back to article China dumps dud chips on Russia, Moscow media moans

The failure rate of semiconductors shipped from China to Russia has increased by 1,900 percent in recent months, according to Russian national business daily Коммерсантъ (Kommersant). Quoting an anonymous source, Kommersant states that before Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine the defect rate in imported silicon was two …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Other rules may apply

    Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #34: War is good for business (only from a distance, the closer to the front lines, the less profitable it gets)

    1. UCAP Silver badge

      Re: Other rules may apply

      I don't see the current situation as being profitable for anyone, least of all Russians or the Ukrainians.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Other rules may apply

        At least 2/3 of humanity - India and China - are getting bargain prices on Russian hydrocarbons. It's entirely possible for some to profit in the midst of net loss.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Other rules may apply

          "At least 2/3 of humanity - India and China - are getting bargain prices on Russian hydrocarbons."

          You may want to check your calculations.

          World population: 7,985,416,000

          Population of China: 1,425,893,465

          Population of India: 1,407,563,842

          35% != 2/3

          It's also worth considering that, while Russian fuel is much cheaper than the fuel from elsewhere, it's more expensive than it was before the war started. What the price would have been in a world where the war didn't happen is hypothetical but there's reason to expect a different result.

          1. juice

            Re: Other rules may apply

            > It's also worth considering that, while Russian fuel is much cheaper than the fuel from elsewhere, it's more expensive than it was before the war started. What the price would have been in a world where the war didn't happen is hypothetical but there's reason to expect a different result.

            In the first instance, while Russian oil may be more expensive than it was, it's still significantly less expensive than the oil being used by other countries. Which gives India and China a competitive advantage, relative to those countries.

            In addition, India appears to be taking Russian oil, relabelling it and then reselling it to countries which have (at least nominally) banned Russian oil imports. So they're effectively getting free money.


            Admittedly, this short term profiteering could cause major issues in the long term, once these countries lose their free competitive advantage and "free" export money. But in the meantime, they're doing very nicely, thank you.

            1. Tom Graham

              Re: Other rules may apply

              I don't think the average Indian shopkeeper, household, tuk-tuk driver etc will be that impressed to know they have gained a "competitive advantage" by having their energy costs go up by less than people in Europe.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Other rules may apply

            Reuters May 20 "Exclusive: China quietly increases purchases of low-priced Russian oil"

            The low price of Russia's oil – spot differentials are about $29 less per barrel compared with before the invasion, according to traders - is a boon for China's refiners as they face shrinking margins in a slowing economy. The price is well below competing barrels from the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the United States.

      2. Blank Reg

        Re: Other rules may apply

        Western military suppliers should be doing just fine.

      3. iron Silver badge

        Re: Other rules may apply

        The entire story is about how the war is profitable for dodgy chip sellers in China.

        1. ian 22

          Re: Other rules may apply

          Not if they are being paid in rubles. Last I heard, the value of the ruble was down 25%.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Other rules may apply

        Wherever there is human misery you will always find lawyers - either causing it, or profiting from it.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Other rules may apply

        well, if you were BP or any other business in the sector of 'energy', perhaps you'd disagree (down to the very last of little people, like tesco, cashing in at their petrol pumps). Likewise, a very wide mesh of business entities operating in the 'arms manufacturing and selling', from the giants to the startups, across the globe (and not only in relation to the war, but due to increased interest in buying toys around the world. Likewise, a charity business. Likewise textile manufacturers (in China and elsewhere). Medical supplies etc. Those private individuals and companies that snap dirt-cheap business, property and land (in Ukraine and Russia). Food manufacturing business (no, really). And, naturally, various telecoms, including, but of course, Elon Musk (despite all his lamenting about how his starlink baby is suffering financial hardship cause like, they throw all those $$$ on Ukraine and who's gonna pay, etc.). Did I mention drone-related business? Peanuts if you compare it with fossil fuels, but healthy growth due to EXCELLENT free publicity! :(

    2. fandom

      Re: Other rules may apply

      Unfortunately many people forget Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #35, Peace is good for business, until rule 34 applies.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Other rules may apply

        My first thought was Rules of the Internet #34 when I read your comment.

  2. Potemkine! Silver badge

    #21: Never place friendship above profit.

    Does China ship this kind of SSD to Russia?

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A feint?

    While I believe there is a good chance it is true, is it not also possible that the article was placed as a favor to Chinese chip suppliers? With all the cheap oil Russia is selling to China, I would think they have at least some leverage.

    1. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: A feint?

      They had leverage in February before they sent it all off to fertliise Ukraine's lands.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A feint?

      Russia **needs** to sell cheap oil to China - it's China that has leverage.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: A feint?

      What exactly would the favor be? Why would the suppliers want an article saying they defrauded clients? The suppliers probably haven't been named, but if they were it's bad press for them. It confirms that Russia does have some imports going on, which we already knew, but it doesn't say much about what or how the failure rates affected production. I don't see a benefit to either side in faking this news (the best they can hope for is that I think "Oh nice, glad things are going badly for them" and they think "Ha ha fooled you", but that's not much use).

