had taken shelter after the July Days to avoid falling into the hands of Kerenski, all his activity was concentrated on the preparation of the revolution in theory. There seems to be no other explanation for the ingenuousness of his plan to make a military offensive on Petrograd that was to be backed up by the Red Guards within the town. The offensive would have ended in disaster. With Lenin’s strategy checkmated, the tactics of an insurrection would have failed and the Red Guards have been massacred in the streets of Petrograd. Because he was compelled to follow the course of events from a distance, Lenin could not grasp the situation in all its details. Nonetheless, he visualized the main trend of the revolution far more clearly than certain members of the Central Committee of t he party who objected to an immediate insurrection. “It is a crime to wait,’’ he wrote to the Bolshevik Committees in Petrograd and Moscow.

And although the Central Committee in its meeting on October 10, at which Lenin, just returned from Finland, was present, voted almost unanimously for an insurrection (only Kamenev and Zinoviev dissenting), yet there was still a secret opposition among certain members of the Committee. Kamenev and Zinoviev were the only members who had publicly protested against an immediate insurrection, but their objections were the very same as those fostered by many others in secret. Those who disagreed, in secret, with Lenin’s decision brought all their hatred to bear on Trotsky, “the unattractive Trotsky,” a new recruit to the ranks of Bolshevism whose pride was beginning to arouse a good deal of jealousy and attention among Lenin’s old life guards.

During those days Lenin hid away in a suburb of Petrograd and, without losing touch with the situation as a whole, he carefully watched the machinations of Trotsky’s adversaries. At a moment like this, indecision in any form would have been fatal to the revolution. In a letter to the Central Committee, dated October 17, Lenin resisted most energetically the criticisms of Kamenev and Zinoviev whose arguments were intended to expose Trotsky’s mistakes. They said that “without the collaboration of the masses and without the support of a general strike, the insurrection will only be a leap in the dark and doomed to failure. Trotsky’s tactics are a pure gamble. A Marxist party cannot associate the question of an insurrection with that of a military conspiracy.”

In his letter of October 17, Lenin defended Trotsky’s tactics: “Trotsky is not playing with the ideas of Blanqui,” he said. “A military conspiracy is a game of that sort only if it is not organized by the political party of a definite class of people and if the organizers disregard the general political situation and the international situation in particular. There is a great difference between a military conspiracy, which is deplorable from every point of view, and the art of armed insurrection.” Kamenev and Zinoviev might answer: “Has Trotsky not constantly been repeating that an insurrection must disregard the political and economic situation of the country? Has he not constantly been stating that a general strike is one of the chief factors in a communist coup d’Etat? How can the co-operation of the trade unions and the proclamation of a general strike be relied upon if the trade unions are not with us, but in the enemy’s camp? They will strike against us. We do not even negotiate directly with the railway men. In their Executive Committee there are only two Bolsheviks to forty members. How can we win without the help of the trade unions and without the support of a general strike?”

These objections were serious: Lenin could only meet them with his unshakable decision. But Trotsky smiled: he was calm. “Insurrection,” he said, “is not an art, it is an engine. Technical experts are required to start it and they alone could stop it.”

Trotsky’s storming party consisted of a thousand workmen, soldiers and sailors. The pick of this company had been recruited from workmen of the Putilov and Wiborg factories, from sailors of the Baltic fleet and soldiers of the Latvian regiments. Under the orders of Antonov- Ovseienko, these Red Guards devoted themselves for ten days to a whole series of “invisible maneuvers” in the very center of the town. Among the crowd of deserters that thronged the streets, in the midst of the chaos that reigned in the government buildings and offices, in the General Headquarters, in the Post Offices, telephone and telegraph exchanges, in the stations, barracks, and the head offices of the city’s technical services, they practiced insurrectional tactics, unarmed and in broad daylight. And their little groups of three or four men passed unnoticed.

The tactics of “invisible maneuvers” and the practice of insurrectional action which Trotsky demonstrated for the first time during the coup d‘Etat of October 1917 is now a part of the revolutionary strategy of the Third International. The principles which Trotsky applied are all stated and developed in the handbooks of the Comintern. In the Chinese University in Moscow, among the subjects taught, there is “the tactics of invisible maneuvers,” which Karakan, with Trotsky’s experience for guidance, applied so successfully in Shanghai. In the Sun-Yat-Sen University in Moscow, the Chinese students learn the same principles which German Communist organizations put into practice every Sunday in order to get into training for the tactics of insurrection; and they do it in broad daylight, under the very nose of the police and of the sober citizens of Berlin, Dresden, and Hamburg.

In October 1917, during the days prior to the coup d‘Etat, the Reactionary, Liberal, Menshevik and Socialist revolutionary press never ceased to enlighten public opinion as to the activities of the Bolshevik Party, which was openly preparing an insurrection. It accused Lenin and Trotsky of seeking to overthrow the democratic republic in order to set up a dictatorship of the proletariat. They were not trying to disguise their criminal intentions, said the middle-class press, the proletarian revolution was being organized in broad daylight. When Bolshevik leaders made speeches to the masses of workers and soldiers gathered in the factories and barracks they loudly proclaimed that everything was ready and that the day for revolution was drawing nearer. What was the Government doing? Why Lenin, Trotsky and the other member had: of the Central Committee not been arrested? What measures were being taken to protect Russia from the Bolshevik danger?

It is incorrect to say that Kerenski’s Government did not take the measures needed for the defense of the State. Kerenski must be given due credit for having done everything in his power to prevent a coup d‘Etat. If Poincarié, Lloyd George, MacDonald, Giolitti, or Stresemann had stood in his place, they would not have acted otherwise.

Kerenski’s system of defense consisted in using the police methods which have always been relied upon and are still relied upon today by absolute as well as by liberal governments. But these police methods can no longer adequately defend the State from the modern technique of insurrection. Kerenski’s mistake was the mistake of all governments that regard the problem of the defense of the State as a police problem.

