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    Mistral News thread

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    GarryB

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  GarryB on Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:37 am

    L-CATs have reduced draft compared to any other rigid hull vessel. At .6m draft at 130t load it can cross any sandbar that isn't exposed. Serna as an air cavitation vessel could cross most, but it won't be able to beach shallow once it slows down or it will get stuck. Its rear also carries more draft so it could get stuck. Hovercraft don't have that problem, but their air skirts can be easily torn if they try running over obstacles. As far as the cost, payload, and size that hovercrafts take, it is not a good option for RusNav.
    It has been publicly stated that these vessels are pretty much being bought to defend the specific Russian territories of Kaliningrad and the Kurile Islands, so guess the choice of L-CATs or hovercraft would ultimately come down to the beach types in both areas. It might even turn out that different loadouts are chosen for the two in the East and the two in the West.
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    Russian Patriot

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Russian Patriot on Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:50 pm


    Russian Defense Ministry lukewarm on South Korean warship deal
    RIA Novosti

    15:18 15/07/2010 MOSCOW, July 15 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Defense Ministry has effectively dismissed the idea of buying a South Korean warship in place of a French Mistral-class amphibious assault ship, a Russian business daily reported on Thursday.

    According to Kommersant, the United Shipbuilding Corporation proposed the purchase of a $650 million Dokdo helicopter carrier from South Korea.

    In a letter to Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, USC CEO Roman Trotsenko said his corporation could buy a license to build a Dokdo-class ship at a Russian shipyard within three years.

    The Defense Ministry is skeptical about the ability of Russian shipyards to build such ships in principle or their ability to build them on time, Kommersant wrote.

    "The USC's proposal merits attention, but then you can declare just about anything," a ministry spokesman told the paper.

    Commenting on the Kommersant report for RIA Novosti, an USC executive who insisted on anonymity confirmed that Trotsenko had indeed sent a letter to Serdyukov.

    "I confirm that such letters were sent to Navy chief Vladimir Vysotsky and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov a long time ago, but we have not as of yet received a reply," the executive said.

    He said Dokdo-class ships (designed and built by Hanjin Heavy Industries) were a more cost effective proposition than the Mistral.

    The USC has complained to the Federal Antitrust Service about the Defense Ministry's reluctance to allow Russian shipyards to compete with foreign shipbuilders on an equal footing, but the service has dismissed its complaints, saying state arms procurements did not fall within its purview.

    ROKS Dokdo (LPH 6111) is the lead ship of the LPX class of amphibious landing ships of the Republic of Korea Navy, commissioned into the ROK Navy in July 2007, with specifications comparable to the French Mistral-class ship Russia is negotiating the purchase of.

    The Mistral class ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 armored vehicles including 13 battle tanks, and 450 personnel.

    Many Russian military and industry experts have questioned the financial and military sense of the purchase, and some believe that Russia simply wants to gain access to advanced naval technology that could be used in the future in potential conflicts with NATO and its allies.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2010/07/mil-100715-rianovosti04.htm
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    GarryB

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  GarryB on Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:49 am

    Russian military should sound very interested in this South Korean offer... even if only to put pressure on France to get the better deal of one in france and 3 in Russia rather than the 2 2 deal the French seem to want.
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    milky_candy_sugar

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  milky_candy_sugar on Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:30 pm

    Sarkozy announces that two STX Mistral will be built for Russia


    The STX shipyards in Saint Nazaire build two buildings for Russia Projection and Command (BPC) Mistral class, combining several functions including the helicopter carrier, said Friday President Nicolas Sarkozy on site.

    http://www.lesechos.fr/depeches/france/afp_00269330-sarkozy-annonce-a-saint-nazaire-que-les-chantiers-stx-construiront-deux-mistral-pour-la-russie.htm


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    Russian Patriot

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Russian Patriot on Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:29 pm


    Mistral contract should be signed at Euronaval show - Russian Navy commander

    RIA Novosti

    16:56 02/08/2010

    MOSCOW, August 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's contract to buy Mistral class helicopter carriers from France should be signed in Paris at the Euronaval 2010 defense show in October or Russia may lag behind in the ship building industry, Russian Navy commander Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky said.

