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Russia

Tech-Challenged Russia Ready To Import Foreign Arms For The First Time

For the first time in modern history, Russia is turning to foreign weapons manufacturers to boost its military arsenal. Russia’s armed forces have already signed contracts with Italy and France.

Italian-built Iveco LMV is on Russia's radar (Wikipedia)
Italian-built Iveco LMV is on Russia's radar (Wikipedia)


NEWSBITES*

MOSCOWRussia has long been one of the world's foremost arms suppliers. But now, for the first time in its history, the Russian military is importing military equipment and arms as well.

In April 2010, the head of the Russian armed forces announced that the army had reviewed its purchasing politics and decided it would no longer refuse to buy military products from abroad. As of today, the Russian military has signed contracts to purchase armored vehicles from Italy and two helicopter carriers from France. There are plans for additional purchases from abroad, since it would often take too long for similarly high-tech products to be developed in Russia.

It has been clear for some time now that the Russian military would need to import technology, but economic problems prevented it from happening until recently. As the military examined its equipment goals for the next decade, it became clear that the choice was either to buy domestic products – which would mean weapons that did not meet the technological requirements – or to buy western technology that Russia would then be able to adapt. In the end, the military chose the second option.

President Dmitry Medvedev has said, on several occasions, that the military should only buy high-quality products at competitive prices. If domestic suppliers cannot meet those requirements, then Russia shouldn't hesitate to buy abroad. "There's no need to buy junk," said Medvedev.

The Russian army does classify some military technology as too important for national security to be purchased abroad. For example, the Russian missile system is considered one of the country's most important strategic advantages. However, the Russian military recognized that domestic producers lag behind their foreign counterparts when it comes to sniper weapons, drones and armored vehicle technology.

One of the most important factors in its decision to begin importing weapons is money. Russian military technology is nearly always cheaper than its Western counterparts. But now that the Russian military has a more generous equipment budget, it can afford the higher prices.

Read the full article in Russian by Ivan Safronov

Photo - Wikipedia

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Coronavirus

Chinese Students' "Absurd" Protest Against COVID Lockdowns: Public Crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state.

​Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling on a soccer pitch

Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling

Shuyue Chen

Since last Friday, the world has watched a wave of street protests have taken place across China as frustration against extended lockdowns reached a boiling point. But even before protesters took to the streets, Chinese university students had begun a public demonstration that challenges and shames the state's zero-COVID rules in a different way: public displays of crawling, as a kind of absurdist expression of their repressed anger under three years of strict pandemic control.

Xin’s heart was beating fast as her knees reached the ground. It was her first time joining the strange scene at the university sports field, so she put on her hat and face mask to cover her identity.

Kneeling down, with her forearms supporting her body from the ground, Xin started crawling with three other girls as a group, within a larger demonstration of other small groups. As they crawled on, she felt the sense of fear and embarrassment start to disappear. It was replaced by a liberating sense of joy, which had been absent in her life as a university student in lockdown for so long.

Yes, crawling in public has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. There have been posters and videos of "volunteer crawling" across universities in China. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it."

The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned. Apart from the school gate, all exits have been padlock sealed.

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