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Another massive sanctions fail: Russia forges ahead with marine gas turbines

Russia produces marine gas turbines in record time, defeating attempts to delay its naval programme by blocking their supply from Ukraine.

Alexander Mercouris

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The single biggest impact of the Ukrainian crisis on Russia’s defence build-up came from Russia losing access to the Zorya-Mashproekt plant in Ukraine, which since the 1950s has built the marine gas turbines used in the engines of ships of the Soviet and Russian fleets.

Following the 2014 Maidan coup and Crimea’s reunification with Russia, Ukraine stopped all further supplies of marine gas turbines from this plant to Russia.  Moreover in July 2014 the EU imposed sectoral sanctions on Russia, which prohibited the supply of ‘dual-use’ technologies (ie. technologies that could be used for both civilian and military applications) in what appears to have been a plan to prevent Russia replicating Ukraine’s gas turbine industry on its own territory or buying marine gas turbines for its navy from the West.

There is no doubt these measures were intended to disrupt Russian naval programme, with the new Admiral Gorshkov and Admiral Grigorovich frigate classes in particular depending on supplies of marine gas turbines from Ukraine.

As recently as March this year an article in the National Interest was claiming that the block on sale of Ukrainian marine gas turbines to Russia would hold up the Russian naval programme by “at least five years”

…….the problem for the Russian Navy is that the vessel’s gas-turbine engines are built by Zorya-Mashproekt in Ukraine—a legacy of the Soviet Union. “The frigate program has run into a mess because of Ukrainian engines,” Kofman said. “They’re looking at substantial delays of probably at least five years.”

On the positive side, the Russians have learned to maintain and overhaul Ukrainian-made engines onboard their existing ships, Kofman said. However, the solution was to hire as many Ukrainian technicians as possible who were willing to work in Russia. Kofman noted Russia has not yet been able to indigenously produce its own gas turbines to replace those currently installed in its fleet.

A mere month since that article was written Russia has proved it wrong.

President Putin has just returned to Moscow from a trip to the Rybinsk, where he held a meeting of Russia’s military industrial commission at the offices of the NPO-Saturn Production Company.

Saturn is one of Russia’s leaders in gas turbine technology, designing the Lyulka engines used by Russia’s Sukhoi fighters.  There is a large technological overlap between gas turbine technology used for aircraft engines and gas turbine technology used for other applications.  Following the embargo on the supply to Russia of marine gas turbines from Ukraine and of ‘dual-use’ technology from the West, Saturn was charged by the Russian government with replicating the technology in Russia.

Putin says it has succeeded, and done so moreover in a far shorter time-frame than anyone in the West or Ukraine expected, so that the delay in Russia’s naval programme will be only 18 months not five years. Here is how the Kremlin reports his comments

Since 2014, work has been conducted here to organise the production of ship gas turbine engines for combat vessels. This will allow us to produce and service such engines on our own.

You know, we were buying such engines in Ukraine before 2014. Unfortunately, through no fault of our own, this cooperation came to an end, and even the possibility of such cooperation has vanished. We had to turn to import replacement. Frankly, this was beneficial to us from a technological standpoint, because in the time from December 2014 to the present, we created a virtually new area of research and a new manufacturing industry. Previously, this expertise did not exist in Russia.

I am pleased to note that this work has been completed ahead of schedule. We thought that we would have to move the warship construction schedule back a couple of years, but the delay will be slightly shorter, about 18 months.

The article in the National Interest speculated that Russia might import marine gas turbines from China to make up for those it could no longer acquire in Ukraine

Moscow is exploring the purchase of Chinese-built engines (which are “derived” from German engines made by MTU and China similarly benefitted from extensive cooperation with Ukraine in this sphere).

Putin confirms that this option was considered but rejected, with Russia instead deciding to develop the entire technology itself from scratch

We could have gone with various different scenarios, such as looking for replacement imports or creating other makeshift solutions. Instead, we decided to develop these industries in our country. Judging by the result, we did everything right, because not only did we acquire a new area of expertise, we also obtained innovative equipment, which is more advanced than what we used to import. Its efficiency is 10–15 percent higher, and its service life is longer. This is true of the ships of nearby and distant maritime zones.

That the new gas turbines Russia has developed are more efficient than those it used to import from Ukraine is almost certainly true, since Ukraine’s gas turbine technology has essentially stagnated since the USSR fell.  There have been significant advances in this technology since then, and it would be surprising if the Russians could not design marine gas turbines which are more technologically advanced and more efficient than those currently produced in Ukraine.  What is surprising is that they have done it so quickly.

