Another attempt to sell the long-suffering missile cruiser “Ukraine” more closely resembles the agony of the shipbuilding industry — the former pride and present headache of the Ukrainian state, which during all the years of independence has failed to give its own mind to the great heritage of the USSR.
In early September, the Ukrainian Navy’s online mouthpiece “Fleet of Ukraine” published an interview with its commander, Vice Admiral Sergey Gayduk, in which he shared the ministry’s plans for the fate of the main naval "Long-term construction" of the country - the missile cruiser "Ukraine". Once it took Soviet specialists only six years to build this miracle of military engineering. But for the Ukrainian statesmen and a quarter of a century it was not enough to save the Nikolaev shipbuilders from the need to observe how the fruit of their labors rusted and decrepit at the factory berth. Despite the fact that huge amounts of budget funds were spent on the creation and subsequent maintenance of the ship.
Vice-Admiral Haiduk, deciding not to be original, repeated the thesis that had been previously heard about the need to sell this still-floating “suitcase without a handle”. “The cruiser“ Ukraine ”is a piece broken off from the state,” said the commander of the Ukrainian navy, explaining his words by saying that 80% of ship armament (as well as navigation equipment) are of Russian origin, while in Ukraine nothing like produced. In addition, even in the case of the completion of “Ukraine”, the fleet’s modest capabilities are not capable of ensuring the deployment of a ship of this class — it needs an escort group of several frigates or destroyers. After the loss of the Crimea, Haiduk’s office does not have the required infrastructure of the base.
Indeed, even the current militarized Ukraine is too tough for this “broken piece” with a displacement of 11 500 tons, equipped with the Fort anti-aircraft missile system (naval analogue of the land-based C-300), the anti-ship missile complex “Basalt”, five-pipe torpedo tubes, XNUM - millimeter artillery systems of the main caliber and other "lethal force". By and large, it is not needed for Russia either - due to the absence of those tasks for which the cruiser was created during Soviet times, and because of obsolescence (after all, the project has been for more than 130 years). Not to mention the fact that, in the present state of Russian-Ukrainian relations, such a transaction is in principle impossible.
Cruiser of bad luck
The “Ukraine” missile cruiser turned out to be the most unlucky among its “brothers” on the 1164 Atlant project - the Moscow (Black Sea Fleet), Varyag (Pacific Fleet) and Dmitry Ustinov (North Fleet) cruisers that were part of the Russian Navy. created to combat enemy aircraft carrier units, attacking coastal targets and providing air defense of the ships' connections.
From the very beginning, it didn’t work with identification: it was pledged in 1984 in Nikolaev at the Shipbuilding Plant named after N. 61 of the Communard as “Komsomol member” (the namesake of the K-278 nuclear submarine that drowned in the Norwegian Sea in April 1989), after a couple of years he was given the name Admiral Lobov right on the stocks. Interestingly, in the same factory, the same type of cruiser Admiral Navy Lobov, named after Semyon Lobov, a long-time commander of the Northern Fleet (which the ship entered after it was built), was launched at the same plant. But after the death of USSR Defense Minister Dmitry Ustinov, the Politburo perpetuated his memory at the expense of others simply by renaming "Admiral Fleet Lobov" to "Dmitry Ustinov." The name of Lobov was ordered to "drag on" the next ship of the 1982 project.
In the 1993 year, after the division of the Black Sea Fleet, the new “Admiral of the Fleet Lobov” became Ukrainian property. Not yet completed (75% readiness with 600 million dollars spent on building), it awakens delusions of grandeur among the first persons of the state, who see it as the invincible Navy flagship. After a categorical refusal to offer the Russian side to sell it at a reasonable price, the ship is once again renamed, predictably calling it “Ukraine”, after which the next decade will be marked by unsuccessful attempts to make the fairy tale come true.
Despite ambitious plans, the project is frozen until 1998 due to lack of funding. Then President Leonid Kuchma on the eve of the presidential elections resumes completion, bringing the level of readiness to 95%. In his presence, the flag of the Naval Forces of Ukraine was hoisted above the ship, and the first crew began to keep the watch on board (for all the following years it will be disbanded and reassembled several times). From that day on, Ukrainian political heavyweights became the rule of good form to visit “Ukraine”, promising during their visits her soon joining the battle formation. But the unhappy Karma of the cruiser did its job: every prime minister or defense minister resigned very quickly after being on his deck.
By the beginning of the two thousandth the wrath of maritime rule had ceased to obscure the heads of the captains of Ukrainian statehood. Soberly assessing their place in the global world, they had to realize that Kiev not only could not afford it, but simply had no reason to have such a toy on its contents. The “aircraft carrier killer” (as they once christened the “graduate” of the 1164 project) turned into a fighter of those budget crumbs that the Ukrainian state was ready to spend on defensive needs.