Those who accuse Kerenski of a lack of foresight and of incompetence forget the skill and courage he showed in the July Days against the workers’ and deserters’ revolt, and again in August against Kornilov’s reactionary venture. In August he did not hesitate to call in the Bolsheviks themselves in order to prevent Kornilov’s Cossacks from sweeping the democratic victories of the February revolution overboard. On this occasion he astonished Lenin: “We must beware of Kerenski,” he said, “he is no fool.” Kerenski must have his due: it was impossible for him, in October, to act differently from the way he did. Trotsky had said that the defense of the State was a matter of method. Moreover, in October 1917 only one method was known, only one could be applied whether by Kerenski, Lloyd George, Poincaré , or Noske: the classical method of relying on the police.

In order to meet the danger, Kerenski took care to garrison the Winter Palace, the Tauride Palace, the Government offices, the telephone and telegraph exchanges, and the General Headquarters with military Cadets and loyal Cossacks. The 20,000 men on whom he could count inside the capital were thus mobilized to protect the strategic points in the political and bureaucratic organization of the State. (This was the mistake by which Trotsky would benefit.) Other reliable regiments were massed in the neighborhood at Tsarkoié Selo, Kolpino, Gatchina, Oboukhovo, and Pulkovo-an iron ring which the Bolshevik insurrection must sever if it was not to be stifled. All the measures which might safeguard the Government had been taken, and detachments of Cadets patrolled the town day and night. There were clusters of machine-guns at the crossroads, on the roofs, all along the Nevski Prospect, and at each end of the main streets, to prevent access to the squares. Military patrols passed back and forth among the crowds: armored cars moved slowly by, opening up a passage with the long howl of their hooters. The chaos was terrible. “There’s my general strike,” said Trotsky to Antovov Ovseienko, pointing to the swirling crowds in the Nevski Prospect.

Meanwhile, Kerenski was not content with mere police measures; he set the whole political machine in motion. He not only wanted to rally the Right but to make assurance doubly sure by agreement with the Left. He was most concerned about the trade unions. He knew that their leaders were not in agreement with the Bolsheviks. That fact accounted for the Kamenev-Zinoviev criticism of Trotsky’s idea of insurrection. A general strike was an indispensable factor for the insurrection. Without it the Bolsheviks could not feel safe and their attempt was bound to fail. Trotsky described the revolution as “hitting a paralyzed man.” If the insurrection was to succeed, life in Petrograd must be paralyzed by a general strike. The trade union leaders were out of sympathy with the Bolsheviks, but their organized rank and file inclined towards Lenin. If the masses could not be won over, then Kerenski would like to have the leaders on his side: he entered into negotiations with them and finally, but not without a struggle, was successful in obtaining their neutrality. When Lenin heard of it he said to Trotsky: “Kamenev was right. Without a general strike to support you, your tactics can but fail.” ‘‘I have disorganization on my side,” Trotsky answered, “and that is better than a general strike.”

In order to grasp Trotsky’s plan one must appreciate the condition of Petrograd at that time. There were enormous crowds of deserters who had left the trenches at the beginning of the February revolution and had poured into the capital and thrown themselves on it as though they would destroy the new temple of liberty. During the last six months they had been camping in the middle of the streets and squares, ragged as they were, dirty, miserable, drunk or famished, timid or fierce, equally ready to revolt or to flee, their hearts burning with a thirst for vengeance and peace. They sat there in a never- ending row, on the pavement of the Nevski Prospect, beside a stream of humanity that flowed on slowly and turbulently. They sold weapons, propaganda leaflets and sunflower seeds, There was chaos beyond description in the Zramenskaia Square in front of the railway station of Moscow: the crowd dashed against the wall, surged back, then forward again with renewed vigor until it broke like a foaming wave on a heap of carts, vans, and tramcars piled up in front of the statue of Alexander III, and with a deafening din which, from afar, sounded like the outcry of a massacre.

Over the Fontanka bridge at the crossroads between the Nevski and Liteyni Prospects, newsboys sold their papers: they shouted the news at the top of their voices, about the precautions taken by Kerenski, the proclamations of the Military Revolutionary Committee, of the Soviet and of the Municipal Duma, the decrees of Colonel Polkovnikov, who was in command of the square and who threatened to imprison all deserters and forbade manifestations and meetings and brawls. Workers, soldiers, students, clerks, and sailors at the street corners debated at the top of their voices and with sweeping gestures. In the cafés and stalovaie everywhere, people laughed at Colonel Polkovnikov’s proclamations which pretended that the 200,000 deserters in Petrograd could be arrested and that brawls could be forbidden. In front of the Winter Palace there were two 75 cm. guns, and behind them the Cadets in their long greatcoats, were nervously pacing up and down. In front of the General Staff building two rows of military motorcars were drawn up. Near the Admiralty, in the Alexander Gardens, a battalion of women sat on the ground around their stacked rifles.

The Marinskaia Square overflowed with ragged and haggard workers, sailors, deserters. The entrance of the Maria Palace, where the Republican Council sat, was guarded by a detachment of Cossacks, their tall black chapkas tilted over one ear. They talked in loud voices, smoking and laughing. A spectator from the top of the Isaac Cathedral could have seen heavy smoke clouds over Putilov’s factories where the men worked with loaded rifles slung round their shoulders; beyond that, the Gulf of Finland; and, behind the island of Rothine, Kronstadt, “the red fortress,” where the blue-eyed sailors were waiting for Dybenko’s signal to march to the aid of Trotsky and slaughter the Cadets. On the other side of the town, a reddish cloud brooded over the countless chimneys of the Wiborg suburb where Lenin was in hiding, rather pale and feverish, wearing that wig which made him look like a little provincial actor. No one could have taken this man, without his beard and with his false hair well glued on to his forehead, for the terrible Lenin who could make Russia tremble. It was there, in the Wiborg factories, that Trotsky’s Red Guard’s expected Antonov Ovseienko’s signal. The women in the suburbs had sad faces and their eyes had become hard. Towards evening, as soon as darkness had swept the streets, parties of armed women moved towards the center of the town. These were days of proletarian migration: enormous masses passed from one end of Petrograd to the other, then came back to their quarters after hours and hours of walking to and from meetings, demonstrations and riots. There was meeting after meeting in barrack and factory. “All power to the Soviets!” The hoarse voices of the orators were smothered in the folds of red flags. Kerenski’s soldiers, manning the machine-guns on the housetops, listened to the hoarse voices below as they chewed their sunflower seeds and threw the shells on to the crowds thronging the streets.

