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Russia may scrap its only aircraft carrier to avoid the embarrassment of towing it around the globe

April 11, 2019 / Alex Hollings

Russia’s sole aircraft carrier, the long-troubled Admiral Kuznetsov, has long been seen as a bit of an embarrassment for the Kremlin, which fancies itself the world’s alternative to America’s brand of Western geopolitical leadership. Now, however, the Russian government is faced with a far more embarrassing possibility than a simple breakdown: having to tow the damaged carrier halfway around the world in order to reach a dry dock that can make it operational again. Last October, the dry dock holding the Admiral Kuznetsov caught fire, eventually sinking into the sea and leaving the immobile carrier stranded where it was floating. A large crane that had been attached to the dry dock collapsed onto the carrier’s flight deck during the fire, tearing a large hole and adding to the extensive list of updates and repairs that had already seen repeated delays, thanks to Russia’s struggling economy and recent emphasis on the development of new missile technologies.