In turn, the officials of the Ministry of Defense tried to dispose of the funds allocated to the "killer" at their discretion, not to rush to pay the plant for supervision, that is, to maintain the basic life support systems in operation - engines, electronics, heating. The fleet crew was also significantly “optimized”, which never felt seven feet under the keel. Instead of units according to the staff list of 508, its number was reduced to seven people, the main task of which was to protect the facility from marauders.
Then the next head of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, Anatoly Kinakh (himself a Nikolayevets, and in the Soviet past - the shipbuilder) and voiced for the first time a seditious thought about the possible utilization of the unpromising “long-term construction”. At the beginning, this idea in the spirit of “Overton windows” was expressed in the sense that “we should not allow such a thing to happen at all.” But soon the next MO commission, which arrived in Nikolaev to assess the condition of the ship, was no longer so categorical. Moreover, the experience of cutting unique military equipment under the watchful supervision of representatives of the US Embassy "utilizers" in uniform was not to take (enough to recall history with the destruction of the strategic bombers Tu-160).
After all the calculations, the idea of a “dismemberment” was still decided to be abandoned. By that time, the world community had already ceased to pay for the voluntary disarmament of Ukraine, and the cost of cutting a cruiser with its own forces exceeded once and a half times the estimated revenue from the sale of scrap. In this regard, on the horizon of opportunities loomed the only acceptable option - the sale.
Strategic "scrap metal"
“Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, fascinated by the upcoming deal on the French Mistrals, responded with a counter offer - willingness to receive Ukraine only free of charge”
The option with the sale seemed so attractive that the Ukrainian “effective managers” were also able to push the unique warships for a pittance. All of the same Nikolaev, from the harbor of the Black Sea Shipbuilding Plant, on the morning of June 2000, went to a long journey (to the port of Macao) the heavy aircraft carrying cruiser Varyag, two years earlier bought by Chinese offshore company Chong Lot Travel Agency Ltd for 20 million dollars ( exactly by weight, at the price of scrap - at the cost of the finished order of 3 – 5 billion dollars) as the base for a floating casino. In China, the "casino" was released from shock weapons, after which three years ago it was solemnly taken into the Navy of the People's Liberation Army of the PRC as the first Chinese aircraft carrier called "Liaoning".
Neither Ukraine’s pride nor the Americans, who after the Kolchugi scandal (mobile radar stations allegedly shipped to Iraq) and the murder of journalist Gongadze, firmly took Kuchma by the throat, would have allowed the Russians to sell the Ukrainians to the Russians in a similar way. By the way, they would not have given it to China and India, about the possibility of a deal with which the Ukrainian media periodically still write. The same "Varyag" Turkey under pressure from the United States for more than two years did not pass through the Bosphorus. "The process has begun" only after China returned the US EP-3 US Navy reconnaissance aircraft to the US, together with the pilots.
In addition, the same anti-ship complex "Basalt" has a range of 550 km, while international rules prohibit the export of missiles flying farther than 300 km. However, Russia simply did not have time to deliver the missiles themselves to Ukraine before the collapse of the Union, and then did not do this because of the competition resulting from geopolitical transformations. But the placement of missiles with a shorter range significantly reduced the cost of the cruiser for potential customers.
By the middle of 2000, the Chinese were already closely involved in reworking the Varyag, buying heavy aircraft-carrying cruisers Kiev and Minsk from the Russian Federation (later redeveloped as entertainment centers), and India acquired its own aircraft carrier, Vikramaditya, created on the basis of same Russia TAKR "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov." This did not add to the commercial attractiveness of the “aircraft carrier killer” that had grown up at the factory berth.
After pro-American Viktor Yushchenko became the president of Ukraine in the wake of the "orange revolution", negotiations in the Russian-Ukrainian format also lost their relevance. Already in September 2005, then defense ministers Sergey Ivanov (now the head of the presidential administration of the Russian Federation) and Anatoly Gritsenko concluded that it would not be expedient to complete the construction of a cruiser due to the lack of need for this military ship for the armed forces of both countries.
But the famine is not an aunt, and in July 2008, the former Prime Minister and Minister of Defense in the government of Tymoshenko, Yuriy Yekhanurov, announced his readiness to sell Russia the unfinished missile cruiser “Ukraine” due to the fact that there was nothing to do in this Black Sea. ” As a particularly attractive for the buyer argument, Yekhanurov even hinted at the likelihood of a ship basing in Sevastopol: “Yes, if this would fall within the scope of the contract. But the fact is that if you imagine yourself even a little bit, this cruiser should work in the ocean. He has such dimensions. ”
However, after the attack of Georgia on South Ossetia, during which the Georgian side against the Russian Air Force used the deployed from Ukraine together with the crews of the Buk air defense system, the sides preferred to forget about all the progress in the negotiations on the cruiser. A return to this topic occurred in the short period of "thaw" that took place after the signing of the "Kharkiv agreements" between the new Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April 2010 of the year. After that, Mikhail Nenashev, Chairman of the Subcommittee of the State Duma of the Russian Federation on Military-Technical Cooperation, told the press that “Ukraine” could be accepted into the Russian Navy. “We need this ship,” said the Russian deputy, stressing that the signed agreement on the prolongation of the basing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine opens the way for reaching concrete agreements on the purchase of a cruiser.
