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The Anatomy of Russian Defense Conversion
Published in Hardcover by VEGA Press (01 December, 2000)
Authors: David Holloway, Sonia Ben Ouagrham, James Goody, Michael Intrilgator, Ward Hanson, Jonathan Tucker, Vlad E. Genin, William J. Perry, David Bernstein, and Marcus Feldman
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Very informative book
I am a former Russian journalist and a documentary filmmaker who has also worked at NASA in the US.

"The Anatomy of Russian Defense Conversion" touches on many more subjects then just Russian Defense Industry. This is a very thorough, informative and important work that analyses the history of US and Russian Defense Industries, weapons exports and conversion, and possibilities of transformation from a militarized to a civilian economy in the new millenium.

The book also reflects on the current state of defense industries in the US and Russia, and "brain drain", or loss of intellectual capital in Russia and other countries after the Cold War.

I found reflections in Arkady Yarovsky's chapter "From the Culture of War to the Culture of Peace" very contemporary, especially in the light of recent events in the Middle East:

"Our time is unfortunately still characterized as "the culture of war." The culture of war is evident first and foremost in the hostilities between people and states, between nations and faiths, and in the inability to solve conflicts by peaceful means... Humanity has made it into the third millenium because the lust for power has been restrained by fear of nuclear war, but this restraint is not to be counted on permanently... The danger hidden in the separateness of people of different countries, unfortunately, remains a legacy for the next century... If humanity renounces the legacy of the culture of war, it can start down the road of cooperation, peaceful creation, and enlightenment. This is the only road leading to the culture of peace."

A Subject of Mutual Interest
One can imagine that I, as a small child living in San Antonio, Texas, next to three Air Force bases and an Army base, living through the Cuban missile crisis, thought about the threat of the Russian military. I also met my parents' wonderful emigre' friends, and to this day have had warm relations with Russian people.

This book tells of the enormous cost to the Russian people of building and maintaining their war industry for so many years, a militarized economy where people got second best. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, defense industry just about shut down, but civilian industry has not grown great enough to support the population. There are horrendous unemployment, and terrible health and social problems. There is some danger that the path of least resistance for Russia, if we neglect the situation, could be to re-start weapons production, for export at first.

In my opinion, the United States also, to a lesser degree, has neglected the manufacture of quality consumer goods, importing them instead, and has let its physical economy deteriorate, despite much activity in the financial sector. We, too, have been insufficiently careful of the environment. This book provides some idea of what these trends could lead to, if carried to extremes.

Perhaps the involvement of United States companies in Russia, could lead to more of a recognition here, of the importance of the physical economy. Hopefully, both countries could also work to put industry on a healthy environmental footing as well.

There is awareness of the problem of Russian defense conversion, at high levels of our government. I hope this book helps educate people and sustain that interest.

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