The City of Moscow Will Suspend Its Funding Of Black Sea Fleet

Ropucha class large landing ship Azov of Russian Black Sea Fleet.

According to the well online independent newspaper The Moscow News, Mayor’s Office has scrapped the 2011 Moscow budget funding for Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

The City Hall has traditionally bankrolled numerous international endeavors, ranging from children’s resorts in Bulgaria to sanatoriums in Israel, but the Black Sea fleet was always a flagship program for the previous mayor, Yury Luzhkov.

The newspaper reports that the former mayor of Moscow Mr. Luzhkov first began financially supporting the flotilla in 1994 as part of his Moscow-Sevastopol Fund, the declared goal of which was to preserve the fleet after the fall of the USSR. As part of the program, barracks were renovated, schools built for sailors’ children and teachers’ wages paid. The program even funded training missions for the Kerch antisubmarine ship and the Moskva rocket cruiser in the Mediterranean Sea. Funding for the program peaked in 2008, when it reached 160 million rubles. This year, 70.6 million rubles was earmarked for the fleet.

Luzhkov had always made no secret of his desire to see Sevastopol returned to Russian territory. Crimea was transferred from Russian territory to Ukraine as part of the USSR in 1954. Russia currently leases the base from Ukraine. In May 2008, Luzhkov was barred from entering Ukraine because “despite warnings he continued to call for actions that threaten Ukraine’s national interests and territorial integrity,” RIA Novosti quoted Ukraine’s Security Service as saying in a statement at the time.

This is a politically dangerous move by the current Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. The Russian Black Sea Fleet totally forward deployed in a foreign country (Ukraine) is not just a military unit. It is also a very powerful political leverage with which Russia tries to manipulate Ukraine. The funding cut from Mayor’s Office will not create a crisis at the fleet but could drive a wedge between Sobyanin and Putin.

2 Responses to The City of Moscow Will Suspend Its Funding Of Black Sea Fleet

  1. Dave Shirlaw says:

    Maybe they can sell advertising on the side of the ships instead.

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