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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
Guest
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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Why did Trump recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory?

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 116.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the reasons behind US President Trump’s sudden recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

Following Trump’s statements as US President, acting Israeli Foreign Minister is saying that Trump will make it official and sign an executive order to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Syrian border territory on Monday.

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Via DW

Israel says White House officials are preparing an official document to codify support for Israel’s sovereignty of the Golan Heights, which will be signed by US President Donald Trump on Monday.

The signing of the decree will be witnessed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during talks with Trump at the White House, Israel’s acting foreign minister, Israel Katz (pictured), said in a Tweet.

“Tomorrow, President Trump, in the presence of PM Netanyahu, will sign a decree recognizing Israel’s sovereignty on the Golan. Israel-US ties are closer than ever,” Katz said.

Israel seized the strategic plateau from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war, subsequently annexing it in 1981 in a move never recognized by the international community.

Trump’s tweet annoys allies

Trump broke with decades of US Middle East policy when he posted a Tweet on Thursday that said it was time to accept Israel’s widely-contested claim to the border territory.

The decision has been criticized by many US allies — Germany, Britain, France and the EU have all said they still consider the Golan Heights to be “occupied” by Israel.

Syria and other states in the region said the recognition, if confirmed, would violate international law.

Netanyahu has long pushed for Washington’s endorsement, and many analysts see Trump’s comments as a campaign gift ahead of Israel’s April 9 election.

In 2017, Trump drew condemnation throughout the Middle East when he recognized the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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Russia Gives US Red Line On Venezuela

Political force is out. Military force is out. Respect international law and Venezuela’s sovereignty. That’s Russia’s eminently reasonable ultimatum to Washington.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


At a high-level meeting in Rome this week, it seems that Russia reiterated a grave warning to the US – Moscow will not tolerate American military intervention to topple the Venezuelan government with whom it is allied.

Meanwhile, back in Washington DC, President Donald Trump was again bragging that the military option was still on the table, in his press conference with Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro. Trump is bluffing or not yet up to speed with being apprised of Russia’s red line.

The meeting in the Italian capital between US “special envoy” on Venezuelan affairs Elliot Abrams and Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov had an air of urgency in its arrangement. The US State Department announced the tête-à-tête only three days beforehand. The two officials also reportedly held their two-hour discussions in a Rome hotel, a venue indicating ad hoc arrangement.

Abrams is no ordinary diplomat. He is a regime-change specialist with a criminal record for sponsoring terrorist operations, specifically the infamous Iran-Contra affair to destabilize Nicaragua during the 1980s. His appointment by President Trump to the “Venezuela file” only underscores the serious intent in Washington for regime change in Caracas. Whether it gets away with that intent is another matter.

Moscow’s interlocutor, Sergei Ryabkov, is known to not mince his words, having earlier castigated Washington for seeking global military domination. He calls a spade a spade, and presumably a criminal a criminal.

The encounter in Rome this week was described as “frank” and “serious” – which is diplomatic code for a blazing exchange. The timing comes at a high-stakes moment, after Venezuela having been thrown into chaos last week from civilian power blackouts that many observers, including the Kremlin, blame on American cyber sabotage. The power grid outage followed a failed attempt by Washington to stage a provocation with the Venezuelan military over humanitarian aid deliveries last month from neighboring Colombia.

The fact that Washington’s efforts to overthrow the elected President Nicolas Maduro have so far floundered, might suggest that the Americans are intensifying their campaign to destabilize the country, with the objective of installing US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido. He declared himself “acting president” in January with Washington’s imprimatur.

Given that the nationwide power blackouts seem to have failed in fomenting a revolt by the civilian population or the military against Maduro, the next option tempting Washington could be the military one.

It seems significant that Washington has recently evacuated its last remaining diplomats from the South American country. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented on the evacuation by saying that having US personnel on the ground “was limiting” Washington’s scope for action. Also, American Airlines reportedly cancelled all its services to Venezuela in the past week. Again, suggesting that the US was considering a military intervention, either directly with its troops or covertly by weaponizing local proxies. The latter certainly falls under Abrams’ purview.

After the Rome meeting, Ryabkov said bluntly: “We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings.”

One of those warnings delivered by Ryabkov is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow.

For his part, Abrams sounded as if he had emerged from the meeting after having been given a severe reprimand. “No, we did not come to a meeting of minds, but I think the talks were positive in the sense that both sides emerged with a better understanding of the other’s views,” he told reporters.