    Originally Russia was negotiating the purchase of one French-built Mistral class amphibious assault ship and planned to build three more vessels of the same class in partnership with the French naval shipbuilder DCNS. But earlier this year, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said talks were underway on the 2+2 scheme, under which Russia will buy two ships from France, and build a further two under license in Russia.

    "I hope Russian and French specialists will draft the Mistral contract by the start of the Euronaval event," Vysotsky said.

    "If we do not sign a contract on the Mistral, we will greatly lag behind in the speed and rate of our construction of such ships," the Navy commander said.

    According to French media, a Mistral costs 400 million - 500 million euros ($522mln-653mln).

    The Mistral class ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 armored vehicles including 13 battle tanks, and 450 personnel.

    The Russian military says it plans to use Mistral ships in its Northern and Pacific fleets.

    Many Russian military and industry experts have questioned the financial and military sense of the purchase, and some believe that Russia simply wants to gain access to advanced naval technology that could be used in the future in potential conflicts with NATO and its allies.

    In April, the head of the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, Mikhail Dmitriyev, said the Mistral deal would be concluded by the end of the year.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/russia/2010/russia-100802-rianovosti01.htm
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    Vladimir79

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Vladimir79 on Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:01 am

    GarryB wrote:Russian military should sound very interested in this South Korean offer... even if only to put pressure on France to get the better deal of one in france and 3 in Russia rather than the 2 2 deal the French seem to want.

    Most of the electronic systems on that SK ship are made by Thales. The French state owns that company so they could block the deal. SK certainly has the shipbuilding technology we want, but not the hardware needed to go on it. There is also much US technology on those boats so it is really a lame offer. The admirals have already made other inquiries into other European LPDs, but it is just a game the French know well we are playing. Mistral is the only option the government would seriously consider.
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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  GarryB on Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:49 am

    I don't think France would block a deal where Thales could make money.
    I also think having viable alternatives makes negotiation easier and indeed "Fairer" if that is possible because one side has less leverage.
    It has already been mentioned that there need to be modifications, with the Helicopter deck needing more height for the Kamov series helos for example, I wonder if any other necessary modifications will be made public?
    I don't want to sound cynical, but if the Russians had got the chance to build three carriers instead of two I think it might have been more likely that one of the carriers might have been offered to a Ukrainian yard, so I think making two is not so bad.
    This is of course just my opinion.

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Austin on Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:04 am

    I think the decision to go for Mistral class ships was a political decision by Putin, it was also a decision that was more led by desire to introduce Western Management in Ship Building and Modular Ship building techniques , plus a desire to buy European ships to build friendly relations with countries in Europe who do not look at Russia from Cold War prism.

    I am certain a most cost effective and cheaper options were available from Soko or Russian Ship building yards if it was just a question of building ships.
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    GarryB

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  GarryB on Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:52 am

    I think the decision to go for Mistral class ships was a political decision by Putin, it was also a decision that was more led by desire to introduce Western Management in Ship Building and Modular Ship building techniques

    Currently the best managed and most efficent ship builders in the world are the South Koreans. I got that from Jonesy at the Keypub forum, and he should know.
    The Russians are getting a naval port built from scratch by South Korea with ship building facilities designed their way, so there is not really a huge reason to buy French.

    Based on my understanding of things the Russian Navy is not in a great state, but at least their C4I stuff seems to be better sorted with a system called Sigma or something that manages the undersea, sea surface, and air situation, much like AEGIS did in the 1980s. These systems cooperate with other ships to form a shared picture and allow orders to pass between ships, so in that sense they are miles ahead of the Russian Army in terms of C4I systems. Obviously the Army is moving forward, as is the Navy, but I wonder how easily this French system will integrate into the existing Russian system.