      1. CoolKoon

        Re: A feint?

        Because those suppliers are probably con organizations who are exclusively in the business of selling fakes. The overwhelming majority of such fakes is literally purpose-made stuff (probably mostly stuff that didn't pass QC at the semiconductor fab) and not just something that "slipped through" due to issues with QC. 40% is WAY too high of a number for that.

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: A feint?

      Seems like you've never negotiated with Chinese state run enterprises and have not looked at the history of sino-russian relations. For the Chinese, Russians are almost the definition of barbarian and they only exist to provide the Middle Kingdom with resources.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: A feint?

        For the Chinese, Russians are almost the definition of barbarian

        And Maoism and Marxism are implacably at loggerheads - much like Sunni/Shia or Catholic/Protestant..

        Plenty of Sino-Russian border conflicts over the last 100 years!

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: A feint?

          Sure, I remember those hysterical articles and books declaring the coming great war between the Kremlin and Peking, mostly in the 80's as an expression of hope that America's foes would destroy each other.

          Trouble is, Russia, let alone Mr. Putin [ ex-KGB !!! ], is about as Marxist as the Vatican.


          Not that the Chinese are now noticeably devout communists.

        2. CoolKoon

          Re: A feint?

          Not to mention China's various territorial claims against various Central Asian countries (almost all of which - save for Mongolia - are former SSRs)....

    5. Triggerfish

      Re: A feint?

      I believe the maxim, the enemy of my enemy is the enemy nothing more nothing less applies.

  4. redpawn

    A Friend in Need

    is an opportunity indeed, also Russia's version of helping a friend.

  5. jgarbo

    Russian SMO

    The Russian intervention is legally covered by the Geneva Convention (Article 51), preventing Genocide [of Russian ethnic civilians]. As for the dud Chinese chips to Russia, show me sources, since I can't find any. Or retract.

    1. ChoHag Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Russian SMO

      This is a newspaper. It is the source. If you want your own sources go and do your own journalism.

      1. Ideasource Bronze badge

        Re: Russian SMO

        First off, hopefully that was hilarious and well written.

        On a serious note,

        I'm inclined to agree. If ever possible show your work, so that's it may be casually repeated and so verified by others.

        What witheputation being so easy to abuse and humans in general being what they are, better to have people show their work.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Russian SMO

      Putin invaded and is trying to annex part or all of a sovereign nation.

      It's a war of territorial aggression.

      You are a Putinbot and I claim my five roubles.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Russian SMO

        > five roubles

        Checked out of curiosity... 7p at the current exchange rate, apparently.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Russian SMO

          arguably, with conversion fees and all other fees, you'd have to pay 500 roubles' worth to get your 5 roubles. Perhaps they should start paying in potatoes? Russian food exports are not sanctioned, for now.

    3. sarusa Silver badge

      Re: Russian SMO

      Sure Elon. Go back to smoking.

      WHO exactly is murdering civilians in Ukraine, including ethnic Russians? It's Pooty Poot.

    4. localzuk

      Re: Russian SMO

      Russia has already admitted this wasn't the reason for the invasion. Putin has said so multiple times in his speeches. Try again.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Russian SMO

        Russia has already admitted this wasn't the reason for the invasion. Putin has said so multiple times in his speeches.

        What Putin says in public is not necessarily something you can have much confidence in.

        Aside: perhaps the saddest casualty of this conflict is the Geneva Convention itself. Now that a permanent member of the UN Security Council has ripped it to shreds, what chance is there of anyone else giving it a second thought?

        Russia has a huge strategic advantage: it is allowed to attack inside Ukraine, whilst Ukraine is not allowed to attack inside Russia. That's the condition of Western-supplied arms, and is arguably quite reasonable to avoid (or at least delay) a full-blown world war.

        But Russia is determined to press home this advantage to the max, by bombing every piece of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure that it can. This appears to be just to maximise suffering - otherwise it would choose targets with more military significance.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Russian SMO

          The Geneva Conventions stand a very good chance of recovrring from this since it is obvious to anyone with a brain that it is advantageous for your opponent to abide by it. It is equally obvious that the civilized portion of the human race cannot allow a violator to benefit. In short, most of the human race have a vested interest in seeing Putin (personally, this isn't an anti-Russian thing) lose catastrophically.

          1. parlei

            Re: Russian SMO

            It has never been a serious deterrent to the great powers; they can stack the deck well enough to ensure a desirable outcome, and can at best just toss a few pawns to the dogs to give the appearance of caring. The small players can get hauled in over it.

            The main risk is being a well documented criminal AND becoming a POW.

