IntroductionThe top-level analysis of Russia's motivations to intervene in Ukrainian affairs is provided in . Currently there is almost a consensus on the matter by now, namely pointing at:
- the imperial aspirations of the Russian federation and Vladimir Putin,
- the need to protect Russian-speaking compatriots,
- fear of NATO expansion into Ukraine, which will give Russia an extra 2.000 kms of border with NATO.
The imperial inspirations of Vladimir Putin are driven by the internal Russian forces, which are worth a separate analysis (but not given here).
As of the Russian-speaking compatriots, the realities are somewhat different. The real divide in Ukraine is between people who associate themselves with Ukrainian historic and cultural tradition, and the ones who associate with Russian or Soviet one, regardless of the spoken language .
Concerns about NATO expansion also has a different background. Russia already has a common border with NATO, in the Baltic states, where NATO is 200-300 kilometers away from vital Russian centers, and at the far north. We believe that the real source of the Russia's concern is that while it has sufficient resources to effectively counter the military threat from the border with the Baltic states and Norway, it has no economic and military resources to adequately address such a threat if it will be coming from an additional 2.000 kms long common border with Ukraine.
Consider that Russia has 60.900 kms of border to protect, a 144 million population and $2,6 trillion GDP. Maintaining the armed forces which can guarantee national security in such situation is beyond Russia's demographic and economic capabilities, unless it surrounds itself with buffer states like Belarus or Kazakhstan.
Some myths busted
Myth 1: Russian army is sufficient to serve it's imperial ambitions
Russian conventional armed forces are also insufficient to serve the needs of its expansion using military force. At the height of the confrontation in Ukraine Russia had to pull troops from the places as remote as Norwegian border of Novosibirsk to form the strike force, and still could not expect for “blitzkrieg” against Ukraine. This military aspect of the balance of power is almost completely overlooked by the expert community, which tends to believe that Russia cannot be defeated on the ground.
Myth 2: Ukraine is dependent on the Russian market
Another myth which needs to be addressed is the story of critical dependence of Ukraine on the Russian market. Russia accounts for 29,6% of Ukraine's external trade, including 27,9% of export, and 31,1% of import by Ukraine. From the standpoint of the trade balance (according to Russian Ministry of Economic Development), 65% of Russian export to Ukraine are mineral resources, predominantly natural gas; 11,3% are machinery, tools, and transportation vehicles, 8% are chemicals, and 6,9% are products of metallurgy. Ukrainian export to Russia includes: machinery – 39,2%, products of metallurgy 21,3%, food products – 11,4%, chemicals 10,8%, and mineral products 7,6%.
Ukraine has negative trade balance with Russia because of the import of natural gas, but still remains the principal “tool shop” for Russian industry, including its military sector. Russia still remains supplier of raw materials and fossil fuels for Ukraine, as it was during the Soviet era.
If the gas imports is eliminated from the trade balance between two countries, Ukraine becomes big net exporter to Russia.
Myth 3: Ukraine cannot survive without gas from Russia
Meanwhile a successful experiment of operation of the Ukrainian trunk and distribution gas pipelines, which Ukraine was forced to do during the 2009 winter demonstrated that it is possible in principle for the Ukrainian economy to survive without importing natural gas from Russia. After 2009 Europe developed a series of gas pipeline interconnectors, which allow to maneuver natural gas supply inside EU, and gradually switch from Russian gas supply to receiving the necessary amounts of natural gas from Qatar, US, Norway, and UK. This system is connected to Ukrainian pipelines. As the conflict in the Eastern Ukraine unfolded Russia terminated gas supply to Ukraine (July 2014). Ukraine managed to negotiate replacement of 60% of Russian natural gas imports by the gas supply from the western direction already, without putting Russian gas supply to Europe at any risk.
This certainly could be done earlier, but gas trade between two countries was the most corrupt area of trade relations between Russia and Ukraine, with corruption revenues allegedly traveling to the very top of political establishment in Kyiv and in Moscow. In this regard the gas trade between Russia and Ukraine is a showcase of the devastating impact of corruption on the economy, with machinery (including military) products being the lead exported item.
Myth 4: Russia is independent from Ukraine
Another factor which is overlooked as well is Russia's dependence on Ukraine in the fields of industry and selected mineral resources. If these dependencies would not be resolved, the Russian Empire Project becomes unrealistic.
