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Why Rogozin Should Be Granted His Wish

Published: May 22, 2014 (Issue # 1811)




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Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin posted a message on Twitter not long ago in which he said he would trade his high-ranking post for a chance to serve in the trenches near Slovyansk. If I were President Vladimir Putin, I would grant his wish in a heartbeat.

Putin was compelled to hold three closed-door meetings on the subject in the past week alone. The extent to which Putin has become involved and the lack of any real achievements in Rogozin’s areas of responsibility — the defense and space sectors — indicate that Rogozin is performing far below par. But Putin should fire Rogozin not because he is unfit for the job, but because he has jinxed Russia’s military-industrial complex.

Rogozin, who is on the European Union’s list of sanctioned individuals, has repeatedly threatened neighboring states with Russia’s nuclear arsenal in recent weeks. When Ukraine and Romania had denied his airplane the right to fly over their territories earlier this month, Rogozin threatened that next time he would visit the region in a Tu-160 strategic bomber, which carries nuclear weapons, essentially threatening a nuclear attack. He next warned that he would refuse U.S. astronauts access to the International Space Station, suggesting they try using a giant trampoline instead.

But amid all of these jabs, he received a sharp jab of his own: A Proton rocket crashed on May 16 — the second time that has happened on his watch. The Proton was created in the early 1960s and flew successfully hundreds of times — that is, until Rogozin took charge of Russia’s defense and space sectors.

As a result of Rogozin’s serious problems, his seemingly bold threats look absurd. At the same time, however, it has been common over the past few years for officials and opinion-makers close to the Kremlin to try to frighten the world with threats of starting a nuclear war. For example, a correspondent for state-controlled television reporting from a rehearsal of the Victory Day military parade in Moscow pointed out that the Topol-M missile launched from Russia could easily reach Washington.

In addition, pro-Kremlin television anchor Dmitry Kiselyov said last month on his weekly television show that the Perimeter system, which was created during the Soviet era to automatically launch a nuclear counter-attack after a U.S. first strike, could turn the U.S. into radioactive dust. Even during the Soviet era, this kind of flippancy regarding such a serious subject as nuclear war was prohibited. That is why they were deeply shocked, for example, when former U.S. President Ronald Reagan joked during a microphone check that “we begin bombing [Russia] in five minutes.”

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Jan. 26


Feeling stressed by the crisis? The Northwest Coach University at 3 Ulitsa Vostsstanaya is hosting a master class by lifecoach Tatiana Almazova. She will shed light on the coaching process, the usefulness of coaching during times of economic downturn and how coaching can improve your career and business prospects. The event starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Pre-register by calling 424 3700.



Discover the State Hermitage Museum's collection of English painting at a lecture by art historian Yelizaveta Renne at the Prince Galitzine Library, 46 Nab. Reki Fontanki. The event starts at 6 p.m. and the lecture will be followed by a concert of arias, songs and duets by English composer Henry Purcell. The event is free of charge.



Tuesday, Jan. 27


Celebrate the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



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