Darkness descended on the city like a black cloud, In the huge Nevski Prospect the stream of deserters flowed towards the Admiralty. There were hundreds of soldiers, women, and workmen camping in front of the Kazan Cathedral, lying full length on the ground. The whole town was in the throes of fear, disorder, and frenzy. And all of a sudden, out of this crowd, men would spring up, armed with knives and mad with sleeplessness, and throw themselves on the Cadet patrols and the female battalions de- fending the Winter Palace. Others would break into the houses to fetch the bourgeois out of his own dwelling, catching him in bed and wide awake. The city was sleepless with the fever of insurrection. Like Lady Macbeth, Petrograd could no longer sleep. Its nights were haunted with the smell of blood.

Trotsky’s Red Guards had been rehearsing in the very center of the town during the past ten days. Antonov Ovseienko it was, who organized these tactical exercises, this sort of dress rehearsal of the coup d’Etat, in broad daylight, wherever the streets were thronging with movement, and round buildings which were of the greatest strategic importance in the govern- mental and political strongholds. The police and military authorities were so obsessed by the idea of a sudden revolt by the proletarian masses, and so concerned with meeting the danger, that they failed to notice Antonov Ovseienko’s gangs at work. Amid such widespread disorder, who should notice the little groups of unarmed workers; the soldiers and the sailors who wandered about in the corridors of the telephone and telegraph exchanges, in the Central Post Office, in the Government offices and General Headquarters, taking note of the arrangement of the offices and seeing how the telephones and lights were fitted? They visualized and remembered the plan of these buildings and studied the means of getting into them suddenly and at a moment’s notice. They reckoned with their chances of success, estimating the opposition, and looking for the places of least resistance, the weakest and most vulnerable places in the defensive organization of the technical, military, and secretarial services of the State. In the general con- fusion, who should notice some three or four sailors, a couple of soldiers, or a stray workman wandering round some buildings, going in and climbing the stairs; people who did not even look at each other when they met? No one even suspected these people of obeying precise and detailed orders, of carrying out a plan or of undergoing exercises directed against the strategic points in the State’s defense. Later the Red Guards would strike effectively because they had conducted their invisible maneuvers on the very ground where the battle would shortly begin.

Trotsky succeeded in getting hold of the plan of the town’s technical services. Dybenko’s sailors, aided by two engineers and engine-room artificers, mastered the underground gas and water piping, the electric power cables and the telephone and telegraph system. Two of them explored the drains under the Headquarters of the General Staff. The isolation of a whole district or even of a mere group of houses had to be made practicable within a few minutes; so Trotsky divided the town into sections, deter- mined which were the strategic points, and allotted the work, section by section, to gangs of soldiers and skilled workers.

Technical experts were necessary as well as soldiers. The capture of the railway station in Moscow was allotted to two squads consisting of 25 Latvian soldiers, 2 sailors, and 10 railway men. Three gangs of sailors, workmen, and railway officials, 160 men in all, were ordered to take over the station in Warsaw. For the capture of other stations Dybenko assigned a number of squads of 20 men each . A telegraphist attached to every squad control1ed movements on the rail- way lines. On October 21, acting under orders from Antonov Ovseienko, who was in close touch with the maneuvers, all the gangs rehearsed the capture of the railway stations, and the general rehearsal was perfectly well-ordered and precise in every detail. On that day, three sailors went to the Main Electricity  Plant near the port: the Plant, run by the city ’s technical services, was not even guarded. The manager asked the sailors whether they were the men whom he had asked the Commander of the Square to send him. He had been wanting a guard for the last five days. The three sailors took over the defense of the Electric Plant, in case of insurrection, they said. In the same way, a few gangs of engineroom artificers took over the other three municipal plants.

Kerenski’s police and  the military authorities were especially concerned with the defense of the State’s official and political organizations: the Government offices , the Maria Palace where the Republican council sat, the Tauride Palace, seat of the Duma, the Winter Palace, and Genera1 Headquarters. When Trotsky discovered this mistake he decided to attack only the technical branches of the national and municipal Government. Insurrection for him was only a question of technique. “In order to overthrow the modern State,” he said, “you need a storming party, technical experts and gangs of armed men led by engineers.”

While Trotsky was organizing the coup d‘Etat on a rational basis, the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party was busy organizing the proletarian revolution. Stalin, Sverdlov, Boubrov, Ouritzki, and Dzerjinski, the members of this committee who were developing the plan of the general revolt were nearly all openly hostile to Trotsky. These men felt no confidence in the insurrection as Trotsky planned it, and ten years later Stalin gave them all the credit for the October coup D’Etat.

What use were Trotsky’s thousand men? The Cadets could so easily deal with them. The task surely was to rouse the proletarian masses, the thousands upon thousands of employees from the works of Putilov and Wiborg, the huge crowd of deserters and the Bolshevik sympathizers in- side the garrison of Petrograd, it was these who ought to be stirred up against the Government. A great rebellion must be started. Trotsky, with his storming parties, seemed both a useless and a dangerous ally.

The Commission considered the revolution much in the same way as Kerenski, as a matter chiefly concerning the police. And, strangely enough, the man who later on created the Bolshevik police (afterwards known as the G. P.U.) belonged to this Commission. Dzerjinski, pale and anxious, studied the defense of Kerenski’s government and decided on the plan of attack. He was the most formidable and the most treacherous of all Trotsky’s critics, and he was as bashful as a woman in his fanaticism. He even denied himself a glance at his hands to see whether they were stained with his deeds. Dzerjinski died at the Bench during his prosecution of Trotsky in 1926.

