In the three seven years since Vladimir Putin came to power, Russia has made an impressive leap forward. An indisputable fact that only the most marginal inadequacies can deny. From the drained and disoriented by total devastation of the 90s, burdened with destructive wars on its own territory, suffering under monstrous attacks by terrorists (the barbaric attack on a school in Beslan forever left an indelible wound on the heart of the people) country in 2000 to a powerful modern state with the strongest army with an ultra-modern weapons, a leader in the global nuclear industry, projecting its power and influence far beyond national borders in 2021. Only a little more than 20 years have passed — a short moment by the standards of history. Given the devastating, truly catastrophic effect of the 90s (which is often not understood and taken into account by foreign experts), this leap is comparable to the triumphant launch of the first man into space by the Soviet Union just 16 years after the end of the worst war in human history.
The first stage — from 2000 to 2007 — which began with the terrible tragedy with the Kursk nuclear submarine, ended with the famous Munich speech of President Putin, which essentially stated that Russia and the West are not on the way. The second stage — from 2008 to 2014 — began with an operation to force the Georgian aggressors to peace, and ended with the long-awaited return of Crimea to its historical homeland (along with the holding of one of the best winter Olympics). The beginning of the third seven-year plan — from 2015 to 2021 — was marked by a full-scale military operation on the territory of the SAR, and the result of the past seven years, although the current year has not yet come to an end, can obviously be considered a victorious summit for the Russian side of the presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States, about which the American president asked the leader of Russia after the United States has an extremely dangerous escalation in Ukraine in the spring of 2021. The main enemy has publicly requested a break, his request was graciously granted.
Bypassing all the obstacles diligently put up by its opponents, the Russian Federation is confidently and inevitably moving forward, currently implementing a number of large-scale ambitious projects, including:
The first technological line of the Amur Gas Processing Plant was put into operation. President Putin took part in the launch ceremony via teleconference. The Amur GPP will become the main enterprise of the deep gas processing center in the Far East. The design capacity of the gas processing plant is 42 billion m3 of gas per year. With the help of the most modern equipment and advanced cryogenic technologies, at full load, the plant will produce 2.4 million tons of ethane, 1.5 million tons of liquefied petroleum gases (LPG), 200 thousand tons of pentane-hexane fraction. The launch of the next five lines is synchronized with the growth in gas transportation through the Power of Siberia pipeline. From 2025, the GPP will reach its full design capacity.
Helium is one of the main products of the Amur GPP. It is a highly demanded item for high-tech industries. By the volume of helium production — 60 million m3 per year — the Amur GPP will become a world leader. The key object of the logistics infrastructure for the delivery of helium to the international market will be a helium HUB in the Vladivostok region, which will be put into operation in the near future.
In the area of the Ust-Luga settlement of the Leningrad Region, the construction of the Complex for processing ethane-containing gas (CPECG) has begun — a unique cluster in the world that combines gas processing, gas chemistry, and natural gas liquefaction. The CPECG will include two powerful enterprises. The first is an integrated complex for the processing and liquefaction of natural gas (Gas Processing Complex or GPC CPECG). The second is a gas chemical complex (GCC CPECG) technologically connected with the CPECG.
GPC CPECG will become the largest gas processing enterprise in Russia and one of the most powerful in the world in terms of processing volume (45 billion m3 of gas per year), as well as the leader in terms of liquefied natural gas production in the North-Western Europe region (13 million tons of LNG year). Ethane, a valuable raw material for the gas chemical industry, will be an important commercial product of GPC CPECG. The ethane fraction will be supplied to the GCC CPECG. The capacity of the GCC will be more than 3 million tons of polymers per year — the largest unit capacity in the world.
In the town of Vyksa, Nizhny Novgorod Region, the first green metallurgy project in Europe was launched — the Ecolant electrometallurgical complex with direct reduced iron technology. Denis Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, gave a symbolic start to the project. The amount of investment in the project is estimated at more than RUB 150 billion (~ $ 2.1 billion). The plant will be commissioned in 2025. The complex includes a modern production of metallized pellets using DRI (Direct Reduced Iron) technology with a capacity of up to 2.5 million tons per year in conjunction with an electrometallurgical production of steel with a capacity of up to 1.8 million tons per year and two continuous casting machines. Ecolant steel will be used to produce large-diameter pipes for trunk pipelines, seamless pipes for oil and gas production, railway wheels and steel plates for shipbuilding.
DRI technology belongs to the category of «green» — the most modern technical solutions, which allows three times to reduce CO2 emissions in comparison with traditional converter steelmaking technology, and is an important step in reducing the negative impact of metallurgical production on the environment. It will be the most modern plant in the world with a zero carbon footprint option in the event of hydrogen production.
