In theory Russia is a superpower, but it only has one aircraft carrier which, moreover, has been under repair for five years and collecting all kinds of trouble.
As a superpower, Russia has already shown that it is not what it was by being unable to conquer a much smaller country like Ukraine in 10 months, an invasion that also is suffering colossal losses. One of the most humiliating affected the Russian Navy: the sinking of the cruiser Moskva, flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet.
Many will wonder what happens with the Russian naval air force. For starters, the Montreux Convention prevents a ship the size of an aircraft carrier from entering the Black Sea (remember that Turkey, a NATO member country, controls the only access to that sea from the Mediterranean, through the Bosphorus Strait). But it is also that Russia has had its only aircraft carrier out of service for five years, due to a series of incidents.
In 2016, the Kuznetsov took part in the Russian military operations in Syria, in which aircraft aboard that carrier participated in more than 400 combat missions. In January 2017 Putin ordered the removal of the ship from the Mediterranean. The Kuznetsov crossed the Strait of Gibraltar on January 20 and the English Channel on the 26th, arriving at the Russian naval base of Severomorsk, in Murmansk, on February 9 of that year. In that same quarter of 2017 a process to modernize the ship began there , to extend its operational life by 25 years. Let us remember that the ship was launched in 1985.
On the night of October 29-30, 2018, the misfortunes began. In Murmansk, Russia's largest floating dock, the PD-50, sank along with the aircraft carrier. The ship was managed to be extricated, but before that happened, a 70-ton tower crane fell onto the aft part of its flight deck, causing a considerable hole that affected several decks of the ship.
On the morning of December 12, 2019, while still in Murmansk, a fire broke out aboard the aircraft carrier. Two people died from this fire, which caused serious damage in the amount of 500 million rubles (about 8 million dollars).
While the damage from that fire was still being assessed, only 10 days later, on December 22, 2019, a new fire broke out on board, this time smaller and was quickly extinguished, with no injuries.
After the aforementioned accidents, there was talk that the ship would be ready by the end of 2021. Those plans came up against two problems that seem closely linked to Russia: bad weather and corruption. The ship's delivery deadlines began to be pushed back, first to 2022 and now to 2024. Al At the same time, the extension of the expected useful life of the ship (remember that it was 25 years) was shortened to a term of 10 to 15 years. The account Voyennyy Osvedomitel of the Russian social network VK has pointed out that the shipping company that is repairing the ship had to terminate a contract with the company that was building a new dry dock in Murmansk: "The work progressed ten times slower than what was written in the contract , and the contractor could not inform about the advance payment of 2.6 billion rubles."
Finally, yesterday there was a new fire in Kuznetsov, which has forced to close the access to the ship for 15 days, until the circumstances of this new accident are clarified. It is worth wondering if this will again postpone the scheduled delivery date of the ship and if the Kuznetsov will be in service again. In any case, what happened to this ship is a true portrait of Russian society under the Vladimir Putin regime.
Main photo: RIA Novosti.
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