    Here is info about the South Korean shipyard built in Russia:
    http://www.russiadefence.net/russian-naval-forces-f4/new-shipyard-being-built-in-far-east-russia-t861.htm

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Austin on Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:02 pm

    GarryB wrote:Currently the best managed and most efficent ship builders in the world are the South Koreans. I got that from Jonesy at the Keypub forum, and he should know.
    The Russians are getting a naval port built from scratch by South Korea with ship building facilities designed their way, so there is not really a huge reason to buy French.

    The reason is both Strategic and ability to absorb modern ship building technique and management from West , no doubt South Korea are realy good and top out there but there is nothing wrong in assimilating the best from West and East and then improvise it for your own needs.

    I think this is more of Putin personal initiative with support from General Staff to build a bridge with friendly country in West ( france,germany,italy ) and develop defence relationship.
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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  GarryB on Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:33 am

    The amount of cooperation with France means that even if the South Korean ship was a better ship it might almost be worth buying the French ship anyway.
    Unfortunately I haven't really looked into the capabilities of this Korean ship so I really don't know whether it would be better suited or not.
    Vlad mentioned that the SK ship uses Thales tech, but if it has lots of US technology in it then that might be more of a problem.
    No disrespect meant at all Austin, but the whole point of this purchase is to gain proven tested vessels into service quickly... there is no point starting to look at other designs now, because an evaluation period would probably lead to a number of other options too and the time all this takes means an all Russian proposal might be possible so after 10-15 years of humming and thinking about it you end up wasting a lot of time and spending a lot of money and have not ships enter service at all.
    Seal the deal this year, get the ships into production ASAP and into service and then the Russian ship designers can start thinking about what they can do in 10 years time to give them a thorough upgrade and also perhaps integrate some of the design solutions on it into their own existing designs if they warrant it.
    As far as I know they are working on a new missile system to replace the Klinok (the naval TOR missile) with a missile with an active homing seeker, or maybe even a combined active radar and IIR seeker that can be a fire and forget system as this would greatly increase the systems capacity to engage multiple targets at once.
    Of course the units this vessel will carry will probably also include air defence vehicles, some of which could be parked on the deck to add to the defence, and of course such a vessel will never operate alone without support.
    It will most likely start out life with KASHTAN-M systems and probably MANPADS and perhaps a few cannon mounts in 23mm or 30mm. Knowing the Russian navy they might even have a few artillery rocket launchers like the A-22 140mm rocket launchers used to bombard landing areas. Of course its range is only about 4.5km so then again they might not because they probably don't want to deploy the ship that close to the conflict zone. If they are going to use those landing ships they might as well park the Mistrals well off shore away from land based artillery etc.
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    Russian Patriot

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Russian Patriot on Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:03 am


    France unfazed by Russian tender, Mistral talks ongoing
    RIA Novosti

    15:47 20/08/2010

    PARIS, August 20 (RIA Novosti) - Paris is continuing negotiations with Moscow on the purchase of a Mistral-class warship and is not concerned about Russia's decision to call a tender for the construction of two helicopter carriers, a spokeswoman for the French presidential administration said on Friday.

    "France has no cause for concern over the current developments and negotiations are ongoing," she said.

    Russia is holding talks with France on the purchase of Mistral-class warships on a 2+2 scheme whereby Russia will buy one or two French-built Mistrals and build another two under license at home.

    The presidential spokeswoman said the Elysee Palace would not comment on the possibility of France participating in the Russian tender.

    Earlier on Friday, Russian Defense Minister Serdyukov said the ministry had announced an international tender for the construction of two amphibious assault ships.

    He said the Mistral manufacturer could participate in the tender, which will take place in September.

    The results of the tender will be announced before the end of the year.

