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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

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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