In order to dispel any doubt that the new all-Russian designed and Russian built marine gas turbines actually exist, the Kremlin has also provided a short summary of a tour by Putin of the Saturn facility in Rybinsk, in which he is reported to have inspected them

The President was shown the company’s products and attended the launch of a project to manufacture marine gas turbines. Vladimir Putin signalled the launch of tests of the M-35R-1 gas turbine with an M-70-FRU-2 engine for marine projects.

Other reports suggest that the new marine gas turbines will not be built in Rybinsk but in a new factory already built to manufacture them in St. Petersburg.

Putin was being slightly disingenuous when he said that “previously this expertise (to design and build marine gas turbines) did not exist in Russia”.  Prior to the crisis that brought about the fall of the USSR no one in Russia would have considered the Zorya-Mashproekt plant in Ukraine a “foreign” plant, and Russia actually has an abundance of knowledge and familiarity with this technology.  The speed with which the Russians have been able to replicate both the technology and its production on their own territory is nonetheless extremely impressive.

This episode again highlights a point I recently made in connection with Russia’s successful replication of oil drilling and shale technology, the export of which to Russia has also been prohibited by the West

The West seriously underestimated Russia in 2014.  It failed to realise to what an extent the country had advanced beyond the disastrous times of the 1990s.

Whereas the sort of sanctions the West imposed on Russia in 2014 would have crushed the Russian economy if they had been imposed in say 2000, today Russia is fully capable of developing its economy by drawing on its own financial resources and its own technology, both of which it has in abundance.

What the West did in 2014, by imposing the sanctions at a time when there was an oil price fall, was force the Russians to do this more efficiently and more quickly than they would have done if they had been left alone.

Westerners always seem to cling on to their idea of Russia as a poor, technologically backward, ill-governed, irredeemably corrupt, ‘third world’ country (“Upper Volta with missiles”).  This is what leads them to make foolish decisions, such as the decision to impose sectoral sanctions, which they took in July 2014.

Just as the sanctions the West imposed on Russia in 2014 forced the Russians to replicate the West’s oil drilling and shale technology “more efficiently and more quickly than they would have done if they had been left alone”, so the West’s and Ukraine’s ban on sales of marine gas turbines to Russia have forced the Russians to replicate “more efficiently and more quickly” production of marine gas turbines on their own territory “than they would have done if they had been left alone”.

The big loser is of course Ukraine, or to be more precise the  Zorya-Mashproekt plant, whose future now that it has lost its main buyer must be in doubt.

As to the Russian naval programme, Ukraine’s and the West’s transparent attempt to sabotage it by blocking the supply of marine gas turbines for its engines has obviously ended in failure.

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DS Analysis
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DS Analysis

This is what Ukraine gets for doing the bidding of the empire. Poor sods.

Riccardo Zanetti
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Riccardo Zanetti

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of arseholes.

Terry Ross
Guest
Terry Ross

Does this mean that these gas turbines can perhaps be repurposed in power stations as well, such as those being constructed in Crimea?

JohnT
Guest
JohnT

Likely not a leap. Pratt-Whitney powers aircraft and power stations.

Take a governor controlled aircraft engine, coupled aero derivationally to a generator, and boom you have simple cycle power station.

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

London Underground trains emergency generators are powered by two 1950’s Lightning fighter jet engines. They are tested every week for an hour or so.

Gary Sellars
Guest
Gary Sellars

The Russians have had power generation gas turbines for a long time. One of the latest modern units is the GTE-110 that is available for 100-500MW ratings. its only now that they have finally gotten around to developing maritime propulsions sets, but its really a re-packaging exercise, in concert with the other power train components like gearboxes for CODAG, CODAD configurations etc

Terry Ross
Guest
Terry Ross

Interesting. Perhaps they are not compatible with the Crimean design and that’s why I asked about the marine gas turbines. “Russia is struggling to source gas turbines for two new power plants it is building in Crimea, Russian Energy Ministry Alexander Novak said on Wednesday.” “Three sources told Reuters last year that turbines for the Crimean plants would be made by Siemens Gas Turbine Technologies LLC, a joint venture in which Siemens has a 65 percent share. The German company categorically denied it intended to send turbines to Crimea.The joint venture’s factory is the only one in Russia capable of… Read more »

tom
Guest
tom

If there is a race to become “Upper Volta with missiles”, my money is on the USA to beat Russia by several lengths.

Terry Ross
Guest
Terry Ross

Here is Putin’s meeting in Yaroslavl region to announce the successful production of the gas turbines.