On the eve of the coup d’Etat, Trotsky told Dzerjinski that Kerenski’s government must be completely ignored by the Red Guards; that the chief thing was to capture the State and not to fight the Government with machine-guns; that the Republican Council, the Ministries and the Duma played an unimportant part in the tactics of insurrection and should not be the objectives of an armed rebellion; that the key to the State lay, not in its political and secretarial organizations nor yet in the Tauride, Maria or Winter Palaces, but in its technical services, such as the electric stations, the telephone and telegraph offices, the port, gasworks and water mains. Dzerjinski answered that the insurrection must be planned to anticipate the enemy’s movements and that the latter must be attacked in his strongholds. “We must attack the Government and beat it on the very ground where it is defending the State. If the enemy withdraws to the Government offices, to the Maria, Tauride, or Winter Palaces, he must be hounded out of them. In order to get possession of the State,” said Dzerjinski, “we must hurl the masses against the Government.”

All important in the Commission’s plan for the Insurrection was the neutrality of the Trade Unions. Could the State really be overthrown without the assistance of Genera1 Strike? “No,” said both the Central Committee and the Commission, ”the strike must be started by getting the masses to take part in the insurrection itself. The tactics of a general insurrection and not those of isolated revolts are going to make it possible for us to hurl the masses against the Government and to promote a Genera1 Strike. “A General Strike is unnecessary,” Trotsky replied. “Chaos in Petrograd is more useful for our purpose than a General Strike. The Government cannot cope with an insurrection when a general disorganization paralyses the State. Since we cannot rely on the Strike, we will rely on the chaos.”

The Commission is said to have objected to Trotsky’s tactics on the ground that his view of the situation was too optimistic. Trotsky, as a matter of fact, was inclined to be pessimistic; he judged the situation to be more serious than most people thought. He did not trust the masses and knew very well that the insurrection would have to be made by a minority. The promotion of a General Strike with the idea of enlisting the masses in a real battle against the Government was an illusion. The insurrection could only be made by a minority. Trotsky was convinced that if a General Strike broke out it would be directed against the Bolsheviks and that in order to prevent such a General Strike, power must immediately be seized. Subsequent events have proved that Trotsky was right. By the time the railway men, the postal, telegraph, and telephone clerks, the secretariats in the Government offices and the employees in public services had left their work, it was too late. Lenin was already in power: Trotsky had broken the back of the general strike.

The Central Committees’ objections to Trotsky’s tactics was a paradox which might have jeopardized the success of the insurrection. On the eve of the coup d‘Etat there were two Headquarters, two plans of action, and two different aims. The Commission, relying on the mass of workers and deserters, wanted to capture the Government in order to seize the State. Trotsky, who relied on about a thousand men, wanted to capture the State in order to overthrow the Government. Marx himself would have considered the circumstances more favorable to the Commission’s plan than to Trotsky’s. But Trotsky had said: “An insurrection does not require favorable circumstances.”

On October 24th, in full daylight, Trotsky launched the attack. The plan of operations had been drawn up by a former officer of the Imperial army, Antonov Ovseienko, who was also known as a mathematician, a chess player, a revolutionary, and an exile. Lenin, referring to Trotsky’s tactics, once said of Antonov Ovseienko that only a chess player like him could organize the insurrection.

Antonov Ovseienko had a melancholy and unhealthy expression. He looked rather like Napoleon before the 18th of Brumaire, with his long hair falling on his shoulders: but his eyes were lifeless and his thin pale face was that of a sad and unhealthy man.

Antonov Ovseienko was playing chess on a topographical map of Petrograd in a small room on the top floor of the Smolny Institute, the General Headquarters of the Bolshevik Party. Below him, on the next floor, the Commission was met to fix the day for the general insurrection. Little the Commission imagined that Trotsky had already launched the attack. Lenin alone had been informed, at the last minute, of Trotsky’s sudden decision. The Commission stood by Lenin’s word. Had he not said that both the 2lst and the 24th would be too early and the 26th too late? No sooner had the Commission met to decide definitely on the date, than Podvoisky came in with unexpected news. Trotsky’s Red Guards had already seized the main telegraph office and the Neva bridges. These bridges had to be held in order to insure the lines of communication between the center of the city and the workmen’s district of Wiborg. Dybenko’s sailors already held the municipal electricity stations, gasworks, and railway stations. Things had happened with unimagined speed and orderliness. The main telegraph office was being defended by some fifty police and soldiers, lined up in front of the building. The insufficiency of police measures was evidenced by those tactics of defense called “service of order and protection,’’ which may give good results when directed against a crowd in revolt but not against a handful of determined fighters. Police measures are useless in the face of a surprise attack. Three of Dybenko’s sailors, who had taken part in the “invisible maneuvers” and knew the ground already, got in among those who were defending, right into the offices; and by throwing a few hand grenades from the window on to the street, they succeeded in creating chaos among the police and the soldiers. Two squads of sailors took up their positions with machine-guns in the main telegraph office. A third squad, posted in the house opposite, was ready to meet a possible counter-attack by shooting in the rear of the assailants. Communications between the Smolny Institute and the various groups working in different districts of the town were assured by armoured cars. Machine-guns were concealed in the houses at the chief crossroads: flying squads watched the barracks of those regiments which had remained loyal to Kerenski.

About six o’clock that evening Antonov Ovseienko, paler than usual but smiling, went into Lenin’s room at the Smolny Institute. “It is over,” he said. The members of the Government, taken unawares by these events, sought refuge in the Winter Palace, defended by a few Cadet companies and a battalion of women. Kerenski had fled. They said he was at the Front to collect troops and march on Petrograd. The entire population poured into the streets, anxious for news. Shops, cafés, restaurants, cinemas, and theatres were all open; the trams were filled with armed soldiers and workers and a huge crowd in the Nevski Prospect flowed on like a great river. Everyone was talking, discussing and cursing either the Government or the Bolsheviks. The wildest rumors spread from group to group: Kerenski dead, the heads of the Menshevik minority shot in front of the Tauride Palace; Lenin sitting in the Tsar’s room in the Winter Palace.

