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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Annals of the Horrors of Nashi

The Thoughts of a Conservative Christian blog reports:

MOST OF US REMEMBER the joke from the famous Robin Williams film Good Morning, Vietnam.

“Here’s Airman Adrian Cronauer with a little riddle for you. What’s the difference between the army and the cub scouts? Ahhhnnn. Cub scouts don’t have heavy artillery.”


The latest incarnation of the scouts in Russia does not have its own artillery–not yet, anyway–but they did have several Russian Air Force (VVS) jets at their disposal this past week. A flight of six Sukhoi Su-27 fighters (shown above) -- part of the VVS’s demonstration team -- performed Tuesday for thousands of members of the youth group Nashi. The occasion was the group’s annual summer outdoor camp at Lake Seliger, a site some 350 kilometers from Moscow.

The Nashi summer camp has now been turned into campaign stop and political pulpit for major figures in the Russian government–hence the willingness of the powers-that-be in the Kremlin to spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars it cost to put on the Su-27 aerial display for the event.

The six aircraft had to fly a full three hours to reach the site of the Nashi camp, put on a one-hour show and then return to their base at Lipetsk. VVS officials would not provide any cost figures for the show they put on, but one of Russia’s most well-known test pilots, Magomed Tolboyev, told Obshaya Gazeta in Moscow that it would cost at least $216,000. This is based on afigure of $12,000 per flight hour to operate the Su-27, which consumes 5 to 6 tons of aviation fuel per hour. Aviation fuel costs about 20,000 roubles ($790) per ton, and this does not include the additional expense of airport landing and takeoff fees and air traffic control charges.

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