            My guess is that all those "repatriated for their safety" children and civilians? They are collateral for (a) all POWs, regardless of crimes, released to RU, and (b) an unspoken bargaining chip in the eventual peace negotiations.

        2. fandom

          Re: Russian SMO

          "whilst Ukraine is not allowed to attack inside Russia."

          They haven't had much of a problem attacking military targets in Belgorod.

          It is close to the frontier though.

    5. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Russian SMO

      "Genocide [of Russian ethnic civilians]"

      Since you seem so keen on sources, perhaps you can provide a source for the above that isn't Pravda?

    6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Russian SMO

      Hello Mr Troll,

      Define ethnic Russian and then explain to me how it applies to the Crimea, historically largely people by ethnic Tatars.

    7. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Russian SMO


      The Russian intervention is legally covered by the Geneva Convention (Article 51), preventing Genocide [of Russian ethnic civilians].

      You ought to do your research better when talking bollocks online. As there hasn't been a genocide of Russian speaking Ukrainians (Russian ethnic being a meaningless term) - after all there's a Russian speaker as President of the country.

      But as I guessed it might be one of those propaganda talking points, I looked up Article 51 of the Geneva convention.

      Which doesn't mention genocide. linky to Red Cross (ICRC) website

      It also doesn't mention remedies. You'd be looking at the UN charter for legal justification for invading another country under international law. Invading a neighbouring country in order to annex its territory isn't covered by the UN charter as a justification for an invasion though - that's actually given as an example of what you're not supposed to do.

      However you are correct in one way. The Russians do follow Article 51 of the Geneva convention quite closely. They use it to generate their target lists.

      5. Among others, the following types of attacks are to be considered as indiscriminate:

      a) an attack by bombardment by any methods or means which treats as a single military objective a number of clearly separated and distinct military objectives located in a city, town, village or other area containing a similar concentration of civilians or civilian objects; and

      (b) an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

      6. Attacks against the civilian population or civilians by way of reprisals are prohibited.

      Just as in Syria, the Russians take the list of targets that it's illegal to hit, and systematically bomb them. It's why they managed to hit every single hospital in Aleppo multiple times in just a few months. Amusingly one of those hospital bombings was unattributed, because it wasn't know if the Russian or Syrian air force bombed it. Until the Russian Ministry of Defence put out a video of their planes bombing targets in 2019 to show just how accurate they could be. And that hospital was one of them.

      The use of unguided rocket artillery against cities is a warcrime. Even that's not enough for Russia. They've used thermite rockets on Kharkiv, Mariupol and several others. Thermite sticks to the victim, can't be extinguished with water and keeps burning down to the bone.

    8. Xalran

      Re: Russian SMO

      Last time I looked there was no genocide in Ukraine before Russia invaded...

      Since Russia invaded there's clearly a genocide of Ukrainian people performed by Russian paramilitaries ( Wagner, Chechens ) and Russian troops.

      sorry for the French :

      1. trindflo Silver badge

        Re: Russian SMO

        That took me a little while to translate, but was worth the effort.

        Shirley you're not suggesting the Russian military is impotent? <evil grin>

    9. veti Silver badge

      Re: Russian SMO

      I don't even speak Russian, but it took me less than two minutes to find this source.

      As for the UN charter, I really suggest reading it before trying to cite it.

      1. Dinanziame Silver badge

        Re: Russian SMO

        Google gave a very confusing translation of this. Apparently, the word брака means both marriage and defect, so the title of the article ended up as "Marriage is growing in popularity in Russia"

    10. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: Russian SMO

      What I cannot understand is that the people who interview the Russian representatives do not remark on their statements that Ukraine's own forces are responsible for the shelling of civilian areas in Ukrainian towns and cities. The logical deduction from this statement is that Ukraine's armed forces are immensely powerful, being able to defeat or at least hold off the might of the Russian army while simultaneously attacking their own people.

      If they could just focus on the one objective the Russians would have been ejected from all of Ukraine (including Crimea) by now. I would really like to hear one of the Kremlin's spokespeople asked about that in an interview.

      And if Putin wants to claim the 'Special Military Operation' is in accordance with the Geneva Convention, he could present his evidence of genocide to the UN Security Council or the International Criminal Court (oops, Russia not a member of the ICC. The Western Allies do have a record of opposing genocide and bringing some of those responsible to account (International Court of Justice, and

  6. chivo243 Silver badge

    The old saying

    second liar doesn't have a chance... no honor among thieves... I'm glad they've settled into bed and found they may not be so lovey dovey.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: The old saying

      I certainly wouldnt expect Xi to do much about this at this point. He must still be sore about Putin being so rude as to launch the war a mere 2 days after the Olympics had ended, and before the Paralympics even began. There were weeks of good news stories to come to help paint China as the friendly communist Panda bear, and lift its standing in the eyes of the world. But no, Putin decided to launch his invasion and China and the Olympics were wiped from the world's new feeds. That must have hurt, all that money spent and the pay off wiped out by your "BFF".