A great crowd surged continuously towards the Alexander Gardens from the Nevski Prospect, the Gorokovskaia and Vosnessenski Streets (those three great roads that meet at the Admiralty), to see whether the Red Flag was already flying on the Winter Palace. When the crowd saw the Cadets defending the Palace, it drew back. The machineguns, the lighted windows, the deserted square, and the motors drawn up in front of the General Headquarters were a disturbing sight. The crowd watched from a distance without grasping the situation. And Lenin? Where was he? Where were the Bolsheviks ?

Meanwhile none of their opponents, whether Liberal, Reactionary, Menshevik, or Socialist Revolutionary, could grasp the situation. They refused to believe that the Bolsheviks had captured the State. These rumors they argued had probably been circulated by paid agents of the Smolny Institute: in point of fact the Government offices had only been moved into the Winter Palace as a precautionary measure; if the day’s news was correct, then there had not been a coup d‘Etat, but rather, a series of more or less successful armed attacks (nothing definite was yet known) on the organization of the State’s and the town’s public services. The legislative, political, and administrative bodies were still in Kerenski‘s hands. The Tauride and Maria Palaces, and the Ministries had not even been attacked. The situation was certainly paradoxical : never before had an insurrection claimed to have captured the State without even attacking the Government. It looked as though the Bolsheviks did not care about the Government. Why were the Government offices not taken over? Could one master the State and govern Russia without even controlling the State’s administration? The Bolsheviks had, of course, captured all the public services, but Kerenski had not resigned. He was still the head of the Government, even if, for the present, the public services, the railways, electric plants, telephone, telegraph, and Post Offices, the State Bank, and the coal, petroleum and grain depots were not under his control. If in actual fact, the Ministers in the Winter Palace were unable to govern ; Government offices were not working, the Government had been cut off from the rest of Russia and every means of communication was in the hands of the  Bolsheviks. All the roads in the suburbs were barricaded; no one might leave the town. General Headquarters were cut off. The Bolsheviks had taken over the main wireless telegraphy station ; Red Guards were quartered in the fortress of Peter and Paul and a number of regiments belonging to the garrison of Petrograd were already acting under orders from the Revolutionary Military Committee. Action must be taken at once. Why was the General Staff idle? It was said to be waiting for Krasnov’s troops which were marching on the capital. All measures necessary for the defense of the Government had been taken. If the Bolsheviks had not yet decided to attack the Government it must mean that they did not yet feel their position to be powerful enough to do so. All was not yet lost.

The next day, on October 25th, during the opening of the second Pan-Russian Soviet Congress in the Smolny Institute, Trotsky ordered Antonov Ovseienko to attack the Winter Palace where Kerenski’s ministers had taken refuge, and now the question was, would the Bolsheviks win a majority in the Congress?

The Soviets of all Russia would not believe that the insurrection has been successful on the mere announcement that the Bolsheviks had captured the State. They must be told that the Red Guards had captured the Members of the Government. Trotsky said to Lenin: “That is the only way of convincing the Central Committee and the Commission that the coup d‘Etat has not been a failure.”

“You have made up your mind rather late,” answered Lenin.

“I could not attack the Government before I was convinced that the garrison would not come to its rescue,” Trotsky answered, “I had to give the soldiers time to come over to our side. Only the Cadets have remained loyal.”

Then Lenin, in his wig, beardless and disguised as a workman, left his hiding-place for the Smolny Institute to take part in the Soviet Congress. It was the saddest moment in his life for he thought the insurrection had failed. Like the Central Committee, the Commission. and the greater part of the delegates at the Congress, Lenin needed proof of the Government’s fall and of the capture of Kerenski’s Ministers by the Red Guards. He distrusted Trotsky’s pride, his self- assurance and his reckless wiles. Trotsky was no member of the Old Guard , he was not an absolutely reliable Bolshevik but a new recruit who joined the Party after the; July Days. “I am not one of the Twelve,” said ’ Trotsky, “but I am more like St. Paul who was the first to preach to the Gentiles.”

Lenin was never greatly attracted by Trotsky. Trotsky was generally unpopular. His eloquence was suspect. He had that dangerous gift of swaying the masses and unleashing a revolt. He could split a Party, invent a heresy – but, however formidable, he was a man they needed. Lenin had long ago noticed that Trotsky relished historical comparisons. When he spoke at meetings or assemblies or took part in one of the Party’s debates, he constantly referred to Cromwell’s Puritan Revolt or to the French Revolution. One must beware of a man who judges and estimates the men and the events of the Bolshevik Revolution by the standard of the men and events of the French Revolution. Lenin could never forget how Trotsky, as soon as he came out of the Kresty prison where he had been shut up after the July Days, went into the Soviet in Petrograd and, in the course of a violent speech, advocated the need for a Jacobine reign of terror. “The guillotine leads to a Napoleon,” the Mensheviks shouted at him. “I prefer Napoleon to Kerenski,” Trotsky answered back. Lenin was never going to forget that answer. Dzerjinsky later on used to say of Trotsky: “He likes Napoleon better than Lenin.”

The second Pan-Russian Soviet Congress was meeting in the main hall of the Smolny Institute, and in the room adjoining it, Lenin and Trotsky sat at a table heaped with papers and journals.

A curl of Lenin’s wig dangled on his forehead. Trotsky could not help smiling at the sight of such an absurd disguise. He thought the moment had come for Lenin to take off his wig, since there was no longer any danger. The insurrection had triumphed and Lenin was virtually the ruler of Russia. Now at least, he could let his beard grow, take his wig off, and make an appearance in public. Dan and Skobelov, the two leaders of the Menshevik majority, passed in front of Lenin on their way to the Congress Hall. They exchanged a look and grew paler at the sight of the little provincial actor in his wig, whom they seemed to recognize as the man who could utterly annihilate Holy Russia.

“It is all over,” Dan said softly to Skobelov. “Why are you still disguised?” Trotsky asked Lenin. “Those who have won do not usually conceal themselves.” Lenin scrutinized him, his eyes half-closed, with an ironic smile just playing on his lips. Who had won? That was the question. From time to time the rumble of artillery and the rat-tat-tat of machine-guns could be heard in the distance. The cruiser Aurora, anchored in the Neva, had just opened fire on the Winter Palace to support the Red Guards who were attacking it.