    On Thursday, business daily Kommersant said Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) was set to bid with three shipyards including Zvezda Shipbuilding Company in the Russian Far East, St. Petersburg's Admiralteyskiye Verfi shipyard and the Yantar shipyard in Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.

    At the end of August, a French delegation is expected to visit the Yantar shipyard to look into the possibility of building Mistral-class ships there.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/russia/2010/russia-100820-rianovosti01.htm
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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Vladimir79 on Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:38 am

    Maritime Defence: Russians still prefer the Mistral
    Defense Friday, September 3, 2010

    That should reassure employees of STX yard in Saint Nazaire. The Russian ambassador to France, Alexander Orlov, J. "quite likely" that his country buys helicopter carrier type Mistral in France.

    The diplomat has this confidence this afternoon on board the Russian nuclear cruiser Pyotr Velikiy, currently stop at Brest. The "intense negotiations" have been held since March. "This whole case should be closed before the end of the year."

    Two ships were built in Saint-Nazaire, two licensed in Russia. The Russian command would be good news for the Saint-Nazaire shipyard, the plan still very low load.

    Remains that, during August, Moscow launched an international tender for the acquisition of helicopter carriers. The announcement appeared to mean a questioning of the Russian preference for Mistral. The ambassador says he is not. " Given the amount of the market, the Russian legislation imposed upon us to launch a tender. This has been done. "

    However, the Russians do not want to buy an "empty shell". "There must necessarily transfer technology, said the ambassador. Today is the case in all arms contracts. "

    In support of its contention, the diplomat cited the example of the proposed sale of Rafale fighter jets from France to Brazil. Russia wants, too, enjoy a "privileged partnership".

    France holds the rope always even if other actors, such as Koreans, mingle in the game "We have historic links which often favor the choice of France", said the diplomat.

    http://www.ouest-france.fr/ofdernmin_-Defense-maritime-les-Russes-preferent-toujours-le-Mistral_42314-1497834-pere-bre_filDMA.Htm

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Austin on Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:50 am

    Purchasing the Mistral is an expensive mistake , they would be rather invest the ~ $3 billion deal in their Frigate/Destroyer program and in submarines.

    I am not sure there is any thing great about Mistral other then its french and expensive.
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    Vladimir79

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Vladimir79 on Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:15 pm

    It is more like $2 billion. Considering we have never used an aircraft carrier in combat operations, yet used LPDs just two years ago... what is more useful? We won't buy it without ToT, and that includes the combat management system and radar. Only place we can hope to get that is France.
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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  GarryB on Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:19 am

    To be honest I think Russia could use both.

    They are totally different types of vessels (helicopter landing craft and aircraft carriers).

    The amount of money the Russian navy will be spending you really need to protect that investment. The best way to protect ships and subs is with aircraft... fast, can deliver long range blows quickly, flexible, and of course extend your vision so that a surprise attack is less likely.

    The best way to sink ships is with airpower, and the best way to stop airpower is with airpower.

    The Mistrals represent a practically global reach for Russias naval infantry, now that can be for military use or for other purposes. Disaster relief with a large carrier that is filled with transport helos and trucks and pallets of aide instead of attack helos and tanks makes it very flexible.
    I am sure the Russians could have done a lot of good in Myanmar during the aftermath of the cyclone that hit it in 2008. Such disaster relief work is made easier with lots of helos... Russia sending two Mistrals would have made a huge difference and might have resulted in a few purchases of military equipment by Myanmar, and also likely closer ties... not to mention lots of people could have been saved.

    For Russia having a global reach is important when making allies and in trade relations. It is not all about bullying, it is more about reassurance.

    It is the reason the British were able to use force to take back the Falkland islands... if Argentina had waited 5 years the British government probably would have scrapped all their carriers or sold them to Australia.