      I'm guessing Xi wants Putin to fail in the invasion, but not be deposed. A severely weakened Putin, he probably feels he can prop up and control, and use as the evil boogey man to distract the West with from time to time...

  7. sarusa Silver badge

    Only 40% failure?

    40% is a much lower failure rate than Pooty Poot's army of undertrained, underequipped war criminals has been experiencing recently. They have some serious problems achieving success unless they can just murder helpless women and children like the big strong men they are.

    You can't really blame China. They're just doing what you'd expect from a shark that sees blood in the water, even if it's another shark.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only 40% failure?

      "40% is a much lower failure rate than Pooty Poot's army ... experiencing recently."

      3 critical components each with a 40% failure rate translates to a 79% failure rate of the devices.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Only 40% failure?

      Don't forget the corruption that runs all the way from the assembly line to the front line. Order 100 of anything and see how many arrive and of those how many actually work. Russia doesn't need shoddy Chinese CPUs to make shoddy gear.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Only 40% failure?

        Russia doesn't need shoddy Chinese CPUs to make shoddy gear

        .. but it sure helps..

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Only 40% failure?

          Indeed it does. In the early part of the war Russian MRLS were getting stuck in the mud in Ukraine, not least because they had cheap Chinese tyres on them. It's one of the reasons that Russian vehicles have largely stuck (pun not intended) to the roads since then (the mud in the Donbas is even worse by all accounts), another being lack of good maps. Oh, and then there's using unencrypted radios and even Ukrainian phone networks for delivering orders. And then there's the "paintball-proof" vests that are being issued to new recruits…

  8. BOFH in Training

    Cost of doing business for Russia now

    Be it 40% or 90% failure rates, Russia orgnisations have no choice.

    Russia orgs should be happy that at least they are getting something, although most of it is probably crap.

    China government may make all sorts of friendly noises with / at Russia now, but most of China's private sector is not too keen on Russia. And my understanding is even China's State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are not getting too deep into Russia either, as nobody wants to be included in the US secondary sanction list.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Cost of doing business for Russia now

      Russia orgs should be happy that at least they are getting something

      And, if they start using Ukrainians as slave labour (like the Nazis did) the same thing will happen - every 2nd or 3rd device will be sabotaged. After all, the slaves know they are going to die anyway (overwork, starvation, brutality) so they might as well fight back in the only way they can..

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Cost of doing business for Russia now

        Slave labour definitely is definitely not good for productivity but sabotage, where recrimination is possible, is often not a good idea. The Nazis used disproportionate recriminations as a threat to keep disruption to a minimum. Josef Skvorecky touches upon this in The Swell Season where plans by the local youth to attack the Germans are vetoed by the local resistance because of the possible consequences: the SS followed the Roman tradition of making examples, often entire villages.

  9. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    It's just words

    "China's oft-stated ambition to crush corruption, modernize its economy, and focus only on quality development of world-leading products"

    It is high time that people understand that, until there are actions that support the words, words are just a leaf in the wind.

    1. cream wobbly

      Re: It's just words

      Yeah but by providing a corrupt, backward, low quality economy with faulty hardware, China *is* crushing corruption, modernizing its economy, and focusing only on quality development of world-leading products. Plus, when Russia falls and is partitioned out by the UN after the war crimes tribunal in Kyiv, China will grab some territory.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: It's just words

        Putin might fall, but I can't see anyone partitioning a country with thousands of nukes.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: It's just words

          Putin might fall, but I can't see anyone partitioning a country with thousands of nukes.

          But how many of those nukes will work reliably? The Russians aren't exactly known for good engineering and their maintenance is also [understatement] somewhat questionable[/understatement].

          Russia as a country will soon be history, surrounding countries will reclaim historical territory and loose ends (when Finland reclaims Karelia, the area around Murmansk will be cut off from the Russian mainland, so that will probably be claimed by Norway or divided by Norway and Finland), the PRC will reclaim Outer Manchuria including Vladivostok, Japan will reclaim the Kurills (and probably southern Sakhalin, maybe whole).

          1. EVP

            Re: It's just words

            Uh, just 1% of their nukes working would be more than enough. Even one would be too much.

            Russian nuclear doctrine is that using nukes is justified if the Russian Federation is under existential thread. If several countries started to reclaim territories, it would initiate nuclear war for certain. I have no doubt that they could use even much more smaller things as an excuse, if it fitted their purposes.

            Fuck them a thousand times, and then some more, for bringing the fear of nuclear escalation back.

            1. Shalghar Bronze badge

              Re: It's just words

              "Fuck them a thousand times, and then some more, for bringing the fear of nuclear escalation back.Fuck them a thousand times, and then some more, for bringing the fear of nuclear escalation back."

              Who ? The russians or the "free west", trying to get pre-emptive nuclear strikes okayed at the last OSZE conference, where russians were not allowed to take part because their representatives were not let into the country ?