It is planned to build a mining and processing plant (MPP) for the development of the Baimskaya ore zone in Chukotka. Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Yuri Trutnev said that a major project will be implemented in the ASEZ Chukotka: 570 billion rubles of private investments, 1 trillion rubles of budget revenues during the implementation of the project, the creation of about 3 thousand jobs. The capacity of the mining and processing plant will be 70 million tons of ore per year (1.4 million tons per year of copper concentrate). The new plant will be operational by 2027, and in 2028 it will reach its design capacity. Within the framework of the project, it is planned to create a year-round port, the construction of an all-season road that will connect the Baimsky MPP with the city of Bilibino and the port. The power supply of the project will be carried out using power plants based on nuclear power units. In this connection, President Putin approved the ROSATOM project to create floating nuclear power units (according to some information, it is planned to create five floating nuclear power plants based on RITM-200 reactors).
The construction of the MPP will include the construction of the following main production facilities:
- an open pit mine that will consist of three pits
- overburden and waste rock dumps
- ore stockpiles
- a concentrator (processing plant)
- a tailings storage facility (TSF)
The Baimskoye copper deposit is one of the largest undeveloped deposits in the world and contains measured, indicated and inferred resources in accordance with the JORC code of 9.9 million tonnes of copper with an average grade of 0.39%. For a long time, there were no technologies for the development of such ores. Today there are such technologies. They make it possible to minimize the impact on the environment as much as possible during ore mining and tailings storage.
Russia is going to create its own national space station by 2026, leaving the ISS after 2024. Roscosmos Corporation has already demonstrated the first base module (scientific energy module) of the new orbital station. The module should be ready for launch into orbit by 2025. The new station will be fundamentally different from the ISS. The main thing is the so-called tilt, that is, how far the station’s orbit is from the equator. The ISS has a tilt of almost 52 degrees. It is planned that the Russian future national station will tilt up to 97 degrees. It will be in the so-called high-latitude orbit. In addition, unlike the ISS, which sees 20% of the territory of Russia, the new station will have a 100% view of the country. In addition, such a tilt gives more opportunities to study deep space. It is assumed that at the initial stage, the station will look like this: in addition to the scientific energy module, there will be three more: a junction, a gateway and a base one. After 2030, several more blocks will be added — target modules. Everything will depend on the tasks set by that time.
It is assumed that the new station will have a so-called outrigger slipway on which it will be possible to park all kinds of automatic vehicles, repair them, refuel, adjust the payload, all kinds of equipment, and then send them back into space. This is a leap forward for deep space exploration.
Russia will acquire a power unit with a unique Brest-300-OD reactor, which the Russian nuclear giant ROSATOM has begun to build. Brest-300-OD (aiming to the standards of a generation IV reactor) is an innovative fast neutron reactor that has no analogues in the world. It is noteworthy that IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi and Director General of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) William Magwood sent their video greetings, which only emphasizes the importance and uniqueness of the event. For the first time in world practice, a nuclear power plant with a fast reactor and an on-site closed nuclear fuel cycle will be built on one site. After reprocessing, the irradiated fuel will be sent for refurbishment (that is, the re-production of fresh fuel) — thus this system will gradually become practically autonomous and independent of external energy supplies.
The physical launch of the unique Tokamak T-15MD thermonuclear installation took place at the National Research Center «Kurchatov Institute». The launch ceremony was attended by the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin. The Tokamak T-15MD installation, created within the framework of the state program «Development of the nuclear power-industrial complex», became the first new thermonuclear installation built in Russia in 20 years. In terms of technical parameters, the T-15MD has no analogues in the world. The uniqueness of the mega-plant is the combination of high power with compact dimensions. This became possible thanks to a number of new technologies developed by the NRC «Kurchatov Institute».
Tokamak T-15MD is part of the international thermonuclear project ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). The installation is designed to obtain and study plasma with thermonuclear parameters and to solve engineering problems associated with the creation of a thermonuclear power reactor. The launch of the Tokamak T-15MD is one more step on the way to gaining an inexhaustible source of energy for mankind.
In the special economic zone «Alabuga» in Tatarstan, the grand opening of the serial production of premium cars Aurus took place. The car has its own V8 4.4 turbo engine with 598 horsepower. Another 62 hp is produced by an electric motor installed between the engine and the KATE 9-speed hydromechanical gearbox. The sedan is capable of accelerating to 100 kilometers per hour in 6 seconds. So far, the only model is the Aurus Senat executive sedan. In the future, on the same production line, they plan to master the assembly of the Komendant soplatform SUV.