How Russia tried to resolve its dependency on Ukraine
Russia tried to replace all Ukrainian components by Russian ones
After the disappearance of the USSR, the interdependence between Ukraine and Russia was very deep. In November 1993 the Russian Federation decided to break its dependence on Ukraine, first of all in the military-industrial complex. A correspondent Classified Decree was issued by Russian President Borys Yeltsyn, and echoed by the special government program of the Russian Federation. Following these decisions Russia gradually replaced all Ukrainian components which it could replace with Russian-made parts.
Then there were ups and downs in this program, but now, 21 years later, it is safe to say that, particularly in the military field, Russia buys from Ukraine only the components which it cannot manufacture in Russia. Nevertheless Ukrainian machinery still is the leading article of Ukrainian export to Russia, which amounts for over $300 mln per year; banning the machinery import from Ukraine will inflict heavy damage on Russia, so Russian threats to do so are mostly a bluff.
From another hand, if Ukrainian companies will find buyers for their production outside Russia, and severe ties with (which is usually difficult) the Russian market, this will be a major blow for Russian defense industry. At this time Russian defense industry reached the point when it cannot replace Ukrainian partners at affordable cost and in a reasonable time.
Russia tried to buy critical Ukrainian enterprises in 2013
Under such conditions during the 1st half of 2013 Russia came to conclusion that the optimal strategy would be to buy the Ukrainian enterprises which it cannot replace. On December 2-3, 2013, at the starting days of Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity, Russian Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin embarked on a “shopping tour”, visiting several enterprises of Ukrainian East and South. The Rogozin's tour did not yield any result for two reasons: Russia wanted to get control of the enterprises which are banned from privatization by Ukrainian law, and also because of the change of the regime which followed in three months.
'Novorossiya' consists of the regions Russia depends upon most
After the Yanukovych regime collapsed, Russia came up with the concept of Novorossiya, wrapped up in artificial ideological justifications of 'common language' and 'historical tradition'. In reality Novorossiya (Crimea, Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhya, Mykolaiv, Kherson, and Odessa regions) is the collection of the regions that house the most advanced Ukrainian industry assets, on which Russia depends.
For Russia the most effective way to address these problems now, is to establish its control over entire Ukraine, or at least over its most critical parts.
The following sections will provide the necessary details of Russia's dependence.
Detailed Dependencies of Russia on Ukraine
A. Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)Russian conventional forces are deficient numbers- and technology-wise. At the same time Russian WMD are still massive; as a matter of fact Russia is the only state, which has nuclear deterrent capabilities that are compatible to the US.
To great extent this is due to the Russian (built in Ukraine and serviced by Ukrainian engineers) SS-18 missiles, which together can deliver 680 nuclear warheads to any part of the World, and overcome most of the existing missile defense systems.
Russia needs to replace it's Nuclear Missiles in ten years
These missiles are far beyond the initial manufacturer's warranty time, but so far the annual verification launches show no serious problems.
Nevertheless the first group of ten missiles is due for retirement in 2016, and remaining 58 will have to go out of service during 2021-2024.
Russia builds new solid propellant missiles SS-27 and SS-N-32, but it has to deal with the need to replace the earlier built SS-25 and SS-27, which have a warrantied service term of only 12 years. In order to replace the phased out SS-19, and SS-18 which are due for retirement during the next 10 years Russia has to build circa 250 new SS-27 in ten years, not including the replacement of the aging SS-25.
Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLMB)
The SLBM component of the Russian nuclear triad relies on Delta-IV in the north, and Delta-III (in Pacific) submarines. Pacific submarines are due for retirement, while the gap remains to be closed.
The emergence of the gap in the Russian navy component is in part due to the early phasing out of the giant Project 941 (Typhoon) submarines.
Scrapping these submarines was in part due to Russia's inability to manufacture SS-N-20 Sturgeon missiles, which used the Ukrainian-made first stage. The construction of the new generation of the submarines is going on schedule, but new SS-N-32 missile for them is not ready for deployment. When it will be ready, Russia will have to build 48 nuclear missiles at impossible schedule for already built vessels.
Meanwhile SS-N-32 and SS-27 are made by the same Votkinsk factory, which also builds Iskander (SS-26) missiles. Building this number of missiles is beyond its capabilities; expanding these capabilities faces quality control, financial, and human resources challenges.