They were now joined by Dybenko, very tall, blue-eyed, his face framed in soft fair hair: both the Kronstadt sailors and Madame Kollontai loved him for his transparent eyes and for his cruelty. Dybenko brought the news that Antonov-Ovseieniko’s Red Guards had broken into the Winter Palace, that Kerenski’s Ministers were the prisoners of the Bolsheviks, and that the Government had fallen. “At last!” cried Lenin. “You are 1 twenty-four hours late,” answered Trotsky. Lenin took his wig off and passed his hand across his forehead. (H. G. Wells once said of Lenin that his skull was the same shape as that of Lord Balfour.) “Come on,” said Lenin, walking into the Congress Hall. Trotsky followed in silence. He looked tired and a kind of drowsiness dimmed his steely eyes. Lunacharski declares that Trotsky, during the insurrection, reminded him of a Leyden Jar. But now the Government had fallen, Lenin took his wig off, as one lays down a mask. The coup d‘Etat was Trotsky’s feat. The man who profited by it, the Chief and the Dictator, was Lenin.

Trotsky followed him in silence, with a doubtful smile that never grew to gentleness until Lenin died.


The strengths and weaknesses of Russia’s military

Russian armed forces provide Moscow with clear military superiority in the post-Soviet region, despite Russia’s troops not being able to match the whole of NATO. The Kremlin is busy modernizing its army, experts told DW.

April 7, 2018

by Darko Janjevic


The US, Russia, and China are considered the world’s strongest nations when it comes to military power, with the US the undisputed number one. Even so, Russia’s still has plenty of arrows in its quiver, most notably the massive nuclear arsenal of some 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads.

Leaving the nuclear weapons aside, however, the US has an overwhelming advantage in conventional forces, including a much stronger navy and air force, Russian military analyst Aleksandr Golts told DW.

China, according to Golts, would also have the advantage of numbers in any conventional showdown with Russia. In other areas, however, things are not as clear-cut.

“Russia’s air force is much stronger than the Chinese for now,” he told DW. “It questionable about the navy, as the Chinese are now undertaking a very ambitious program of ship building and they are much more successful in building a [global] blue Navy fleet than Russia.”

Still, while Russia’s battleships are old, they are often equipped with very modern cruise missiles, according to Golts.

However, the military expert warns that ranking countries by military power is “more or less useless” as armed forces’ effectiveness depends on the goals set by the nation’s leaders.

‘We don’t always know where the target is’

This point of view is echoed by Russian journalist and military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer, who warns that real-life conflicts depend on many different variables, including the geography and the people involved.

“It’s like predicting a result of a soccer match: Yes, basically, Brazil should beat America in soccer, but I have seen Americans beat Brazil in South Africa, at the Confederations Cup,” he told DW. “You never know the result until the game is played.”

Felgenhauer notes that Russia is lacking in many areas of modern military technology, including drone design and production, electronic components, as well as radar and satellite reconnaissance. For example, Russia is currently producing surveillance drones under an Israeli license, and it is completely lacking in assault drone capability.

Russia is also working on modernizing its command and control centers, which serve to process information from the battlefield and feed it to the troops.

“That’s what the Russian military is talking about: Yes, we have weapons, including long-range weapons, but our reconaissance capabilities are weaker than our attack capabilities,” Felgenhauer said. “So we have-long range, sometimes precision guided weapons, but we don’t always know where the target is.”

No more German and French satellites

These problems were exacerbated by the 2014 Crimean crisis, according to the analyst. In the years leading up to the showdown with the West, Moscow was spending at least $500 million in the US shopping for the so-called double-use merchandize, which can be used for both military and civilian purposes.

“It was electronic components for Russian weapons and satellites, different kinds of special glass and steel,” Felgenhauer says.

Similarly, “France and Germany were making double-use satellites, which were basically military satellites, recon satellites, for Russia. And all that kind of stopped.”

Good old Soviet weapons

Faced with the West’s embargo, Russia is also working to develop its own drones and close the technological gap in other areas. However, the breakdown of the Soviet Union left Moscow not only weaker in terms of territory and the number of troops, but also when it comes to military suppliers, according to the experts.

“The Soviet Union had an idiotic, but at least very logical economy,” Aleksandr Golts says. “It had nothing to do with market economy, but the main goal for any enterprise on Soviet territory, whether it was designated as military or civilian, was to be ready to produce military goods and equipment in case of war. After the fall of the Soviet Union, these systems disappeared.”

On the other hand, the legacy of the Soviet Union is still very much present in the modern Russian army, as many of its cutting edge systems “are the development of good, old Soviet systems and the modernization of that type of technology,” says Golts.

One such weapon is the decades-old Su-25 attack plane, designed to support ground troops. Russia recently announced that the latest version of the aircraft has entered production.

“It is very well known to all the people who participated in the (1980’s) Afghan war, such as myself,” he told DW. “But, its designers insist it only looks like the old Su-25, that all the avionics are absolutely modern […] and it has shown how good it was during the Syrian war.”

20,000 tanks ?

In addition to the nuclear arsenal, there is one area in which Russia is clearly number one. Recently, the Kremlin announced that Russia had more tanks than any other nation in the world, notes Felgenhauer.

“Unofficially, I have seen figures of up to 20,000, which would mean that Russia has more tanks than all the NATO countries put together.”

Most of the European powers reduced their tank capabilities after the end of the Cold War, focusing instead on conflicts with terrorist and guerilla groups. This, according to Felgenhauer, puts them at a massive disadvantage in the event of a ground war in Europe.