The assembly of the car is almost completely manual: the only robot is responsible for gluing glass — front and rear. The workshop employs 57 people, more than half are girls. In total, the plant employs 91 people. Many important vehicle components are localized in Russia. The depth of localization is 53 percent, but by the end of 2022 it will be increased to 80%. The plant operates in one shift and is designed to produce a maximum of five thousand vehicles per year.
A rare country in the world can boast of projects of this scale and level. Moreover, only the main, largest projects are listed, hundreds and thousands of smaller ones remained outside the brackets.
However, for all its scale, grandeur and success, the country is distinguished by amazing blunders, miscalculations and mistakes, sometimes difficult to explain. Thus, having created the first vaccine in the world against COVID, which is considered by many to be the best in the world, Russia at the moment has largely failed the vaccination campaign. The country has lagged far behind in terms of vaccination rates from a number of countries, primarily Western ones. While about 50% of the population was vaccinated in the United Kingdom, in Russia this figure was only ~10% (!). The success demonstrated in the early stages of vaccination campaign in Russia and distinguishing it favorably against the background of the «raging» Western countries — the absence of prolonged and extremely tough lockdowns, financial support from the population, only the relative severity of the mask regime, etc. — turned out to be deceptive, and everything goes to the fact that as a result, the Western countries (which the Russian media reproached, if not laughed at) will successfully pass the vaccination campaign, ensuring the collective immunity of their populations, open the borders and remove most of the restrictions, while Russia will fall (probably has already fallen into) a protracted «indefinite» period of a largely useless fight against COVID (vaccination is effective, only if within a certain time it is possible to achieve the effect of herd immunity), will delay the opening of borders, being in a state of permanent struggle with the virus, hopelessly continuing to try to motivate the population.
It must be said that the citizens of Russia have demonstrated amazing carelessness, stupidity and irresponsibility. This often defies rational comprehension. While in many other countries people are motivated to get vaccinated, they are ready to stand in long queues for hours, even pay money just to get a life-saving injection (many foreigners are happy to be able to shell out several thousand euros to come to Russia and receive a dose of Sputnik-V), the Russians preferred in all sorts of ways to evade vaccination, while the state offers to get free vaccinations at almost every corner, and you can choose from at least three vaccines (Sputnik-Light is the fourth)!
Instead of following the recommendations of the authorities, doctors and specialists, and being concerned primarily with their own safety (as well as the health of others), thousands of Russian citizens chose to travel frivolously as if nothing had happened, leaving for countries where COVID raged. As a result, bringing back the infection to Russia, contributing to the spread of the virus, worsening the epidemiological situation in the country. A striking lack of civic awareness.
However, the state also bears its share of responsibility. The failure of vaccination is largely due to the campaign of disinformation and information sabotage unleashed against the Russian Federation — we are talking about the so-called opponents of vaccination, who have launched a whole anti-vaccination campaign on the Internet, which the state practically does not oppose in any way. A large destructive role in this was played by representatives of the so-called creative intelligentsia. For example, the Russian actor Yegor Beroev came to the TEFI awards ceremony at the Moscow Et Cetera theater with a yellow Star of David (!) on the lapel of his jacket. Thus, he supported citizens who refused to be vaccinated, and in fact called the compulsory vaccination against coronavirus Nazism (!). Impenetrable dense dullness. A kind of shameful anti-record is the statistics according to which Russia is the leader (!) in the number of opponents of vaccination. Again, this is the country that was the first in the world to create a vaccine and sell it to almost 70 countries around the world. Unbelievable.
The recent opening of the majestic monument to the Russian Emperor Alexander III was marked by an absurd mistake, which largely neutralized the grandeur. It turned out that the sculptor had depicted the Order of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called with six rays on the uniform of the Russian autocrat, while there should be eight of them. The error was promptly corrected literally the next day. Is the sculptor so inconsiderate? It is doubly surprising that people asked about this mistake a year ago, when the monument was still under construction. But for some unknown reason, the author ignored the remarks, eventually presenting to the President of the Russian Federation a monument with a glaring defect.
Moreover, this is not the first time this has happened. In 2017, a monument to the world famous designer Mikhail Kalashnikov was unveiled in Moscow. It turned out that there was an error in the scheme of the machine on the monument. Spectators noticed that the monument depicts a drawing of a German StG-44 rifle, not the famous AK-47. As a result, the image was deleted. By the way, the sculptor made such inaccuracies before — in 2014, instead of the Mosin rifle, on the ‘Farewell to a Slav woman’ sculpture near the Belorussky railway station in Moscow, one of the emblems bore the image of the German Mauser 98k carbine. Later, after the comments, it was removed from the monument.