“A better understanding of the other’s views,” means that the American side was given a red line to back off.

The arrogance of the Americans is staggering. Abrams seems, according to US reporting, to have flown to Rome with the expectation of working out with Ryabkov a “transition” or “compromise” on who gets the “title of president” of Venezuela.

That’s what he no doubt meant when he said after the meeting “there was not a meeting of minds”, but rather he got “a better understanding” of Russia’s position.

Washington’s gambit is a replay of Syria. During the eight-year war in that country, the US continually proffered the demand of a “political transition” which at the end would see President Bashar al Assad standing down. By contrast, Russia’s unflinching position on Syria has always been that it’s not up to any external power to decide Syria’s politics. It is a sovereign matter for the Syrian people to determine independently.

Nearly three years after Russia intervened militarily in Syria to salvage the Arab country from a US-backed covert war for regime change, the American side has manifestly given up on its erstwhile imperious demands for “political transition”. The principle of Syrian sovereignty has prevailed, in large part because of Russia’s trenchant defense of its Arab ally.

Likewise, Washington, in its incorrigible arrogance, is getting another lesson from Russia – this time in its own presumed “back yard” of Latin America.

It’s not a question of Russia being inveigled by Washington’s regime-change schemers about who should be president of Venezuela and “how we can manage a transition”. Moscow has reiterated countless times that the legitimate president of Venezuela is Nicolas Maduro whom the people voted for last year by an overwhelming majority in a free and fair election – albeit boycotted by the US-orchestrated opposition.

The framework Washington is attempting to set up of choosing between their desired “interim president” and incumbent Maduro is an entirely spurious one. It is not even worthy to be discussed because it is a gross violation of Venezuela’s sovereignty. Who is Washington to even dare try to impose its false choice?

On Venezuela, Russia is having to remind the criminal American rulers – again – about international law and respect for national sovereignty, as Moscow earlier did with regard to Syria.

And in case Washington gets into a huff and tries the military option, Moscow this week told regime-change henchman Abrams that that’s a red line. If Washington has any sense of rationale left, it will know from its Syria fiasco that Russia has Venezuela’s back covered.

Political force is out. Military force is out. Respect international law and Venezuela’s sovereignty. That’s Russia’s eminently reasonable ultimatum to Washington.

Now, the desperate Americans could still try more sabotage, cyber or financial. But their options are limited, contrary to what Trump thinks.

How the days of American imperialist swagger are numbered. There was a time when it could rampage all over Latin America. Not any more, evidently. Thanks in part to Russia’s global standing and military power.

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With RussiaGate Over Where’s Hillary?

Hillary is the epitome of envy. Envy is the destructive sin of coveting someone else’s life so much they are obsessed with destroying it. It’s the sin of Cain. She envies what Trump has, the Presidency.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


During most of the RussiaGate investigation against Donald Trump I kept saying that all roads lead to Hillary Clinton.

Anyone with three working brain cells knew this, including ‘Miss’ Maddow, whose tears of disappointment are particularly delicious.

Robert Mueller’s investigation was designed from the beginning to create something out of nothing. It did this admirably.

It was so effective it paralyzed the country for more than two years, just like Europe has been held hostage by Brexit. And all of this because, in the end, the elites I call The Davos Crowd refused to accept that the people no longer believed their lies about the benefits of their neoliberal, globalist agenda.

Hillary Clinton’s ascension to the Presidency was to be their apotheosis along with the Brexit vote. These were meant to lay to rest, once and for all time, the vaguely libertarian notion that people should rule themselves and not be ruled by philosopher kings in some distant land.

Hillary’s failure was enormous. And the RussiaGate gambit to destroy Trump served a laundry list of purposes to cover it:

  1. Undermine his legitimacy before he even takes office.
  2. Accuse him of what Hillary actually did: collude with Russians and Ukrainians to effect the outcome of the election
  3. Paralyze Trump on his foreign policy desires to scale back the Empire
  4. Give aid and comfort to hurting progressives and radicalize them further undermining our political system
  5. Polarize the electorate over the false choice of Trump’s guilt.
  6. Paralyze the Dept. of Justice and Congress so that they would not uncover the massive corruption in the intelligence agencies in the U.S. and the U.K.
  7. Isolate Trump and take away every ally or potential ally he could have by turning them against him through prosecutor overreach.