A month later, Ukrainian Defense Minister Mikhail Yezhel said at a meeting of the Verkhovna Rada that after the construction was completed, the missile cruiser Ukraine could be handed over to the Russian Federation. And in July of the same year, the Ukrainian parliament declared its own decree on assigning the name "Ukraine" to the Admiral Fleet missile cruiser, no longer valid.
Then the usual Ukrainian whistle began with a revision of the previously agreed conditions. People’s Deputy from the Party of Regions Oleksandr Kuzmuk, who at the beginning of 90, being Minister of Defense, promised to make Ukraine the flagship of the Ukrainian Navy, justified the sudden appetites: “Russia needs to create five to seven aircraft carrier groups. And ships of this class (aircraft-carrying cruisers) in the open spaces of the Soviet Union were built only in Nikolaev, there is no more such shipyard. Does this not open up prospects for us? Now you can look at the problem with the Ukraine cruiser in a different way.
A different perspective “on the problem with the cruiser“ Ukraine ”began to be evaluated by Ukrainian business people almost in 4,7 billion dollars - against a billion with a little declared by Yekhanurov in 2008 year, which the Russian side called a transcendental proposal. A year later, the then Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, Anatoly Serdyukov, enthusiastic about the upcoming deal on the French Mistrals, responded with a counter offer, willing to receive Ukraine only free of charge, to claim Kuzmuk.
Fate is not fooled
And now, in September, 2015, in the light of economic problems, Vice-Admiral Sergei Gaiduk takes the usual step: announces the sale for five years as a legally nameless cruiser. What is encouraging, unlike its predecessors, it does not at least voice the number of desired profits, logically suggesting that the unbridled fantasies of Kiev sellers may scare away potential buyers even further.
It is noteworthy that Haiduk calls the Leninskaya Kuznitsa Kiev shipbuilding plant as the main contender for the disbursement of funds received in the event of a sale, but not the enterprise where the object of sale was produced. Motives inspire respect. First, the Leninsky smithy belongs to Petro Poroshenko - officially and to the whole country he denied the business of the president of Ukraine (to whom, if not to him, to dispose of the proceeds of the transaction without prejudice). And secondly, the Plant of the Name of the Communard 61 (the first city shipyard "Nikolaev Admiralty", laid down in 1787 by the Most High Prince Grigory Potemkin-Tavrichesky and laid the foundation for Nikolaev itself), which was once the cradle for the legendary battleship Potemkin, today represents a miserable sight, releasing instead of large anti-submarine ships and missile cruisers stoves for the ATO warriors. Where is he to go with Poroshenko's "Forge".
However, the Black Sea shipbuilding plant, built a century later by the “Kommunarovtsy” - the former “Naval” —with tsarism, also participated in the creation of “Potemkin” (installation of the main steam engines, boilers and artillery towers) and the world's first underwater mine layer “ Crab". Under the Union, together with the Severodvinsk Zvezdochka, he was the largest supplier of ships for the needs of the Soviet Navy. Among its products are the current flagship of the Russian Navy, the heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov (as well as the earlier TAKR Kiev, Minsk, Novorossiysk, Admiral Gorshkov and Varyag). As well as the first Soviet nuclear aircraft carrier Ulyanovsk, which was able to compete with the American Nimitz on equal terms, and the NITKA training complex rehabilitated last year in Crimea, designed for pilots deck aviation techniques of takeoff and landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
Today, the ChSZ’s huge production areas are tearing apart grain traders who liked the factory ports because of their developed infrastructure. But the distributors of scrap do not favor the company. The strategic reserves of the metal, which allowed it to work at full capacity for five years offline, were exported abroad at the beginning of 90-x - along with machine tools with numerical program control, from the mutilated appearance of which the Turk purchasers were initially perplexed.
So, Ukraine, with Vice-Admiral Haiduk’s light hand, who started another sale of a cruiser that once bore her name, will have to get rid of not only the annoying and burdensome property maintenance costs, but also the last signs that put her in a number of highly developed in the technological sense States. She has to take another step down - to the category of territories where the social bar of the population is not governed by the level of education, intellectual abilities and achievements of citizens, but by the size of the club and the physical capabilities of its use. In the end, it was not for nothing that Coelho wrote so respected by the “enlightened class” that every nation deserves its unique destiny.