A country building unique nuclear reactors and new generation nuclear power plants, one-of-a-kind icebreakers, ultra-modern factories of cyclopean sizes and reliable space rockets often cannot make a monument without ridiculous error. It seems incredible.
What happened at SPIEF-2021 turned out to be no less surprising. More precisely, it was a real shame. It turned out that a respectable international event, taking place in the northern capital of Russia, offered its guests a menu that did not contain Russian wine. It’s hard to believe, but it’s a fact. Artur Sargsyan, head of the Union of Sommeliers and Experts of Russia, drew attention to the absence of Russian wine in the lunch menu. He was supported by the Union of Winemakers of the Russian Federation, which officially condemned the absence of domestic wines in the restaurant list at the SPIEF. A case that sharply contrasts with the regular statements of the Russian authorities and experts about patriotism and import substitution. Moreover, Russian wine takes prizes at prestigious international competitions, and the Crimean Massandra is famous for its history. Can you imagine DAVOS not offering European wine to its visitors? The answer is obvious. But the organizers of the SPIEF preferred to do without Russian wines, causing significant damage to the reputation of domestic producers.
One cannot fail to note the very strange decision of Russian TV figures to send the scandalous singer Manizha with her odious song about a Russian woman to the Eurovision music contest as a representative of Russia. One of the authors of the Alternatio website (good analytics, mainly on the topic of Ukraine) wrote a good article on this topic. Russia is famous for her firm adherence to traditional values, the country has banned the promotion of homosexuality among minors, and the concept of marriage as a union of a man and a woman is enshrined in the country at the constitutional level. All this resonates with millions of people around the world. Thousands of foreigners come to Russia for permanent residence largely because of its «code of ethics» (the story of the American priest Joseph Gleason is well known). Against this background, the decision to send a young singer, Tajik by origin, advocating gender diversity, body positive, a defender of the rights of sexual minorities, and so on, to the competition looks doubtful, to put it mildly. It got to the point that the chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Valentina Matvienko publicly criticized the lyrics of Manizha’s song, as well as the choice of her candidacy, she was supported by a number of senators. However, the «Russian woman» sounded from the Eurovision stage, Manizha got her dose of hype.
Why does Russia need such ridiculous games with the West a-la «look, we are the same as you!«? In what light does Russia show itself to those thousands of foreigners who see it as almost the last island of normality? Why not take the initiative to attract and get these people (especially given the problem with demographics)? Unfortunately, there are no answers to these questions.
Recently, the website of the newspaper Vzglyad published an article on a topic whose relevance is difficult to dispute — Russia’s almost complete absence of its own «infrastructure of recognition» (in the wording of the author of the article). As the author writes: «That which controls our pride and everyday life is completely dependent on the outside world.»
The article states that Russia is guided by Western ratings, the country considers it a merit to be recognized by Western agents, media, funds, etc. In turn, the Russian Federation cannot offer the world a similar «influence of authority». For example, Russian directors will consider the pinnacle of their careers to be awarded an American Oscar (badly discredited). But it is difficult to imagine that the apogee of the career of American directors can be the receipt of a Russian film award (some individual weirdos don’t count). Russian financial institutions «pray» for ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, etc. But it cannot be imagined that Western banks and financial regulators consider the highest achievement (and benchmark of their activities) to receive a good rating from a Russian financial or analytical agency. The crowning achievement of Russian scientists (and not only Russian ones, by the way) is the receipt of the Nobel Prize (whose reputation is also badly tarnished), while it is impossible to imagine that Western scientists will «reach the top» by receiving some kind of Russian award in the field of science. These are just a few examples.
Unfortunately, Russia has not even begun to work in this area yet, and therefore will be completely dependent on assessments from the West for a very long time, instead of assessing the West herself, setting standards and creating benchmarks, which is in many ways a sign of true sovereignty.
Speaking about the current situation, it can be stated that in Russia there is a certain «emptiness», «sagging» — the country lacks really large important projects, during the «off-season» it has nowhere to direct its enormity, strength, energy, which causes a kind of «stagnation». The period 2015-2018 was busy, «alive» — there was an active phase of the Syrian operation, the construction of the grandiose Crimean bridge, preparation and holding of the World Cup. Everyday news reports, the country lived on these events. This is a success story, but it is in the past, it is a passed stage. The Syrian operation (its active phase) is over, and there has been practically no news from the SAR in the Russian information field for a long time. The Crimean bridge has become commonplace, something self-evident. The World Cup, recognized by FIFA as the best in history, is long over and has become only a pleasant memory.
The largest country on the planet cannot live without major events. After all, by embodying them Russia can fully realize its colossal potential. This will benefit both the people of the country and the international community. One has only to remember the heroic story of Yuri Gagarin to be convinced of this.