Putin, Justinian and the Revival of Empire

Mosaic of Emperor Justinian I in the Basilica di San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy. (Credit: By Petar Milošević – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40035957)

After decades of relative peace, a full-scale war has broken out in Europe with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Angered by the former Soviet republic’s efforts to integrate with Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin has rolled the dice and unleashed hell on his nation’s neighbor.

History doesn’t repeat itself, but there are patterns that echo down through time. Sixteen centuries ago, another European leader launched a similar invasion designed to restore past glories. He succeeded — to a point.

All this has Happened Before

In late June 533, an expeditionary force under the command of Gen. Flavius Balisarius set sail from the Eastern Roman Empire capital of Constantinople. After a voyage of several months along the coasts of Greece and Italy, the force landed at Caputvada on the North Africa coast in early September.

The expeditionary force’s target was the Vandal Kingdom, centered in the former Roman capital of North Africa, Carthage. Emperor Justinian I had dispatched the expedition with two objectives in mind, one short term and limited, the other expansive and long term.

The Vandals had been part of a wave of barbarian tribes that, pushed out of their homelands by marauding Huns, had overrun the Western Roman Empire in the early fifth century. (The empire had split into east and west in 395, with separate capitals at Ravenna and Constantinople.) Vandals and other barbarians had crossed the Rhine, pillaged their way across Gaul (modern day France and Belgium), and seized control of Iberia (present-day Spain and Portugal). For a period, life was good as the invaders soaked up the Mediterranean sun and lives off the tax revenues that used to go to the Western Roman Empire.

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Dmitry Rogozin Proposes the Creation of an Eurasian Space Agency

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — “I would like us to discuss the issue of creating the Eurasian Space Agency today,” suggested the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin.

His idea was supported by all forum participants.

The Business Forum of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) “Space Integration” is taking place in Moscow. It discusses issues of digitalization of the rocket and space industry in the EAEU space, the prospects for industrial cooperation, as well as the use of the results of space activities in the interests of the socio-economic development of the EAEU countries and the prospects for cooperation in the field of fundamental and applied space sciences.

Editor’s Note: EAEU is composed of the following nations:

  • Armenia
  • Belarus
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Russia
  • Uzbekistan
  • Moldova (observer)
  • Cuba (observer).

All but one of the above countries are former Soviet republics. The former republics not on the list include:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Estonia
  • Georgia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine.

Estonia joined the European Space Agency (ESA) as a full member in 2015. Latvia and Lithuania are associate members of ESA, which is a step toward becoming a full member. Ukraine signed a cooperation agreement with ESA in 2008.

Dmitry Rogozin Spoke About Promising Projects of Roscosmos

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin spoke about promising projects in the Russian rocket and space industry during his December 3, 2021 speech at the First ‘Space Integration’ Business Forum of the Eurasian Economic Union.

On the Angara-1.2 light carrier rocket launch timing
‘We will launch the light Angara in the first half of the next year.’

On modernization of the Zenit launch complex for the prospective Soyuz-5 rocket (Baiterek space rocket complex)
‘Physical work on the Baiterek complex will begin in March next year. All necessary documents have been agreed upon.’

On the first launch of the Soyuz-5 rocket
‘The rocket (Soyuz-5) will be able to fly in December 2023.’

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