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Austin on Sun Sep 05, 2010 7:09 am

    Vladimir79 wrote:It is more like $2 billion. Considering we have never used an aircraft carrier in combat operations, yet used LPDs just two years ago... what is more useful? We won't buy it without ToT, and that includes the combat management system and radar. Only place we can hope to get that is France.

    Each Mistral costs ~ 700 million dollar so its like ~ 2.8 billion dollar.

    And the TOT is all a myth , they are not going to sell any technology for CMS or Radar.The Western Electronics , CMC , Engine Managements etc takes many billion dollars to develop and they cannot sell these stuff.At best Russia can license produce some component if its economically feasible to do so.

    Mistral will certainly come with western CMS, Radar ,IPMS, Engine ....Which means Russian will have to depend on France all through out its life cycle for maintenance,spares and support. Which will make Mistral operating cost higher through out its life.

    What Russian shipbuilder can certainly learn from Western yard through this deal is Western Ship Building Technique and Western Style Management , besides train manpower in doing this but a very expensive way to achieve it.

    All in All a bad military deal , the only reason why they could have gone for this is purely political decision from Highest Level in a move to improve relations with Russias few friends in Europe.

    A better option would have been for Russian Shipbuilder to design a LPD if required with Western Consulting Assistance with Russian CMS , Engine , Electronics,Weapons,Radars etc and then engage Western/French builders on consulting basis to help them in developing their weak areas and engage them in learning Shipbuilding Technique and management on need to known basis.

    This way its cheaper then building a Western Design in Western Yard and weak areas can be improved by engaging Western SY on consulting basis and Russia can included as many home built components and electronics

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    GarryB

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  GarryB on Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:28 am

    The Soviets got a licence to produce the Rolls Royce Nene and the RR Derwent engines in 1945. I don't recall the Soviets becoming dependant on the British for jet engines.

    The simple matter is that the Russians are a bit out of touch, so getting a new system to work on will stimulate their own talents and capacities and allow them to continue development themselves.
    The Russians have their own needs and wants and these will be different from the needs and wants of NATO, which is what Mistral was developed for (as well as French Interests).
    Just because Russia buys French Mistrals does not mean that they will be dependant on France.

    The Russian Navy has already mentioned an interest in high altitude aerostats for operating radars in the upper atmosphere for surveillance... there is no reason why they couldn't develop such a system to operate from the rear of a Mistral for example.
    It is a helo carrier but there is no reason why they couldn't operate a high altitude UAV from it either for AEW use or for many other uses.
    They are not part of NATO and are not bound by France as to what they can do with these ships. During an upgrade they might decide to make them nuclear powered to extend their deployment capability, they might replace much of the western electronics with newer Russian stuff in 15 years time.
    A big ship has a much longer life than a smaller vessel.
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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Russian Patriot on Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:27 am


    Russian helicopter carrier tender to be announced 'in near future'

    RIA Novosti

    09:58 17/09/2010 MOSCOW, September 17 (RIA Novosti) - A tender for the construction and purchase of helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy will be announced in the next few weeks, a highly placed source in the military industrial complex said on Friday.

    Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on August 20 the ministry was preparing to announce an international tender for the construction of two amphibious assault ships and that the results of the tender would be announced before the end of the year.

    "A tender for the purchase of Mistral type helicopter carriers is set to be announced in the nearest future. This is likely to happen at the end of September or at the beginning of October," the official said.

    He said specialists from the military industrial complex were preparing the necessary documents with the assistance of international lawyers.

    Earlier Serdyukov said that both Russian and foreign companies, as well as the Mistral manufacturer itself, would participate in the tender.

    Meanwhile, Paris is continuing negotiations with Moscow on the purchase of a Mistral-class warship on a 2+2 scheme whereby Russia will buy one or two French-built Mistrals and build another two under license at home.