Building a new ballistic missile
Under such conditions Russia accepted the idea of building the new heavy ballistic missile, which was proposed by NPO Makeyev in 2002. The project is funded since 2008, but it did not even come to first tests by now. The set target of acceptance of the new missile in service was 2016-2018, but it is already clear that it will not be met.
This means that in order to maintain the status of a nuclear superpower Russia must turn to using the capabilities of Ukrainian Youzhmash rocket factory, which manufactured the SS-18.
It is not a surprise that Russia reacted extremely nervously at the April 2014 rumors about the Ukrainian plans to sell technical documentation for SS-18. For the sensitive matter as it is, Russia needs full and reliable control of the Youzhmash factory, and of Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv regions (where the production is based).
Without such control in ten years Russia will have lost its parity to the US in the WMD field.
Furthermore, Russia's plans of production of the new nuclear-capable cruise missiles Kh-101/102 also depends on Russia's ability to develop the alternative to Ukrainian-built engine, or to get the Ukrainian one.
These engines are built in Zaporizhya by Ukrainian Motor-Sich – Ivchenko company.
B. Space IndustryBesides being the key component of the Russian nuclear deterrent, SS-18 missiles are also used commercially under the name Dnepr, jointly by Russia and Ukraine. Because of the optimal combination of performance, price, and reliability it became the principal workhorse for the booming small satellite industry.
Ukrainian Youzhnoye developed a multi-restart thrust engine for the rocket, and provides the 3rd stage of the rocket as well as the payload integration. Without Ukrainian participation Dnepr dominance at the small satellite market will be lost, delivering also a blow to the small satellite industry World-wide.
There is also a “negative” component for Russia in the absence of control over Youzhnoye. One can remember that at the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, after the first round of the Western sanctions was rolled out, Russian Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin jokingly stated that US will now have to use a trampoline for sending supply to the International Space Station (ISS). In a twisted way he was right: on July 13th 2014 the commercial cargo was delivered to ISS by the US rocked Antares-120, which used a Ukrainian-made “trampoline” - the 1st stage for Antares is made in Ukraine.
The guidance control systems (GCS) for Russian workhorse space launch vehicle Soyuz, and main commercial space bread-winner launch vehicle Proton are manufactured by the Kharkiv Kommunar company, which also makes the GCS Ukrainian-Russian Zenit.
Russia may have residual capability to make some GCS sets in Moscow at the Academician Pilyugin Centre, which developed them, but the production rate in such case cannot match even the bare-bone needs of the Russian military.
Ukrainian-built and designed Zenit operates from the SeaLaunch floating platform, which is an engineering marvel and commercial disaster simultaneously. SeaLaunch is a subsidiary of the Russian flagship space company RSC Energya. The ownership of this corporation is not completely disclosed, but its 11-member Board has 3 members from the Leader management company. This company has Rossija-Bank as its biggest shareholder. Rossija-Bank was exposed to the Western sanctions, as the cornerstone of the financial operations of the close circle of Vladimir Putin. This means that the close circle of Vladimir Putin to some extent depends on the smooth supply of the key components from Ukraine.
C. Nuclear Power GenerationOn the side of the nuclear power generation Russia's dependency on Ukraine is not less critical. Currently Russia prides itself with the fact that 17% of the worlds nuclear power is generated by Russian-made reactors, mostly the VVER-1000.
At the same time the Russian nuclear power plants (NPP) which use the VVER-1000 also rely on the K-1000-60 turbine, which is built by the Ukrainian Turboatom in Kharkiv. Russia is capable to build turbines for power generation, but its own production capabilities are insufficient for serving the market, and the VVER-1000 units would have to be redesigned.
Furthermore, Russian nuclear power generation faces imminent threat from Ukraine's program of cooperation with Westinghouse. Under the auspices of this program Westinghouse developed its own version of the fuel rods for VVER reactors. The testing of these rods was completed at a South Ukrainian NPP, and the first experimental stock of Westinghouse rods were delivered to Ukraine in 2014.
The successful operation of these rods means that starting 2015-2016 the procurement of the fuel rods to 10 Ukrainian VVER-1000 can be lost for Russia AND Westinghouse will be perfectly positioned to compete with Russian nuclear fuel concern TVEL for fuel supply to another 8-12 reactors in Bulgaria, Iran, China, Czech republic, and India.