Hillary should have been thrown to the wolves after she failed. When you fail the people she failed and cost them the money she cost them, you lose more than just your funding. What this tells you is that she has so much dirt on everyone involved, once this thing started everyone went along with it lest she burn them down as well.

Burnin’ Down da House

Hillary is the epitome of envy. Envy is the destructive sin of coveting someone else’s life so much they are obsessed with destroying it. It’s the sin of Cain

She envies what Trump has, the Presidency.

And she was willing to tear it down to keep him from having it no matter how much damage it would do. She’s worse than the Joker from The Dark Knight.

Because while the Joker is unfathomable to someone with a conscience there’s little stopping us from excising him from the community completely., even though Batman refuses.

Hillary hates us for who we are and what we won’t give her. And that animus drove her to blackmail the world while putting on the face of its savior.

And that’s what makes what comes next so obvious to me. RussiaGate was never a sustainable narrative. It was ludicrous from the beginning. And now that it has ended with a whimper there are a lot of angry, confused and scared people out there.

Mueller thought all he had to do was lean on corrupt people and threaten them with everything. They would turn on Trump. He would resign in disgrace from the public outcry.

It didn’t work. In the end Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and Roger Stone all held their ground or perjured themselves into the whole thing falling apart.

Andrew Weissman’s resignation last month was your tell there was nothing. Mueller would pursue this to the limit of his personal reputation and no further.

Just like so many other politicians.

Vote Your Pocketbook

With respect to Brexit I’ve been convinced that it would come down to reputations.

Would the British MP’s vote against their own personal best interests to do the bidding of the EU?

Would Theresa May eventually realize her historical reputation would be destroyed if she caves to Brussels and betrays Brexit in the end?

Always bet on the fecklessness of politicians. They will always act selfishly when put to the test. While leading RussiaGate, Mueller was always headed here if he couldn’t get someone to betray Trump.

And now his report is in. There are no new indictments. And by doing so he is saving his reputation for the future. And that is your biggest tell that HIllary’s blackmail is now worthless.

They don’t fear her anymore because RussiaGate outed her as the architect. Anything else she has is irrelevant in the face of trying to oust a sitting president from power.

The progressives that were convinced of Trump’s treason are bereft; their false hope stripped away like standing in front of a sandblaster. They will be raw, angry and looking for blood after they get over their denial.

Everyone else who was blackmailed into going along with this lunacy will begin cutting deals to save their skins. The outrage over this will not end. Trump will be President when he stands for re-election.

The Wolves Beckon

The Democrats do not have a chance against him as of right now. When he was caving on everything back in December it looked like he was done. That there was enough meat on the RussiaGate bones to make Nancy Pelosi brave.

Then she backed off on impeachment talk. Oops.

But the Democrats have a sincere problem. Their candidates have no solutions other than to embrace the crazy and go full Bolshevik. That is not a winning position.

Trump will kill them on ‘socialism.’

The Deep State and The Davos Crowd stand revealed and reviled.

If they don’t do something dramatic then the anger from the rest of the country will also be palpable come election time. Justice is not done simply by saying, “No evidence of collusion.”

It’s clear that RussiaGate is a failure of monumental proportions. Heads will have to roll. But who will be willing to fall on their sword at this point?

Comey? No. McCabe? No.

There is only one answer. And Obama’s people are still in place to protect him. I said last fall that “Hillary would indict herself.” And I meant it. Eventually her blackmail and drive to burn it all down led to this moment.

The circumstances are different than I expected back then, Trump didn’t win the mid-terms. But the end result was always the same. If there is no collusion, if RussiaGate is a scam, then all roads lead back to Hillary as the sacrificial lamb.

Because the bigger project, the erection of a transnational superstate, is bigger than any one person. Hillary is expendable.

Lies are expensive to maintain. The truth is cheap to defend. Think of the billions in opportunity costs associated with this. Once the costs rise above the benefits, change happens fast.

If there is any hope of salvaging the center of this country for the Democrats, the ones that voted against Hillary in 2016, then there is no reason anymore not to indict Hillary as the architect of RussiaGate.

We all know it’s the truth. So, the cheapest way out of this mess for them is to give the MAGApedes what they want, Hillary.

And hope that is enough bread and circuses to distract from the real storm ahead of us.

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