Military-Industrial Commission Deputy Head Ivan Kharchenko said the $1.2-billion deal with a French shipyard, signed under the ousted Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has caused significant damage to the state and the Russian shipbuilding industry.
“We have been discussing the absurdity of this earlier decision. It was the initiative of Serdyukov and it’s not the only damage he has inflicted to the government and the industry,” Kharchenko said at a meeting with defense companies in Moscow last week, RIA Novosti reports.
Also Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin criticizes the decision to purchase the Mistral vessels: “It’s very strange that landing crafts that won’t work in temperatures below seven degrees should be floating in our latitudes,” he said according to RIA Novosti. Rogozin has special responsibilities for the defense industry.
Russia and France signed the contract for two French-built Mistral class ships in June 2011. The first ship, the Vladivostok, is being built at the DCNS shipyard in Saint-Nazaire and is due to be delivered in 2014, while the second, the Sevastopol, is scheduled for delivery in 2015.
Kharchenko said the ships must now be completed, otherwise Russia “would lose more” if the country backtracks the deal. Another contract for two other Mistral vessels was under discussion, but has been postponed.
Defense equipment deals normally include massive penalty clauses for cancellation to protect the producer from losses by clients pulling out, as they incur huge expense when starting such projects.
Serdyukov was fired from his office in November amid an investigation into alleged fraud at Defense Ministry subsidiary firms.
A Mistral-class ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles and 450 personnel. Each of the two first ships will have air wings consisting of 30 Ka-52K Alligator attack helicopters and Ka-29 helicopters. Prototypes of a naval version of the Ka-52K are now under construction and flight tests are expected to start in 2014.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Sports in the Barents region have joined forces and established Barents Games. This weekend athletes from all over the region met in Oulu to compete in 14 differents sports during the Barents Summer Games. See our slide show from the competitions.
People participating in culture-, sport and Barents cooperation projects can from October apply for visa to Norway without paying a single ruble, says Marit Egholm Jacobsen with the Norwegian Consulate General in Murmansk.