              Who exactly developed RADAR dispersion ("stealth")planes and mini nukes to go with them ? Who exactly killed one anti nuclear weapons treaty after the other ?

              I would assume the nuke-a-cola junkies on every side are having a field day and homecoming party at the current mad times.

        2. fajensen

          Re: It's just words

          Putin might fall, but I can't see anyone partitioning a country with thousands of nukes.

          What about a breakout region that "inherits" a couple of hundred nukes? That could probably be arranged, and after what Russia did to Ukraine, keeping the nukes will be the default "divorce" settlement with Mother Russia!

  10. DS999 Silver badge

    Like I've been saying

    China had no intention of supporting the west in this conflict, but they didn't really have any desire to support Putin either because they don't like having someone who doesn't respect national borders on their border - plus a bunch of other countries that have borders with both Russia and China that China doesn't want to see Russian influence increased in.

    So they will happily buy Russian oil and gas at a discount, because they know Putin has no choice to sell at a discount when he has far fewer customers. And they will sell them chips, consumer goods, etc. but will look the other way if Chinese suppliers screw them with low quality parts. I said they would draw the line at selling them weapons and as far as I've seen reported that's the case. That's why Putin is running out of missiles and is now using Iranian drones. I'm sure China could sell them missiles if they wanted, and Chinese missiles are close copies of Russian missiles so they would likely be quite compatible with Russian launch systems. But China does not wish to help Putin win, they just want to take economic advantage of him during his time of weakness. The weaker he is, the biggest their advantage. It is a bonus for them that they can blame western interference for prolonging the conflict, but they are secretly happy that was the case because Russia walking in and taking over Ukraine would be bad for China.

    Putin rattling the cage about nukes will have only worried them, they don't want a nuclear war next door any more than Europe does. He's not doing himself any favors with Xi, who probably looks at him as a problem that China has to solve. They will want to be certain when he inevitably loses power that someone crazier than him doesn't take control, so they are probably conducting back door diplomacy with key players in the Kremlin. i.e. assuring them they will provide that "cooperation without limits" Putin was promised, but only once Putin is gone to insure stability in the region.

    1. MrBanana

      Don't forget Taiwan

      China is waiting to see how the land grab for sovereign territory plays out on the world stage. Their game of Risk with Taiwan is still simmering. Biden's statement for defending Taiwan, should China invade, is probably causing them to pause. If Putin had walked into Ukraine, without the world asking big questions, the precedent would be a lot easier to do the same in Taiwan. Xi must know that Putin is a dead duck, so right now he'll just take the economic benefits, and fudge the political outfall. No chance of sending armaments, but throw him scraps, like 40% broken silicon? Sure. Wait for the next guy, see what happens then.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget Taiwan

        China is waiting to see how the land grab for sovereign territory plays out on the world stage.

        If Russia gets away with invading and splitting lumps off of Ukraine, that's quite bad for China as it undermines their position that countries territory should never be split up. They have this view because by that logic Taiwan is still part of China and aren't likely to appreciate the Russia setting contrary international precedents.

        The mess in Ukraine which is likely to actually lead to a spectacular international collapse of Russia will have caused serious doubts about invading Taiwan. If Russia had of won in 3 days in Ukraine then IMO the Chinese would have followed it up with an invasion of Taiwan by now.

        As it is, they'll be looking at their own military technology derived from Russia with a suspicious eye and I would imagine that their military planners will be planning a wholesale replacement of everything Russian designed (or copied from Russian designs) that's performing badly in Ukraine before clashing with anybody who might conceivably acquire western weapons.

        Which "only" requires them to replace something like two thirds of their small arms, tanks, artillery, communications, aircraft, ships and submarines.

        1. BOFH in Training

          Re: Don't forget Taiwan

          Most of the rest of the world is getting a crash course on how modern warfare can be conducted with all the top level gear and satellites, etc.

          I expect everyone to start making changes to military doctrines soon, if not already starting after seeing the pass few months of events in Ukraine.

          This will probably involve changes on what sort of gear is prioritised as well as what sort of gear needs more research on.

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Don't forget Taiwan

          The Russian kit isn’t all bad. The Russian army, however, is bloody terrible.

          Sure the tanks with auto-loaders are death traps if hit. But if used properly, by Ukraine for example, are still very effective. Put simply, you’ve never been able to use tanks without infantry support. I believe that only about 20% of allied tanks lost in the campaigns after D Day were lost to German tanks. The rest were to artillery, infantry, mines and air attack. Plus the inevitable friendly fire.

          Similarly Russian artillery is very effective. Though shorter range than the best NATO stuff. But NATO has very little of that. Their maintenance, command and targeting sucks though. I believe Russia are broadly ahead of us in electronic warfare, with noble exceptions for the F18 Growler, probably the F35 and the the awesome new kit we're just getting for the Typhoon. Germany and Italy just ordered similar too. NATO navies are better at EW, NATO armies are well behind.

