If Russia really needed these barges then it should have built them itself. It is downright insulting to Russian history and current level to claim that it could
not produce equivalent products. But the fact is that these were yet more of Serdyukov's BS contracts to NATO states that served no purpose other than
some nonsense attempt at diplomacy. How quickly NATO attacked Russia using the coup it engineered itself in Ukraine as the pretext shows exactly the
worthlessness of this diplomacy.
I agree Russia is largely wasting its time trying to improve relations with europe as long as europe is controlled by washington or brussels, because neither centre wants Russia as a friend or an ally... they want it as a resource box it can dig into occasionally when it needs it and expects it to keep quiet and tow the line the rest of the time.
Russia certainly could develop a Mistral class carrier type vessel, but they are no super ship builders... the french don't call them helicopter carriers, they call them command and projection vessels and that is exactly what they are... they would form the core of a landing fleet and would provide ground forces and air mobile forces to distant battlefields.... they would also manage the whole effort and of course provide ongoing support including as a hospital ship for the endeavour.
The concept was developed in 1997 and in october 2004 the first vessel of the class was launched... that is pretty good time for development and production, but then the French ship building industry has not been under funded for the last 20 odd years.
The new modular system/weapon/propulsion standards the Russian Navy is developing will actually make designing and building much faster, and later upgrades should be easier...
To put it in computer terms the windows operating system is not just an operating system... it is also a set of rules and standards.... and if you follow those rules and standards in your design then your software should work on any windows based computer system. Equally your new hardware should also work properly though it will need a piece of software called a driver to tell the operating system what the new hardware can do and how it works and what information it needs to work and what output it can create... if you install the driver you should just need to plug and play to get the new hardware to connect. Of course you will still need to test it to make sure it does not interfere with anything else and that it works properly...
The point is that the Russians could not have developed a mistral class carrier and had it in service last November.... they didn't buy Mistrals as a favour to France, they bought them for the Russian Naval Infantry. They bought them because they wanted them now.
Now they will have to make some themselves, though if the two Mistrals made go to Egypt or India then they might get some sales for their new Ka-52Ks and the electronics suite already installed on the two vessels...
Now they have the full designs of the Mistral class carriers and experience making portions of its hull.. I hope they take their existing plans and adapt them using what they have learned with Mistral and make an even better vessel better adapted to Russian needs and wants... they could certainly improve the self defence armament, but without reducing the helicopter carrying capacity and the vehicle carrying capacity and the troop carrying capacity and the hospital ship capacity... all of which makes it useful in war and in peace.