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Inside Putin's Ambitious Push To Modernize The Russian Military

Vladimir Putin has made a priority out of expanding and updating the military capacity of the Russian military, but there is still much heavy lifting required to move beyond the mechanical and human rust of the Soviet era.

The Russian military is still heavily dependent on Soviet-era equipment and leadership (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)
The Russian military is still heavily dependent on Soviet-era equipment and leadership (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)
Benjamin Quénelle

MOSCOW - "Our military can now match the West!" There is no shortage of pride from Sergei Skorniakov, deputy commander of the Yaroslav Moudry, the crown jewel of the Russian navy's Baltic fleet.

The battleship has been presented as a symbol of the "Renaissance" of the fleet, moored in a naval base in Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave tucked between Poland and Lithuania, where the Kremlin is threatening to deploy its Iskander close-range missiles and S-400 anti-aircraft missiles. The majority of the men are now volunteers rather than conscripts; both the control crew and the sailors on deck have seen their salaries double. Aboard the ship everyone repeats that they finally feel respected after the military reforms of Vladimir Putin, the past and current occupant of the Kremlin.

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Mariateresa Fichele

Fifteen years ago, Francesco kept busy by scamming people. He was a regular visitor to the beaches of Terracina, south of Rome, where he was caught several times selling counterfeit Ray-Ban sunglasses. Then came the drugs, which fed a serious substance-induced psychosis and eventually he tested positive for HIV.

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