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28 Jul, 2007 02:03

The Media Mirror - What's in the weekend’s Russian press?

The Russian press looks into the world’s future – both near and far. With nanotechnology set to spearhead Russia’s R&D, Profile magazine has a futuristic cover story on this technology range. The debate over ABMs in Europe is covered by Moskovs

“Rosnanotech Corporation”, a state enterprise built on the principles of state capitalism now includes academic institutions like the Kurchatov Institute and both military and civilian research and development facilities.

The article says, nanotechnology will have to retract the path of most scientific developments of the 20th Century: through the defence industrial complex to everyday use by civilians. The first efforts are definitely concentrated in the weapons development, with an emphasis on “smart dust”, a flying cloud of nano-sized robots loaded with high explosives which develop a sort of a “collective brain” akin to that of an anthill and are controlled by a single computer. The cloud of smart dust can split into several attack formations to deal with multiple targets, or decide by its collective brain that the whole quantity is needed to kill a target of a larger size and with better defences. It would be used in border patrol and against enemy infiltration.

Smart dust is just one of thousands of uses for nanotechnology in the military, but it is also the best developed so far, mainly in the U.S. and Russia, says the article. And even with this first program there are already problems of a moral nature. “Nobody knows so far how the collective brain of the cloud will behave, especially taking into account possible glitches in the control computer,” quotes the article from one of the lead scientists of the project.

But the bright future opening for the human race, for instance, with nano-satellites, which will certainly derive from this weapon project, is worth the effort and the risk, think most of the scientists involved.

Moskovskie Novosti has the regular column by Evgeny Primakov, this time on the necessity of the U.S. missile defence for Europe. The academic and former Prime Minister says there is no immediate threat for Europe either from Iran or from Russia. The reason the missile defence elements are going to be deployed in Eastern Europe is more political than military or strategic:

“The U.S. needed to expand its influence in Europe… through Eastern European countries, eager to join NATO…in order to go back to the situation when European nations had to measure up their national interest to the necessity of being more cooperative,” Mr Primakov believes.

There is nothing to add.