          That’s also true of air defence. Our navies have lots of great tech, way ahead of Russia. Our armies are a fucking disgrace. Sure we’d have air superiority. Quickly. Russia's Air Force have been abysmal. But Russia, and Ukraine’s, land based air defence is immeasurably better than anything NATO can field. Though Eastern Europe still have some decent old Soviet stuff. It's harder to use, but rewards skilled operators, with experience. If we got into a conventional war with Russia, we’d win easily. But our cities would get pasted by their various missiles, because we're less equipped than Ukraine to defend them.

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: Don't forget Taiwan

            Sure the tanks with auto-loaders are death traps if hit. But if used properly, by Ukraine for example, are still very effective.

            To be fair, those tanks are death traps if hit by specific types of western top attack munitions designed to exploit that particular design flaw. Russia doesn't have any of those munitions (beyond what's been captured, which immediately gets sent back for reverse engineering) so captured Russian tanks are effective for the Ukrainians used against the Russians but not vice versa.

            Similarly Russian artillery is very effective.

            Is it? It's effective in sheer mass, yes. As in, a thousand artillery crap artillery pieces are better than a few dozen good western ones.

            On the other hand, blow away their ammunition stockpile 30 miles behind the frontline with a GMLRS rocket from a HIMARS (which is also artillery) and with the reduced number of artillery shells flying around you start noticing things. Like for instance they don't even have the sort of airburst artillery fuses that the west has taken for granted since Britain invented them in WW2 and gave the design to the US as part of the Tizzard mission and deployed in mass during WW2. (you can tell because videos show Russian artillery hits are contact fused, so the fuse sets the shell off a split second after it's hit the ground, resulting in a crater and most of the shell fragments hitting the side of the crater)

            So is their artillery actually really good? In quantity, yes. But quality? I don't personally think so.

            Russia does have lots more air defence, but that's because they assume their airforce would be instantly obliterated by NATO and they'd have to fight under hostile skies. If their AAA defences were as good as they say they are, then Ukraine wouldn't still have an airforce.

            So yeah, i'm not really that convinced about Russian equipment being as good as it's claimed.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Don't forget Taiwan


              To be fair, those tanks are death traps if hit by specific types of western top attack munitions designed to exploit that particular design flaw.

              No, the design flaw isn't having the ammo in the tank. That's inevitable. As is the kaboom if it's hit. The design flaw is having it in the same compartment as the crew - so you don't get the expensively trained crew back again afterwards. Which was fine in the days of the Red Army, with 3m men - but not so much when you try to invade the whole of Ukraine (on 9! axes of advance) with only 150-200,000 men.

              And T72 turrets were exploding just as handily in Iraq in the 90s, when we didn't yet have these top-attack munitions. The Russians would smugly say that those were the export versions. To be fair the Russians have retro-fitted many of their tanks with Explosive Reactive Armour, when the cells haven't been filled with concrete instead...

              They also have active protection measures. Which can be very effective. All tanks have smoke grenade launchers and smoke generators on their engines. If ambushed the grenades give you immediate cover while the engines slowly build up your smokescreen. What was (still is) striking from the footage we see from Ukraine is the number of Russian units that ran into ambush and just drove around like lost sheep. Nobody triggered smoke, or called in artillery smoke to hide them. Often nobody deployed into combat properly either. Of course this could just be that the units that did, didn't lose their battles, or the Ukrainians didn't show us.

              Most T80s and T90s also have missile defences. I don't think any have the anti-missile missile stuff like Israel's Trophy - but laser dazzlers to interupt guidance signals to the missile. No use against NLAWs or the older TOWs (wire guided) - but might work on Russian Kornet, Ukranian Stugna or even Javelin. In fact a researcher from RUSI was with the Ukrainian military and said that the T80s missile defences were very effective - where they chose to use them.

              Which jelled with stuff I'd seen elsewhere. The open source list of dead stuff from Oryx (oryxspionkop on Twitter). In about April the Russians had only been seen to lose about 50-odd T80U. Of which something like 48 came from one unit, the 4th Guards Tank Army. One of the least effective Russian units. I speculate because they're based around Moscow, and so probably get the politically best connected officers, rather than the good ones. Other units didn't lose half their tanks in 3 months, then get back into Ukraine just in time to get the remnants virtually destroyed by the counterattack at Izyium.

              As for your comment on their artillery, I can't believe they don't have the fuses. Though they may not have enough. But I've seen video or Russian artillerymen using their GPS guide shells in normal barrages without bothering to set them. Which again shows a shocking lack of training.

              I think it's true that they're behind us on precision. But then make up for it in mass. Which was good enough in the battle of Sieverodonetsk - where the Russians actually fought more according to their doctrine and pretty much tried to replicate the battle of Verdun. Ukraine were smart enough to realise this and pulled out, but still took heavy losses. However so did the Russians, in precious infantry - which is what they're desperately short of. You can't win either tank or artillery batteries without infantry though.