Aussie battler
Guest
Aussie battler

This is exelant news,Russia must become more self reliant
More innovative and above all insulate itself from the totally
Corrupt Bancrupt western corporate elites scum

James Willy
Guest
James Willy

The whole article made me smile. It is nice reading any story of this type, showing great examples of how all zionist tactics fail every single time. Would be nicer if Russia would just finally end this debacle once and for all.

Alex Popoff
Guest
Alex Popoff

>the decision to impose sectoral sanctions, which they took in July 2014.

After west shooted down MH17 in false flag FAILED operation.

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

Nations are no different to companies and families. If there is easy money to be had , why bother with the difficult or boring jobs.

However, in adversity, turning ones hands to those jobs is necessary and satisfying. It also enables one to say ‘Thank you but No thank you ‘ to outside salesmen.

wimroffel
Guest
wimroffel

It will be more convincing when the Kuznetsov no longer smokes like it comes from the 19th century.

Gary Sellars
Guest
Gary Sellars

Kuznetsov uses steam turbines, not gas turbines… totally different technology, and which for Russia has a full production chain. BTW the Kuznetsov uses a heavy fuel oil called Mazut-100 which is cheap and has good calorific value, but the downside is it burns smoky until the burners are fully up to temperature. The K smokes heavily when she is bring new boilers on line, eg if she is getting underway, or needs to pick up her speed, and if she is cruising at a constant rate she produces minimal smoke (but of course our MSM chooses not to show any… Read more »

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America’s wars are against American’s interests

War is a racket

Richard Galustian

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To advocate wars are good is insane!

For one, Afghanistan is about a ridiculously flawed US government foreign policy. it is not about ‘winning’ a war as Erik Prince describes in his video.

There is no reason for the US to be in Afghanistan.

Something Mr. Prince seems to fail to understand the reader can judge by watching Prince’s presentation promoting war.

That said, what Erik Prince explains about the military industrial complex is correct. Weapons purchases must be curtailed.

However more importantly, what he fails to say is America must stop its ‘’regime change policy’ and avoid future wars, is the real issue.

To provoke war for example with Russia or China is absolute insanity producing eventually only nuclear armageddon, the consequence is the destruction of the planet.

Trillions of dollars should not be spent (and wasted) by the Pentagon but that money should be used to build America’s roads; expand railways; build hospitals and schools, etc.

Especially also to pay much needed disability benefits to disabled vets who wasted their lives in past pointless wars from Korea to Vietnam to Iraq et al. Americans soldiers need to ‘go home’.

Withdrawing its unnecessary US bases worldwide; a left over outdated idea from the end of WW11, such as America’s military presence in Korea, Japan, Germany; the Persian Gulf, even in the UK.

Foreign military interventions are adventures pursued by ‘elites’ interests, ‘using’ NATO in most cases, as its tool, only for their (the elites) profit at the expense of ordinary people.

“War is a Racket” to quote the much decorated hero and patriot, US Marine, Major General Smedley Butler.

We can learn from history to understand America’s current predicament.

Brown Brothers Harriman in New York in the 1930s financed Hitler and Mussolini right up to the day war was declared by Roosevelt following the attack on Pearl Harbour.

A little taught fact in America’s colleges and ivy league universities is that Wall Street bankers (with a degree of assistance from the Bush family by the way) at the time had decided that a fascist dictatorship in the United States would be far better for their business interests than Roosevelt’s “new deal” which threatened massive wealth re-distribution to recapitalize the working and middle class of America and build America’s infrastructure.

So the Wall Street bankers recruited the much respected General Smedley Butler to lead an overthrow of the us government and install a “Secretary of General Affairs” who would be answerable to Wall Street, not the people; who would crush social unrest and shut down all labour unions. however General Smedley Butler only pretended to go along with the scheme, then exposed the plot. The General played the traitors along to gather evidence for congress and the president. When Roosevelt learned of the planned coup, he initially demanded the arrest of the plotters but this never happened because Roosevelt was in effect blackmailed by those same US bankers; another story!

Read the words of Major General Smedley Butler who explains what exactly happened.

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service as a member of our country’s most agile military force — the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to major general. and during that period I spent more of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for wall street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. “I suspected I was just a part of a racket at the time. now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession, I never had an original thought until I left the service. my mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service. Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the national city bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of wall street. the record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that the standard oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals and promotion. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. the best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. I operated on three continents.” —

General Smedley Butler, former US Marine Corps Commandant, 1935.

We need peace not wars.

We need infrastructure building in America and Europe……not wars.

Somebody should explain this to Mr. Prince, and perhaps to his sister too…..who happens to be part of President Trump’s administration!