See this article.
Westinghouse also established JV Westron with Ukrainian Khartron electronics company. Westron offers control systems for NPPs, and already challenges Russian dominance in the control of the VVER-1000 segment of the nuclear power generation World-wide.
All these expected developments are disturbing for the Russian nuclear power sector, and are far beyond the point where they could be addressed using just commercial instruments. Practically half of the Russia's nuclear fuel market will face a probable takeover by Westinghouse, plus Russia critically depends on Ukrainian materials. It has no time to develop the replacement capabilities for Ukrainian zirconium components, and doesn't have sufficient supply of Uranium.
Under such conditions the only way for Russia to secure stability of its nuclear power sector is to use military and/or political instruments to guarantee continued supply of Ukrainian materials and to prevent expansion of Westinghouse in Ukraine, and internationally within the “Russian” 17% of the nuclear power sector.
Naturally, this applies only if Russia don't want to cooperate with Ukraine in a good faith and as equal partner. Unfortunately such cooperation contradicts its imperial agenda.
D. Conventional Weapons and Machinery ProductionIn total there are 250-280 Ukrainian companies which are suppliers for the Russian defenses and aerospace enterprises. Among these the most important are as follows.
Kyiv Artem factory
In particular, Kyiv Artem factory is the manufacturer of the P-27 (АА-10 Alamo) air-to-air missiles, which are used by the Russian fighters Su-27, -33, and -34, MiG-29, and new bomber Su-35. Russia has no production of these missiles.
The seeker heads for the operational Russian air-based missiles were manufactured by one of the oldest defense companies in ex-USSR (since 1764), Kyiv Arsenal.
The interdependence in the field of transport and commercial aviation between Russia and Ukraine is particularly close. Ukrainian-designed super heavy cargo transporters An-124 were built in Russia, and still uses Ukrainian-made engines. The restoration of the production of An-124 is one of the key elements of the Russian 2020 defense program, while technical documentation, design documents, know-how and engines are all Ukrainian. The newest regional jet An-148 is manufactured in parallel in Russia and in Ukraine, also with reliance on Ukrainian documentation and power plant. Russia also developed the regional jet Sukhoi Super Jet Su-100. One of the key elements of the Super Jet design was the requirement to build the airplane which will not be using Ukrainian components. Following several years of efforts Sukhoi ended up buying the replacement components and systems from the West. According to Russian estimates, the cost of the imported components now is ~55% of the cost of the airplane; this ratio is a good yardstick to measure the degree of dependence of the Russian aviation industry on Ukrainian supply.
The design and production of the turboprop, turbofan, turboprop fan, and turbo shaft engines for Russian IL-38; Be-12, -132, -200; Tu-334; and all Antonov airplanes (including An-124 and An-225 giant cargo transporters) which are operated by Russia is concentrated at Zaporizhya Motor-Sich company.
Importantly, it also manufactures engines for all Russian helicopters, military and civilian, including the newest Mi-28H and Ka-51- and -52. Russia regularly states that it is about to break its dependence from Motor-Sich in two years, repeating this mantra since 1993.
Additionally, Motor-Sich makes gas power drivers for gas pumping turbines for Russian gas pipelines, gas preparation facilities, gas pumping units, and wind power turbines.
Another critical turbine designer and manufacturer is Mykolaiv Zarya-Mashproekt, which makes gas turbines for navy vessels (up to 6.000 deadweight destroyers), and retained the ability to build gas turbine engines for cruisers.
It also manufactures power plant for Russian landing hovercrafts Zubr, and for hydrofoil vessels. Russia plans to replace import of the navy turbines from Ukraine by 2018, but it is yet to be seen how it will manage to do so under the international sanctions.
So far the new series of Russian frigates Project 22350, which are built by Kalinungrad Yantar shipyard rely on procurement of gas turbines from Mykolaiv, and prospective designs of the Russian navy vessels account for the possibility of using Ukrainian gas turbines.
Zarya is also the leading supplier of the compressors for the Russian gas pipelines.
Kyiv Petrovsky Automation Plant
Dependence of the Russian navy on Ukrainian components also includes supply of gyroscope based control and navigation systems for main operational types of Russian torpedoes, and navigation equipment for Russian submarines; these are made in Kyiv at Petrovsky Automation Plant.