Полное Внесение в список Всех Единиц Флота российской Республики  

“The Entire Russian Fleet”

Translated from the Russian

Ref: RSV 1801-02-115689//bd:g.81r


February 23rd is traditionally celebrated as the Soviet Army Day (now called the Homeland Defender’s Day), and few people remember that it is also the Day of Russia’s Navy. To compensate for this apparent injustice, Kommersant Vlast analytical weekly has compiled The Entire Russian Fleet directory. It is especially topical since even Russia’s Commander-in-Chief compared himself to a slave on the galleys a week ago. The directory lists all 238 battle ships and submarines of Russia’s Naval Fleet, with their board numbers, year of entering service, name and rank of their commanders. It also contains the data telling to which unit a ship or a submarine belongs. For first-class ships, there are schemes and tactic-technical characteristics. So detailed data on all Russian Navy vessels, from missile cruisers to base type trawlers, is for the first time compiled in one directory, making it unique in the range and amount of information it covers. The Entire Russian Fleet carries on the series of publications devoted to Russia’s armed forces. Vlast has already published similar directories about the Russian Army (#17-18 in 2002, #18 in 2003, and #7 in 2005) and Russia’s military bases (#19 in 2007). As always, we draw our readers’ attention to the fact that all information has been taken from public sources only. We have used the materials of over 5,000 Russian and foreign media, analytic reports and reviews, and other publications and Internet resources.

Although several new ships and submarines have been built for Russia’s Navy recently, the fleet is in depression. Severe problems and disproportions threaten to completely undermine its military potential. Chief danger lies in the reduction in the number of vessels, their rapid ageing, and the lack of adequate substitution with modern ships. Negative trends in the Navy’s development have not been overcome, and Russia keeps facing the risk of losing its fleet.

Lopsided Development of Strategic Nuclear Forces

When the Navy’s financing was drastically reduced after 1991, developing the Naval Strategic Nuclear Forces (NSNF) became the priority. The NSNF were declared to be the basis of Russia’s nuclear-missile shield. Consequently, the country got involved in building an expensive series of Project 955 strategic nuclear submarine cruisers. It consumed the major part of financial resources allocated for the fleet’s development, and the trend keeps strengthening. In 2007, around 70 percent of funds allocated for the entire battleship building were spent on constructing just three Project 955 and Project 955A atomic-powered vessels, not to mention the test program for Bulava ballistic missile, intended as their armament.

While building new missile carriers, the Navy kept massively removing old ones from service. By now, there have remained in the Russian fleet just 12 acting submarines with ballistic missiles (six Project 667BDRM “Delfin” built in the 1980s, and six older submarines of Project 667BDR “Kalmar”). While 667BDR submarines are living their last years, 667BDRM ones undergo mid-life repair and modernization, which will allow extending their service term till 2020. They are now being re-equipped with modified R-29RMU2 “Sineva” ballistic missiles, able to carry up to ten warheads. First four serial Sineva missiles were supplied to the fleet in 2006, and 12 more missiles were produced in 2007, which allowed re-arming Tula atomic-powered ship. Meanwhile, modernizing these vessels consumes major part of money that the Navy spends on vessel repair. It hampers the work on ships of other classes (including non-strategic atomic submarines).

The situation is logical, because there is an ambitious and hardly feasible task to maintain the fleet of atomic missile carriers at the same level as the U.S. does (the U.S. has 14 submarines with ballistic missiles), while the funding in Russia is incomparably lower. By the way, the Russian Naval Fleet’s budget in 2007 (if estimated in U.S. dollars) was nearly 50 times less than the U.S. Navy’s budget. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy is not building new missile carriers at all, and plans to begin replacing its Ohio submarines not earlier than in 2026.

Russia’s focus on developing the NSNF looks highly disputable. Supporters of this state of affairs (including the Naval Fleet’s top officials) point at high battle durability and survival potential of strategic submarines in case of first nuclear missile attack from an enemy. However, they hush up two fundamental circumstances.

First, Russia’s strategic atomic-powered vessels have low index of operative effort. Even in its best times, the Fleet was able to simultaneously maintain in military service not over 10-15 percent of its submarines (while the U.S. Navy maintains over 50 percent). Consequently, Russian missile carriers spend most of their time in military bases, thus being an extremely easy target.

Second, the Fleet’s degrading General-Purpose Naval Forces are evidently not enough to secure battle durability (protection from enemy forces’ impact) for strategic submarine cruisers at sea. When all funds are spent on building and repairing missile carriers, while forces supposed to cover them at sea are not renewed and are reduced, it is impossible to speak of the NSNF’s high survival potential. Meanwhile, the opponents able to threaten Russia’s strategic nuclear submarines (U.S and NATO fleets) have overwhelming advantage in forces at sea. By the way, the estimations meant to justify the NSNF’s advantages, including the cost-effectiveness index, usually ignore the expenditures necessary for deploying support and cover forces. However, those forces include not only atomic submarines, but also considerable groupings of surface ships, anti-submarine aircrafts, stationary hydro-acoustic lighting system, air-defense of bases, coast infrastructure, and many other important elements.

Reduction of Common-Purpose Forces

Investing nearly all funds in the naval strategic forces, Russia is spending resources on power fit for just one (and least likely) scenario of an armed conflict – the universal nuclear war. Meanwhile, solving the Fleet’s many other tasks of peaceful time and war time can be entrusted to the general-purpose non-nuclear forces only.

Strategic submarine missile-carriers are not necessary to solve a multitude of tasks like demonstrating the flag and the military presence, struggling against terrorism, participating in international and peacekeeping missions, evacuating civilians, transferring troops, guarding the coast, territorial waters and economic zone, protecting fishing and trade, securing the extraction and transportation of hydrocarbons. Just as strategic nuclear submarines will not be necessary in local conflicts. Meanwhile, the growing combat potential of the fleets of Russia’s neighbors and developing countries raises the question whether the reduced Russian general-purpose naval forces would be able enough to counteract limited aggressive actions, especially since Russia’s Naval Forces are so disconnected among the fronts.

The funds allocated to the Fleet for non-strategic components are not enough for complete new ship-building. Moreover, it is not enough even for repairing the existing vessels, which now rapidly become worthless, get removed from service, and become written off.

Once most numerous in the world, Russia’s submarine forces suffered severe reduction in the 1990s. The Russian Naval Fleet now has less nuclear submarines than the U.S. Navy does, and tends to further decline. There is practically no construction of new multi-purpose atomic submarines for the Russian Fleet. As an exception, Project 885 “Severodvinsk” submarine has been under construction since 1993. However, it will enter service not earlier than in 2010. What is worse, only six out of two tens of the Fleet’s multi-purpose atomic submarines were repaired in the last decade. Moreover, each repair dragged on for many years.