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Theresa May goes to Brussels and comes back with a big fat donut (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 39.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Theresa May’s trip to Brussels to try and win some concessions from EU oligarchs, only to get completely rebuked and ridiculed, leaving EU headquarters with nothing but a four page document essentially telling the UK to get its act together or face a hard Brexit.

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Via Zerohedge


Any confidence boost that might have followed Theresa May’s triumph this week over her party’s implacable Brexiteers has probably already faded. Because if there was anything to be learned from the stunning rebuke delivered to the prime minister by EU leaders on Thursday, it’s that the prime minister is looking more stuck than ever.

This was evidenced by the frosty confrontation between the imperturbable May and her chief Continental antagonist, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, which was caught on film on Friday shortly before the close of a two-day European Council summit that descended into bitter recriminations. After offering token praise of May’s leadership, Brussels’ supreme bureaucrat criticized her negotiating strategy as “disorganized”, provoking a heated response from May.

Earlier, May desperately pleaded with her European colleagues – who had adamantly insisted that the text of the withdrawal agreement would not be altered – to grant her “legally binding assurances” May believes would make the Brexit plan palatable enough to win a slim victory in the Commons.

If there were any lingering doubts about the EU’s position, they were swiftly dispelled by a striking gesture of contempt for May: Demonstrating the Continent’s indifference to her plight, the final text of the summit’s conclusions was altered to remove a suggestion that the EU consider what further assurances can be offered to May, while leaving in a resolution to continue contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit.

Even the Irish, who in the recent past have been sympathetic to their neighbors’ plight (in part due to fears about a resurgence of insurrectionary violence should a hard border re-emerge between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland), implied that there patience had reached its breaking point.

Here’s the FT:

But Leo Varadkar, the Irish premier, warned that the EU could not tolerate a treaty approval process where a country “comes back every couple of weeks following discussions with their parliament looking for something extra…you can’t operate international relations on this basis.”

Senior EU officials are resisting further negotiations — and suggestions of a special Brexit summit next month — because they see Britain’s requests as in effect a bid to rewrite the exit treaty.

Mr Varadkar noted that many prime ministers had been called to Brussels “at short notice” for a special Brexit summit “on a Sunday in November,” adding: “I don’t think they would be willing to come to Brussels again unless we really have to.”

In response, May threatened to hold a vote on the Brexit plan before Christmas, which would almost certainly result in its defeat, scrapping the fruits of more than a year of contentious negotiations.

Given that Mrs May aborted a Commons vote on her deal this week because she feared defeat by a “significant margin,” her comments amounted to a threat that she would let MPs kill the withdrawal agreement before Christmas.

Mrs May made the threat to German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron and EU presidents Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk as the two day Brussels summit descended into acrimony, according to diplomats.

“At the point where there is no prospect of getting anything more from the EU, that’s when you would have to put the vote,” said one close aide to Mrs May.

If this week has taught May anything, it’s that her plan to pressure the EU into more concessions (her preferred option to help her pass the Brexit plan) was an unmitigated failure. And given that running out the clock and hoping that MPs come around at the last minute (when the options truly have been reduced to ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’) leaves too much room for market-rattling uncertainty, May is left with a few options, two of which were previously ‘off the table’ (though she has distanced herself from those positions in recent weeks).

They are: Calling a second referendum, delaying a Brexit vote, pivoting to a softer ‘Plan B’ Brexit, or accepting a ‘no deal’ Brexit. As the BBC reminds us, May is obliged by law to put her deal to a vote by Jan. 21, or go to Parliament with a Plan B.

If May does decide to run down the clock, she will have two last-minute options:

On the one hand she could somehow cancel, delay, soften or hold another referendum on Brexit and risk alienating the 17.4 million people who voted Leave.

But on the other hand, she could go for a so-called Hard Brexit (where few of the existing ties between the UK and the EU are retained) and risk causing untold damage to the UK’s economy and standing in the world for years to come.

Alternatively, May could accept the fact that convincing the Brexiteers is a lost cause, and try to rally support among Labour MPs for a ‘softer’ Brexit plan, one that would more countenance closer ties with the EU during the transition, and ultimately set the stage for a closer relationship that could see the UK remain part of the customs union and single market. Conservatives are also increasingly pushing for a ‘Plan B’ deal that would effectively set the terms for a Norway- or Canada-style trade deal (and this strategy isn’t without risk, as any deal accepted by Parliament would still require approval from the EU).

But as JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank anticipated last week, a second referendum (which supporters have nicknamed a “People’s Vote”) is becoming increasingly popular, even among MPs who supported the ‘Leave’ campaign, according to Bloomberg.