Russia's own production of gyroscopes was mostly lost during the 90s. Russian manufacturer of the subsea weapons Dvigatel from St. Petersburg is the main customer of the Petrovsky's production; in 2013 81% of the company's revenue came from export to Russia.
Naval shipyards in Mykolayiv, Kherson (and Crimea)
It has to be noted also that Russian imperial ambitions require it to rebuild blue-water navy, which was mostly lost during the 90s.
Current Russian surface navy includes one aircraft carrier, one Kirov-class battlecruiser cruiser, 3 Slava class cruisers, and destroyers. The resources of the Russian navy are insufficient even to effectively control the entirety of the Russian economic zone. As Russian oil and gas production moves north and east due to exhaustion of the developed deposits Russia also need to grow its tanker fleet, building ice-class tankers and icebreakers. Combined needs of the Russian oil and gas industry, and of the Russian navy, especially for the large dead-weight vessels by far exceed the capacity of the Russian shipyards. Situation is so pressing that Russia had to turn to buying the amphibious assault ships from France, for the first time in a hundred years. The root of the problem is that the Soviet shipyards which have built aircraft carriers, Slava-class cruisers, and number of other blue water navy vessels were located in Ukrainian Mykolayiv, Kherson, and in Crimea. Russia needs to use the capacity of Ukrainian shipyards if it wants to restore its blue water navy.
Snizhne Turbine Blades factory
There are also scattered numerous suppliers of small, but mission-critical and sophisticated components for the most advanced machinery products of Russia; for instance the Snizhne Turbine Blades factory (on the occupied territory) holds monopoly position in supply of turbine blades for aviation engines.
Lviv Lorta company
Lviv Lorta company provides electronics service stations for Russian surface-to-air SAMs S-300.
Sumy PJSC Sumy Frunze NPO
There are also selected enterprises which don't have defense and aerospace as the main field of cooperation with Russia. For instance, Sumy PJSC Sumy Frunze NPO is provider of the special pumping equipment for VVER reactors; pressure vessels, exchangers, and columns for chemical production; compressors for Russian oil and gas industry, etc.
Kramatorsk (recently re-taken by Ukrainian side) NKMZ is unique for ex-USSR provider of heavy machinery for mining, metallurgy, ore processing, pipelines, and shipbuilding.
Mariupol (re-taken by Ukrainian side in May of 2014) AZOVMASH is ex-USSR leading provider of the heavy steel-making equipment, heavy gantry cranes, containers for radioactive wastes, and variety of other heavy machinery.
E. Raw and Special MaterialsTitanium
Russian corporation AVISMA controls 30% of the World titanium market, and works mainly for export. Consumers of the company are Boeing, EADS, Embraer, UTAS, Messier- Bugatti- Dowty, Rolls-Royce plc, Safran SA, Pratt & Whitney; in Russia – Sukhoi fighter manufacturer, and Perm Motors.
Without titanium products of AVISMA Russian aerospace industry will come to a stand still, and the World aerospace will have problems as well.
Meanwhile 100% of titanium ore comes to AVISMA from Irshansk and Volnogorsk mines in Ukraine. These mines were recently transferred under control of Ukrainian PRIVAT Group, which is controlled by Ukrainian billionaires Kolomoisky and Bogolubov. There is a politically-motivated criminal case in Russia against Kolomoisky; he has no reason to supply titanium ore to Russia, while being capable to find international customers.
Scale of the disaster for the Russian defense industry, aerospace, shipbuilding and motors production following termination of Ukrainian ore supply is difficult to access.
AVISMA claimed in September that they accumulated 8 months of reserves. Probably there are less, and countdown started in August. AVISMA can find ore elsewhere, but it will take time to adjust production, replace purification which is made in Ukraine, and the task will not be easy to accomplish, considering that AVISMA needs an increase of the World production of titanium ore by 50%. Accordingly 6-8 months since August 2014, is the natural time limit during which Russia must either restore normal relations with Ukraine, or put a pro-Russian government in Kyiv.
Besides that Kolomoisky controls up to 30% of the World production of ferroalloy materials. Ferroalloys are a necessary doping component for production of quality steels. Russian metallurgy depends on Ukrainian ferroalloys, without which everything will crack, crush, and fall apart.