    The Mistral class ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 armored vehicles including 13 battle tanks, and 450 personnel.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/russia/2010/russia-100917-rianovosti02.htm
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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Russian Patriot on Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:00 am


    Russia could buy helicopter carriers by yearend - military chief
    RIA Novosti

    16:52 14/10/2010

    MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russia could sign a contract on the purchase of multipurpose helicopter carriers by the end of 2010, the chief of Russia's Armed Forces General Staff said on Thursday.

    Russia is expected to hold an international tender on the construction of helicopter carriers for its Navy in the near future.

    "Whoever is going to offer a better ship, shorter construction time frame and cheaper price, will be the winner [of the tender]. The contract could be signed by the end of this year," Gen. Nikolai Makarov said.

    Makarov added that France, the Netherlands and Spain will be invited to participate in the tender. They will compete with Russia's United Shipbuilding Company.

    Experts believe that a French Mistral class amphibious assault ship is most likely to win the tender.

    Moscow has been in talks with Paris on the purchase of a Mistral class warship on a 2+2 scheme whereby Russia will buy one or two French-built Mistrals and build another two under license domestically.

    The Mistral class ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 armored vehicles including 13 battle tanks, and 450 personnel.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/russia/2010/russia-101014-rianovosti03.htm
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    Vladimir79

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Vladimir79 on Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:19 am

    Nobody is able to prevent the acquisition of Russia UDC type "Mistral" - N. Makarov

    BELGRADE, October 20. (ITAR-TASS). Nobody is able to prevent the acquisition of Russian amphibious assault ship (UDC) of the "Mistral", said Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Nikolai Makarov.

    Asked about the fact that some foreign governments are now actively trying to prevent the implementation of the deal, he said that Russia has a clear position on this matter.

    "Each country is free to do as she pleases, but we have Russia and France, have very definite commitment to each other.
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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  IronsightSniper on Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:53 am

    Interesting to note Russia and France's relations at a high, maybe we'll see a war in 2014...
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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Vladimir79 on Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:14 am

    RIA Novosti reporting that the winner will be selected at Euronaval in France.

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Austin on Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:10 am

    France ready to deliver helicopter carrier with transfer of technologies

    France's shipbuilder DCNS announced on Tuesday it is ready to deliver Mistral class helicopter carriers to Russia with built-in domestic navigation technologies.

    "There are no restrictions [in the transfer of technology]," DCNS Director Pierre Legros told RIA Novosti.

    The technology is French-made, a spokesman for the French Navy, Hugues du Plessis d'Argentre, said.

    Russia and France are currently in talks on a so-called 2+2 scheme, whereby Russia will buy one or two French-built Mistrals and build another two at home. The contract is expected to be inked before the end of the year.

    Legros said he did not rule out that Russia could build four Mistrals.

    He added that the French-built Mistrals under the contract will be different from their domestic analogues.

    They will have thicker take-off decks and firmer hulls so as to avoid breakage when navigating through ice.

    The winner of a Russian tender to deliver the Mistrals will be announced after November 4, Legros added.

    "We are ready to receive the contract from November 4... and complete construction in 36 months," he said.

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    Re: Mistral News thread

    Post  Austin on Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:57 pm

    Wikileaks shows Gates opposed Mistral deal with Russia

    link

    The United States also leaned hard on France to refrain from sale of a French helicopter carrier to Russia, Wikileaks reported.

    According to a secret cable posted on the whistleblowing website, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates held a meeting with then French Foreign Minister Herve Morin in February in Paris, where they discussed the possible sale of a Mistral-class helicopter carrier to Russia.

    Gates, an expert on the Soviet Union and a former CIA chief, “raised US concerns over the sale of a Mistral-class helicopter carrier to Russia as sending a mixed signal to both Russia and our Central and East European Allies.”

    Minister Morin told Gates he understood the U.S. concerns, but argued that “this single ship would not make any difference with respect to Russian capabilities, as Russia's naval production ability was severely degraded.”

    Gates also described Russia to Morin in blunt terms, saying that “Russian democracy has disappeared and the government was an oligarchy run by the security services.”

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