              Finally we know Russia can do this right, because it's what they've done since 2014 - and particularly 2015 when they openly sent about a divsion into Ukraine to make sure the "separatists" didn't lose. They were much more effective at using electronic warfare and drones to target their artillery at inexperienced Ukrainian units - a lesson Ukraine has learned well, but apparently much of the rest of the Russian army didn't get - and so has had done to them in return. Southern Military District seem to have been the best of the Russian army, Ukraine have learned from them (as well as US/UK/Canadian trainers) - and they've been responsible from much of Russia's succes, taking Kherson and the large advances in Zhaporizhzhia. I so preferred reading WWII history where you can use the Russian spellings... Except Dnipro is much easier than Dnipropetrovsk... Which the Soviets used as a password, because the Germans couldn't say it.

        3. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Don't forget Taiwan

          I don't know that the Russian military hardware is all that bad, just that Russia's military is corrupt from the top all the way down. Most of the problems aren't from poor design, but from use of substandard parts during manufacture or repair, lack of proper maintenance/storage, and lack of training. The Chinese version of the same equipment may work great - but anything Russia built, particularly in the last 20 years, should probably be assumed to be as bad as what Russia is fielding in Ukraine.

          Their biggest problem for Russia in Ukraine isn't even the equipment, it is the problem that is constant in these types of conflicts. There is no clear achievable goal, once "walk in and install a puppet government with hardly any shots fired" was clearly not happening. This is the same problem the US had in Iraq (only the second time, not the first) and Afghanistan, and an endless number of other examples going back millennia. At least US soldiers had "we're fighting the war on terror!" to keep them somewhat motivated (at least during the early years, until it became obvious our continued presence wasn't helping fight terror and was probably making it worse) but Russian soldiers don't even have that. And the Ukrainian people look too much like them, it is always easier to make an enemy out of someone who doesn't look like you or most of the people back home.

          The soldiers weren't told they were going into Ukraine until the day they were ordered to, and have been sold a number of different stories as to why, likely none of which they believed. They don't know what needs to happen for them to claim victory, or to admit defeat - but worse for them neither does their leadership all the way up to Putin!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Don't forget Taiwan

            Russian soldiers don't even have that.

            Instead they do have a rich broths of pretty much every current US-"Conservative" talking points, going from The Jews, over to the baby-eating witches covens and all the way up to demons being summoned by Ukraine to stuff gay frogs into their ethnic pure Russian buttholes, converting them into transvestites - or something - Unless Russia stops it!!

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Like I've been saying

      but only once Putin is gone

      Which, historically in Russia politics, tends to involve pointy objects, fast moving lead or toxic substances..

      Or, sometimes all three.

      I bet that Putin is *very* careful about who gets physically close to him and makes sure that anything potentially deadly doesn't come near him.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Like I've been saying

        Pictures of Putin with his inner circle have had him sitting alone - a long way away from them. Possibly he has learned from the July 1944 plot in Germany.

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: Like I've been saying

          I heard a lady interviewed about her career as a translator (I think) or 'minor' diplomat, specialising in Russia. She spoke fluent Russian as a second language. Anyway, she was at a banquet of world leaders including Putin and was astonished to be sat next to him at the formal dinner. Being a minor personage, and Putin being President, she did not attempt to start a conversation, but noticed Putin neither ate nor drank during the 'meal'.

          Days later she met some Russian diplomats socially and asked why she had been seated next to Putin. The answer was 'you are an unremarkable woman'. Being a woman meant she was 'not important' politically and being 'unremarkable' (i.e. not a 'lady of the night' looking person), there would be no questions about her. So, basically Putin was seated next to a 'nobody' to avoid any publicity or difficult questions.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Like I've been saying

            Another point was that she was unlikely to be an assassin, even less one targeting Putin.

      2. BOFH in Training

        Re: Like I've been saying

        Gorbachev and Yeltsin seem to have got out in one piece with their families intact.

        It's not impossible, but you can't be stupid about it when you are in power, and make sure whoever takes over will leave you alone, in return for keeping a low profile.

        I think there are no successors planned for after Putin, so expect alot of infighting when he is gone. And Putin's wife (or officially ex wife) and daughters better be careful, cos soon their big daddy will not be around to keep an eye on things while they enjoy the privileges. And the family is probably persona non grata anywhere outside Russia now (except Belarus and China, N.Korea, Syria, etc maybe), so don't expect to be able to easily run off to a another country after daddy is gone. Not that it matters, with the history of people falling out of windows or getting unexpected radiation doses.

        Things can get pretty nasty, and everyone will have to be careful standing next to a window.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Like I've been saying

        strictly speaking, the latest fad in Russia is not pointy objects, fast moving lead or toxic substances, it's windows that tend to self-open to air the room, so to speak...