It’s not the only previously unthinkable idea that May has talked about this week. Fighting off a challenge to her leadership from pro-Brexit Conservative members of Parliament, the premier warned that deposing her would mean delaying Britain’s departure from the European Union. That’s not something she admitted was possible last month.

The argument for a second referendum advanced by one minister was simple: If nothing can get through Parliament — and it looks like nothing can — the question needs to go back to voters.

While campaigners for a second vote have mostly been those who want to reverse the result of the last one and keep Britain inside the EU, that’s not the reason a lot of new supporters are coming round to the idea.

One Cabinet minister said this week he wanted a second referendum on the table to make clear to Brexit supporters in the Conservative Party that the alternative to May’s deal is no Brexit at all.

Even former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is urging his supporters to be ready for a second referendum:

Speaking at rally in London, Press Association quoted Farage as saying: “My message folks tonight is as much as I don’t want a second referendum it would be wrong of us on a Leave Means Leave platform not to get ready, not to be prepared for a worst-case scenario.”

Putting pressure on Brexiteers is also the reason there’s more talk of delaying the U.K.’s departure. At the moment, many Brexit-backers are talking openly about running down the clock to March so they can get the hard Brexit they want. Extending the process — which is easier than many appreciate — takes that strategy off the table.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has continued to call for May to put her deal to a vote principally because its defeat is a necessary precursor for another referendum (or a no-confidence vote pushed by an alliance between Labour, and some combination of rebel Tories, the SNP and the DUP).

“The last 24 hours have shown that Theresa May’s Brexit deal is dead in the water,” said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “She’s failed to deliver any meaningful changes. Rather than ploughing ahead and recklessly running down the clock, she needs to put her deal to a vote next week so Parliament can take back control.”

The upshot is that the Brexit trainwreck, which has been stuck at an impasse for months, could finally see some meaningful movement in the coming weeks. Which means its a good time to bring back this handy chart illustrating the many different outcomes that could arise:

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Ukraine’s President Says “High” Threat Of Russian Invasion, Urges NATO Entry In Next 5 Years

Poroshenko is trying desperately to hold on to power, even if it means provoking Russia.

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Via Zerohedge


Perhaps still seeking to justify imposing martial law over broad swathes of his country, and attempting to keep international pressure and media focus on a narrative of “Russian aggression,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denounced what he called the high “threat of Russian invasion” during a press conference on Sunday, according to Bloomberg.

Though what some analysts expected would be a rapid flair up of tit-for-tat incidents following the late November Kerch Strait seizure of three Ukrainian vessels and their crew by the Russian Navy has gone somewhat quiet, with no further major incident to follow, Poroshenko has continued to signal to the West that Russia could invade at any moment.

“The lion’s share of Russian troops remain” along the Russian border with Ukraine, Poroshenko told journalists at a press conference in the capital, Kiev. “Unfortunately, less than 10 percent were withdrawn,” he said, and added: “As of now, the threat of Russian troops invading remains. We have to be ready for this, we won’t allow a repeat of 2014.”

Poroshenko, who declared martial law on Nov. 26, citing at the time possible imminent “full-scale war with Russia” and Russian tank and troop build-up, on Sunday noted that he will end martial law on Dec. 26 and the temporarily suspended presidential campaign will kick off should there be no Russian invasion. He also previously banned all Russian males ages 16-60 from entering Ukraine as part of implementation of 30 days of martial law over ten provinces, though it’s unclear if this policy will be rescinded.

During his remarks, the Ukrainian president said his country should push to join NATO and the EU within the next five years, per Bloomberg:

While declining to announce whether he will seek a second term in the office, Poroshenko said that Ukraine should achieve peace, overcome the consequences of its economic crisis and to meet criteria to join the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during next five years.

But concerning both his retaining power and his ongoing “threat exaggeration” — there’s even widespread domestic acknowledgement that the two are clearly linked.

According to The Globe and Mail:

While Mr. Poroshenko’s domestic rivals accuse him of exaggerating the threat in order to boost his own flagging political fortunes — polls suggest Mr. Poroshenko is on track to lose his job in a March election — military experts say there are reasons to take the Ukrainian president’s warning seriously.

As we observed previously, while European officials have urged both sides to exercise restraint, the incident shows just how easily Russia and the West could be drawn into a military conflict over Ukraine.

Certainly Poroshenko’s words appear designed to telegraph just such an outcome, which would keep him in power as a war-time president, hasten more and massive western military support and aid, and quicken his country’s entry into NATO — the latter which is already treating Ukraine as a de facto strategic outpost.

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