Special steels for rockets
Further upstream in the ferrous metallurgy, Ukrainian Dniprospecsteel metallurgy company is another source of critical import for Russia. This electric metallurgy company from Zaporizhya is monopoly supplier of the special steels for rocket and jet engines, instrumentation and bearing steel.
Furthermore, zirconium components, as well as yellowcake for production of the fuel rods for VVER-1000 come from Ukraine. It is exported to Kazakhstan, where it is further enriched and tableted, and then goes to Russia for the fuel rod production by Russian TVEL. Kazakhstan's government-owned Kazatomprom holds a 10% stake in Westinghouse, and can be interested in the Westinghouse's expansion in the VVER-1000 market.
Russia has no equivalent replacement for Ukrainian components, and has no developed deposits which can replace Ukrainian supply of uranium and zirconium for the needs of the nuclear industry.
Uranium - yellowcake
At the same time Ukraine holds Europe's biggest Uranium deposit in Novokonstanyinovka, and operates Zhovty Vody yellowcake refinery. Russia's own Uranium deposits are limited (although it has considerable stockpile of HEU), and it will take it years to develop the production of sufficient amounts of yellowcake to support its nuclear industry. Similar considerations apply to zirconium metallurgy, which is also critical for nuclear port generation.
Rare Earth Metals
Ukrainian Pridneprovsky Chemical Works (also near Dnipropetrovsk) was the Soviet provider of Uranium salts, and of the rare earth metals, including hafnium, and also zirconium, tungsten, gallium, and molybdenum. Their customers are mostly in Russia.
ConclusionThe provided examples of the Ukrainian export to Russia does not constitute the main part of the final product's cost, and almost never are the only product which Ukrainian company makes. At the same time without these products whole branches of the Russian military-industrial complex and of the Russian energy sector cannot function. In many cases the Ukrainian side holds critical know-how for which it will be necessary to develop an alternative production. This means years of research and big capital investments to be able to replace some piece of hardware that comes from Ukraine.
So if one disregards the opportunity of a normal trade relations and set the mind on an enclosed and self-sufficient Empire, there are only two options left:
- To go all the way and develop alternative production after years spent on developing the know-how and millions spent to build the national production capability, or
- To grab the production in the neighboring country by force or by integration of this country in the super-state structure like Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
Accordingly, Russia had to either abandon the imperial agenda, or to try to take over the needed assets. Russia obviously elected the takeover, after the attempt of integration of Ukraine in the Customs Union failed. This was not the only factor which defined Russia's decision to start the “hybrid war” in Ukraine, but was certainly among the important factors which Russia considered.
The geographical location of the critical assets are Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Zaporizhya, Donetsk and Mykolaiv regions, with only four companies located further West. Mykolaiv and neighboring Kherson house four big shipyards (two other are in Crimea), which are the birthplace of the Soviet blue water navy. Lack of shipyard capacity in Russia, especially for the big deadweight vessels, is so critical that Russia had to turn to buying the landing assault vessels in France.
These regions, together with Odessa (which is a major warm water port) and Lugansk form the imaginary Novorossiya state which Russia initially planned. The regions are mostly Russian-speaking, which gave Russia the reason to expect that Novorossiya will practically fall of from Ukraine after just a little “hybrid war” push. This was a miscalculation. The people in the targeted regions do mostly speak Russian, but most of them (over 80% now) consider themselves Ukrainian, as French-speaking Swiss are still Swiss, German-speaking Austrians are still Austrians, or English-speaking Irish are still Irish. The Novorossiya agenda failed everywhere except for eastern part of Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk regions, where the majority of locals associate themselves with Russian or Soviet cultural tradition.
As the result of this miscalculation of the factors of public support, Russia found itself in a dire situation. The “imperial project” failed; it had destroyed its relations with the supplier of the critical components for its defense and aerospace, and has now to make big investments in development of the national production capabilities. Meanwhile it is exposed to the international sanctions, its finances are in disarray, and the main source of the budget revenues is drying out because of the decline of the oil prices. These factors are relatively slow-acting, but can cripple Russian military power and nuclear sector in 2-3 years, pushing it deeper in the ranks of the resource-based economies with no prospective of becoming a modern state.
- Yana Korobko, Mahmoud N. Musa. The Shifting Global Balance of Power: Perils of a World War and Preventive Measures, 2014, USA.
- A. Zhalko-Tytarenko, Ukraine at a Divergence Point Diplomatic Courier, November 27, 2013.