Russia’s tanks have enjoyed a glorious reputation since the end of World War II, securing buyers and admirers all around the world. How they are safeguarded and where they are found can, however, still be surprising and downright frightening.
Close to the city of Yekaterinburg in the Urals villagers found dozens of abandoned tanks, identified as a mixture of T-80 and T-72 main battle tanks “parked” next to railway tracks. Reports differ on the number of tanks, with estimates ranging between 100 and 200 vehicles. They have been sitting there for almost four months covered in snow, reports add.
The video footage available (1 and 2) shows that at least some of the vehicles were unlocked, open for everyone to take a personal tour. Apparently the only items missing were live rounds and the keys to the tanks’ ignitions. But maybe they were just under another snow heap?
A military spokesperson was quick to point out that special patrols were guarding the tanks, which were being dispatched to a military base.
In the meantime the army has embarked on a hasty operation to relocate the tanks.
This incident comes just days after top military commanders stated that Russia doesn’t need half of its 20,000 tanks.
Could you park one of them close to my train station, please?
F-16 Jet, courtesy of Jeffk42/flickr
In his article for the ISN weekly theme, Dr Markus Schultze-Kraft explains that the “political-ideological rift that divides the region, deep mutual distrust, opposed geopolitical projects and international alliances, and not least the enormously challenging nature of the transnational security threats, such as Colombia’s armed conflict and drug-trafficking, all conspire against regional security improvements.”
I will not argue against this statement that summarizes perfectly the issues that South America is facing today. I will elaborate on something that has not been mentioned and that is, to me, crucial to the (non-)establishment of confidence and regional security in the continent: the militarization of South American countries.
Small button, big consequences / Photo: Steven De Polo, flickr
After the German-directed ISAF air strike on two fuel vehicles stolen by the Taliban reportedly cost civilian lives, public calls for clarification are accompanied by both palsy and hectic in Berlin. Federal elections will take place in less than 3 weeks.
What often happens when things go very wrong is that people engage in speculation and search for a scapegoat. Too seldom though, we see people take responsibility, especially in politics. Clausewitz wrote that war never is an end in itself and always serves a political purpose. Imagine now a trigger in the hands of a German soldier serving in an army with a heavy legacy; an army from a pacifistic, self-traumatized post-war state, in which military planning, strategy and even tactics are subject to widespread emotional discussions. How much politics can efficient tactics bear? » More