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: Like I've been saying

          So Prague is out as a retirement home for Putin:

          And Italy:

          I saw a TV version of Dario Fo's 'Accidental Death of an Anarchist' sometime last century, It was superb, well worth seeing if you get the chance.

        2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Like I've been saying

          That self-opening is one thing, it is the self-closing that makes it noteworthy.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Like I've been saying

          2022 Russian businessmen mystery deaths - Wikipedia

    3. rcxb Silver badge

      Re: Like I've been saying

      they don't like having someone who doesn't respect national borders on their border

      China certainly doesn't believe in established national borders. They operate on the might-makes-right principle. You need look no further than their "nine-dash line," island/base building in the South China sea, which is an attempt to steal territory from other nations.

      1. Ideasource Bronze badge

        Re: Like I've been saying

        No no different than any other modern country or ancient country for that matter.

        If there's law enforcement then might makes right is in effect.

        Hypothetically if you had a country where law was made to mirror and work with naturally occurring behaviors of people, well then maybe we have a different core principle operating.

        However, without the might to impose an artificial order, there is no such thing as territory regarding humans.

        Although modern ideals May abstract and redirect, they only maintain because of a realized overwhelming might opposing otherwise available omnipresent alternatives to distinction and action.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fishing in the NOS market!

    Maybe the Russians are just getting the same service as everyone else! You just need to look on ham radio & similar forums to find the tales of shiny new RF transistors that turned out to be relabelled trash, people grinding tops off packages to find puny consumer grade dies in top spec parts etc etc. I wonder if the Russkys are competing with the guitar amp crowd for KT66 knock offs?

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: Fishing in the NOS market!

      Hmm, or maybe the PRC is testing its 'E.T. phone home chips' on the Russians before senlling them to us chip-hungry westerners?

  12. ghp

    Plenty of good chips inside those iranian drones! Why not take those before launch? Otherwise they'll explode and be of no use to anyone!

  13. Winkypop Silver badge

    Fishy chips

    Special price today only comrade!

  14. Shalghar Bronze badge

    Too many possibilities

    While the story might be true, it might also be russian help for chinese buddies, giving china a "well we dont seem to achieve to prevent sanctions busting, but at least thats mostly trash the russians get" out of jail card.

    This is definitely not unimportant as Bidens administration is at least as sanction and extortion trigger happy towards china as trumps was.

    Second idea is false flag information, strengthening the western made (up) "washing machine chips in MilTech" fairytales to distort the image anyone trying to evaluate the situation needs.

    All i could say since the censoring of russian channels began in the EU, much against any non censorship regulation we theoretically have is that all sides are friggin propagandist liars and the microscopic amounts of actual facts are not enough and must be post processed with logic and technical competence.

    Just dont personalize the complex mess with too many participants, because even if "putin" dies today, the situation will not get better until everyone interested in a dragged out war on all sides (there are more than two since 1996) also dies or finds more interesting situations to profit from.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kommersant states that before Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine

    sorry for being petty, but Kommersant would never, EVER say 'illegal invsaion of Ukraine'. Being 'good Russians' (and definitely wanting to stay afloat as a business venture) they keep calling it a 'special military operation', and the ONLY inkling of what their broadcasters _really_ think is when they are made to read newsbits more related to this 'SMO', more clentched teeth and more weariness in their voice than usual (though it might be my wishful thinking). Yes, I know what you _meant_, but.

    Other than that - GREAT news!

  16. A_Melbourne

    "Kommersant" is a Western rag. Like the FT.

    If you believe Kommersant, you must also believe in the "Daily Mail" and all the rest of them.

    Usmanov, the owner of Kommersant, is an Uzbek oligarch. He spent six years in a Soviet prison in the 1980s on charges of fraud and embezzlement

    The de facto alliance between China and Russia is doing very well.

    Enjoy your Winter and heating bills. And don't forget that Starmer is another WEF minion. The UK is just about as independent as my left foot.

    As a French minister said over 200 years ago ''people get the governments they deserve"

  17. BitEagle

    Use your grey matter

    In a debate over the quality of microchips for weapon building, it might seem trivial to some to point out that the "gray market" is not a British term - our own market, much like the faces of Conservative politicians, is grey, even if the amount of destruction caused by each may be approximately equal...

  18. Luggagethecat


    If I was a betting man, I’d say a good portion are scavenged components, resurfaced and re-soldiered.

    Very common easy & to buy from China/Asia, can buy refurbished general electronic components by the kg….

  19. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Could it be shipping problems?

    I'm wondering if part of the problem couldn't be shipping & packaging? Low-tech ICs, those ones with like 10-40 pins, you could probably dump a bunch into a cardboard box, ship them, and it's fine. Do that with more modern chips and they'll probably build up enough static rattling around to fry each other and break off some pins while they're at it.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like