CHEBARKUL, Russia (AFP) - Russia is immediately to resume the Soviet-era practice of sending strategic bombers on long-range flights well beyond its borders, President Vladimir Putin announced here on Friday.US authorities are officially dismissive of the announcement.
Speaking as he and Chinese President Hu Jintao wrapped up joint military exercises at a training ground in the Ural Mountains, Putin said: "We have decided to renew flights of Russian strategic aviation on a permanent basis."
"In 1992 Russia unilaterally stopped flights by its strategic aviation in distant military patrol regions. Unfortunately not everyone followed our example and strategic flights by other states continue," he said, an apparent reference to the United States.
Asked whether the patrols posed a security threat to the United States, [US national security spokesman Gordon] Johndroe replied: "I don't think our military has those concerns about it." [SNIP]John of Op-For is also not worried about Putin's latest actions and reminds us of how far ahead of the Russians we are with respect to our cruise missile/stealth bomber technology--right now.
"If Russia feels as though they want to take some of these old aircraft out of mothballs and get them flying again that's their decision," [State Department] spokesman Sean McCormack said.
Additionally, Putin seems to have another PR plan in motion: boosting his manliness credentials by posing shirtless and by being photographed wearing rather cowboy-ish clothing. Is Vlad fishing for Putin Девочки?
It is becoming embarrassingly obvious that Russian president Putin has gone fishing in anticipation of next year's presidential elections. Instead, he seems to be cultivating his image as Russia's strong man in more aspects than one. [SNIP]You laugh (me too), however, Putin isn't playing these games for our eyes and ears, but for those of his countrymen. (And actually, this sort of thing isn't new to Russian/Soviet leadership PR.) Remember what has been said about the effectiveness of propaganda and how much practice our Russian friends have had in using it.
It is no real secret that Putin's spin-doctors put down a lot of work on cultivating the Russian leader's image as a strong man, even though Putin himself always "reacts" with dismay and calls for restraint in too overt idolisation.
(Thanks to Pajamas Media)