To replenish the fleet of diesel-electric submarines, new Project 677 “Saint-Petersburg” submarine was under construction at Admiralteiskie Verfi dockyard since 1997. It was launched in 2004, but its entering the service was delayed due to numerous imperfections.

The Fleet’s above-water forces keep being reduced now. Back in February 2005, Then Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Naval Fleet Vladimir Kuroedov said that battle ships are expected to leave service massively after 2010, without being replaced by new ones, and, consequently, not over fifty ships will remain by 2020. With so small a fleet, Russia’s Navy will be incapable of safeguarding the national security even in the nearest sea zone.

Unfortunately, the trend has not been overcome in recent years. “Soviet Union Fleet Admiral Kuznetsov” is the only aircraft-carrier that has remained in the Russian fleet. It is the first and the last Soviet heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser with springboard start and horizontal landing for airplanes. The ship certainly is of great importance for the Fleet both in prestige and practice. It is a school for deck aviation, which allows preserving and storing up the experience that might prove useful in the future. However, the ship’s technical condition is in decadence, and it is no longer a combat-ready unit. The matter is aggravated by the difficulty of training the pilots for the 279th independent naval fighter air regiment, which now has just 19 deck fighter jets Su-33.

Due to economic reasons, construction of new aircraft-carriers is a matter of far future, although there are design works going on now.

Escort battle ships are in a difficult situation as well. Project 956 stream-turbine destroyers have unreliable high-pressure boilers, which require costly and highly qualified technical maintenance, while the Fleet is now unable to provide it. So, just eight out of 17 built ships of that type have remained in the fleet by now, and not over three of them are in working order. Project 1155 large anti-submarine ships with gas-turbine power installations are in a somewhat better situation.

Project 22350 frigate now represents the class of ocean-zone prospective ships. “Soviet Union Fleet Admiral Sergei Gorshkov” is the first ship in the series. Its construction began in 2006 at Severnaya Verf dockyard. The construction of Project 12441 new-generation patrol ship “Novik” began in Kaliningrad in 1997 with great pomp. However, it suffered unfortunate fate: due to its technical complexity and high cost, they decided to remake it into “Borodino” training ship. Instead, the construction of simpler and cheaper Project 20380 corvettes began in 2001. “Steregushchy” lead ship is ready. However, due to financial and technical reasons, the construction of Project 22350 and Project 20380 vessels is delayed, although the Fleet optimistically plans to have up to 20 frigates and 40 corvettes accordingly.

Mosquito fleet (it includes rocket boats and artillery boats) has reduced by many times as well, and is not being replenished. The Fleet has practically stopped developing its mine-sweeper forces. Russian mine-sweepers’ major drawback is their lack of modern automatic systems for destroying mines along the course of a ship.

Large-scale modernization of the Fleet’s vessels is out of the question now. From 1991 on, qualitative development of Russia’s above-water naval forces has come to a standstill. So, those surface ships and boats which have remained in service are technically 20-30 years behind, and they lag more and more behind modern requirements and foreign vessels of corresponding types.

Two Fleets for Four Fronts

Financing the Northern Fleet’s and the Pacific Fleet’s common-purpose forces still allows maintaining in service at least a minimal number of ships able to secure battle durability for submarine missile-carriers in their coastal regions. On the contrary, the Baltic Fleet and the Back Sea Fleet have lost their combat capability, and can only carry out parade/representation functions now.

The Russian Fleet’s crisis is aggravated by its historic curse – the geographic disconnection of forces among four (or five, if counting the Caspian Sea Fleet) sea fronts, which makes it extremely difficult to maneuver among them. That is the reason why Russia has been chronically weak on each of its sea fronts.

The Northern Fleet can so far be considered the only oceanic fleet of Russia. However, its common-purpose forces have few vessels for implementing combat tasks – just three Project 949A nuclear submarines, two tens of atomic multi-purpose and diesel-electric submarines, aircraft-carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov”, missile cruisers “Peter the Great” and “Marshall Ustinov”, and several smaller ships. It allows securing the sea patrol by one strategic submarine missile cruiser, and periodical patrolling by some submarines and surface ships. Low combat-readiness of the only aircraft-carrier hampers forming more or less effective groupings for actions in the open sea. So, the Northern Fleet can now apply its forces only for a defense operation near Russia’s coast or for covering nuclear missile-carriers deployment in coastal regions. The Fleet’s inability to secure on-schedule repair of the vessels puts the Northern Fleet at risk of losing its aircraft-carrier, a number of missile cruisers, torpedo boat destroyers, and Project 949A submarines. In that case, the Northern Fleet will eventually turn into a flotilla.

The Pacific Fleet has now almost completely fallen into two groupings – in Kamchatka and in Primorie. They are almost devoid of operative connection. Kamchatka’s above-water forces are practically liquidated. It reduces to zero the ability to fully secure strategic submarines’ combat duty, although it is here where new Project 955 missile-carriers are to be supplied. The Pacific Fleet’s forces in Primorie have completely lost their nuclear submarines, and now constitute a small unit headed by “Variag” missile cruiser. The Pacific Fleet’s technical maintenance and vessel repair has always been the worst among all Russian fleets.

Russia has completely lost its century-long supremacy in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea. Both fleets are now unable to counteract even the united naval groupings of NATO-neighboring countries, not to mention their inability to blockade strait zones. The Black Sea Fleet is a quaint mixture of solitary ships of different types, most of which now have museum value.

There are no prospects for the above-water fleet’s renovation for the coming 10-15 years. Although, several new-type vessels’ construction has been initiated recently (Project 22350 frigate, five Project 20380 corvettes, three Project 21630 small artillery ships, Project 11711 large landing ship). However, the real amount of financing turns all these programs into protracted construction. The total number of ships planned to be built under the State Weaponry Program for 2007-2015, even if it is successfully and fully implemented, will not allow counting on the equal replacement of ageing ships and the formation of homogeneous units of new-type vessels. Most likely, it will boil down to replenishing some of the fleets with a few single ships.












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